Former First Lady Laura Bush Honored in Dallas

By JAMIE STENGLE
|  Friday, Sep 18, 2009  |  Updated 7:00 PM EDT
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Former First Lady Laura Bush Honored in Dallas

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WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 25: (AFP OUT) U.S. First lady Laura Bush smiles during a taping of "Meet the Press" at the NBC studios November 25, 2008 in Washington, DC. Bush discussed on the future of Afghanistan. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Laura Bush

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Former first lady Laura Bush says she and the former president have been busy working on their memoirs, furnishing their new home and just enjoying being back in Dallas -- even making plans to attend the Cowboys' home opener on Sunday.

  "We're so thrilled to be back home," said Bush, who was honored Friday at a fundraising luncheon in Dallas for The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
 
She was joined at the event by her husband -- a surprise guest -- and daughter Jenna Bush Hager, who was at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington earlier in the day making her on-air debut as a correspondent for NBC's "Today."
 
Introducing his wife, former President George W. Bush quipped, "I am honored to be with you and I thank you for the chance to get out of the house. This sure beats taking naps and playing shuffleboard."
 
He then commended the choice of his wife for the hospital's 20th annual "A Conversation With a Living Legend," calling her the love of his life.
 
More than 1,000 people attended the luncheon, which raised $918,000 and featured a conversation between Laura Bush and journalist Cokie Roberts. They talked about various topis, including the former first lady's plans for landscaping the grounds of the new presidential library with native plants and what she was doing when durin the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
 
Laura Bush told the crowd that on the day of the attacks, she had planned to speak at a Senate hearing on early childhood learning. She was headed to the office of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, then-chairman of the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee, when she heard that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. She was in the late senator's office when the second plane hit, making it clear that it was an attack.
 
She said Kennedy, who had been through so much tragedy himself, launched into small talk.
 
"He kept up a steady stream of small talk. I guess he was trying to reassure me," she said.
 
She said that prior to the attacks, she had expected to focus mainly on education and reading.
 
"Neither of us expected for the whole eight years to be dominated by foreign policy," she said.
 
Roberts and Laura Bush also discussed the former first lady's efforts to increase breast cancer awareness in the Middle East and call attention women's rights issues in Afghanistan.
 
The Bushes returned to Dallas this spring. They had last lived in Dallas before moving to Austin when George Bush was elected Texas governor.
 
 

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