Opinion: Laura Bush talks about Burma. And Jenna’s wedding?


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First Lady Laura Bush went to the White House press briefing room this afternoon to talk about one of her favorite causes, the human rights conditions in Myanmar, which used to be called Burma. And especially the ongoing house arrest of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The poor country with its tin roofs and thatch huts is run by despotic generals who’ve cut the country and its freedom advocates off from the outside world. But the place was lashed by 120 mile an hour cyclonic winds Saturday. Officials estimate the death toll could near 10,000. And the generals could suddenly use plenty of foreign aid.

Bush talked about that faraway place, urging the generals to admit aid quickly. And then the handful of reporters in attendance, never accused of over-sensitivity, began asking about a story closer to home, this Saturday evening’s wedding of Jenna Bush and Henry Hager at the Bush ranch in Texas. Some sought invites.

Bush answered their questions (the press is not invited) and waxed on about the blooming wildflowers she’s planted there and the limestone altar the president built. All fine.


But, alas, MSNBC’s directors in New York, who were carrying the Q and A part of her appearance live, left up the caption from the earlier part -- ‘Breaking News First Lady talks about deadly cyclone in Myanmar’ -- and continued showing looped news footage of the devastation while the bride’s mom obligingly answered wedding queries about their idyllic country getaway, their daughter’s happy day and getting their first son in the family.

Bizarre to say the least.

But then the president’s wife got in the last word to the press. ‘Thank you so much for covering Burma,’ she said as a motherly reminder. ‘And I hope you’ll keep watching.’

--Andrew Malcolm