comment | announcements | specials | letter | hoot | 'toon | us | contact |

Laura's Girls
Mrs. Bush Sought Privacy for Her Twins. They Had Their Own Idea About What to Do With It.

By Ann Gerhart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 7, 2004; Page C01

Adapted from "The Perfect Wife: The Life and Choices of Laura Bush," by Ann Gerhart, published this week by Simon & Schuster

The armored black limousine glides to a stop near a U.S. military jet at Andrews Air Force Base early one morning in May 2002. Laura Bush is about to embark on her first solo trip as first lady, a 10-day visit to three European nations, where she will speak out for Afghan women's rights.

An aide opens the door, and Mrs. Bush slides her legs carefully out and steps onto the tarmac. By this point, she knows her part well: Pause to smile, wave and let the photographers dutifully record the image. The small press corps knows its part, too, and watches the routine preflight maneuver with no expectations. Suddenly, one leg in worn corduroy, then the other, swings off the smooth leather limo seat. Jenna Bush stands up to follow her mother into the plane for this spring fling, and the reporters go on alert. It's the rowdy twin, the one who has been busted twice in four weeks for underage drinking, who has run her Secret Service detail ragged, who was captured in the National Enquirer falling down, a cigarette in her hand.

The corduroy jeans are ratty at their too-long hems, where Jenna has ground them into the pavement too many times. She is wearing a short black T-shirt, and her exposed tummy pooches out over the low-riding waistband. Flip-flops are on her feet. Her blond hair has been pinned carelessly up with a plastic clip. Sunglasses cover her eyes. Hoisting a backpack, she clomps up the plane stairs and disappears.

She hardly looks appropriately presidential daughterly, but then again, she has time to get herself together before the entourage lands in Paris, where French and American officials will greet Mrs. Bush and hand her flowers. The girl is hardly flying coach: Her mother has a hairdresser and a makeup artist on board the military plane, and there's a lovely wide bed and full shower.

But upon arrival 71/2 hours later, while her ladylike mother smiles and embraces the waiting welcomers, Jenna appears at the plane door looking exactly the same. The flip-flops still on the feet, the belly still exposed, the hair still not brushed. Suddenly, she darts back inside. The twin has spied the telephoto lenses of several French photographers far away, behind a fence. For a few moments, nothing happens, and then the limousine trunk floats open by electronic remote. A White House valet retrieves one of Mrs. Bush's Neiman Marcus garment bags, carefully laid out in the trunk, and he carries it back up the plane's steps. The reporters watch in wonder. While he holds it aloft, Jenna slips behind it, and he walks back down the stairs, shielding the first daughter from the prying eyes of all media, foreign and domestic. Only the top of her blond head, bobbing up and down, and those flip-flops are visible.

Jenna is hiding, literally, behind her mother's skirts.

There are only two possible explanations for what the reporters have just witnessed. Either, A) Laura Bush has asked her 20-year-old to please make herself more presentable, more fitting as a representative of the United States using taxpayer dollars on an official visit, and her daughter has adamantly refused, or B) Laura hasn't even bothered to ask.

Blessed Ambivalence

There is plenty that the Bushes don't ask their daughters to do, that much is clear. They are college seniors now, 22, Jenna an English major at the University of Texas in Austin, and Barbara, like her father a Yalie, majoring in humanities. Both are considering graduate school, their parents say, but not before working first, perhaps as teachers.

Jenna and Barbara have not campaigned or reined in their adolescent rebellions. They have not appeared engaged in any of the pressing issues their generation will inherit, nor shown empathy for the struggles facing their mother and their father, the president of the United States. They have not treated with respect their Secret Service details, those highly trained men and women who literally would take a bullet for them. They don't show their faces at the White House often. So far, they have shown little inclination to embrace the life of public service modeled by their parents, uncle and grandparents.

They are girls born rich, blessed with intelligence, good looks, trust funds, loving parents, boundless opportunities, freedom from many of life's daily vexing challenges. Yet they persist in seeing themselves as victims of daddy's job. In this attitude, they have been subtly encouraged by their mother. Laura Bush would never permit herself to feel victimized by her husband's decisions. She regards herself as a full partner who embraced his ambitions because she wanted for him what he wanted for himself. His happiness has been as important to her as her own, or greater. No, any victimization she might have felt has all been transferred onto her girls. Once George sought political office when his girls were 12, Laura's guiding principle in mothering became "they didn't really ask for this," as if the life that followed for Jenna and Barbara was some disastrous, bumpy detour from the normal smooth path toward adulthood.

"They just want to do like every other teenager does," the first lady has insisted often. This declaration is dead opposite from most parents' insistence, which is, of course, "I don't care what the 'other' kids do. You are not other kids."

Laura Bush left her career as teacher and librarian at 31. By the time the twins were born in 1981, Laura was 35. The couple hadn't been sure they would ever be able to have children of their own, and then Laura nearly lost the babies late in her pregnancy, so she and George felt doubly blessed. Their gratitude was so deep and persistent that over time, it seems to have turned into indulgence.

Growing Pains

In many ways, the Bush twins were excellent candidates to make a good transition to life as children of a political figure. It was the family business, after all, and the twins' parents entered it only after they had addressed their concerns about what it would mean for family life, they told the Dallas Morning News in 1995. "She was the last one to sign on, the most reluctant," the president said of Laura. "Our girls were so little," she said. But the timing was good: After their father became governor, Jenna and Barbara were able to go to high school in the relatively laid-back town of Austin. By the time their parents landed in the White House, they were away at college.

When the Bushes first moved from Dallas into the governor's mansion, Barbara and Jenna went to the private St. Andrew's Episcopal School and later the public Austin High, and their mother worked hard to integrate her life as a mother with her duties as first lady. Even as the couple traveled around the state, Laura insisted that at least she or George be home by 4 in the afternoon, to help with homework. The four of them ate dinner together most nights. "You'd see them at back-to-school night, just like all the other parents, sitting at the student desks in the classroom," said an Austinite whose kids were friends with the Bush girls. "It was no big deal. They were just part of the parent population."

