The First Lady's Steely Public Diplomacy

"At a time when the U.S. is eager to repair its image around the world, the administration has found a willing envoy in Mrs. Bush," who traveled to Afghanistan, the West Bank, Rwanda and Tanzania in 2005. "Increasingly convinced the war on terror won't be won at gunpoint, the administration hopes Mrs. Bush's trips can draw on her domestic popularity to make inroads abroad," writes Christopher Cooper. U.S. public diplomacy czar Karen Hughes called Mrs. Bush "a wonderful messenger." This summer, Mrs. Bush "met in Rwanda with a 13-year-old orphan raising her younger siblings. While the girl's story left staff members in tears, a grim-faced Mrs. Bush rose from her seat, walker to her next stop in a nearby chapel, sat down in a front pew and smiled." One staffer commented, "She's got that steely gene, I guess."