Laura Bush, stand-up comedienne and desperate housewife

I don't know who wrote Laura Bush's speech at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner last night, but she really has talent as a stand-up commedienne. Here in Europe, the TV channel of The Voice of America made it available on satellite. I made a complete transcript of George and Laura Bush's performance at the dinner. We also have a soundfile (MP3, 2.5 MB) and a video recording (WMV, 12.5 MB) available. Each is about 11 minutes long.

George W. Bush:

Thank you all. Thank you and good evening. I always look forward to these dinners, where I'm supposed to be funny ... intentionally. Really looking forward to hearing Cedric the Entertainer. I kind of think of myself that way. Cedric, did you hear that hilarious line I ad-libbed down in Arkansas? A woman in town meeting told me she was from De Queen. And I said, that's right next to De King. You have to admit that's pretty good, Cedric eh? That's what you call sophisticated répartie.

Now in Montana, I told a joke about a cattle gard, which to be honest didn't get a big laugh, actually none. But Cedric, I think you will appreciate this, and you can use it if you want to.
See there was a city slicker who is driving around lost and he came across that old cowboy. And so the city slicker asked the old guy how to get to the nearest town, and ...

Laura Bush:
Not that old joke. Not again. Ladies and gentlemen, I've been attending these dinners for years, and just quietly sitting there. Well I've got a few things I wanna say for a change. This is going to be fun, because he really doesn't have a clue about what I'm gonna say next.

George always says he's delighted to come to these press dinners. Baloney! He's usually in bed by now. I'm not kidding. I said to him the other day: George, if you really want to end tyranny in the world, you're going to have to stay up later.

I am married to the president of the United States and here's our typical evening. Nine o'clock. Mister excitement here is sound asleep. And I'm watching desperate housewives. With Lynn Cheney. Ladies and gentlemen, I am a desperate housewife. I mean, if those women on that show think they're desperate, they ought to be with George. One night, after George went to bed, Lynn Cheney, Condi Rice, Karen Hughues and I went to Chippendale's. I wouldn't even mention it, except Ruth Ginsburg and Sandra Day O'Connor saw us there. I won' tell you what happened, but Lynn's Secret Service codename is now "dollar bill".

But George and I are complete opposites. I'm quiet, he's talkative. I'm introverted, he's extraverted. I can pronounce "nuclear". The amazing thing however is that George and I were just meant to be. I was a librarian who spent twelve hours a day in the library. Yet somehow I met George. We met and married and I became one of the regulars up at Kennebunkport. All the Bushes love Kennebunkport. Which is like Crawford but without the nightlife. People ask me what it's like to be up there with the whole Bush clan. Let me put it this way: first prize: three day vacation with the Bush family. Second price: ten days.

Speaking of prizes brings me to my mother-in-law. So many mothers today are just not involved in their children's lives. Not a problem with Barbara Bush. People often wonder what my mother-in-law is really like. People think she's a sweet, grandmotherly Aunt Bee type. She's actually more like ... hmmm ... Don Corleone. Cedric, am I doing alright?

I saw my in-laws down at the ranch over Easter. We like it down there. George didn't know much about ranches when we bought the place. Andover and Yale don't have a real strong ranching program. But I'm proud of George. He has learned a lot about ranching, since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What's worse it was a male horse. Now of course, he spends his days clearing brush, cutting trails, taking down trees, or as the girls call it: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. George's answer to any problem at the ranch is to cut it down with the chainsaw. Which I think is why he and Cheney and Rumsfeld get along so well.

It's always very interesting to see how the ranch air invigorates people when they come down from Washington. Recently, when vice president Cheney was down, he got up early one morning, he put up his hiking boots, and he went on a brisk, 20- to 30-foot walk.

But actually, in all seriousness, I do love the ranch, and I love the whole Bush family. I was an only child, and when I married into the extended Bush clan, I got brothers and sisters and wonderful in-laws all of whom opened their arms to me. And included in the package, I got this guy here. I think when you marry someone, you unconsciously are looking for something in your spouse, to help fulfill something in you. And George did that for me. He brought fun and energy into my life, and so many other things. George is a very good listener, he's easy to be around, and on top of it all, he's a loving father whose daughters absolutely adore him.

So in the future, when you see me just quietly sitting up here, I want you to know I'm happy to be here for a reason: I love and enjoy being with the man who usually speaks to you on these occasions. So George and I thank you for inviting us, thank you for all the good work that you and the press do, and thank you for your very kind hospitality this evening.

UPDATE: The speech, or at least most of the jokes, were written by Landon Parvin, the presidential jokewriter, who also wrote jokes for Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The idea to let the First Lady give a speech, came from the president himself.