Transcript: Charlie Gibson Interviews President Bush

MRS. BUSH: You know, I'm sure there are a lot. Really, just not -- I mean, just wish I could have done more, I guess, would be what the disappointment would be, on a lot of different issues. I wish we would see the release of political prisoners in Burma. I wish Afghanistan were really not having the problems they're having right now. And I think they are on the road to a real democracy, but it's a lot harder than I wish it would be.

GIBSON: I asked the President a moment ago before you came in the room what people don't know about being President. What don't they know about your role?

MRS. BUSH: About my role?


MRS. BUSH: I don't know. You know, there's really not a map for my role. There's not really a job description. And what I do think happens is we end up benefiting from whatever the interests of our First Ladies have been.

I do think a lot of times First Ladies are trivialized with a pet project. And I think in every case, certainly that I know of, the First Ladies are much more complicated, much more dynamic people than you can tell from listening to press or reading press reports, because it's sort of an either/or. When George was elected I was asked, was I going to be Hillary Clinton or Barbara Bush, like I was either going to be --

GIBSON: Like they're polar opposites.

MRS. BUSH: -- in this box or in this box. But --

GIBSON: They're not polar opposites.

BUSH: No, not at all.

MRS. BUSH: No, not at all.

GIBSON: Did you give Michelle Obama any advice on that?

MRS. BUSH: No, not really.

GIBSON: Or, did you just say, figure it out yourself.

MRS. BUSH: No, we didn't -- she didn't ask for any advice like that, and I didn't give her any. What we talked about, really, was living in the house and making it a home -- because that is what the First Ladies have done first, and that is make sure it's a home for their children, it's a home for the President. And we talked about closets -- (laughter) -- we talked about, you know, all the things that will make it easier for her to move there and live there at the very first. And then I know she'll take on a lot of great issues.

GIBSON: How do you mentally adjust for life after January 20th?

BUSH: Check in about February 15th. I don't know. That's going to be an -- that's an interesting question. We've been in the spotlight now for 14 years. We've lived in the Governor's Mansion and the White House. It's going to be an interesting adjustment.

GIBSON: Do you talk to yourself in the shower about that?

BUSH: I generally sing in the -- no. (Laughter.) No, I'll begin to think about it -- obviously this financial situation makes it really hard to think about what life's going to be when we get out of here, because I've spent a lot of time thinking about people who are losing work, or watching their 401Ks go down.

And I'm confident I'll adjust, obviously. And I'm beginning to think through what I'm going to do. I intend to write a book. I'm going to build an institute at Southern Methodist University, along with the library and archives. That's where Laura went, right there in the heart of Dallas. And other than that, I'm just going to take it when it comes. I'd like to -- I tell you what I don't want to do, I don't want to draw attention to myself. Pretty much had it when it comes to --

GIBSON: You want to withdraw from the limelight?

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