George W. Bush's Daughter Jenna To Join Today Show Team

NEW YORK (AP) -- NBC's "Today" show has hired someone with White House experience as a new correspondent - former first daughter Jenna Hager.

The daughter of former President George W. Bush will contribute stories about once a month on issues like education to television's top-rated morning news show, said Jim Bell, its executive producer.

Hager, a 27-year-old teacher in Baltimore, said she has always wanted to be a teacher and a writer, and has already authored two books. But she was intrigued by the idea of getting into television when Bell contacted her.

"It wasn't something I'd always dreamed to do," she said. "But I think one of the most important things in life is to be open-minded and to be open-minded for change."

She'll essentially work two part-time jobs as a correspondent and in her school, where she will be a reading coordinator this year.

Bell said he got the idea after seeing Hager in two "Today" appearances. She was on the program two years ago to promote her book about an HIV-infected single mother, "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope," and it went so well that a short interview was stretched to nearly a half hour. She and her mother, Laura Bush, also co-hosted an hour of "Today" around the time their picture book came out.

She "just sort of popped to us as a natural presence, comfortable" on the air, Bell said. Hager will work out of NBC's Washington bureau.

"I think she can handle it," he said. "I think she knows something about pressure and being under some scrutiny. When she came here for a handful of appearances, she knocked it out of the park."

He expects her first story, most likely concerning education, to be on sometime next month.

A first television job on "Today" is, in her father's world, sort of like a run for president as a first attempt at elective office. Hager said that people on the show "have always made me, whenever I've been there, feel very comfortable."

Bell said Hager won't be covering politics. He said he didn't consider the job as a down payment for a future interview with her father, who has been living quietly in Texas since leaving office earlier this year. Attacks on NBC News by conservatives for the liberal bent of MSNBC also had nothing to do with it, he said.

"I hope to focus on what I'm passionate about because I think I'd do them best job on them - education, urban education, women and children's issues and literacy," said Hager.

Married to Henry Hager in May 2008 at her family's ranch in Texas, she doesn't plan to do is talk about her experiences as the daughter of a president.

"I don't think it's that interesting," she said. "I'm pretty normal."

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  • by Anonymous on Sep 6, 2009 at 05:47 AM
    Jim, what crimes did the Bush's commit? Lying under oath? no that was clinton, Use of Crack, no that was Obama, Run a brothel, no that was Barney Frank, misuse of Public funds..nope that was Frank Ballance.. Ignore the constitution, nope bev perdue... get away with murder, nope Ted Kennedy. You spot a lot of bylines with no facts.
  • by jim on Sep 2, 2009 at 06:26 AM
    jenna don't need to be joining nothing but her mom, dad, granddad bush,etc. in prison for all the crimes they've committed.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 1, 2009 at 07:47 PM
    Don't care!
  • by Jenna on Aug 31, 2009 at 09:02 PM
    OBX you are apparently stating facts about Bush 2, it being his fault all the soldiers were killed in the last 8 months.
  • by Concerned Location: Greenville, N. C. on Aug 31, 2009 at 01:30 PM
    To Ernest: Of course we know her. If she's anything like her father she's been given a job that she can't perform.
  • by ernest on Aug 31, 2009 at 01:12 PM
    Mom of 3, do you know her?
  • by mandy on Aug 31, 2009 at 01:11 PM
    momof3 never said that her dad was not a good president. ONLY thing I said was that she is riding her dad's coat tail which she is. . . no other way to call it. . .
  • by Momof3 Location: Greenville on Aug 31, 2009 at 11:22 AM
    She seems a sweet enough young lady. She also has some camera presence as for the other comments posted. All of you negative people haven't seen the deficit YOUR president has created or are you blind. Jenna didn't do anything personally to any of you, but someone else has- gripe about him- give the girl a break. As for the college students I hope the economy picks up for them and the rest of unemployed people, college educated or not.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 31, 2009 at 10:20 AM
    It must be nice to have things handed to you just because of who you are. I feel for all of the smart college grads who can't find jobs right now.
  • by MANDY on Aug 31, 2009 at 10:12 AM
    call it what you will. . .riding daddy's coat tail.
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