WASHINGTON – The Christmas carols came wrapped a little differently this year — in country, pop, jazz, soul and rock — as President Bush and the first lady attended the "Christmas in Washington" concert Sunday night at the National Building Museum.
The concert, emceed by TV show host "Dr. Phil" McGraw and his wife, Robin, is an annual benefit for the National Children's Hospital.
"At this time of year we are especially grateful to those whose work brings hope and health to children," Bush said in a short speech at the conclusion of the event. "All year long the doctors and nurses and staff of this hospital are providing care, restoring health and putting the light back into the eyes of children."
The president also thanked the men and women of the military for their service and wished the country a "peaceful holiday season."
Before the pageant got under way, the president and first lady presented a pair of 5-year-old elves with a gift basket containing books for the young patients at the hospital, including one of the first lady's favorites, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
Country band Rascal Flatts entertained the crowd of Washington officials with a medley featuring "The Little Drummer Boy," "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." R&B star Ciara performed The Jackson 5's "Give Love on Christmas Day"; "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood sang the Wham! hit "Last Christmas"; and power-pop band The Click Five ran through Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run." Gospel star CeCe Winans and jazz singer Jane Monheit rounded out the show.
The event will air Wednesday night on Turner Network Television.
Earlier Sunday, the Bushes attended services at St. John's Episcopal Church a block away from the White House. Bush also went on a bike ride at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., south of Washington.