First Lady Preps for Queen's Visit

As the White House prepared for the queen of England's arrival for a state dinner later today, first lady Laura Bush sat down with "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts to discuss the dinner.

Roberts: I know it's a busy, busy, busy day for you.

Bush: It is, but a very happy occasion. Truly, everyone is buzzing around here.… Just like any dinner party when you have a very special guest. We've done everything we can think of to do to make it a wonderful evening for her. I know the American people are thrilled that she's here in the United States. It's a happy occasion.

Roberts: Before we talk more about the dinner, I know that you were even watching in the newscast, of course all those in Kansas. You have family down in Texas. … I know that your husband has declared parts of Kansas a disaster area. I know your thoughts are with the people there.

Bush: I know, Greensburg, Kan., especially, almost the whole town was destroyed. Everyone is thinking about those families there and hoping for the very best -- of course grieving with those who lost a family member.

Roberts: Talking about that, that's a hot topic in the news right now. Also, the poll about your husband's approval rating at an all-time low of percent. With the presidential election just a year and a half away, is there concern about the low rating? Will [it] have a negative impact on the Republicans running?

Bush: Well, sure. Of course there would be concern about that. But the fact is, we don't really look at polls. This is a job where if you do things that are popular, they're not always the best things to do. And, I think he feels like he has -- that it's his responsibility to make hard decisions and to do things that are the best for our country.

Roberts: You are very festive today in opening your home. Many people were wondering what it would be like, to have a queen over for dinner. Did you sleep well last night?

Bush: We're all very, very excited here. We slept great, but very excited to host her. We have the opportunity to be here the last time she was here for a state dinner, in 1991, when President Bush and Barbara Bush hosted her. So, this is our second opportunity to be at the White House with her, and we're so thrilled to have this chance to host her, and to show her the strong affection that the American people have for the British, our longtime allies and our best friends.

Roberts: And you were in her home in 2003.

Bush: That's right. We got to actually stay at Buckingham Palace.

Roberts: Was that the last time that he was in [a white] tie?

Bush: When you're hosting the queen of England you want to have it be a white tie. He was a very good sport.

Roberts: Because we understand that you, and also Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, had to convince him.

Bush: We did have to sort of convince him. He was happy to do it, a tribute to her. I think everyone, all of our guests, are having to go rent white tie[s], obviously being … Americans. But I think everyone's really happy to do that, makes it more fun.

Roberts: You have been very hands-on. I was here yesterday talking with a number of people on your staff. I look at the menu here. It's beautiful, first of all. I'll be sure and frame it. We begin with pea soup?

Bush: I think it will be a wonderful soup. When we have a dinner like this, we do a tasting. We had a tasting a few weeks ago of all the dishes that our chef, Chris, proposed for this state dinner. For that tasting we actually had some senators and congressmen for dinner. They got to be the ones that helped us taste.

We asked them for their real opinion. Everyone thought it was wonderful, especially the soup. I think you'll like it.

Roberts: O.K., I'll take your advice on it.

Bush: Has a hint of lavender … and the lamb -- always a favorite. There is a fish course, too. … Tonight, the entertainment is the famous violinist, so we're thrilled that he'll be here.

We'll start, of course, during the receiving line, the president's own, the Marine band, will play. Then -- this is always such a thrill -- the strolling strings will come into the dining room. [There's] always a guest gasp when they come in because it's so beautiful. Then the Army chorus will also sing.

Roberts: Sounds like a beautiful evening. And you have a beautiful gown I understand?

Bush: A very beautiful gown by Oscar de la Renta. It's a long gown with a bolero over it. … This is a special one, made for me.

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