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Bush pondering stem cell issue, first lady says

Bush: "I think that our children ought to be totally left alone and allowed to have a totally private life."  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- First lady Laura Bush said Monday her husband is still "making up his mind" on whether to allow federal funding for stem cell research, which she termed "a very serious moral and ethical" issue.

"I'm not really sure where he is right now on it," Bush said during an interview on CNN's "Inside Politics."

"He's heard from a lot of different people, a lot of experts in a lot of different fields, and when he makes up his mind, he'll let everyone know."

The first lady also criticized news outlets for paying too much attention to her college-age daughters, whose underage drinking citations have made headlines in recent months.

"I think that our children ought to be totally left alone and allowed to have a totally private life. They are not public citizens. They didn't run for office," she said. "If we never saw their picture in the paper again, we'd be a lot happier."

U.S. First Lady Laura Bush talks with CNN's Judy Woodruff (Part 2) (July 30)

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U.S. First Lady Laura Bush talks with CNN's Judy Woodruff (Part1) (July 30)

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CNN Access: Transcript of Judy Woodruff's interview with first lady Laura Bush  
First lady plans National Book Festival  

Bush said she thinks the media are "selling magazines and newspaper articles and television at the expense of my children." But the first lady conceded she is not sure how to stop the attention.

Bush said she "can't believe" that she and President Bush have been in the White House for six months, saying time has gone by "so fast."

"Every single day we have the opportunity to meet really great people and see fabulous things that happen all over our country," she said. But she noted that criticism of her husband and his policies has not become easier.

"It really is tough. I think everyone understands how hard it would be to see somebody you love -- your husband or your children or anyone -- criticized. But it's also just a fact of life in politics," she said. "Sometimes the criticism might be deserved. A lot of times, it's not."

The first lady said she and the president read the newspapers together each morning over coffee and discuss issues with each other.

"I know I have influence on him, just like he has influence on me. We've been married a long time. We have a very close relationship. Of course we talk about issues and have influence on each other," she said.

One of the most public disagreements between Bush and her husband concerns the issue of abortion. Mrs. Bush has said she would not support overturning Roe vs. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion, which deviates from President Bush's anti-abortion stand.

But Monday, the first lady said she and her husband still "agree on a lot of issues that have to do with [abortion.]"

"We both think that adoption should be streamlined and that adoption is a very good alternative. We both believe that abstinence should be taught in schools," she said.

The White House announced two initiatives Monday relating to the first lady's efforts to promote reading and literacy.

In September, the first National Book Festival will be held on the Capitol grounds and in the Library of Congress. It will feature readings and panel discussions by America's best-known authors. Also, the Laura Bush Foundation has been formed to provide support to school libraries around the country.



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