Two first ladies share tales of budding partnership

By Peter Baker in Washington ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-08-09 14:10:52

Two first ladies share tales of budding partnership

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (L) greets former first lady Laura Bush as they participate in the "Investing in Our Future" forum at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington Aug 6, 2014.[Photo/Agencies]

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In an era of deep divisions between the political parties, at least one highprofile friendship is developing acrossthe aisle.

While their husbands in some ways represent ideological opposites, Michelle Obama and Laura Bush are increasingly teaming up to promote education, health and women's rights. After all, Obama said, "Women are smarter than men."

The two first ladies sponsored a forum this month for the spouses of visiting African leaders and shared the stage with a friendly, easy rapport born of the shared opportunities and burdens of one of the world’s most distinctive roles. They talked about raising children in the White House, sloughing off criticism and using their spotlight to advance favorite causes.

It was their second such public conversation in the past year, after a joint appearance in Tanzania last summer when Bush hosted a forum for African first ladies and invited Obama to join her. "We jumped at the chance to do something similar and to continue this conversation - and to come together as first spouses and to continue to be

inspired by each other," said Obama.

They are certainly a pair of opposites, one a daughter of the Texas plains who became a teacher and librarian, the other a product of the South Side of Chicago who earned a law degree from Harvard. Bush, now 67, married into one of the nation's most prominent political families.

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