Running mates: Bush brings wife into picture

Thursday, September 21st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

By Sam Attlesey / The Dallas Morning News

PITTSBURGH – Call it the George and Laura Show.

On the trail, as part of George W. Bush's revised town hall-style format, his wife, Laura, has become a much more visible campaigner.

It's a starring role for a woman whose politically minded husband promised her when they married that she would never have to give a speech.

Now, she introduces Mr. Bush at the rallies, telling supporters he is eager to hear their concerns and to discuss issues "that people talk about around their kitchen tables."

The governor then takes the mike and praises his wife for giving a "fabulous speech" at the Republican convention in August.

When they met in Midland, he says, "She was a public school librarian and didn't particularly care about giving speeches.

"And if the truth be known, wasn't really that interested in most people giving them, too.''

Mr. Bush spoke lovingly of his wife and twin daughters this week when he appeared on Oprah Winfrey's show, and Mrs. Bush watched from a restaurant across the street, under a giant banner that read, "W stands for women."

"She kind of keeps me in check, if you know what I mean," Mr. Bush said of his wife at an earlier town hall rally.

Mrs. Bush also talks about education and fields questions at the meetings that allow her to craft a personal message about the Texan.

"His best quality is his good heart," she answered to one inquiry.

Wednesday, they were asked to name their favorite books.

Mrs. Bush quickly named five Texas authors and their books, including Gates of the Alamo by Steve Harrigan.

Then she paused and said, "Let's see who I can think of that isn't a Texas writer."

Mr. Bush, aware he needs to carry the state, jumped in. "Think of a Pennsylvania writer," he suggested.

Another audience member asked about the campaign book Mr. Bush has written.

"Yeah, A Charge To Keep," he said, chuckling. "It's a little light read. Lot of pictures and the print's pretty big."

Laughing along with him was his new campaign co-host, Laura Bush.