Transcript: Laura and Barbara Bush Talk to GMA Anchor Robin Roberts

Former First Lady Laura Bush Says Obamas Administration is Doing All It Can on BP Oil SpillHeidi Gutman/ABC
Former First Lady Laura Bush Says Obama's Administration is Doing All It Can on BP Oil Spill

Former first lady Laura Bush sat down for an interview with "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts on Thursday, June 3, 2010. The following transcript of their interview has been edited for clarity.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Now, to our exclusive interview with former first lady Laura Bush and her daughter Barbara. Just last night, Barbara presented her mother and her grandmother with an award for the volunteer work at the Covenant ... House for Homeless Youth. A cause very close to their hearts. It was the first time that we've had a chance to see the older Barbara Bush since she was hospitalized in March. And both Mrs. Bush and President Bush have written beautiful memoirs, so much to talk about this morning. And I really enjoyed reading your book.

LAURA BUSH: Thank you very much. Thanks, Robin.

ROBIN ROBERTS: We'll talk about that. In just a little bit of a moment. You must be so proud.

BUSH: I am very proud. I'm proud of my girl. And I've really loved having this-- friendship really and relationship with them now that they're grown. I loved having babies. And I just didn't know what I would think about big girls. But it's been really fun.

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ROBERTS: I've enjoyed watching you watching her. While we were getting ready the morning. And just -- just was such pride and -- and so, it's wonderful to see how she looks at you so lovingly. And so proud of you and the work that now three generations of Bush woman with Covenant House and know that you are on the board of directors. But you're also involved in other charitable work, too.

BARBARA BUSH: Yes. I started a nonprofit with a few partners a year ago. Called Global Health Corps and we -- our -- our mission is to recruit the next generation of leaders in global health. So, we really work with 22- to 30-year-olds. With very different skill sets, partnering them with nonprofits right now in East Africa and the United States to help build capacity in those nonprofits. And then hope that these -- that are fellows will be making change in the health field for the rest of their career.

ROBERTS: Working with youth. And that's the reason that you're being recognized, have been recognized, because of your work with Covenant House. And promoting literacy.

LAURA BUSH: That's right.

ROBIN ROBERTS: With … young people. What is it about Covenant House that really strikes a chord with --

LAURA BUSH: Well, Covenant House is really one of those examples, one of those great examples of something that was founded by one man, who housed six homeless children. Homeless boys that he met on the street, street kids. And now, is in 21 cities in the United States and Latin America. And is the largest shelter for homeless youth -- in the Americas. And it's jus t-- you know, another great example of American-- ingenuity as well as American generosity. And so, it's something that Barbara Bush, my mother in law had-- supported for many years. And so, this year they asked if they could honor Barbara Bush and me. And so, Barbara Bush Senior said yes, but she was going to play the age card, she couldn't come to the event. Barbara Bush Junior would accept for her. So, that's--

(crosstalk)

LAURA BUSH: And it is three generations of people who are very interested, especially in young people. In young people … and children.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Uh-huh. And it was wonderful to see your grandmother, your mother-in-law last night. Many of us have not seen her since she was hospitalized. We have a little bit of a clip of what she said last night. Here it is.

BARBARA BUSH SR. (on tape): Thank you so much for the Beacon of Hope Award. How I wish I could be with you to thank you personally. To receive this award alongside the former first lady, our daughter, Laura Bush, is such an honor. And you are so lucky to have the younger, prettier Barbara Bush there to accept -- on my behalf. (Laughs)

ROBIN ROBERTS: Her sense of humor.

LAURA BUSH: She's great.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Yeah --

LAURA BUSH: She's so terrific. We were all just together for a family wedding, and we got a chance to laugh and be with her and President Bush.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Many people were interested to hear what you had to say about her in your book, spoken from the heart. She is a mother-in-law. And --

LAURA BUSH: She is a mother in law. And I was very candid about Barb. But -- and how at the very first when we, when George and I first married, you know, we seldom saw them. They were running for office. And -- men were elected to the vice presidency. And … we had twins. And so, we didn't get to Washington that often. But finally, we did move to Washington for a year and a half to work on Mr. Bush's campaign.

And that's when Barb and I really had a chance to bond with each other. And … grow to love each other. And so, I want to recommend to any daughter, mother in law is to have a chance to be together. I think, I think it's a great bonding experience. It certainly was for us.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You eloquently wrote about that. Barbara, what was it like to read your mom's book?

BARBARA BUSH: I loved reading my mom's book. It was so much fun to read it. It was so fun to go, you know, relive these memories that I had already had that my mom was writing about. But to see them in a different perspective, when, you know, she wrote about her childhood, I was seven, going through these memories.

And so, it's so fun to -- to see them through my mom's eyes. And then also learn about a lot of my mom's life that happened before we were born. That I didn't even know that much about. You know, growing up in West Texas. Going to S.M.U. Living with all of her girlfriends. Being a teacher. And then when she and my dad got married, sort of reading about their courting relationship. (Laughs.)

ROBIN ROBERTS: The old courting. (Laughs).

(crosstalk)

ROBIN ROBERTS: -- courting like that. But it had to be enlightening for you, because --

BARBARA BUSH: It was amazing. I mean, it was really beautiful. And I was really thrilled to be able to … read her book. And to have that opportunity to hear about my mom's entire life from her perspective. So --

(crosstalk)

LAURA BUSH: Barbara and Jenna read it first … when it just was in a manuscript, they … got it.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You're very brave to let your daughters read it first like that.