There was plenty of staff and few chores. Texas Department of Public Safety troopers chauffeured the girls to and from school. Laura recognized she had been deprived of an excellent way to gather teenage intelligence. Being relieved of driving "is actually a wonderful luxury for someone who drove 20 carpools a week in Dallas," Laura said. "At the same time, you learn a lot about your kids when you have them captive in a car."

In interviews during the gubernatorial years, both Bushes referred again and again to how embarrassing their children found them. Always, they seemed to think this was perfectly normal behavior for teenagers.

Every time he went to one of Jenna's volleyball games, the opposing team would ask for an autograph and picture. "Jenna and Barbara's reaction, of course, was total humiliation," he said. Laura seemed resigned to being an object of ridicule for her girls. They made fun of her clothes, her shoes, her hair. "Mom," they would tell her, "your hair is so stiff it would stay put in a hurricane."

Rarely were the girls asked to come downstairs and say hello to dinner guests. "We've been very careful not to make them go to things or be in the limelight," Laura explained. "At this age, they don't even like to admit they have parents." Later, during the presidential campaign, Laura would return to this theme again. The twins were proud of their father, she said, "and they want him, of course, to do whatever he wants to do, but at the same time, they want the privacy that I think every senior in high school wants. You know, most seniors in high school don't want to even admit they have parents, you know, much less a parent who is a governor or a presidential candidate."

The Clinton Model

Partly out of respect for their privacy, mostly out of sensitivity toward their distaste for their dad's high profile, Laura also asked photographers not to take the twins' pictures. Requests for a family portrait to illustrate a magazine or newspaper story were routinely denied. "The girls would be totally humiliated having to do a photo," said Laura.

When, at 16, the twins demanded separate cars, their mother assented, and their father disagreed. "You can share one car," he said, "and learn to work together." It was one of his rare victories in an attempt to impose some limitations.

As the family began to discuss whether George should run for president, the girls were adamant in their opposition. Both would be in college before the election. They would never have to live in the White House or attend school in Washington, as Chelsea Clinton had done from age 12. But that calculus didn't move them. To Jenna and Barbara, it was clear that their emancipation from the strictures of living at home would coincide exactly with the arrival of a Secret Service detail to their college dormitories.

The Bushes were heartened by the way the media had been protective of Bill and Hillary Clinton's only child. "We felt like the press had given Chelsea Clinton the opportunity to have privacy, to have a private life," Laura said. And they determined that they would not burden their girls with heavy expectations about their role as Bushes. The only lesson they wanted to impart to their children, Bush said during the presidential campaign, was "that I love you. I love you more than anything. And therefore, you should feel free to fail or succeed, and you can be anything you want in America."

When inauguration day arrived, Jenna and Barbara dressed to be noticed in trendy expensive outfits by Texas-born designer Lela Rose and sexy stiletto-heeled knee-high Jimmy Choo boots. When the moment came for the actual swearing-in, the 19-year-old girls fidgeted toward the edge of their chairs, then stood up, unsure how to behave. It fell to President Clinton, who gave each of them a gentle nudge toward their parents, and still they stood there, shoulders slumped, looking at their toes. Finally, their grandmother Barbara Bush, seated behind them, had seen enough. In one swift, practiced gesture, she reached forward to her granddaughters, first one, then the other. She put her thumbs between their shoulder blades and used her fingers to pull their shoulders up and back. The message was clear: Stand up straight! Remember who you are! We are Bushes, and Bushes stand up straight.

Agent Provocateurs

The mainstream press honored the administration's request to not pry into the girls' lives. Their respective campus newspapers primly refused to cover them. But the tabloids had become intrigued. Jenna and Barbara, people quickly surmised, were not like the preceding first daughter.

During her years in the White House, rather than fleeing political life, Chelsea had seized it. She called her father's secretary and asked for a ticket to his State of the Union address. When her mother embarked on a tour of the most disadvantaged spots in India and Africa, she wanted to go along. Chelsea went to parties and drank and had boyfriends just like many other teenagers -- which is what Jenna and Barbara craved -- but Chelsea had a gift for keeping her mishaps out of the public eye. She cultivated the protection and support of other adults in the White House, and she treated her Secret Service agents with respect. Accordingly, they were more inclined to protect her when she got herself in jams.

The twins, meanwhile, seemed to have decided that their agents were their enemies -- and their chauffeurs, bellhops and valets.

It only took a month after their dad became president for Jenna to land in the headlines, with news that she had used her Secret Service detail to spring a male friend from a Texas jail after he was arrested for public intoxication. The White House refused to comment about the incident, and so did the Secret Service when a spokesman was asked about the propriety of using agents to spring drunk kids from the county clink.

It was the first of many conundrums the Bushes would face as their daughters traversed their last years of being underage. Should they reveal the particulars of an incident to prove that nothing improper had happened, or maintain the no-comment policy and allow questions to bloom into controversy? Within weeks, the National Enquirer had printed a full-page photo of Jenna laughing and holding a cigarette, crashing to the floor atop a giggling female friend, and Barbara had given the slip to her Secret Service detail as she and some fellow Yale students drove to Manhattan to a World Wrestling Federation match, according to an article in the Yale magazine Rumpus. Using an electronic pass to go through a tollbooth, the car in which Barbara was riding then speeded up and left the agents, who were paying their toll in cash, behind.

Even when Laura was confronted with evidence that her girls were deliberately and dangerously evasive with their agents, she seemed unwilling to correct them. The agents were told to back off. The press was blamed for the reports. The unofficial position was that the twins were just singled out for unfair attention, even after Jenna was busted for underage drinking twice in four weeks. That summer of 2001, Jenna sat in a crowded bar and tried to sweet-talk the bartender into breaking the law and serving her, but he lost his nerve when he saw the guys with the earpieces and asked her to leave. Jenna, according to an account in U.S. News & World Report, was furious. She yelled at her agents, then fled down a back alley. They gave chase, said the magazine, and when they caught up with her, she taunted them: "You know if anything happens to me, my dad would have your ass."

But when she called her father to complain that her detail was interfering with her drinking, he sided with her agents. Not so her mother. Laura didn't want her girls to feel constrained, and the agents were ordered to pull back from traditional methods of coverage, according to the magazine's account. A few months later, when the Secret Service scrambled to grab all presidential relatives on Sept. 11, 2001, the agents couldn't find Jenna for hours.

