Barbara Bush, born in New York in 1925, married George Herbert Walker Bush in 1945, dropping out of Smith College. They had five children: one daughter who died of leukemia at 3 years old, one other daughter, and three sons. Because of her husband's political career, the family lived in more than 15 different cities. Barbara Bush was First Lady during her husband's four year term in the White House (1989-1993), and "First Mother" when her son, George Walker Bush, took office in 2001.
While First Lady, Barbara Bush worked on a variety of causes as a volunteer, including literacy, AIDS, and homelessness. She largely avoided controversy.
Selected Barbara Bush Quotations
• I married the first man I ever kissed. When I tell my children that they just about throw up.
• Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the president' s spouse. I wish him well!
• As the wife of an elected official, I feel exactly as the Vice President does to the President. You owe that person, that elected official, your support on the outside. What you say behind closed doors, that's fine. You can voice your own opinion there, but I'm not an elected official. When I am, I expect George Bush to support me!
• If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather that dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.
• in an NPR radio interview, after visiting with Hurricane Katrina evacuees in the Astrodome in Texas, 8/5/2005: What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.
• George Bush and I know the frustration of living with an undiagnosed or untreated learning problem, and we know the great joy and relief that comes when help is finally found. I foresee the day when no American -- neither child nor adult -- will ever need to be limited in learning.
• Bias has to be taught. If you hear your parents downgrading women or people of different backgrounds, why, you are going to do that.
• Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life's blood. But everyone has something to give.
• Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our mind to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others.
• Get involved in some of the big ideas of your time.
• Cherish your human connections: your relationships with friends and family.
• I think a lot of our problems are because people don't listen to our children. It's not always easy. They're not always so brilliant that you want to spend hours with them.
• The winner of the hoop race will be the first to realize her dream, not society's dream, her own personal dream.
• You have to love your children unselfishly. That's hard. But it's the only way.
• You just don't luck into things as much as you'd like to think you do. You build step by step, whether it's friendships or opportunities.
• At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent.
• War is not nice.
• Your success as family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.
• Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is.
• I can't say it, but it rhymes with rich. (about vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro -- Barbara Bush later apologized for calling Ferraro a witch -- October 15, 1984, New York Times)
• Son, I love your strategy, but don't let them get to know you.
• It's been different. I started driving again. I started cooking again. My driving's better than my cooking. George has discovered Sam's Club.
• I may be the only mother in America who knows exactly what their child is up to all the time.
• Unless you speak English and read well, you'll never become a first-class citizen...but when you say "official", that becomes a racial slur.
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About These Quotes
Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis 1997-2005. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Barbara Bush Quotes." About Women's History. URL: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/quotes/a/barbara_bush.htm . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)