First lady Barbara Bush, accompanying her husband on an international tour to boost enthusiasm for a military option against Iraq, told a curious 5-year-old at a children's library Friday that she was "going to ask Santa Claus for peace."
Barbara Bush, admittedly fatigued after spending part of the Thanksgiving holiday Thursday with U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, toured the King Tutankhamen exhibit at the Egyptian Museum and visited the children's library with Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak Friday morning while Presidents Bush and Hosni Mubarak met to discuss the gulf crisis."I'll be glad to get home, but I'm glad to go (on trips)," Barbara Bush told reporters. "I always like to be with George."
She said she felt "proud" and "emotional" Thursday when she met with some of the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops deployed to the gulf region.
She said she signed baby pictures, hats and T-shirts and talked of home with the soldiers during the afternoon visit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
"(I felt) very proud of them, very glad to be there," she said. "I wouldn't have wanted to be anyplace else. My husband and I both felt very moved by the wonderful young men and women.
"No one complained, not one person complained, and I asked a lot of questions," she said.
In her trademark pearl necklace and a bright purple suit, Mrs. Bush murmured "my goodness" and "marvelous" as officials and Suzanne Mubarak took her on a brief tour of sarcophagi and other artifacts at the museum, which she visited during a trip to Egypt in 1986.
She listened attentively while antiquities director Zahi Hawass described the physical ailments suffered by Egyptian Pharoah Ramses II, whose 3,500-year-old remarkably well-preserved mummy was on display.
"Well, he looks well now," she remarked, making Mrs. Mubarak laugh out loud.
At the children's library, a pet project of Mrs. Mubarak's, the children performed Arabic dances for the two first ladies and a puppet show in Arabic under magazine pictures of the Bush family taped to a wall. Some of the children presented Mrs. Bush with a 4-foot-long canvas for her to needlepoint.
"Let's see, I'm 65 now," Mrs. Bush said examining the gift. "I'll be about 75 when it's done."
Another child asked her why she married George Bush.
"Why? Because he was the most wonderful, nicest, funniest, warmest, wisest man I know and he still is," she said.