After three and a half years of insisting that the press respect their privacy, President George W. Bush's twin daughters made their media debut on Tuesday, adorned in Harry Winston jewelry and dressed in Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein ball gowns for full-page photographs and a joint interview in Vogue.
The pictures by the fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier and the interview by Julia Reed, in which first lady Laura Bush tells the 22-year-old twins that they look like "cupcakes" in their dresses, coincide with the first tentative appearances by the president's daughters on the campaign trail.
On Tuesday, Barbara Bush, who graduated from Yale this year, appeared arm-in-arm with her father as the two walked toward Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House for a political trip to Michigan and Minnesota. Jenna Bush, who graduated from the University of Texas this year, was with her father on a campaign bus trip in Pennsylvania on Friday, and is to introduce her mother on Wednesday at two fund-raisers, both closed to the press, in Alabama and Georgia.
"They're sort of nervously out there," Laura Bush told reporters in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Friday. "They wrote an introduction for their dad, but they didn't think they could give it yet."
In the Vogue interview, conducted in a New York hotel room on Mother's Day, the daughters present a picture of themselves in striking contrast to the image of fun-loving twins known for partying and underage drinking in Texas. Barbara Bush said that after the election she plans to sign up for a program to work with children with AIDS in Eastern Europe and Africa; Jenna Bush said she plans to teach at a charter school.
Jenna Bush also says that she and her sister made the decision to campaign for their father.
"It's not like he called me up and asked me," Jenna Bush is quoted in the magazine as saying. "They've never wanted to throw us into that world, and I think our decision probably shocked them. But I love my dad, and I think I'd regret it if I didn't do this."
The president, who was interviewed for the article, is quoted as saying that "the thing I'm most excited about is that I get to spend the last campaign of my life with two girls I love."
The article, which is light on politics and heavy on fashion, also reveals that the president is an avid teaser of his daughters' boyfriends.
"He's not the shotgun-dad type, he's the joking-around-to-the-point-where-he-scares-the-heck-out-of-them-type," Jenna Bush is quoted as saying.
Gordon Johndroe, the first lady's press secretary, said on Tuesday that the twins were longtime readers of Vogue, the nation's leading fashion magazine, with a circulation of 1.2 million, and that they were "honored and flattered" that the magazine wanted to photograph them.
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