First Lady to Keep Quiet on Controversies

From United Press International

Barbara Bush will not make any more public comments on controversial issues like gun control and abortion, a spokeswoman said today, quoting the First Lady as saying, "It's the President's opinion that the people should be interested in."

Anna Perez, Mrs. Bush's press secretary, said the First Lady decided that "she's not the one who makes policy" and that she would rather focus her attention on dealing with problems like national illiteracy and homelessness.

In a recent interview, Mrs. Bush said she is "absolutely" against the sale of AK-47 assault rifles. But her views have run counter to those of President Bush, who noted that the importation of such weapons is outlawed, but said he would never support the banning of semiautomatic guns.

The split in views in the Bush household apparently led Mrs. Bush to decide not to involve herself in public controversies.

"She doesn't know anything about guns," Perez said. "She's afraid of guns."

"She has said 'it's the President's opinion that the people should be interested in,' " Perez said when asked by reporters if Mrs. Bush had been "muzzled" in discussions on the touchy gun issue. "She's not the one who makes policy."

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