President Bush arrived in Waco Thursday afternoon for a long weekend at his Central Texas ranch, just hours after First Lady Laura Bush made it clear that the ranch won’t be the first couple’s primary residence after Mr. Bush leaves office.
She told a group of schoolchildren in Thursday that she and the president plan to make their home in Dallas after Mr. Bush leaves office.
She told the children she was happy to be in Dallas and said that she and the president lived there about 14 years ago before Mr. Bush was elected governor.
The first couple has reportedly purchased property in upscale Highland Park on which to build a home, but an offhand remark the president made during a news conference last summer fueled speculation about whether the ranch was where he planned to head after leaving office.
“If you ever come down and visit the old, tired, me down there in Crawford,” Mr. Bush said in response to a question about sagging public support for the war in Iraq, “I will be able to say I looked in the mirror and made decisions based upon principle, not based upon politics.”
It’s likely the ranch could continue to serve as a getaway, just as Kennebunkport, Maine does for the president’s parents, who have a home in Houston and also maintain an apartment at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station.
Mr. Bush’s election to the presidency drove up property prices and tourism in the Crawford area and his frequent visits to the ranch were generally good for business, although fewer tourists are stopping by these days.
The ranch has been the scene of meetings with key U.S. allies and next month it will host the wedding of first daughter Jenna Bush and her fiancé Henry Hager.
The White House has refused to release any details such as the setting on the ranch, who's invited and how many people will attend.
The Central Texas Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was moved up one week from May 10 to May 3 because the original date fell on the same day as the wedding.
Thousands of runners and walkers participate in the local race, which started in 2001.
But hotel and motel space are likely to be at a premium on the weekend of the wedding, and because many officials may be in town for the ceremony, security may also be an issue.