NEW YORK – The Republican convention is something of a political coming-out party for President Bush's twin daughters, who have only recently begun campaigning for their father. Their grandmother said Monday she is surprised they showed up at all.
"We just spent two weeks together in Greece," former first lady Barbara Bush said with a joking glance toward 22-year-old granddaughters Jenna and Barbara Bush. "I spent my time telling them to stand up straight, smile, get their hair out of their eyes, be on time and pick up their rooms, and I thought they'd probably stay home."
The twins attended the Olympic games as representatives of the United States, the former first lady said. Former President George Bush was also there.
The young women, known for high jinx and high spirits in college, "bordered on being dignified" in Athens, Barbara Bush said to laughter from a gathering of Republican women.
"They were a huge hit in Greece," the elder Barbara Bush went on. "George and I were a little concerned when the wrestling team — the entire American wrestling team — wanted to date them."
The men's magazine Maxim apparently also holds the Bush daughters in high regard. Its Web site will feature twin Barbara Bush as the "girlfriend of the day" on Tuesday. Wednesday is Jenna's turn.
The twins did not speak during the "W Stands for Women" event Monday. They are scheduled to introduce their mother, first lady Laura Bush, at another convention event on Tuesday. It will be their first joint political speech.
The daughters do not plan to make a formal speech on the convention floor, as did the daughters of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.
However, they do have appearances each day during the convention, and will be in the hall to hear their parents speak. They also star in a home movie to be shown Thursday night, before President Bush accepts the nomination.
Taped interviews with the twins appear in a profile of their mother to be aired Wednesday on the cable channel A&E's "Biography" series. A People magazine interview with the entire Bush family hits newsstands Thursday.
In the "Biography" piece, the twins poked fun at their mother as something of a neat freak.
For years their mother ordered their father to take off his shoes in the house, the women said, to the point that their father himself now points out if a towel lies on the floor.
"He always jokes that he would take off his shoes to walk on the carpet because he didn't want to mess up, like, the vacuum lines on the carpet," Barbara said.