- The Washington Times - Monday, June 9, 2008

KRANJ, Slovenia (AP) First lady Laura Bush acknowledged President Bush’s unpopularity, but said Monday that history will vindicate her husband’s two-term presidency.

In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Mrs. Bush noted the ousting of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

“I know he may not be that popular right now, but we’ve liberated two countries 50 million people have been liberated from very brutal regimes and I think that’s really important,” she said.

She said the president has stood on the side of emerging democracies in central Europe.

“He’s going to have a really unbelievably great legacy, with the advantage of hindsight,” she said.

Mrs. Bush flew to Slovenia on Sunday after making an unannounced trip to Afghanistan her third as first lady. She is her with Bush for his final U.S.-European Union Summit, and is accompanying him to other European capitals. On Thursday she addresses an Afghanistan donors conference in Paris to rally international aid for the war-weary nation.

“None of these things are easy,” she said. “None of the big, big infrastructure items like highways or hydroelectric power or electricity to parts of the country that have never had electricity.

“Plus you have this country that’s mountainous, many, many very remote villages, very, very cold winters, when it makes it almost impossible because there are no roads to get into a lot of these remote mountainous villages.”

Mrs. Bush said she’s paying close attention to the 2008 election.

She said she admired the “grit and strength” that Hillary Rodham Clinton demonstrated in the Democratic Party’s long, hard-fought primaries, but said she would want to see a Republican woman as president.

“Of course I want the woman to be a Republican woman,” Mrs. Bush said. “But I will say, I have watched the campaign and I admired Hillary’s grit and strength. I know what it’s like to run those campaigns and so I’ll have to say I have a lot of admiration for her endurance.”

And she came to the defense of Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, who’s been harshly criticized by Republicans for saying last February in a Wisconsin campaign appearance that for the first time in her adult life she’s proud of the United States. Michelle Obama later clarified the remark, saying she had always been proud of her country.

“I think she probably meant ‘I’m more proud,’ you know, is what she really meant,” Mrs. Bush said. “You have to be very careful in what you say. Everything you say is looked at and in many cases misconstrued.”

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