Unleashing A Political Asset: Laura Bush

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Hillary Clinton may have hogged the spotlight this summer with her hot-selling memoir, but this fall her low-key successor, Laura Bush, will be taking her own modest turn in the public eye. Normally publicity shy, the First Lady is raising her profile over the coming weeks, appearing in Ladies' Home Journal, Glamour, Harper's Bazaar and on the Lifetime channel. The former librarian will emphasize her signature issues — reading and teaching — and spend some time raising awareness about a topic that's new to her agenda: heart disease.

Why the burst of activity? "She is one of the President's best political assets," says a top Bush campaign adviser. Republican voters admire her traditional approach to a position they believe that Hillary Clinton ransacked during her tenure, and they delight in soft-focus stories on the Bushes' home life. In Ladies' Home Journal, Laura Bush chats about the President's penchant for leaving his towels lying around. "Things that might have irritated me — like not hanging up his towels," she says, "I don't have to worry about anymore. Someone in the White House hangs up the towels."

The First Lady will maintain a regular campaign fund-raising schedule this fall, crossing the country for her husband's re-election. At the end of the month, she will travel overseas alone for only the second time. After a stop in Paris marking the U.S.'s re-entry into UNESCO, she will head to Moscow for a book festival that Russian First Lady Lyudmila Putin is host to — a celebration modeled on the one Laura Bush started in America.