ABC News’ Jonathan Karl Reports: In an ABC News exclusive, First Lady Laura Bush praised former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, saying that knowing the challenges of a presidential campaign first-hand, she "admired Hillary’s grit and strength".
Speaking from Slovenia, Mrs. Bush said "I know what its like to run those campaigns, to be the candidate and how very difficult it is both emotionally and physically. It’s a huge endurance, process of endurance, and so I’ll have to say I have a lot of admiration for her endurance and strength."
And while the first lady said she would prefer the nation’s first female presidential nominee to be a Republican candidate, she said Clinton "did great".
"I know it’s hard," Mrs. Bush said, "It’s hard to do that and I think she did great."
On the ’08 campaign, Mrs. Bush also had words of advice for the wife of the recently-anointed Democratic presidential nominee, Michelle Obama.
Responding to Michelle Obama’s recent remarks that "for the first time in my adult life, I’m proud of my country", Mrs. Bush said "I think she probably meant ‘I’m more proud’" but cautioned "you have to be very careful in what you say" on the campaign trail.
"That’s one of the things you learn and that’s one of the really difficult parts both of running for president and for being the spouse of the president and that is everything you say is looked and in many cases misconstrued."
Mrs. Bush called Burma’s refusal to allow the U.S. military to provide more relief to cyclone victims "one of the most difficult things that has happened since my husband has been president".
The first lady says she’s not sure if the United States should have gone in to Burma without permission from the government.
"That’s the question," she says. " That is what goes over and over in my mind is I want the people of Burma to know that the people of the United States know what there situation is…and I don’t think they’ll ever know."