- The Washington Times - Monday, January 15, 2001


Cackling has already erupted in the feminine press over Laura Bush.

Though Mrs. Bush landed some reasonably intelligent coverage during the presidential campaign, the tittering has begun among those who mix sex hints and home decorating on the same page.

On newsstands tomorrow, Glamour magazine has assembled some motley advice for Mrs. Bush, because "Being a first lady is no stroll across the Great Lawn."

"Just be yourself. It's so important to do what you find meaningful, because at the end of the day, what you have to show for yourself is the work that you've done," advised outgoing first lady Sen. Hillary Clinton, New York Democrat, who last encountered Mrs. Bush at a brief tea in the White House weeks ago.

"She should ban the wearing of thongs by employees. This might require intrusive inspections, but it will be worth it," said Simon Doonan of Barneys in Manhattan.

Others were also preoccupied with Clinton matters.

"Keep an eye on your husband. Check his schedule every day and make sure he's totally booked," said singer Sheryl Crow. Actor Mel Gibson told Mrs. Bush to "keep a video camera on hand in the Oval Office."

The magazine consulted psychic Terri Kravetz to elicit the wisdom of the late Jacqueline Kennedy.

"I so enjoyed renovating the White House to make it beautiful," Mrs. Kennedy is reported to have said via Ms. Kravetz. "Please fight to get funds to keep it updated and maintained. It is such a vital part of our history."

Appearance and decor were stuck in other craws.

"First ladies become fashion icons. Everyone always talks about Jackie O. and her style. So I think she should get a good stylist and a good decorator now," offered actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Comic Robin Williams suggested Mrs. Bush rename the Oval Office the Eucalyptus Room, while actor Matt Damon wished her luck and suggested the country would be better off if she were president.

Although this may be considered tacky, dishy and mildly entertaining fare from a magazine with a circulation of 12 million, it is also proof that Glamour and other women's magazines see Mrs. Bush as a celebrity and thus fair game.

In 1999, Glamour also published "worldly women" advice for Mrs. Clinton, then mired in the Monica Lewinsky matter.

"She should get the best divorce lawyer, she should get some professional counseling and she should stay out of politics," suggested singer Naomi Judd.

Gloria Steinem and Phyllis Schafly told Mrs. Clinton to do what she wanted and make money.

When Mrs. Clinton went on the presidential campaign trail in 1992, Joan Mondale told her, "Never leave home without Band-Aids, nail glue, safety pins, Tums, aspirin, needle and thread."

Rosalynn Carter advised, "In politics you are going to be criticized, so do what you want to do and be involved."

In her time, Mrs. Clinton was also counseled about mothering, wifely duties, baking skills, hostessing, morality, tolerance, aging and hair dye, among other things.

At one point, Psychology Today featured a special section called "Advice to Hillary," which suggested that Mrs. Clinton and husband Bill had "a boundary problem, not a love problem."

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at 202/636-3085 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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