First Lady Laura Bush in the RNC Spotlight

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Aug. 31, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at length with First Lady Laura Bush (search) who gave me a preview of what she'll talk about this evening. Mrs. Bush will concentrate on two areas: helping Americans succeed and profiling her husband, what he's gone through these past three and a half years. Roll the tape.


O'REILLY: How does your husband handle the stress? I mean, it must be through the roof stress.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: Now it's mountain biking that he's doing.

O'REILLY: Is that right?

BUSH: He's always been a very disciplined athlete. And that's one way he handles stress. He works out every day. And that's a great way to handle it. We both take very good care of our health. We know that if we were fatigued, it's harder to make good decisions. And so we pay attention to that.

O'REILLY: Have you seen a change in him in the last four years? Because no president in history has really been faced with this al Qaeda (search) threat, terrorism, whole world changes in the blink of an eye. Have you seen a change in your husband?

BUSH: Sure. You know, he took a very solemn oath when he was inaugurated. And he takes that oath very seriously to protect the people of the United States and to protect the Constitution of the United States.

O'REILLY: Some believe — and I don't know this to be true — that he internalizes a lot of his anger, the president. And sometimes like me they just yell and scream, jump up and down like an idiot.

BUSH: I wouldn't say he internalizes anger.


BUSH: I mean, I think that's one of the reasons he works out as hard as he does.

O'REILLY: Just to get it out?

BUSH: You know, he gets mad, but he has kind of a quick get mad and get over it...

O'REILLY: Recovery.

BUSH: ...personality.

O'REILLY: I don't think most people know this about you, but you're a pretty strong personality. I mean, you come across, with all due respect, Mrs. Bush, as a very polite, Southern woman. But you are a person with definite opinions and point of view. And you lay it on him sometimes?

BUSH: Sure. Of course. We would have a very boring marriage if we didn't tell each other what we thought and if we weren't perfectly honest with each other.

O'REILLY: You're a former teacher. I used to teach, too. And I believe the public school system in America has pretty much collapsed.

BUSH: No, I don't believe that.

O'REILLY: You don't believe that?

BUSH: Bill, absolutely not.

O'REILLY: Let me tell you how I see it, and then you can tell me where I'm wrong. The government spends enough money. I mean, there are certain schools that don't have what they should have. But the government is spending enormous amounts of money. No Child Left Behind (search) law.

In fact, the states aren't even spending all the federal money that is coming in there. And they're going to have to give it back. They can't spend it.

But the lack of discipline in a public school system, which reflects the lack of discipline in our society, I think has really impacted on the children in the sense that's it's not the standards there were when you and I were in school — that we couldn't do anything nearly what they can do now.

And I think that's impacted on the whole situation. Now I know education is very close to your heart. How do you see it?

BUSH: Well, I mean I think that's right. I think there are discipline problems. There are some discipline problems in some schools and some classes.

But I also think that reflects what we already see. I mean, that's a reflection of the media. That's a reflection of the sitcoms. I mean, it's a reflection of a lot of things we see on television.

The way children talk in school is the same way they hear actors talk on television or maybe their parents talk at home.

But I see very, very successful schools. I visit schools all over the country, in neighborhoods where you know people would say they shouldn't be successful. And they are. And teachers are very dedicated. I see it everywhere. It's not easy to teach. You know if you taught. It's hard.

But it's also very fulfilling. I think it's one of the most fulfilling and satisfying and rewarding jobs there is. And that's what I see around the country, teachers who are literally called to teach.

O'REILLY: Are you going to talk about that at the convention?

BUSH: I will talk about that some at the convention. I'll definitely talk about education. So I disagree with you. I think public schools are good. I think they're very good. And you know, maybe they're uneven. And that's the point of No Child Left Behind, to try to have more even schools so that every child in every neighborhood has a chance to get a great education.

O'REILLY: We appreciate you coming in.

BUSH: Thanks. Thanks a lot.

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