Bush: Marriage has gotten better in WH

December 4, 2008 4:23:49 PM PST
President George W. Bush, increasingly reflective as he caps two turbulent terms in the White House, said Thursday that the pressures of the job have brought him closer to his wife, Laura. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

"I give her all the credit about why I can say a good marriage has gotten better," Bush told NBC News in one of several interviews the president and the first lady are giving as they exit.

President Bush said he and his wife have "been through a lot together. It's been a fabulous journey."

"The emotional support that we give to each other and that our children give to us and we give to them ... is so necessary," Laura Bush said.

The president said he was struck by the nurturing way that his grown twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, interacted with the young daughters of President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle. Malia and Sasha Obama visited he White House recently and got tips on how to have fun at the gated mansion.

"It can be a place with a lot of love and warmth," the president said. "And ours has been that way."

Obama takes office on Jan. 20.

The Bush daughters, now 27, were teenagers when their dad mounted his first run for the White House.

"They've become women of the world during this time in Washington, D.C.," the president said. "And they love to bring their friends in. It's neat to see them grow up."

The Bushes both described a remarkably "normal" life together in the executive mansion.

"I'm a nester," the president said. He said he and his wife typically have dinner together, just the two of them, and spend their evenings reading books.

The first lady said they also watch baseball, football or whatever the sport of the season is.

And there's this, she said: "We do puzzles. We like to do jigsaw puzzles. We have those upstairs."

President Bush of late has been detailing his post-presidency plans: building a policy institute about the expansion of freedom, writing a book and adjusting to a quieter life.

"And then," he said, "I'm sure I'll be doing what Laura tells me to do."

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