The Fake ID

In Austin, in May 2001, Jenna was cited for underage drinking and appeared in municipal court, where she was fined and given community service. A few weeks later, at Chuy's restaurant in Austin, she and Barbara and three friends slipped into seats about 10 at night and ordered tequila shots and margaritas. The bartender immediately recognized the president's daughter, according to the account he later gave police. "The blonde in the pink halter top is Jenna Bush," he said. "You'd better card the whole group." When Jenna tried to use a Texas driver's license with a picture that didn't look anything at all like her, the waitress refused to serve her, but set down on the table the drinks and shots, which were drained.

The restaurant manager called 911. When Austin officer Clifford Rogers asked to see Jenna's identification, she burst into tears.

"Please," she implored, according to the officer's account in the police report. "She then stated that I do not have any idea what it is like to be a college student, and not be able to do anything that other students get to do."

Both twins were charged with misdemeanors. Jenna was booked with misrepresenting her age to buy booze, a charge complicated by the citation already on her record. She faced far stiffer penalties for the second offense, under Texas's tough "zero tolerance" policy, which her father had signed into law in 1997. Barbara was charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol. Barbara pleaded no contest and got the eight-hour community service and an order to attend alcohol-awareness class. Jenna was fined $600, lost her driver's license for 30 days, had to do more community service and attend alcohol-awareness class.

Again the White House refused to comment. "If it involves the daughters and their private lives, it is a family matter," said spokesman Scott McClellan. This episode seemed egregious enough to demand some spin, however. A senior administration official let slip to CNN that a "not happy" President Bush had called Jenna from California, where he was talking up a park preservation program. There would be no word from Laura, however. Asked if she had spoken to her daughters, aide Ashleigh Adams said, "If she did, that would be private. Out of respect for the girls' privacy, we don't comment on them." In the days that followed, press secretary Ari Fleischer repeatedly lashed out at reporters who tried to ask questions about the incident.

When they finally turned 21 on Nov. 25, 2002, White House aides breathed a huge sigh of relief. Mom threw the girls an elaborate party at the Crawford family ranch on Nov. 30, and busloads of revelers arrived dressed in costumes according to the theme, which was cowboys and Indians. Jenna insisted on celebrating her actual 21st birthday, however, at the scene of her original crime, Cheers Shot Bar, where she insisted staff cover the windows with black paper to prevent news crews from seeing inside.

As Other Teens Do

In the spring of 2002, while on that European trip, Laura Bush was asked if her girls had gotten more used to the limelight. "No," she said, "I would have to say not. They're going to be juniors in college. They just want to do like other teenagers do."

At the same time, those girls had gotten expert at exploiting the notoriety they had gained as the president's daughters. They popped up in Hollywood, where Jenna had an internship with an entertainment company, and danced the night away with a posse of 20. In St.-Tropez, Jenna partied with Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. In New York, the twins sent one of their Secret Service agents over to procure an introduction to rocker Chris Cornell, the frontman for the band Audioslave. The girls were not averse to showing up at places where controlled substances were enjoyed. At a Four Seasons Grill Room party for wunderkind designer Zac Posen that Barbara attended, the air smelled of pot, according to the New York Daily News.

In Los Angeles, they showed up at a Nike party, where they met movie star Ashton Kutcher, who ended up taking them back to his house, he told Rolling Stone. "So we're hanging out," he said. "The Bushes were underage-drinking at my house. When I checked outside, one of the Secret Service guys asked me if they'd be spending the night. I said no. And then I go upstairs to see another friend and I can smell the green wafting out under his door. I open the door, and there he is, smoking out the Bush twins on his hookah."

No comment, no comment, no comment, said the White House.

When she talks about her girls at all publicly, the first lady is given to making bland, nonspecific declarations of love and support. "I think they're a lot of fun to be with," she said. "I guess I would say that I'm engaged by them, with their personalities. . . . I think, like every parent, if your children are happy, then parents are happy. And if they're unhappy, then there's nothing more difficult for parents."

President Bush is slightly more revealing. "I love them a lot. I am impatient with them. I wanted them to be normal when they were teenagers, and I wanted them to be working ladies," he told Ladies Home Journal. "I've got to slow down. I've got to allow them to become the bright young ladies that they're becoming at their own pace, and not at mine.

"They are beginning to realize that they've got to take some responsibility for their own lives and beginning to think about their career paths," he said. "Laura chose her career path . . . early. I didn't choose mine until a little late. And uh," the president said, chuckling, "I never really was that worried about the career path."

Jenna "Taunts" Secret Service, "...My Dad Will Have Your Ass"

On a warm summer night last year, a 19-year-old woman sat in a crowded bar, engaged in a rite of passage familiar to countless college-age teens: persuading a bartender to break the law and sell her a drink. This was no ordinary teenager, though. She was Jenna Bush, the daughter of President George W. and first lady Laura Bush. The bartender was amenable to serving the young woman–until he spotted two agents from her Secret Service detail. Nervous, he approached the agents and asked what he should do. Use your best judgment, the agents shrugged. The bartender promptly asked Jenna Bush to leave. She was furious. A Secret Service agent familiar with the incident told U.S. News that Jenna berated her agents, then fled the bar into a dark alley. Sources say one of the agents chased Jenna, and she taunted him. "You know if anything happens to me," she said, "my dad would have your ass." Not quite. After she called her father to complain about the incident, which is still widely recounted among agents, President Bush declined to side with Jenna. Laura Bush, however, was concerned about what Jenna and her twin sister, Barbara, view as repeated intrusions into their privacy. As a result, sources say, agents assigned to the protective details of the Bush twins have been ordered to pull back from traditional methods of coverage. Many agents say they regard this as a serious security risk. "They have no concept," says one source who has protected members of the Bush family. ". . . They act like they don't have any concept of world events and how vulnerable they are or can be." --U.S. News, Sept. 9,02

Dad "Angry" With Magazine Report Amidst Questions Of Twins' Security

President Bush and his wife are angry at U.S. News and World Report over a cover story last week that dealt with Secret Service protection for their twin daughters.

So angry, in fact, that Laura Bush canceled a scheduled interview with the magazine.

Editor Brian Duffy says he withheld some details about Secret Service procedures at the administration's request. As for the report that agents guarding 20-year-old Jenna and Barbara Bush "have been ordered to pull back from traditional methods of coverage," Duffy says the magazine performed "the usual balancing act between privacy concerns and whether the measures being taken are adequate to ensure their safety."

But White House spokesman Ari Fleischer calls the piece "a disappointing departure from the media's traditional role of respecting the privacy of the president's family."

The president and first lady are "upset," says a senior administration official. "Al Qaeda would love to know who does and who doesn't have Secret Service protection. Why would anybody publicize that information -- true or untrue? . . . They said they wouldn't; they did anyway. The White House feels misled."

Fleischer called U.S. News owner Mort Zuckerman before publication to complain about a search for photos of the Bush daughters; none were used. Deputy spokesman Scott McClellan asked the story's author, Chitra Ragavan, to hold back information that could jeopardize the first family's safety.

"We did everything consistent with our responsibility as good journalists to respond to their requests," Duffy says. As for Jenna and Barbara Bush, "I respectfully disagree that it's inappropriate to mention them."

The senior administration official says the White House was assured the Bush daughters, who are college students, would be only a small part of the story. But the piece led off with an anecdote about how their Secret Service coverage was changed after a "furious" Jenna Bush "berated" two agents whose presence had persuaded a bartender to refuse to sell her liquor last summer.

"We did not mislead them in any shape or form," Duffy insists, adding that U.S. News withheld details about the president discontinuing security details he had ordered after Sept. 11 for several family members. "We're really not in the business of writing about the president's kids, except when it involves an important public policy issue." --Howard Kurtz, Sept. 9, 02


"School’s out, and for the first time since Dad became president, there have been sightings of the First Twins in DC. Barbara and Jenna Bush, 20, have been partaking in the nightlife—and a few beers. One recent Thursday, the twins—who attend Yale and the University of Texas, respectively—were at Iota in Arlington with a pack of pals (a blur of Texas and Florida licenses) to see a folk band called Brown Couch. Band member Brian Smith is a friend of Barbara’s from Yale.

A source reports that Iota’s carding was tough that night, so “their fake IDs must be sweet.” When a bartender recognized the twins, he took their beers away. But the twins still stuck around.

The rest of the pair’s funapparently has been of the nonalcoholic variety. They’ve been spotted at the Sports Club/LA, taking part in Tuesday-night yoga classes with instructor Winnie Au, who practices a grueling version that one student jokingly calls “Gestapo yoga.”

No oneappeared to recognize the twins, who are trying to keep a low profile between their sophomore and junior years of college. And practicing yoga, even if it’s Au’s intense brand, is probably healthier than margaritas.

After a recent yoga class—Jenna clad in a white sports bra and bike shorts, Barbara in green shorts and a black tank top—the duo told friends they were heading to a showing of the racy road-trip movie Y Tu Mamá También.

James O’Brien, owner of Staccato, a piano bar on 18th Street in DC’s Adams Morgan, says Barbara and Jenna “have been here a couple of times,” quickly adding, “They were real good. Didn’t try and get served or anything like that.” It was Brown Couch, again, that drew the twins to Staccato.

Another source spotted them at the Black Cat club on 14th Street, although owner Dante Ferrando says he doesn’t recall seeing them. “It’s totally possible they were here, but I think I would have noticed the Secret Service,” says Ferrando. “I don’t want to get them in trouble.”

The twins have been seen dining at Café Jápone, on P Street, where they ate sushi, did karaoke with friends, and did not imbibe any sake. “I think the blond-haired one likes sushi,” says Sayuri Martinez, who has waited on the twins twice in the past month. “Yes, that one loves sushi. Especially California rolls.” Barbara, says Martinez, prefers chicken teriyaki.

Café Japone owner Kenji Akiho, who once tried to get a very embarrassed Jenna to sing karaoke to Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita,” says he has a photoof himself with the twins and offered to send it to The Washingtonian but then called back to say he decided against it.

“I have a 16-year-old daughter,” says Akiho, adding that he didn’t want the girls to be mad at him. “I know what it is like.”

According to New York magazine, Barbara is in New York City interning with Lela Rose, the fashion designer and longtime family friend who designed the outfits the twins wore to the inauguration [and Jenna might be taking a trip to Prague].

The White House won’t comment on what either is doing this summer, saying that the twins are private citizens."


Had Been Conjoined With Beers Since Inauguration Day

The Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara Bush, were surgically separated from their beers yesterday in a 22-hour operation that doctors said was the first of its kind.

Dr. Henry Kawamoto, the plastic surgeon who performed the procedure, said the operation was complicated by the fact that each Bush twin was fused to her beer bottle at the mouth, creating a powerful, vacuum-like seal.

But hours after the landmark procedure was complete, both the twins and their beers were said to be “doing well.”

“These are two brave girls and two brave beers,” Dr. Kawamoto said.

The Bush twins became conjoined with their beers in January of 2001, shortly after the Inauguration of their father, President George W. Bush, and had remained fused to their beers ever since.

While doctors cautioned that it was impossible to determine the precise origin of their beers, they said that there was some evidence that they came from the Five Boots Jackass Saloon in suburban Abilene, Texas.

Experts said that even after they recover from the procedure, the Bush twins could face difficulties as they adjust to their new lives, separated from their beers.

“To keep from becoming conjoined with their beers once again, Barbara and Jenna should avoid looking at any and all newspapers, their 401(k) statements, and the proposed Department of Homeland Security organizational chart,” one expert said. --Andy Borowitz

For Bush Daughters, (Night) Life Isn't Fair

By Lloyd Grove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 28, 2002; Page C03

We hope those fun-loving first twins, Jenna and Barbara Bush, had a good time Wednesday night at Stetson's, the Texas-themed Washington saloon where they were spotted by multiple witnesses sucking down Budweisers and chain-smoking cigarettes with a group of friends till well past midnight.

But we suspect that as a result of this item, President Bush's 20-year-old daughters -- who've had embarrassing scrapes in the past over their under-age drinking in public places -- won't be consuming much more alcohol in the nation's capital, at least not until they reach the legal age of 21 on Nov. 25.

On the other hand, we hear they did enjoy themselves. Four Stetson's patrons, who told us they were sitting with members of a softball league at the next table on the bar's second floor, gave us a fill on condition of anonymity. "I don't want to be involved in this story in any way, shape, manner or form," one 28-year-old witness, a government employee, told us urgently.

Yesterday our sources -- who expressed concerns that going public about the Bush girls would be bad for their careers -- said one of the twins got down on the floor to help an inebriated young man perform a party trick in which he seemed to rotate his wrist 360 degrees. In the general haze, it wasn't clear if the helper was Jenna or Barbara.

"I have to admit I was pretty drunk," said the party trick performer, who initially told us we could use his name, but then had second thoughts. "My friend and I were at the bar, and he told me there were the Bush daughters at the table. I went up to them and asked them, 'What's your name?' And they laughed and said something like, 'Slayton.' So then I started performing some of my magic tricks. And I have this one trick where it's like I'm double-jointed and I move my hand around in the joint. When I asked for help, one of the girls -- I think it was the light-haired one -- volunteered. She got down on her knees next to me and helped twist my hand. I think the trick really shocked her."

Witnesses said Jenna and Barbara, who were with half a dozen friends, had no visible security, and a source sympathetic to them told us it's understandable why they'd want to down beers in a bar: "They're college students on summer break. It's hot outside. Duh!"

Stetson's owner Rob Deisroth -- who initially responded with an "Oh Lord!" when we called for comment yesterday -- said he wasn't on the premises when the Bush girls were spotted, and added that his waiters and bartenders didn't recognize them. It wasn't clear yesterday how the girls obtained the beers, or whether they were asked for identification.

"The median age of my customers is 29 -- I cater to an older crowd -- but if somebody looks visibly under 21, we card them," Deisroth said. "I suppose I could have somebody sitting at my front door to card people as they walk in, but that seems a little unpersonable."

Under-age drinking is a misdemeanor in D.C., and if a fake I.D. is used, the penalty can be up to a year in jail and a $300 fine. Unlike in Texas -- where authorities merely cited the Bush girls when they caught them drinking in Austin -- D.C. law requires the police to arrest an offender and take them to jail.

Even if the offender has Secret Service protection?

"Absolutely," said Police Lt. Patrick Burke, who oversees enforcement of the drinking laws. "We never have an issue with them. We understand that the Secret Service has a job to do, and they understand that we do, too."

Noelia Rodriguez, press secretary to First Lady Laura Bush, said: "All I can tell you is that the daughters are private citizens and we don't comment on their personal lives."

jenna 'n barb...Talk Posts Bush Twins Photo Parody Today. Laura To Media: Hands Off My Kids !
parody...White House Furious With Bush Watch Over Reporting Of Talk Parody. (2nd item)

Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt Tease Jenna About Her Drinking

Jennifer "Aniston, 32, and [Brad] Pitt, 37, have just celebrated their first anniversary and reportedly are about to move into a $15 million Beverly Hills mansion. With Friends earning each Friend $750,000 an episode, Aniston is among the highest-paid actresses on the tube. She will also be attending the Emmys on September 16th, having been nominated for her role as Rachel....Aniston mentions how musicians in the Eighties had something to be pissed off about, with Reagan in the White House. I ask her what she thinks of Bush. She vents about him in detail, eloquently, but off the record. She says she doesn't want to come off like another actor blathering about politics. On the record, she'll only say, "Bush is a fucking idiot," and flip him a double-bird, and that Jenna Bush - the Bush daughter whose underage drinking has proved embarrassing for the administration - had a summer internship at Brillstein-Grey, the management firm where she and Pitt are represented. "We'd pass her in the hall," Aniston says, "and Brad would say, 'Heyyyy, Jenna, wanna beer? I got one in the truck!'"" --Rolling Stone, 9/27/01

Jenna Reportedly Drinking In Beverly Hills, Fight Breaks Out

"If Jenna's drinking under the age of 21 in California, that's an offense and she will be punished out there if she gets charged." --Lieutenant David Ferrero, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission

"THE PARTY NEVER ends for Jenna Bush! Unlike other teenagers, the President's daughter has no problems getting served alcohol illegally and recently went on another bender drinking wine and knocking back Bloody Marys during a wild party weekend with friends, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively.

"PARTY GIRL Jenna Bush is ushered out of a Beverly Hills bash by a Secret Service agent after a fight broke out. [photo right] And just days later the 19-year-old was seen drinking again at a Beverly Hills party — this time with her twin sister Barbara — when a fight broke out and the presidential pair had to flee in panic with Secret Service agents! It's the latest booze-fueled high jinks for the daughters of President Bush.

"And even as the President and First Lady have tried to divert attention from their daughters' behavior, Jenna continues to break the law, drinking alcohol in public while surrounded by the Secret Service!

"Jenna — who's doing a summer internship with an L.A. television production company — has been cited for underage drinking twice in the past three months and is on a form of probation. Barbara pleaded no contest to underage possession of alcohol stemming from the visit to a restaurant. And only two weeks after exclusive ENQUIRER photos showed Jenna partying at an over-21 Los Angeles nightclub, she continued her wild behavior at The Grande Colonial hotel in La Jolla, Calif., where she shared a $429-a-night suite with six pals. On Saturday, July 28, Jenna and her six friends were drinking poolside at the hotel, said a source. "The barman was bringing them drink after drink. "I saw Jenna knock back at least two Bloody Marys. As the sun was going down Jenna and her pals ordered a bottle of wine from the bar and took it to their room. "And in the evening as they left for more partying, one of the girls in the group signed for another bottle of wine. They opened it, requested plastic glasses — and walked out into the street pouring as they strolled. "Jenna was illegally drinking wine on Prospect Street, the town's main drag!"

"New ENQUIRER photos [see link below] show Jenna looking a bit worse for wear the next morning after checking out of the hotel. "It was noon and Jenna was just getting up," an eyewitness told The ENQUIRER. "She looked hungover."

A few days later on August 1, Jenna turned up at a swank Beverly Hills party, this time with twin Barbara. "Jenna was drinking and so was Barbara," photographer Raul Roa told The ENQUIRER. "Celebrities were there including Pete Sampras, The Rock, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Ashton Kutcher of 'That '70s Show.' I had been officially invited to take pictures. "When Snoop Doggy Dogg came on and sang, Jenna and her pals were dancing. After that a fight broke out between a group of guys and quickly escalated to about 10 men. "Security guys were jumping in. Punches and kicks were thrown, glasses and drinks went flying, tables and chairs were flung. "Secret Service guys quickly ushered Jenna's party to a stairway to an upstairs room. The girls got out unhurt but shaken."... --ALAN SMITH and DAVID WRIGHT, National Enquirer...more, 8/15/01

from The ENQUIRER, August 7, 2001


"WHICH wild child daughter of a politico was smoking pot at an L.A. party? The hard-partying lass puffed right under the nose of the minders who try to keep her out of trouble." --New York Post, 7/25/01


"Just because Jenna Bush's driver's license was suspended after she pleaded no contest to underage alcohol possession and using false ID to obtain a margarita, it doesn't follow that the First Daughter has to stop having a good time. And that's what witnesses said she was having Saturday at screenwriter Robert Towne's house in Los Angeles. The 19-year-old twin is working as an intern at high-powered Hollywood management firm Brillstein-Grey, and on Saturday she attended a 21st-birthday party for Towne's daughter, Kate. Actors Jared Leto, Balthazar Getty and Danny Masterson were there, along with some female strippers, according to eyewitnesses. Bush seemed to be having a really swell time, sources said, while her Secret Service detail sat outside Towne's house in a parked car. Reps at the White House declined comment. --New York Daily News, 7/26/01


"The British have a useful word, ''yob,'' which the dictionary defines as an ''uncouth, ignorant, loutish youth.'' The word is traditionally applied to males, but in these liberated times can also refer to females, and might have been in use last week at Buckingham Palace when Barbara Bush, the president's daughter, appeared for lunch wearing denims. But of course I'm talking about the president's daughter. The other Barbara Bush, the president's mother, would sooner appear in a wet T-shirt contest at Hooters than wear jeans to lunch with the queen. There was a time in living memory when no one needed to be told that you should dress up when invited for lunch at Buckingham Palace. Of course, the younger Barbara was not exactly invited to lunch at the palace. She decided to come ''on a last-minute whim,'' according to the Times of London. Perhaps that means she brought along nothing else to wear....At the palace, which has had yobs even in the royal family (the duke of Windsor comes to mind), Barbara's unexpected appearance was greeted unflappably. She was not invited to dine in the 1844 Room with the queen and the duke, but sent ''below the salt'' to the Billiard Room, with the master of the household and other lesser dignitaries." --Roger Ebert, 7/25/01


oppsAlthough there are much harsher laws in the state of Texas, arrest for those under 21 who violate their court order with another alcohol infraction, in an Austin court today Jenna Bush wasn't held to those stricter laws instituted by her father in his bid to gain Texas votes as governor with his tough love policy against young people.

"A judge has ordered George W Bush's daughter Jenna to pay $600 in fines for violating drinking laws. Community Court Judge Elisabeth Earle also suspended Jenna's driver's licence for 30 days and ordered her to perform 36 hours of community service. Jenna Bush, 19, was not in court for the hearing. Her attorney Bill Allison entered a plea for her of no contest to a charge of trying to use someone else's identification to buy alcohol at a restaurant while under the legal drinking age. She was ordered to pay a $100 fine and perform 36 hours of community service. As it was her second offence, Earle ordered Jenna to pay an additional $500 in fines. Her twin sister, Barbara, last month pleaded no contest to underage possession of alcohol stemming from the same visit to a popular Mexican restaurant. Just two weeks before that incident, Jenna Bush pleaded no contest to separate underage drinking charges. She was ordered to take alcohol counselling and perform community service. Earle will submit information on her case to the Department of Public Safety for the licence suspension, which will take effect on July 18." Ananova, 7/6/01

STATESMAN Editorial: "Whining" Bush Twins Appear To Have Received "Preferential" Treatment By Officials

"Fallout from the president's daughters' foolish outing at Chuy's Restaurant last week continues to build as new questions arise about special treatment the underage twins received after they were accused of using false identification to buy alcohol. There is no question that 19-year-old Jenna and Barbara Bush received special treatment after they were caught in the popular restaurant on Barton Springs Road. How could they not? They're the daughters of the president and travel everywhere with Secret Service protection. But that doesn't entitle them to preferential treatment. It appears that's what they received by being cited for a Class C misdemeanor rather than the more serious Class B usually given to minors trying to buy alcohol with phony identification. It's particularly troubling considering that Jenna was known to be on probation for a previous highly publicized conviction for possessing alcohol as a minor.

"Statistics from Austin Municipal Court show that most minors cited for using false ID to buy alcohol receive the higher charge. In what can only be described as a wry twist of fate, the twins' father, when he was governor, signed the 1999 law increasing the charge for using false identification to purchase alcoholic beverages. It is a legitimate question to ask if the lighter treatment was a misuse of official power. The lower charge also creates serious headaches for Travis County Attorney Ken Oden, whose office prosecutes misdemeanors. Oden can expect lawyers for minors facing Class B charges of using fake IDs to ask that their clients be treated just as Jenna Bush was.... Minors wanting to drink alcohol, whether privileged progeny or not, rarely consider the consequences for those they put at risk. Chuy's staff may not have followed the book perfectly in the case, but it wasn't a normal situation....

"But the important issues are whether there was official pressure to go easy on the twins and what the lesser charge does to subvert the legal process. The rest is mostly background noise that always follows when famous people get caught in awkward situations. As for Jenna and Barbara Bush, the public humiliation they caused themselves and their parents should be sobering. Whining that their social lives are constricted by their father's office isn't going to change a thing. If they don't want public embarrassment, they shouldn't break the law." --Austin American-Statesman Editorial, 6/9/01

Bush Increased Penalty For Fake ID's In '99, And Records Show All But Jenna Given Harsher "B" Citation This Year

"Public records suggest... that little has been routine about how investigators handled the Bush case during and after the episode at Chuy's restaurant on Barton Springs Road....The Bush twins were cited May 31 for Class C violations of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code — Jenna for attempting to use someone else's identification to order a drink, Barbara for being a minor in possession of alcohol. On Thursday, Barbara Bush pleaded no contest through her lawyer, Gerry Morris. A municipal judge sentenced her to deferred adjudication — a form of probation — 24 hours of community service and an alcohol awareness class. [Jenna had previously pleaded not guilty and her case will be heard on July 31, although she will not be present in court.] Like Barbara Bush, most underage drinkers receive Class C tickets for first and even subsequent offenses. However, since September 1999 police have usually charged people using fake identification to buy alcohol with a more serious offense — a Class B violation of the Texas Transportation Code. Class B offenses typically result in arrest. Records on file in Austin Municipal Court show that only one person this year has been given a Class C citation for attempting to use a fake identification to buy alcohol, said Rebecca Stark, the court clerk. That's Jenna Bush, she said. President Bush, when he was Texas' governor, signed the 1999 law in the Transportation Code that increased the charge for using false identification from a Class C to a Class B misdemeanor. In 1999, 50 people were charged with the Class C offense in Austin. Last year, the number dropped to three. Meanwhile, court records show at least 67 people have been charged with the Class B misdemeanor for trying to buy alcohol with a fake identification since the law took effect on Sept. 1, 1999." --Austin American-Statesman, 6/8/01

First Daughter Barbara Bush "a Yale freshman, had a phony ID confiscated in October when she tried to use it at a New Haven bar." The Smoking Gun says the above is the fake ID. See our story and MSNBC's later story.

"Bush, the father to twin 19-year-old daughters, spoke of the joys of fatherhood and the importance of parents providing a good example to their children as he marked Father's Day." --Reuters, 6/16/01


"'Everybody . . . can project back to what it's like to be a freshman in college and cannot imagine to have your dad be in a position such as president of the United States,' he told Texas reporters in 1998. '[The twins] come to me and say, 'Are you serious?' 'Since then, the twins have been quoted both directly and indirectly making the same point. Countless others have commiserated with them. This was the gist of...e-mails to me: On account of their father, these kids are prisoners of fame who cannot live a normal life. This is a tragedy beyond words. Of course, I can sympathize. Who can want to be trailed by Secret Service agents? Who can want his or her every transgression reported in the press? I felt this most keenly in Chelsea Clinton's case. She supposedly read the Starr report online. Can you imagine? Can you imagine your child -- I mean your very own child -- reading an account of your sex life, even in the event it is confined to your own marriage? Can you imagine being that child? The term child abuse gets thrown around a lot, but this surely was it. Is it too late to jail Ken Starr?

But barring the truly exceptional and horrendous, why should we feel sorry for these kids? Am I alone in thinking that it must be swell to have a father who is president? Wouldn't it be great to sleep in the White House (people have paid fortunes for the privilege), romp at Camp David, put out your thumb and hitch a ride on Marine One? Can this compare to an illegal margarita? Please! To be a touch more substantive, who could not want to be a witness to history, to get to meet the great, the notorious, the odious and, on a slow day, Trent Lott? Who could not know the difference between the trivial and the momentous and when one takes priority over the other? And yet those questions never come up. It is as if the Bush twins are poster kids not just for their generation but also for our times. They personify how our attitudes have changed toward public service in general and Washington in particular. Their presumed choice seems perfectly natural. The juvenile antics of college life somehow get elevated so that they become as important -- no, more important -- than the incredible gift of having a father who is president....Our willingness to consider their gift as their plight, their access as their imprisonment, their youth as their entitlement and not their obligation, speaks volumes not about them but about us. We sing a different song since Bush the elder went marching off to war -- nothing about serving a greater cause and everything about a place called Margaritaville. --Richard Cohen, 6/15/01

Whose Side Were The Cops On In Bush Twins Booze Bust?

"On June 8... [the editors of the Austin American-Statesman] had questions -- if not conclusions -- about whether the Bush twins were given preferred treatment and whether Chuy's was being singled out for abuse. Of course, we can expect a president's daughters who live in the gaze of the Secret Service to get special treatment, but preferred treatment under the law is the issue. Our editors weren't the only ones with questions. A disagreement is going on over this involving police, prosecutors, defense lawyers and perhaps others. Jenna Bush, who allegedly used a fake identification card, was charged with a Class C misdemeanor, when court records suggest that most violators are charged with the more serious Class B misdemeanor, which brings with it arrest instead of citation. The documents show Secret Service agents escorted the 19-year-olds to a Jeep Cherokee and advised Austin police that the girls were leaving, until police told the agents they needed to stay. Police state flatly that the Secret Service didn't interfere with the investigation, but did the 19-year-olds decide on their own to leave, or were they encouraged?

"Further, we question whether Chuy's is being subjected to special scrutiny by police and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, whose members are Bush appointees. If not, why did a police commander ask Detective Mark Gil to ask about "the manner Chuy's business handled routine matters that involved underage customers attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages." It is interesting that police reported Mia Lawrence, the Chuy's manager, "wanted 'them' (the Bush twins) to be set as examples and criminally charged." A hint that Austin Democrats are lurking on Barton Springs Road? We are shocked. Even with that, it is unsettling to give a restaurant the third degree for calling police. Is the TABC leaning on Chuy's? TABC Sgt. Randy Motz was quoted in press reports, "They (Chuy's) served two minors, and we want to know how this happened." He said nothing was unusual about this.

