First ladies press for girls' education

Obama, Bush speak at "Investing in Our Future" discussion at the Kennedy Center in Washington as part of the U.S. Africa Summit
Associated Press
Aug 6, 2014

 

Michelle Obama and Laura Bush, first ladies from different generations and opposing political parties, spoke with one voice Wednesday on the importance of educating women and girls worldwide, saying countries will be more prosperous as a result.

"You have to change attitudes before you can change behaviors," Mrs. Obama said.

She noted that some 60 million girls, including 30 million in sub-Saharan Africa, do not attend school. The first lady said that until global leaders understand that educating girls is as important as educating boys, "then we will have a lot of work to do."

"We do need to make sure worldwide that all women are valued," added Mrs. Bush.

The current and former first lady commented as they opened a program for more than two dozen spouses of the African officials who are participating in the third and final day of President Barack Obama's U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

They reprised an event they held in Tanzania last summer, focusing on meeting the needs of women and girls and sharing some of their experiences in the high-profile role of first lady.

The joint appearance also put on rare public display the warm relationship that has developed between the two since the change of power at the White House.

Mrs. Bush "set a high bar for me during her time in the White House" and has long been a source of inspiration, Mrs. Obama said.

"I consider her not just a role model but also a friend," the first lady said.

Between serious talk about education and how to keep their projects alive after leaving the White House, the two women also showed flashes of humor as they joked about White House life.

Former President George W. Bush's institute organized the July 2013 gathering of African first ladies and invited Mrs. Obama to participate after learning that she and her husband would be in Tanzania at the same time.

After Obama decided to hold a U.S. summit with African leaders, Obama aides reached out and proposed a repeat collaboration with Mrs. Bush.

Wednesday's program highlighted the role of first spouses and focused on public-private partnerships and investments in education, health and economic development.

"Taking care of women is good politics," the former president said.

He announced that a global health partnership that says it has helped screen more than 100,000 women in Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia for cervical cancer in the past three years was expanding into Namibia and Ethiopia.

Mrs. Obama, a 50-year-old Democrat from Chicago, remains grateful to Mrs. Bush, for showing her around the White House after Obama was elected in November 2008, among other courtesies.

According to aides, Mrs. Bush, a 67-year-old Republican from Midland, Texas, appreciates a lunch the Obamas hosted at the White House for the entire Bush family after the official portrait of the 43rd president was unveiled in 2012.

At Mrs. Bush's invitation, Mrs. Obama paid a second visit to the White House before her husband's January 2009 inauguration, this time bringing her mother, who now lives at the White House, and daughters Malia and Sasha. Bush's daughters, Barbara and Jenna, came from out of town to show the Obama girls parts of the White House where they had had fun.

In Tanzania, Mrs. Obama said Mrs. Bush was one of the reasons she wanted to participate in the program, although it took place the day the Obamas were departing Africa for home.

"I like this woman," the first lady said, gesturing toward Mrs. Bush. "It's hard to find people who know what you're going through, who understand the burdens and the fears and the challenges. ... It's kind of therapeutic."

"A sorority, I guess," suggested Mrs. Bush.

Comments

sugar

Laura Bush has class, the other one? Not so much.

coasterfan

OK, I get it that you don't like Michelle. Care to add any evidence that she doesn't have class? I suppose you like your First Ladies to be completely vacuous, like Mrs. Bush?

KnuckleDragger

You are joking right? Mrs. Bush is a teacher. Unless of course you now agree that teachers, such as yourself lack intelligence. While I agree that calling Mrs. Obama classless is untrue, the shot at Mrs. Bush was uncalled for. Both are very intelligent women, who have banded together for a good cause.

The Big Dog's back

No, actually he likes his 1st Ladies to be white.

freespeech1

Total ignorance puppy, does everything have to be the race card? Shows your lack of brain capacity. You on the left and this non stop racial crap is ridiculous and sadly pathetic. "Those who cry racist are themselves the racists".

The Big Dog's back

Interesting. If you call out someone on being racist, you're the racist. More right wing nuttery.

freespeech1

When you have no argument the race card is always the last resort for the left. Its sickening and serves no purpose. Not once have I made a statement about him being black. So I stand by my statement. You always spew this "right wing nuttery crap" always crying about racism, which makes you look ridiculous and uneducated. You liberals are your own worst enemy and America is waking up to liberal hatred for anyone that disagrees with their twisted ideology.

This president has lied over and over, he has made us look weak on the world stage, he has single handedly ruined our healthcare system, our borders are overrun, and yet you still support him? America is fed up with him and his weakness, like I said before, Somewhere in Plains Georgia Jimmy Carter is breathing a sigh of relief knowing he isn't the worst president in history! Obama= One Big Azz Mistake America

meowmix

I wonder who Laura Bush killed driving her car on her way to the discussion, Sugar.

grumpy

Mary Jo Kopechne

knowitall

I think they both are pretty classy ladies. Sugar....your comment is intriguing. I wonder why you don't think Mrs. Obama is classy.

deertracker

Both ladies have more class than you ever will sugar palin.

