Oprah: But being the first lady is such a demanding job—everyone wants a piece of your time. I understand what it means to appreciate the moment, but how do you decide which piece of you gets taken each day?
Laura: That's the choice we all have to make every day. I have a chance to work on the important issues I've worked on my whole life. That's a huge opportunity—and that's what I want to take advantage of.
Oprah: It must be exciting to wake up in the White House every morning. Is there a White House moving company that brought your things?
Laura: No. We just used our regular moving company, which had moved us into the Governor's Mansion. One advantage here is that all the rooms are already beautifully furnished. I didn't feel obligated to bring anything.
Oprah: Did you have to bring your own bath towels?
Laura: No. Isn't that great?
Oprah: So what did you bring—just your toothbrush?
Laura: We brought all our clothes and personal items, like soap.
Oprah: You did?
Laura: Maybe I didn't have to bring soap, but I did. I also brought a big box full of photographs to put out on tables, and my chest of drawers. All of a sudden when I looked at the chest, I thought, I won't pack what's in it—I'll just bring the whole thing! I brought a big portrait of my girls, Barbara and Jenna, as well.
Oprah: Do you most clearly define yourself as the mother of your twins, Barbara and Jenna?
Laura: Being their mother is certainly one of the things that has brought me the most joy. When George and I married, we wanted to have a lot of children—and then we didn't. We married when we were both 31, but I didn't get pregnant until I was 35. So we were especially thrilled that we got two children.
Oprah: I heard that before you got pregnant, you had planned to adopt.
Laura: That's right. We had gone to an adoption agency and were ready for the home visit when I found out I was pregnant with my girls.
Oprah: Before the election, were you worried about the increased scrutiny your daughters would be under if your husband became president?
Laura: We were. Certainly our daughters were our most important consideration when we talked about George running. But they're doing great with it. We've made a real effort to ensure that they have private lives. In the months leading up to the election, we never asked them to campaign with us, and we told them they never had to speak to the press. And remember—our girls were the granddaughters of a president. When they were small, they would toast each other with their breakfast milk and then they'd say, "No comment."
We Hear You!