News

    Laura Bush Defines Her Policy Role

    Multimedia

    Audio

    First Lady Laura Bush is taking an increasingly public role on foreign policy matters - from the status of women in the Middle East, to repression in Burma. VOA White House Correspondent Paula Wolfson reports Mrs. Bush focused on these issues in a nationally broadcast interview Sunday on American television.

    Presidential spouses in the United States often champion a cause. But usually, the issues they pick are close to home, such as promoting adult literacy programs or planting wildflowers along American highways.

    Laura Bush, who is a teacher and librarian by training, started out in the traditional way. But as her husband's second term has evolved, her focus has shifted to issues abroad.

    Last week, she was in the Middle East raising a sensitive subject for many Arab women - breast cancer. She says the social stigma is so great in some parts of the region that many women fail to seek help until it is too late.

    "So many more die there with breast cancer than in the United States because early detection is the only thing we have - the closest thing we have to a cure," said Mrs. Bush.

    During an appearance on Fox News Sunday program, Mrs. Bush acknowledged that part of the reason for her trip was to help improve America's image in the Arab world by highlighting concern for women's health. But she stressed that she learned as much about Arab women as they did about her. She said stereotypes were broken on both sides - especially in Saudi Arabia, where she met women who were fully veiled.

    "I told them that I had always felt that they were closed to me that I would not be able to reach them because of the way they are covered," added Mrs. Bush. "And one of the women said to me - she said 'You know, I may all dressed in black, but I am transparent.' And what they were saying to me is they want to reach out, they want American women to know what they are like."

    The first lady said she has come to realize that her role as the wife of the President of the United States gives her a platform to speak out when she thinks she can make a difference. That has been particularly true when it comes to Burma.

    In a VOA interview last month, she voiced support for the pro-democracy movement and urged Burmese soldiers to refrain from violence against those seeking freedom.

    She told FOX News Sunday that she has long been inspired by the leader of the Burmese opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, noting she is the only Nobel Peace Prize winner living under house arrest.

    "When I learned about her story, then I learned about Burma and how repressed they are by this military junta that leads Burma - that is the government," she continued. "In fact, I just learned about 90 percent of the people in Burma make less than a dollar a day. Burma was the breadbasket of Asia, it was known for its intellectual people, its wonderful culture and now it is just in total shambles."

    During the televised interview, Mrs. Bush was also asked about domestic political issues, and the outlook for the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.

    She was asked if Senator Hillary Clinton's eight years as first lady provided good training to be president. Mrs. Bush said it is possible to learn a great deal about the workings of the White House as first lady, but then stressed she will be voting for the Republican Party candidate in next year's election.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora