'Naughty' Bush twins help woo voters

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The Independent US

Now we know for sure: the twin daughters of George and Laura Bush are very naughty girls. And this comes not from their parents but from their grandfather, the former president George Bush.

Now we know for sure: the twin daughters of George and Laura Bush are very naughty girls. And this comes not from their parents but from their grandfather, the former president George Bush.

It is always best to get the embarrassing family secrets out in the open before a political campaign heats up. So, just four months from the US presidential election, we have a spread on Jenna and Barbara Bush, both now 22 and recently graduated from university, in the August issue of Vogue.

But hatchet journalism this is not. There are flattering, full-page portraits of the twins in glamorous ball gowns - Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein - as well as other snaps in more casual garb. And in a joint interview they talk mostly about nice things, how Laura makes the President laugh.

What you will not find is any reference to that tricky patch in 2001 when both girls got tripped up by the law for drinking violations. (The only beverages mentioned here are soy lattes from Starbucks).

Barbara had to perform community service and attend alcohol-awareness classes and Jenna, who was found with a false identity card, was fined $600 (£320) and lost her driver's licence for 30 days. No, the "naughty" bit is altogether less thrilling. It seems that Grandfather Bush likes to write them letters from time to time and, in recent times, has also got the hang of sending e-mails. But he gets frustrated. "It takes them a month to answer. They're very naughty girls."

Not so wicked that they cannot be used by Dad in his re-election effort. The Vogue article is part of a careful plan to push the two young women into the public spotlight.

Thus yesterday, Jenna Bush, who graduated from the University of Texas, was with President Bush at fund-raisers in Alabama and Georgia. And on Tuesday, Barbara was with him on a campaign trip to the Midwest. We may be seeing a lot of the twins between now and election day. And when they are not campaigning they are expected to be working at Bush-Cheney 2004 headquarters in suburban Washington DC.

The President, also cited in the article, could not be happier. "The thing I am most excited about is that I get to spend the last campaign of my life with two girls I love."

What will the girls do when the campaign is over and Daddy is back in the White House? Or not. Jenna has plans to teach in a private school in New York City, and Barbara, who did her degree at Yale, expects to help children with Aids in Africa and eastern Europe.

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