September 28, 2005


Laura Bush Joins Hit Makeover Show as It Focuses on Storm Victims (ANNE E. KORNBLUT, 9/28/05, NY Times)

BILOXI, Miss. [...] Mrs. Bush flew here on Tuesday for a cameo on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," the blockbuster ABC show that usually does impromptu remodeling for disadvantaged homeowners but is now taking supplies to hurricane victims for segments to be shown later this year. [...]

Part of the appeal, an aide to Mrs. Bush said, is that the segments will not run until at least November, when public interest in the hurricane relief effort may have diminished but the need for donations and volunteers will remain high.

"The coverage will start to die off a little bit, as people are getting into the hardest time," said the aide, Susan Whitson, Mrs. Bush's press secretary. Her intent, she said, is "keeping this message out there as long as possible." [...]

Mrs. Bush later addressed the inherent challenge for the show: selecting just one home to rebuild.

"They haven't chosen one yet," she said. "I'm trying to encourage them to maybe choose a school or a library to do, which would help everybody in the community."

And Tom Forman, the show's creator and executive producer, said he had given no thought to any political reasons the White House might have had for wanting to participate.

"The thing about making this show is I packed up and put away my cynicism a long time ago," he said.

"I think given the scope of the disaster, you throw the rules out the window," he said. "And while we're certainly a nonpartisan show, I don't think she was there as a politician or a politician's wife or even as the first lady. I think she was there as someone who cares."

Man, this hurricane deal is paying off in spades.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2005 11:43 AM

We watched the show for the first time last week. It was the Luis Rodriquez family. Rodriguez lost a leg in Iraq and was having trouble maneuvering in his smallish cluttered house, so they tore it down and gave him open spaces and a lot of other extras including a bionic leg and paid-off mortgage, courtesy of a local realtor who didn't ask to be named. Real estate agents aren't usually known for their altruistic motives, so a really nice thank you to the anonymous benefactor. Nice going neighbor.

The fascinating part of the show for me was the absolute awe in which the film crew held Rodriguez and the other military people who came by to say a few words on his behalf.

It was surprising because show biz types are typically liberal if only because everyone else they know are. Maybe things are a-changing.

Posted by: erp at September 28, 2005 3:26 PM

The Other Brother watches religiously and swears it's the most conservative show on television.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 3:39 PM


Yes, but I can't help but wish that young double amputee vet would have gotten more that just the old refrigerator and windows.

Posted by: Rick T. at September 28, 2005 3:54 PM

I don't know why you think the hurricane is positive for Bush or the GOP. Out here, this is the first time I've heard people openly complain about him, and when they do they begin to criticize various old decisions he's made they did not feel the need to before. Whether the Democrats can capitalize on this is a whole other question.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at September 28, 2005 6:06 PM

Rick T. I agree that he seemed to be given short shrift, but then we don't know what might be in the works for him. He looked so young, it about broke my heart.

Chris, not surprisingly, I don't agree. This is far from over. When it is, the poverty pimps in New Orleans will be exposed and the whole sordid corrupt Democratic machine in Louisiana will be cleaned up.

The people who only get their information from the media have no idea what's going on. They probably still think bodies were floating around in the superbowl and it that Bush ignored the poor because they were mostly black and that there was a big crowd of protestors in DC last weekend.

Posted by: erp at September 28, 2005 6:27 PM

You mean there weren't 2-3 hundred thousand war protesters in DC, as the fair, unbiased, accurate, trustworthy and agendaless media has declared?

Posted by: Dave W. at September 29, 2005 8:04 AM

Dave W. No there were far fewer protestors than the media declared and even among the people who were at the protest, many of them had other agendas than the Iraqi war. Just a fast click through the pictures shows an amazing array of koolaid drinkers and their causes.

Posted by: erp at September 29, 2005 7:20 PM