- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2001

George W. Bush's twin daughters were under wraps for most of his presidential campaign, making only two public appearances in the hard-fought primaries.

Even during the Republican National Convention last summer, the young women were seen only briefly, captured on television as they waved proudly from the VIP stand at Philadelphia's First Union Center.

The Bush daughters' limited visibility reportedly was their choice, and their high-profile parents were happy to oblige.

Now, as Inauguration Day looms Saturday, Jenna and Barbara Bush may be preparing even bracing for a coming out of sorts, as four days' worth of public ceremonies will be beamed around the world.

Soon, many Americans will be able to tell the non-identical twins apart as studious Barbara, the brunette, and fun-loving Jenna, the blond, appear front and center when Dad becomes the nation's 43rd president.

Just as mother Laura Bush's inaugural wardrobe was eagerly anticipated by fashion observers, the couple's youthful offspring will make their Washington debut in style. The daughters' ensembles, created by Texas-born and New York-based designer Lela Rose, are certain to be scrutinized in fashion magazines, where the teens' natural good looks make them obvious image magnets for their generation.

"They definitely have the potential of setting trends for their age group and also probably a little bit older," says Mrs. Rose, 31, whose clothes have been worn before by the size-6 Bush daughters.

"They carry themselves very well. They are very mature for 19," Mrs. Rose says. But they also are freshmen in college, she adds, and like many in their age group, "still developing a sense of style."

Expect the press to go gaga over the attractive teen-agers, who are already quite the buzz on one popular Web site devoted to twins. No matter how high their celebrity soars, mum no doubt will be the word from the Bush camp, which so far has tersely declined to elaborate on specifics of their lives.

"You should know better than to ask me a question like that," Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer snapped last summer when a reporter asked about the girls' choices of colleges.

Mr. Bush, early in his campaign, expressed his concerns about Barbara and Jenna amid the harshness of the media glare.

President Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, was afforded a zone of privacy during the bulk of his two terms, which began when she was 12. But all bets are off now that Chelsea no longer is a minor.

The Bushes clearly have been thinking about the fact that their daughters no longer are children but young adults.

"One of my great hesitancies about making this race is I really dont want their lives to be affected by me, and I know its going to be," Mr. Bush told reporters in late 1998.

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