Donegan

The US is not even in the top 10 but lets worry about educating people in Africa. The parties need to keep the sheep stupid in order to stay in power. The last thing those in Washington want is a educated electorate, Educated people do not chant stupid slogans and think the color or sex of the candidate is a reason to vote them into office.

coasterfan

Actually, your description sounds like a very good definition of Fox News.

I just read Joe Muto's expose book on Fox, written while he was on their network staff. Muto described the prevailing mindset among the staff: they knew that Fox is anything BUT fair and balanced, and deliberately ramped up the rightwing rhetoric after Obama was elected. It was also a source of amusement for the staff to know that millions of Americans took every word they broadcast as gospel. A fascinating read.

Donegan

Fox is a answer to MSNBC the lefts gospel channel. Aside from that, pointing fingers does not take away from the fact the parties need uneducated voters, Something YOUR party is based upon these days. The good thing is those who voted for your god are learning a valuable lessen as they lose their jobs, insurance, life savings and cost for everything skyrocket while your god wants to spend billions on foreigners.
Only complete morons would support a party that wants to take away rights guaranteed in the constitution while advocating for foreigners rights to our tax money.

The Big Dog's back

done again, what is Fox's viewership compared to MSNBC's? I rest my case.

Donegan

Still going on about the media when the story is about education. You are the exact type of person those in Washington need to stay there, A uneducated buffoon that is willing to make yourself look stupid for the sake of someone who could care less about you.

Donegan

Comprehension problem? The story is about education. But if want to go there. You complain about biased media your link is from a liberal political hack that does nothing but complain about the right.
http://www.examiner.com/liberal-...
https://www.facebook.com/Democra...
You are just as bad if not worse than those you hate. Hows it feel to be proven a hypocrite?

The Big Dog's back

Education? You're a bigger moron than previously noted.

Donegan

Seriously,How does it feel to be just as bad if not worse than those you hate hypocrite?

knowitall

Confusion is the game as far as I am concerned. Each party throws out so much crap and lies that is is tough to figure out what is truth or what is BS. Most people do not have the time nor inclination to dig deep into the BS. So, if they lean right, they listen to FOX's garbage. And if they lean left, there is MSNBC.

deertracker

Enlighten us dummygen. What do educated people do? You are just ridiculous. You don't want any more immigrants here but don't want them to better their own country so they will not want or need to come here. What gives?

Donegan

You cannot even spell my name what makes you think i would hold a conversation with you? You are a typical liberal/progressive, Namely a non-thinking rabid animal that has no real purpose outside of calling names and throwing yourself under buses for your Fuhrer.

deertracker

Your name is appropriate and spelled correctly.

Donegan

Thanks for proving my point about uneducated morons who support those in Washington.

Darwin's choice

Racist twat!

obama/failing

Chirp

I read the title and I thought, "Oh, the irony."

There you go again

Lol!

Wjones44

Moooooshell

Pterocarya frax...

Classy!! But it must be the alcohol talking since you are a self admitted alcoholic.

Wjones44

Well yes I am and I need alcohol to look at Moooooshell!

deertracker

Don't look!

Wjones44

It's hard to miss Mooooooooooooshell!

Contango

Re: "She (M.O.)noted that some 60 million girls, including 30 million in sub-Saharan Africa, do not attend school."

Probably outa focus first on the abysmal drop-out and illiteracy rate in the U.S.

In order to stay competitive, this country needs to seriously focus on STEM -

science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

deertracker

Now tell us something we don't know. You just like to type!

The Big Dog's back

Exactly deer. Is pooh becoming a Progressive?

ladydye_5

The education system in the US is becoming a joke. Common Core, all the standardized tests that so many schools and teachers lie/rig/fake scores on to pass, padding the enrollment sheets (for more $$), etc. Cutting funding to the point of less teachers, classes, etc. Common sense was gone a LONG time ago. We are nowhere near the top of the education pyramid. WHY on earth are we pushing other counties education agendas?

No matter if Mrs Obama , Mrs Bush, Or MRS WASHINGTON herself is doing it...this isn't about party, color, shape, or who your husband is. Our countries education system is a joke. It needs help too.

deertracker

Tell that to your CON buddies that want to get rid of the Dept. of Education.

Contango

Re: "Dept. of Education,"

Gotta wonder how the U.S. fought WW2, went to the Moon and achieved other innumerable historical and technological accomplishments without it. :)

Better living though 5000 bureaucrats and a $70 billion budget? lol

Something only a big govt. loving stooge would support.

deertracker

Did you go to college pooh? How would you have done that without it? Do you really need an education to shoot and kill people?

Donegan

You worship someone who uses drones to assassinate American citizens and he is not even in a war zone. That's a cross between a murderer and a coward.

grumpy

No wars, or "conflicts have been won, the conflicts just end, or we leave, since education dept was formed... we quit going into space without hitching a ride from Russia and paying for that... let alone going to the moon... our test scores compared to the rest of the world has fallen... all since the education department has been formed.