“Barbara Bush was as grounded as any First Lady, a down-to-earth realist planted firmly between two high-flying stars: Nancy Reagan of the rail-thin coiffed good looks, rarely seen children, and adoring gaze; and Hillary Rodham Clinton, the two-for-the-price-of-one lawyer who let it be known she wouldn’t be staying home and baking cookies. But she proved to be a national force, worth every penny we didn’t pay her.
Inside the White House of her husband George H. W. Bush, the country’s 41st president, she had her own signatures: an acerbic wit, an outgoing personality, and the intimidating raised eyebrow that froze those who worked for him. She didn’t have an office in the West Wing or attend Cabinet meetings, but as chief of staff Andy Card remembers, her presence was everywhere — in the speech that came back in the morning better for her edits, the shots she took that the president didn’t have to, the fortress she built around him that gave him the strength to do the job. Skeptical where he was trusting and as outspoken as he was diplomatic, she had his back at every turn: if you slighted him, you would answer to her.”
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