- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 26, 2002

ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Bush's twin daughters, who have had brushes with the law for underage drinking, turned 21 yesterday with the intention of staying clear of the spotlight.
Both Barbara Bush, who attends Yale University, and Jenna Bush, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, were in their home state of Texas in advance of a Thanksgiving family celebration. The president and first lady Laura Bush planned to celebrate the twins' birthdays during the holiday weekend, a White House official said.
Mrs. Bush returned to Texas yesterday and will be at the family ranch in Crawford today. The president is to follow tomorrow.
The White House is protective of the twins' privacy, and officials refused to provide details about the birthday observances.
Barbara and Jenna Bush have drawn unwelcome headlines during the past few years for alcohol-related episodes.
In May 2001, police in Austin cited both of them for violating state alcoholic beverage laws.
Police accused Barbara Bush of being a minor in possession of alcohol and Jenna Bush of misrepresenting her age in trying to use false identification to buy alcohol.
Jenna Bush was reported to have ordered a margarita and was asked to produce identification proving she was 21. She showed a valid driver's license belonging to someone else, police said. She was not served.
Witnesses told police that Barbara Bush was served alcohol.
The charges were dismissed after the then-19-year-old twins performed community service, attended alcohol awareness classes and paid $100 in fines.
The month before that incident, Jenna Bush had pleaded no contest to charges of underage drinking. She was ordered to take alcohol counseling and perform community service. A judge fined her $500 and suspended her license.
Last summer Jenna Bush reportedly tried to persuade a bartender to sell her a drink, but the bartender asked her to leave after consulting with the Secret Service agents who protect her. Jenna Bush berated her agents and complained to her father about the incident, according to an account in U.S. News & World Report.
Patti Davis, the younger daughter of former President Ronald Reagan, said she empathized with the twins.
After their 21st birthday, "They will no longer be afforded any mercy or consideration for their age by the press. They will become fair game to the country's preoccupation with the private lives of public people," Miss Davis wrote in the Los Angeles Times.


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