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Barbara Bush dead at 92

Barbara Bush, the snowy-haired first lady whose plainspoken manner and utter lack of pretense made her more popular at times than her husband, President George H.W. Bush, died Tuesday, a family spokesman said. She was 92.

Mrs. Bush brought a grandmotherly style to buttoned-down Washington, often appearing in her trademark fake pearl chokers and displaying no vanity about her white hair and wrinkles.

"What you see with me is what you get. I'm not running for president — George Bush is," she said at the 1988 Republican National Convention, where her husband, then vice-president, was nominated to succeed Ronald Reagan.

The Bushes, who were married Jan. 6, 1945, had the longest marriage of any presidential couple in American history. And Mrs. Bush was one of only two first ladies who had a child who was elected president. The other was Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams.

"I had the best job in America," she wrote in a 1994 memoir describing her time in the White House. "Every single day was interesting, rewarding, and sometimes just plain fun."

On Sunday, family spokesman Jim McGrath said the former first lady had decided to decline further medical treatment for health problems and focus instead on "comfort care" at home in Houston. She had been in the hospital recently for congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In 2009, she had heart valve replacement surgery and had a long history of treatment for Graves' disease, a thyroid condition.

Funeral arrangements weren't immediately released.

Her uncoiffed, matronly appearance often provoked jokes that she looked more like the boyish president's mother than his wife. Late-night comedians quipped that her bright white hair and pale features also imparted a resemblance to George Washington.

Eight years after leaving the nation's capital, Mrs. Bush stood with her husband as their son George W. was sworn in as president. They returned four years later when he won a second term. 

Mrs. Bush insisted she did not try to influence her husband's politics.

"I don't fool around with his office," she said, "and he doesn't fool around with my household."



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