NEW YORK – Jenna and Barbara Bush, the president's party-hopping 22-year-old daughters, said Wednesday their father has shown them the importance of moderation and restraint.
President Bush, a runner and early riser, "has shown us the importance of living a disciplined life," Barbara Bush said at a gathering of young Republicans at Madison Square Garden.
Bush always made their friends feel welcome at the governor's mansion in Texas and at the White House, Barbara Bush continued, "except for the occasional boyfriend."
The joke bombed, but the small audience at the "Youth Convention" was polite. The twins' reviews for their debut on a much larger stage were mixed Wednesday.
The young women used their first-ever prime-time television speech on Tuesday night to say kind things about their parents, but also to deliver some cheeky jokes that fell flat.
"I know they are probably targeting younger voters at home, but really I find it inappropriate," said Russ Plyler, a Bush supporter who watched the speech in Atlanta, Ga.
Plyler didn't like one of the opening lines, directed at former first lady Barbara Bush: "She thinks 'Sex and the City' is something married people do, but never talk about," a giggly Jenna Bush said.
"Really, we are talking about a former first lady," Plyler said "They could have a little more dignity and a little more respect."
At 47, Plyler was probably not the intended demographic for the twins' speech. The address included references to hip hop music and their own reputation as "young and irresponsible" party girls.
Bush campaign spokeswoman Susan Whitson said the women were pleased with the reception they got.
"That was probably one of the best settings they could have spoken in," Whitson said, surrounded by "supporters who love their parents in the same way they do. It was very encouraging for them."
True, many GOP delegates and television viewers probably had no idea what the twins meant when they said, "shake it like a Polaroid picture," Whitson said. It's a line from the OutKast song "Hey Ya!"
"They are certainly hoping that the demographic they are reaching out to — the voters their age — most likely got it."
She said the twins' five-minute speech was largely written by presidential adviser Karen Hughes, who has known them since they were children.
Shedrick Gavin, a 25-year-old Republican activist from Washington D.C., got the jokes and didn't mind anything about the glamorous and fashionable twins.
"The girls — I can't say what I really think, but they're beautiful" Gavin gushed Wednesday.
Jenna Bush graduated from the University of Texas this year, Barbara from Yale. They plan to campaign more or less full time for their father this fall.
They have no more speeches or public events planned at the Republican convention, although they will be in the hall Thursday night to watch their father accept the nomination.