TURIN, Italy -- Laura Bush said Saturday that Hillary Rodham Clinton's criticism of her husband's administration was "out of bounds," arguing that the former first lady should show some empathy for the current White House occupants.
Clinton, the New York senator and a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2008, has called the Bush administration "one of the worst" in history. In the interview with ABC News, Mrs. Bush was asked if Clinton's comments were "just politics, fair game or out of bounds."
"Of course I think it's out of bounds," the first lady said. "But I think it's politics, it's certainly politics."
Bush pointed out that former Presidents Bush and Clinton and her husband are part of a unique club that also includes the wives.
"We know what it's like to live in that house. We certainly know what it's like to have your husband criticized," she said. "So I think there's a certain empathy that we might have for each other that we wouldn't have maybe for somebody else who said something like that."
This from the woman whose husband employs as his alter ego, his "brain," arguably the worst, most mendacious guttersnipe ever to grace the American political stage (and that's saying something).
Allow me a moment to clutch a hanky and dab at my eyes.
Mrs. Bush, forgive me if I think Mrs. Clinton faced a bit more personal humiliation and vitriol from the "compassionate conservative" side of the aisle during President Clinton's term of office than your husband faces today (and with a lot more grace and class than he does, I might add). Her intimate life was combed over with glee by opponents during and after the Lewinsky scandal; she was - and remains to this day - the target of some of the most misogynistic, woman-loathing rhetoric on the American scene.
Many wives in Mrs. Clinton's circumstances would have dumped their philandering spouses and slunk off to a corner of Montana to float the rest of their lives away in a lake of chardonnay. Instead, she ran for political office and won. She's not a member of some mythical Former First Ladies Club in which you, Mrs. Bush, can call in chits, nor did she ever position herself to be.
She's a working opposition senator, and calling your husband's administration on its lies, deceptions and ineptitude is her job as part of those quaint checks and balances. She's calling him to task for his public policies. It's not, as you put it, "out of bounds," as one could argue the details of her husband's sex life were.
If she is made of sterner stuff than you or your husband, Mrs. Bush, well ... if you can't take the heat, get out of the national kitchen (please? Pretty please?).