WASHINGTON – A lot has changed for Barbara and Jenna Bush in the four years since their father, George W. Bush, was elected and re-elected president.
In 2000, the twins were camera-shy, Texas high school students who made it clear they wanted no part of his campaign to become the second Bush elected president.
Four years later, and perhaps pressured by the visibility of Democratic Sen. John Kerry's two daughters, "the girls" — as their mother, Laura Bush (search), often refers to them — assumed public roles in their dad's campaign, appearing with their parents or braving the crowds on their own.
Now, with their parents' futures set for the next four years, 23-year-old Barbara and Jenna Bush (search) — who graduated from college last year — are getting to work on their own.
Jenna Bush plans to live in the District of Columbia — where exactly isn't known — and put her English degree from the University of Texas at Austin to use teaching at one of the city's public elementary schools, following her mother's career path into education.
Barbara Bush's (search) plans have not yet been announced. She earned a humanities degree from Yale and is said to be interested in working with people with AIDS (search), inspired perhaps after joining her parents on their first official trip to Africa in July 2003.
Husbands and children? Probably not in the immediate future, but Mrs. Bush, 58, recently spoke wistfully of her desire for grandchildren when asked if she wanted the twins to get married.
"Sure, absolutely, right away and start having kids," she told CNN's Larry King a few weeks before the Nov. 2 election. Mrs. Bush added: "I'd love to be grandfolks. Don't worry. They're not about to get married. Neither one of them have somebody they're going to marry, but I wish."
Few ever had seen the twins, let alone heard them speak, before their debut at last summer's Republican convention in New York.
"Jenna and I are really not very political, but we love our dad too much to stand back and watch from the sidelines," Barbara Bush said during their five-minute, coming-out speech. "We realized that this would be his last campaign, and we wanted to be a part of it."
They delivered a tongue-in-cheek, though widely panned, speech in which they made fun of being "young and irresponsible" — borrowing Dad's description of his bouts with youthful drinking. They also poked fun at their parents and famous grandmother, former first lady Barbara Bush.
"You know all those times when you're growing up and your parents embarrass you?" Jenna Bush said. "Well, this is payback time on live TV."
The twins, each named for a grandmother, spent most of Bush's first term avoiding the media glare but didn't always succeed.
There was an embarrassing run-in with the law in Texas for underage drinking in May 2001, their father's first year in the White House. It was Jenna Bush's second offense for violating state alcoholic beverage laws, coming after a no contest plea two weeks earlier, and Barbara Bush's first.
There also were tales about their habit of ditching their Secret Service (search) agents, photos of Barbara Bush's dirty dancing and gossip-column accounts of Jenna Bush's public makeout session.
A transformation of sorts began last year with an interview and glamorous photo spread in the July issue of Vogue magazine, in which they traded their trendy tops and tight jeans for strapless, designer gowns and diamond jewelry. They also went to work at Bush campaign headquarters.
But while seeming to accept their place in the family dynasty, the twins didn't lose their spunk.
That month, Jenna Bush was photographed sticking out her tongue at the media during a campaign stop in Missouri with her father.