In the midst of a heated political campaign, George W. Bush is breaking out his secret weapons — and they answer to the names of Jenna and Barbara.
The 22-year-old twin daughters of President Bush, who opted to stay out of the glare of the media spotlight the last four years, have broken their public silence and given their first joint interview, to Vogue magazine. Their foray into the limelight comes with the hopes of softening their father's image and reinforcing his stance on the importance of family values.
With the Kerry/ Edwards ticket gaining massive publicity since Kerry's announcement of Edwards as his vice-presidential running mate, the Bush daughters believe now is the time to step up and out of the shadows, they say in the interview.
In the August issue of Vogue, available on newsstands, Jenna and Barbara discuss everything from dating to their differing personalities to their grandfather, former president George H.W. Bush, with whom they keep in contact via e-mail. They also reveal that their decision to campaign for their father was a bit of a surprise for the family.
"They've never wanted to throw us into that [political] world," Jenna said in the interview. "And I think our decision probably shocked them. But I love my dad, and I think I'd regret it if I didn't do this."
Papa Bush is still protective of his children and has asked the media to "show respect" as his daughters make the transition from college students to active political participants. Both are recent graduates — Jenna from the University of Texas and Barbara from Yale University, Bush's alma mater.
The twins intend to work at their father's re-election headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, for most of the summer. Both have already hit the campaign trail — Jenna appeared with her dad in Pennsylvania, a clear battleground state, while Barbara took to the streets of Michigan.
The article aims to portray the first daughters as average American girls, who, like many 20-somethings, enjoy drinking soy lattes from Starbucks, eating sushi and Mexican food, and singing karaoke.
Oh, and of course, having their 20th birthday party at Camp David.
"We had 20 of our friends, and there was a really nice dinner and a karaoke machine afterward," Jenna recalled. "And of course my dad had a sports tournament for the guys."
Despite aiding in their father's campaign, the sisters claim they have no further political aspirations. "Politics is something that has never interested me," said Jenna, who aspires to become a teacher instead and someday open her own charter house.
Meanwhile, Barbara will intern at the pediatric AIDS program at Houston's Baylor College of Medicine.