Oprah: But that's a big issue not to agree on.
Laura: When there are differences in any marriage, each partner usually understands the other's point of view. George and I never sit around and discuss policy or say, "I wish you would do this or that." That's not our relationship. I'm sure there are very few couples who sit around and talk policy. We do philosophize about life, but in general we talk about our dog, Barney.
Oprah: And the girls.
Laura: Yes. The last thing George wants to do is come home and talk about politics with me after he has talked about that all day.
Oprah: But do you feel comfortable talking about your political positions in public?
Laura: No, I really don't feel comfortable—I'll be perfectly frank about that. I was not elected and George was, and I would never want to undermine him in any way. So I want to take positions on issues that I am particularly knowledgeable about and interested in. That also gives me the opportunity to further his policy initiatives on education, which I'm going to do. As first lady, one of my roles is to support his policies.
Oprah: So you have no aspirations for the Senate or Congress?
Laura: No. I don't even have a politician's personality. But I'm glad I married one.
Oprah: Are you the one who keeps the president in line?
Laura: I wish I could!
Oprah: I read that someone once overheard you say to your husband, "Rein it in, Bubba!"
Laura: I have never said anything like that. That error made it into one article, and then it was repeated in many other articles.
Oprah: I'd like you to talk briefly about the car accident you had when you were 17. [Laura Bush ran a stop sign and hit another car; although she didn't realize it at first, the other driver was her boyfriend, Mike Douglas, who died at the scene.] A week after I learned to drive at age 16, I ran a stop sign. When I heard what happened to you, I thought, "That could've been me!" Is that why everyone in the town embraced you—they knew it could have been them?
Laura: That's probably right. We all grieved. Everyone knew Mike.
Oprah: Did the accident change you forever?
Laura: It was a comeuppance. At that age, you think you're immortal, invincible. You never expect to lose anybody you love when you're so young. For all of us, it was a shock. It was a sign of the preciousness of life and how fleeting it can be.