LAURA BUSH: Well, I wanted them to read it. You know, Jenna actually is a writer herself. And so, I wanted them to tell me to, you know, if they thought I should change things. And they really didn't. They were, they liked it.

BARBARA BUSH: Yeah, we loved it.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Thumbs up. You gave 'em all the way around?

BARBARA BUSH: Yes.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Is it a relief -- there was wonderful-- I'm sure the opportunities that you both had being in Washington. Your husband being the president of the United States. But is it kind of that you're not there any longer and that you can just be a regular citizen, a regular daughter? LAURA BUSH: Well, I wrote about that at the end. And said, you know, that after those first few weeks at home, I started to (really) feel the buoyancy of, of freedom. You know? The -- that I could finally exhale. And that the hyper-vigilance that both George and I had the whole time we lived there worrying about a terrorist attack, obviously, or .. hurricane or -- you know, all the different things that you worry about when you live there.

That slowly left. And I could-- at last exhale. And I didn't really expect that. I didn't really know what to expect when we left. I knew that, you know, we would do the transition fine. And I started to anticipate moving to Dallas. And shopped for a house there and bought a house. But I didn't really realize how stressed I was until I wasn't stressed anymore. It's a very stressful job.

ROBIN ROBERTS: I guess. That's so … we've heard. And the President and the Obama Family, they're experiencing it --

LAURA BUSH: Exactly.

ROBIN ROBERTS: -- right now. Of course, with the devastation in the Gulf Coast region with the BP oil spill. And there are some people who have referred to it as Obama's Katrina. Do you think his Administration is doing enough?

LAURA BUSH: I think they're doing everything they can do. Absolutely. Just like we did with Katrina. You know, it's not one person's responsibility. The president can't do every single thing there is to do. And this is a huge ecological disaster, but it's a blowout. It's not just an oil leak. It's a mile down. It's going to be very, very different to cap, as we know. And I think one of the learning things for all of us, for our whole society, is that the engineering, all the technical expertise that goes into those huge platform -- wells that do that -- go through a mile of water before they even start to drill. And then drill horizontally.

That we need to make sure we have the capacity to cover some some kind of mishap. Not just with this. But with anything else. We've gotten so far technologically. And being able to do so many, many things that we never thought people would ever be able to do. But we need to make sure we can also take care of problems that happen.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Well, there's criticism that the government has, this current administration and your husband's administration for the deregulation and people feel it's just too cozy between Washington --

LAURA BUSH: Well, I think there's a lot of --

ROBIN ROBERTS: -- and the oil business.

LAURA BUSH: Always, a lot of finger-pointing in something like this. But this obviously was a terrible, tragic accident. Eleven people died. People don't realize that when you drill for oil like that that there's pressure from the earth. This is a blowout. It's not just a leak. This is -- you know -- oil is blowing out of this hole, because of the pressure in the earth. And I don't think it serves to try to point fingers and make it be somebody's fault. I think what we should do is all come together and do every single thing we can to … make sure it's … that the well is capped. And then also finally that we know how to treat this kind of disaster if it happens again. Or other sorts of disasters that might happen because of our technology getting ahead of our capacity to handle a mishap.

ROBIN ROBERTS: It's wonderful to see how people are coming together and everybody wants to help. What is this about your father on Facebook? (Laughs.) How has it -- do you have something to do with this?

BARBARA BUSH: I don't think I had anything to do with it.

ROBIN ROBERTS: You didn't even know about it.

BARBARA BUSH: I didn't even know about it. We're not even friends on Facebook yet. (LAUGH)

ROBIN ROBERTS: But you will accept, right? Yes.

BARBARA BUSH: I will accept a request. Yes.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Oh, (unclear) do you realize this?

LAURA BUSH: Yes, I knew that yesterday it was launched. This is what you do when you write a book, of course. And his book will be coming out November 9th. I have a Facebook page now, as well.

BARBARA BUSH: Mom tweets.

LAURA BUSH: I've been tweeting on the book tour and all these things. And I never thought I would do, but it's been really kind of fun.

ROBIN ROBERTS: And for your husband, will he be tweeting, too? Now that he has --

LAURA BUSH: I don't know if he's going to start doing that or not. But he does have the (unclear) book. And that's the next step, I guess. (Unclear) all of these things now go into publishing a book. All the --

ROBIN ROBERTS: Oh, and here I thought your dad was becoming, you know --

LAURA BUSH: Hip.

ROBIN ROBERTS: --hip or something like that. And he's trying to sell a book.

LAURA BUSH: We're trying to be hip.

BARBARA BUSH: (unclear) for his book and for (unclear) the library that they're working on at S.M.U.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Right.

BARBARA BUSH: I think it's been his focus.

ROBIN ROBERTS: (Unclear) but you should try that. Barbara Bush, thank you very much. Mrs. Bush, it is always a privilege to be in your presence.

LAURA BUSH: Thank you so much, Robin.

ROBIN ROBERTS: And continue blessing us in all that you do.

LAURA BUSH: Thanks a lot.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Hope to catch up with you again really soon.

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