Two years after moving out of the White House, former first lady Laura Bush opens up in a new book. She takes aim at her husband's Democratic critics, talks about a deadly teenage car accident and her suspicions that she and her husband may have been poisoned at a summit in Germany.
"Spoken From the Heart," due out next month, may be the most revealing look at Laura Bush's past and her eight years in the White House.
She writes for the first time about the deadly car accident she caused as a teenager in 1963, how she ran a stop sign on the way to a drive-in theater and struck and killed classmate Mike Douglas.
"I was praying that the person in the other car was alive," she wrote. "In my mind I was calling, 'Please God, please God,' over and over again."
Bush, who was 17 at the time of the accident, wrote that she was wracked with guilt for years over the boy's death and for not attending the funeral or reaching out to his parents.
"I lost my faith that November," she wrote. "Lost it for many, many years. It was the first time that I prayed to God for something ... and it was as if no one heard."
Bush, 63, was no less forthcoming about her eight years as the nation's first lady. The demure and reserved first lady lashed out at her husband's critics, chastising House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for calling President Bush an "incompetent leader" and also Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for calling her husband a "loser and a liar."
"The comments," she wrote, "were uncalled for and graceless. These particular words revealed the petty and parochial nature of some who serve in Congress."
The New York Times obtained an advance copy of the book, which reportedly suggests President Bush, Laura Bush and several members of their staff were poisoned during a G8 Summit in Germany.
Bush wrote that they all fell mysteriously ill, and President Bush was bedridden for much of his time in Germany. The Secret Service investigated the possibility of poisioning, she wrote, but doctors eventually diagnosed them with a virus.
Bush noted several high-profile poisonings and wrote, according the Times, "we never learned if any other delegations became ill, or if ours, mysteriously, was the only one."
Laura Bush's New Book: First Lady Defends Husband's Decisions
Laura Bush also devoted space in her book to sticking up for some of her husband's most-criticized moves, including the decision to fly over the neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2004.
President Bush was flamed by his political opponents and the media for opting to tour the obliteration of New Orleans from the cushy comfort of Air Force One, rather than meeting with the victims.
But Laura Bush, the Times reported, praised her husband for thinking of what was in the best interests of those victims and the aid workers on the ground.
"He did not want one single life to be lost because someone was catering to the logistical requirements of a president," she wrote. "He did not want his convoy of vehicles to block trucks delivering water or food or medical supplies, or to impede National Guardsmen from around the nation who were arriving to help."
The 464-page book, published by Simon & Schuster's Scribner, is slated for release May 4.