This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," October 30, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Last week, the White House allowed unprecedented access for only "On the Record" viewers to the first lady's tour of the Middle East. She was there promoting breast cancer awareness, and this is so behind-the-scenes. On Tuesday of last week, we were in Dubai.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mrs. Bush has us (INAUDIBLE) pretty hard. This is our schedule, and — as you've seen every day. It is now Tuesday morning, and we're beginning to look a little bit more ragged (INAUDIBLE) trying to try to keep up with this woman. But anyway, nonetheless, Mrs. Bush is off to day two here in the Middle East to do her campaign for early detection for breast cancer, as well as research and development, and to inspire other countries to partner with the United States to do what we can for breast cancer.
So having said that, this is Tuesday. We are still in Dubai, but we are about to leave shortly for Saudi Arabia. And at exactly 8:45, we are departing here, and not a second earlier, not a second later. And we head over to the United States embassy here, where Mrs. Bush will have a courtesy visit at the embassy. We are not part of that. In fact, I think we sit in the bus while she goes in and does her courtesy visit with the ambassador (INAUDIBLE) the embassy staff.
And then on to Saudi Arabia, which is going to be extraordinarily interesting to us because Saudi Arabia is very conservative in terms of their approach to women and women's rights. I guess I need not say more. And some women are less inclined to discuss breast cancer, and so as a result, awareness, early detection, is more of a problem in that country.
So we are off to Saudi Arabia to watch Mrs. Bush fuel (ph) the partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia to work on early detection and breast cancer awareness there, and we will report when we get there.
You can see everybody is ready to go here, heading to Saudi Arabia, our next stop, what I think might be particularly significant because the women there who have breast cancer face even bigger challenges than women from other Middle East countries.
The flight is 90 minutes, I'm told.
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VAN SUSTEREN: That morning we arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and followed Mrs. Bush to a brand new cancer screening center. Now it is the first cancer screening center in Saudi Arabia, and Mrs. Bush was there to celebrate its opening.
And later that day Mrs. Bush helped launch the U.S.-Saudi Arabia partnership for breast cancer awareness and research. And we cornered the first lady—well, she let us corner her.
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VAN SUSTEREN: Mrs. Bush, one of the people that spoke with, Dr. Sonya Alarudi(ph), and she wrote a book. And it seems like in Saudi Arabia a profoundly different situation. Women can't even drive a car to go get treatment.
LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Exactly. But what we're finding out is how strong women are and how there seems to be this movement where women are stepping forward, like this doctor who has written a book about breast cancer, or like the woman that I met earlier that I talked about in this speech who is on television here and discovered that she had breast cancer. And now she is starting to go public.
So they're doing what we did about 25 years ago in the United States when the Coleman Foundation started and when American women started to talk about breast cancer.
And we all found out what the pink ribbon was. And we had a very active movement, which lasted until now, of course, breast cancer advocacy and awareness. And I can see that the women of Saudi Arabia are anxious for this to start here. They do have a higher incidence of breast cancer, as you know, and they occur at a younger.
VAN SUSTEREN: Imagine the hurdle these women have, when you need a man's permission for surgical intervention or even for medical procedures. You can't get a car there. And once there, you have to get your husband to agree to let you have the treatment. What a big hurdle.
BUSH: Those are hurdles, they are definitely hurdles. But they seem to be part of their society. I tried to put myself in their place, and do wonder—as an only child, I wouldn't have any brothers who drove me around if I needed that like they do.
But, on the other hand, I do think one of the reasons we are even having a chance to be here and talk about breast cancer, something that's never been talked about, is because there are changes in Saudi Arabia.
VAN SUSTEREN: It was delightful to see so many men in the audience because in terms of the cultural aspect of getting women to treatment seemed at least promising.
BUSH: And I think the man who gave the sheikh, who was the one who donated the screening center where we were this morning, he was visibly moved when he visited. And I think he might be a cancer survivor himself.
But I do see that there is a movement among men and women to recognize problems that women have in breast cancer, certainly one of them.
VAN SUSTEREN: And women have to see women and not men, it's a different story.
BUSH: It is. That's right.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, good. I know that you have other places. Thank you, Mrs. Bush.
BUSH: Thanks a lot. And I'll see you tonight.
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VAN SUSTEREN: As quickly as we had arrived in Riyadh, it was time to move again.
Next stop, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where Mrs. Bush had a meeting with His Majesty, King Abdullah. And after a short night's sleep, the next day began in Jeddah.
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VAN SUSTEREN: It's about 8:00 in the morning on Wednesday, and we are in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. And we had to put all our bags for the baggage call and they were moved from the hotel right to the Air Force plane that we will be boarding later today when Mrs. Bush goes to Kuwait.
But before she goes to Kuwait she has some activities here in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Her morning starts very early. But here's the schedule that we get, and it includes a coffee this morning here in Jeddah, where she meets with women. And there's political women meeting later in the day on an English access, scholarship recruitment event that is still here. And then on to Kuwait. And what's interesting is that tomorrow she will meet with troops in Kuwait. But that's our day today, it is action-packed.
Here is the front page that met us this morning in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The First Lady again makes headlines—picture with the King, greeting the King last night at his palace, above the fold, which for print journalists this has huge significance, above the fold.
Last night, Mrs. Bush went to greet the King, spent some time alone with the King without the press. And after the meeting was over, the King graciously met members of Mrs. Bush's staff as well as members of the press.
And from there, the women, not the men, went to have dinner at the Palace of the Princess where no men are allowed. And the men had to peel off, and we spent about two or three hours with about 100, 150 women here in Jeddah. And they were most gracious, very excited to see us.
And the good part—many of them had seen Fox News. And when I walked in, they all said "FOX News, we see you all the time." So that was really fun. Bill O'Reilly, they're watching you.
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VAN SUSTEREN: First thing Wednesday, we went with Mrs. Bush to an event called "Breaking the Silence." And there we got to speak with some women from Saudi Arabia who had survived breast cancer.
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VAN SUSTEREN: How old were you when you got breast cancer?
You never think it will happen to you, do you? You think it will happen to others, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. The first time when the doctor said it's breast cancer. I found it in—I asked myself why me? All these questions. But then I—
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