TRANSCRIPT: Interview with First Lady

The following is the transcript of Jonathan Karl's June 9 interview with First Lady Laura Bush.

JONATHAN KARL: Well, thank you again for talking to us, and for an amazing trip to Afghanistan.

MRS. BUSH: It was great, wasn't it? Really terrific.

JONATHAN KARL: So tell me -- watching you, it was fascinating to watch you as kind of a foreign policy player, and I'm wondering your thoughts on what the foreign policy role of a First Lady is.

MRS. BUSH: Well, I mean, I think there -- obviously I'm not a foreign policy player. I mean, I'm not privy to all the information that the Secretary of State, obviously, who is a foreign policy player, or the President gets every single day. I don't get that, those sort of briefings. But on the other hand, I do think there's a diplomatic role that the First Lady can play by reaching out to countries that she happens to have a particular interest in.

And so for me that's Afghanistan. I've been very interested, especially in the plight of women and children since September 11th when all of us in the United States looked at Afghanistan and saw how oppressive the Taliban was and how particularly brutal life was for women and for children. And so that's just been something I've been interested in the whole time George has been President.

JONATHAN KARL: But it seems that recently you've had a very public role on the diplomatic front, and maybe even on the policy front. I mean, you became the -- I think the first First Lady in American history to do a press conference in the White House briefing room -- of course on Burma. Have you -- are you taking a more assertive role than you have in the past?

MRS. BUSH: Well, I don't know if I would call it that. I think I just know more. You know, I'm more educated about the situation in Burma and the situation in Afghanistan, just after having lived here in the White House for seven years. I've just learned more about it and know more about it, and Burma certainly. And especially after the cyclone we all looked at Burma and it's just so difficult and so sad and so really, I think, very, very difficult for people in the United States to know that we had all the help we had right off the coast of Burma and that the government would never allow us in.

There's something that's really disappointing, really frustrating about that. And it's just really one of the most difficult things that's happened, I think, since my husband has been President, and that is to know that we had help there and that they wouldn't allow it in.

JONATHAN KARL: When you look at that and you consider more than 2 million people affected and all that American help was right off the coast, the --

MRS. BUSH: Should we have gone in?

JONATHAN KARL: Should we have gone in anyway?

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