Wednesday, December 24, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) — President George W. Bush and his huge extended family are spending their 12th and last Christmas at Camp David.

The president’s twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, along with Jenna’s husband, Henry Hager, are part of the visiting clan. Also coming to the sprawling and rustic presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains are Bush’s parents, former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara, the president’s siblings and their families, the White House said Wednesday.

Bush and his wife, Laura, have now spent a dozen Christmases at Camp David — every year during Bush’s eight-year presidency and four times during his father’s time in the Oval Office from 1989-93.

Despite the Maryland locale, the Bushes’ Christmas Eve dinner is pure Texas, featuring enchiladas, tamales, rice and pinto beans and guacamole.

Their Christmas Day menu is more traditional: roast turkey with cornbread dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes with giblet gravy, spinach salad, cranberry sauce, rolls, and two kinds of pie for dessert, pumpkin and pecan.

Bush spent part of Christmas Eve morning phoning U.S. troops stationed around the world from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains. The president called nine members of the armed forces to wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and to thank them for their service, White House press secretary Dana Perino said.

Perino said the president asked each one to pass holiday wishes from him and Mrs. Bush to other troops serving with them. He thanked the members for their “continued sacrifices that they are making in serving our country overseas, and away from family” and especially congratulated

Spc. Marcus T. Brown for being awarded the Bronze Star during combat operations in Iraq.

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