Anita McBride on ‘the most demanding unpaid job’

Summary: The former chief of staff to Laura Bush talks about First Ladies in U.S. history, her work with the women of Afghanistan, which First Lady in history she would like to meet, and why Planned Parenthood is not safe from cuts in the federal budget.

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Former Chief of Staff to Laura Bush, Anita McBride is “deeply involved with issues of women,” but believes that when it comes to  cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, everything should be on the table. McBride, who is an an advocate for women’s issues in Afghanistan, avoided giving her personal opinion about congressional republicans attempt to halt federal funding to the non-profit that officers reproductive and health care services. “Everything needs to be looked at and everything has to share in the sacrifice,” McBride said.

Her comments came during an April 14 C-SPAN interview with  senior executive producer and political editor Steve Scully and students from George Mason University, Purdue University and the University of Denver.

However, McBride did provide her perspective on the office of the First Lady. “It is the most demanding unpaid job,” she said, and possesses “challenges that are unique to the First Lady and her staff.” While the First Lady has the ability to pick and choose the issues she wants to focus on, she is also at risk of being drawn into a larger national debate.

When asked which First Lady which would have liked to work under, McBride gave two names.

“I would love to have known Dolly Madison,” she said, “She used her personality and hostess abilities to drive debate.”

McBride also finds the story of Abigail Addams intriguing.

Anita McBride career in began in 1984 when she joined the Reagan administration. From 1987 to 1992, she was Director of White House Personnel under Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush. She was a member of the U.S. delegation for the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women in 2002 and the Commission of Human Rights in 2003.  From 2005-2009, she served as Assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush.

Currently McBride is a chair on the William J. Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, a member on the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council and a consultant for the executive service firm Global Political Strategies.


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