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A Chat with First Lady Laura Bush

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," Oct. 12, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Earlier tonight, on the eve of the third and final presidential debate, Fox’s Jim Angle had a chance to sit down with First Lady Laura Bush. He asked her which issues are of particular interest to women in this election.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: Well, I think women’s issues are the same as men’s issues. I think women are really interested in the same things. Women might be a little bit more interested in education because -- you know, their children are at home with them. But I see that women and men are interested in security. Women and men are interested in the stability of Iraq and Afghanistan, wanting those countries to be able to succeed so we can succeed in the war against terror.

But I also have been visiting a lot of women, entrepreneurs around the country, and you might not know this, but women are starting small businesses at twice the rate of men. So women are also very interested in the economy. And not only are they interested in it, they’re a vital part of the vibrancy of the economy.

JIM ANGLE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Let me ask you about a different issue, one that you’ve talked about before, stem cell research. Senator Kerry is making a big deal out of this and Senator Edwards said yesterday that if Senator Kerry were elected president we would move forward on stem cell research so people like Christopher Reeve (search ) could get up out of their wheelchairs and walk. What do you make of that?

LAURA BUSH: Well, we all want cures. We want cures for everything. And certainly for spinal cord injuries like Christopher Reeve had. Those injuries are so devastating for the life of someone who has that kind of injury. But the fact is, the President has -- is the only President who has authorized federal funding for embryonic stem cell research and other research so stem cell research is going on but it’s just preliminary. So far it looks like the best results have been with adult -- adult stem cell research but that doesn’t mean we won’t have, I hope, a myriad of cures with them, with the embryonic stem cell research but, sadly, not any time soon.

ANGLE: You have a personal interest in this as well?

LAURA BUSH: Absolutely. My dad had Alzheimer’s (search ).

ANGLE: But still, it is an agonizing scientific and moral equation that one has to wrestle with, here.

LAURA BUSH: That’s right. And that’s what the President did. And he authorized federal funding on these already existing stem cell lines. Private funding can be spent on any stem cell lines that someone wants to research. So it’s -- you know, you’re trying to weigh what is best for scientific research with the moral and the ethical concerns of using an embryo.

ANGLE: Let me ask you about the debates. As I travel around, I hear from the President’s supporters that they’re a little disappointed in his performance in the debates but they’re still with him on the issues, and it must be said that Senator Kerry is a pretty smooth talker.

LAURA BUSH: Surely they’re not disappointed in the President on the second debate. That was pretty terrific. Actually I thought the first debate was great. I thought what George said had so much more substance than his opponent.

ANGLE: What do you make of the debates overall and their impact on the race?

LAURA BUSH: Well, I think the debates are a very fascinating part of every presidential race. And they’re an interesting microcosm of what goes on. And you know, it’s very -- when you’re the incumbent, like George is this time, that’s a very different debate where the other person just makes charges against every single thing you have done during your four years. You know, it’s just -- it’s interesting. But do I think debates win or lose the election? No, probably not.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: And we will be right back with more of Laura Bush. And don’t forget, we are live from the final presidential debate tomorrow night at a special time, midnight Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Pacific time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAN SUSTEREN: Back with more of Jim Angle’s interview with the First Lady, Laura Bush. He asked her what it was like to be married to the President of the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

LAURA BUSH: It’s difficult, of course. I mean, it’s very difficult to serve as President of the United States. It’s difficult on the family. You give up your anonymity. That’s the one thing you lose. But it still is also a huge privilege to serve our country. But we have faced a lot of tough times in the last three and a half years since George has been president.

We have dealt with some very, very serious issues in our country, not just him as the president, but everyone in America has had to deal with the whole idea that we’re vulnerable to a terrorist attack, and the anxieties and the uncertainty that go with that and then to have a war on terror and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, that’s very difficult for people to watch and to know that our troops are over there. And I know that the American people support our troops and pray for them every night.

ANGLE: It is a difficult job when you look back at presidencies. I have covered several presidencies and you see presidents when they begin.

LAURA BUSH: Yes.

ANGLE: And when they leave office. And you can see the age on them.

LAURA BUSH: Yeah, you can. George is certainly grayer. I think he still looks young.

ANGLE: Well, you have to say that, don’t you?

LAURA BUSH: Absolutely.

ANGLE: Especially around the house.

LAURA BUSH: Yes.

ANGLE: Let me ask you about another thing Senator Kerry said. He said everyone has been waiting, Red Sox fans have been waiting since 1918 for the Red Sox (search ) to win the World Series. Nevertheless, if asked to choose, he would pick winning the White House over the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series. As you look at the race, what are your thoughts, win or lose?

LAURA BUSH: Well, I mean, both at this stage, when we know the election is so close, like the last one was, you know, you certainly entertain both ideas, when you think about it. Of course I think George will win and I hope he wins. I hope he wins because I think he will make the best president and he is the best president. But at the same time, if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. We just go on.

ANGLE: Life doesn’t end.

LAURA BUSH: Life doesn’t end, absolutely.

ANGLE: I want to look back, one thing, one last question for you, on Afghanistan. You pay a lot of attention to women’s issues. This was a big, big moment.

LAURA BUSH: This was a huge moment. And the quote from the 19-year- old woman who was the very first one to vote was just so moving to me. And the whole idea of how proud the people of Afghanistan were of their ballot boxes and some of them had to be moved down the mountains with a donkey bringing them down. But I am really proud of that. I’m very, very proud of the United States’ part in that in the liberation of the Afghanistan from the Taliban and the liberation of Afghan women from being really so oppressed that they couldn’t even leave their homes or be educated so that is a very thrilling moment.

ANGLE: Do you think the Muslim world doesn’t fully appreciate how much the U.S., not only President Bush but also President Clinton in coming to the rescue of Muslims in the former Yugoslavia, do you think the Muslim world doesn’t quite appreciate what the U.S. has done on their behalf?

LAURA BUSH: You know, I don’t know. I have no idea what they think. I hope they do. I hope they see how American people are standing solidly with them, the people of Afghanistan, the people of Iraq, as they build their democracies. We’re on their side. That is what we want them to do. We want them to be successful. We want them to join the community of countries that that are -- that respect human rights and where people can live decent lives. And, you know, I hope that the people in the Muslim world know that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: A special thanks to Jim Angle for bringing us the interview with Mrs. Bush tonight. And thank you for being with us tonight.

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