6,000 Honor Her : Mrs. Bush Wows ‘Em With Charm

Associated Press

Barbara Bush won cheers and laughter today from audiences that packed three theater halls to hear her joke about her appearance and her husband’s fishing.

She appeared at the “Salute to the First Lady,” an event that more than 6,000 people paid $50 a ticket to attend.

So many people came to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts along the Potomac riverfront that she made three separate appearances--in the Concert Hall, the Opera House and the Eisenhower Theater.

Known for her wit and for not putting on airs, the 63-year-old white-haired grandmother stood on one stage and told the audience, “Please notice--hairdo, makeup, designer dress. . . . Look at me good this week.”


Dressed in a blue suit with a big patterned bow at her neck, Mrs. Bush said she was “a little nervous” as she stumbled over the name of National Symphony Orchestra music director Mstislav Rostropovich.

Then she proceeded to joke about her husband’s comments on how tedious it has been for him to pack in preparation for the move to the White House.

The First-Lady-to-be noted he spent two days fishing last week in Florida, and said, “So much to the packing story.”

Mrs. Bush was introduced by Marilyn Quayle, the wife of the vice president-elect, whose voice cracked as she described the incoming First Lady as a woman of “gentleness and kindness and indomitable spirit.”

“I’m going to get weepy,” Mrs. Quayle said.

In earlier comments, Mrs. Bush has said the feelings she has about her husband’s inauguration are like those she experienced before her wedding day 43 years ago: She’s excited but she’s nervous.

“I’m still pinching myself,” she said.