"So Chuy's is questioned by the city for calling police, then is questioned by the state for not calling police about the two minors in the group who allegedly were served, Barbara Bush and 20-year-old Jesse Day-Wickham. Gil reports: "I asked Mia Lawrence (the restaurant manager) if she called the Austin American-Statesman. She told me a regular customer named Owen had been in the business during all of this and had called the Statesman. Mia told me someone from the Statesman named Mike called her on the phone and she gave him a run down over the phone of the incident." What reason do police have for interrogating witnesses about who is calling the newspaper? I asked Chief Stan Knee, who said: "There is none. I haven't talked with (Gil) so I don't know why he included that information. It really doesn't have any bearing other than perhaps he thought there may be a witness that they didn't know about." The reason I worry about this, as an editor, is that such questions can "chill" the willingness of people to respond to the press, for fear of making police unhappy. The citations of Barbara and Jenna Bush were not significant. Uneven enforcement of laws, if that indeed occurred, would be a very big deal." --Rich Oppel, 6/12/01


American Politics Journal's Pamela Parker wrote yesterday that there is "a bitter jihad of retaliation against Chuy's, the Austin restaurant at which the young lushes violated the law -- and the bar manager who did the right thing and phoned police. The attacks against Mia Lawrence, the bar manager, are being orchestrated on the Internet. Her address, date of birth, drivers license and registration information, physical description, and even birth information about her infant child have been posted on Freerepublic.com, along with calls for punitive actions. Freerepublic.com Web site's sysop pulled some of the information as it was called to his attention -- to his credit -- but the info has circulated and been posted to other Internet forums to spread the 'Get Lawrence' frenzy." "Wednesday," writes Salon's Anthony York, "a new thread on the Free Republic popped up with the title 'Chuy's Manager, Mia Lawrence, Holds Press Conference, Apologizes for Being Snitch.' But inside, there was no link to an article, just a photo of Linda Tripp....Meanwhile," continues York, "the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has launched an investigation into the restaurant because Bush's daughter Barbara and another 19-year-old were served alcohol. 'They served two minors, and I want to know why,' said Capt. David Ball, TABC enforcement supervisor in Austin. 'WOW, they just shot themselves in the foot,' writes Free Republic poster TexMex. 'When TABC flags an establishment for liquer violations they don't let up. You folks [who] think the ATF and the FBI are intrusive have never dealt with TABC, gestapo at its finest.'" --Politex, 6/11/01


The drinking problems of President Bush's teenage daughters Jenna and Barbara have triggered an all-out First Family feud! "An angry and tearful Laura Bush wants to come down hard on the 19-year-old twins after they were nabbed by Austin, Tex., cops on May 29 and charged with underage drinking violations. But George W. Bush doesn't want to discipline his girls, sources told The ENQUIRER. "Laura Bush is fit to be tied about George's attitude," said a Bush family source. "But the girls have their father wrapped around their fingers. The President doesn't think the girls need reigning in. He and Laura are at loggerheads." Sources told The ENQUIRER the First Lady wants her girls to get counseling for their drinking problems. And she wants Jenna -- a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin who had another alcohol citation a few weeks earlier -- to drop out of school, move into the White House and enroll in a college nearby." --NATIONAL ENQUIRER, 6/9/01

Posted 4/20/01...Barbara's Classmates Discuss Fake ID Incident

NEW HAVEN, January 20, 2001 — "Barbara Bush...hasn't let her celebrity status or Secret Service agents stop her from enjoying an active social life during her freshman year at Yale, according to her classmates. Although Bush, 19, has generally tried not to call attention to herself, she started tongues wagging on campus when, classmates say, she had a phony ID card confiscated at Toad's Place and was ordered to leave. 'She was angry when that happened,' said Aileen Farrell, a freshman friend of Bush's who was with her at Toad's that night several months ago. 'But she didn't make a big deal about it.' Toad's owner Brian Phelps said he didn't know anything about the incident....But Bush has caught flak from the Yale undergraduate humor magazine Rumpus, which identifies her as 'Frosh X.' The Rumpus writer sarcastically sympathized with 'Frosh X' for having her fake ID confiscated at Toad's Place and made some unflattering comments about her father. Randall Beach, New Haven Register staff, 1/20/01 (Posted 4/10/01)


"His dark-haired daughter Barbara, who just finished her freshman year at Yale, is generally described in the press as the quiet and studious type, while blond twin Jenna is pictured as the good-time girl. The reality is more complicated. Barbara, too, likes to party, according to her Yale friends and classmates, but she is usually more discreet, though not always. Last October she was caught using a fake ID at a New Haven bar called Toad’s Place. The security guard, Bill Coale, did not call the police, but he did keep the ID, which is now framed and hanging in his family room. The ID identifies the president’s daughter as “Barbara Pierce” (her grandmother’s maiden name), adds exactly three years to her birth date and gives a bogus Baltimore address. Some friends call Barbara “the instigator,” and say that Jenna is just the unlucky one who gets caught. While charming and ebullient, Jenna is a little “spacey,” say her friends, and prone to pratfalls. At the Inaugural ball, her strapless dress slipped down while she was dancing with her father...."

"Last Tuesday at about 10:15 p.m., when the 19-year-old was caught using a borrowed ID card to buy a Margarita. She pleaded—or, according to some accounts, demanded—to be let off the hook, but the restaurant bartender reportedly replied, “You think I’m going to put my liquor license on the line for you?” The manager called 911 instead. The police arrived and two days later Jenna and her twin sister, Barbara, were cited by the authorities for underage-drinking violations....Some friends of the Bush family have dubbed Jenna “Barbara’s revenge,” meaning that George W is now getting his just deserts for tormenting his own mother when he was a boy. Last week, in a speech to the Junior League of Indianapolis, former First Lady Barbara Bush drolly remarked that she was amazed the president was the same person she had to nag to clean his room. She added, rolling her eyes, “He is getting back some of his own.... Both girls are now marked when they go out on the town. Friendly bartenders may protect them, but others, especially those who disapprove of President Bush’s politics, will not. Under a new Texas law cracking down on underage drinking, Jenna could lose her license and conceivably face a little jail time if she gets caught a third time. The strict law, crafted by lawmakers championing “family values,” was signed by her father, the then Texas Gov. George W. Bush." --Newsweek, 6/4/01


for previous bush headlines, go to...

back to...

Bush Watch is a non-advocacy site paid for by Politex, a non-affiliated U.S. citizen.
Editorial Policy: All entries are dated and documented as needed.
Text (c) Politex. Permission of author required for reprinting.
Duration of working link not under our control.
Updated daily at various times.
Send all e-mail to Politex.


Click Here!