Laura Bush's New Memoir: Car Crashes, Sarah Palin, And Really Gross Nicknames

Laura Bush's Spoken from the Heart reportedly includes her first-ever public discussion of the fatal car crash she caused. But that's not the most shocking thing about the upcoming memoir.

According to Anahad O'Connor of the Times, the book (scheduled for a May 4 release) offers a detailed description of the 1963 crash, in which Bush ran a stop sign and struck classmate Mike Douglas's car with her own. Douglas was killed, and Bush was guilt-stricken. She writes,

I lost my faith that November, lost it for many, many years. It was the first time that I had prayed to God for something, begged him for something, not the simple childhood wishing on a star but humbly begging for another human life. And it was as if no one heard. My begging, to my seventeen-year-old mind, had made no difference. The only answer was the sound of Mrs. Douglas's sobs on the other side of that thin emergency room curtain.

According to O'Connor, Bush accepts blame for the crash but also blames Douglas's car, writing, "It was sporty and sleek, and it was also the car that Ralph Nader made famous in his book Unsafe at Any Speed." It's interesting that Bush is a Nader fan, but maybe not that surprising given how helpful he was to her husband in the 2000 election.

Politico also has some excerpts, including this one on Sarah Palin:

[A] postscript to the 2004 campaign was that it changed, perhaps irrevocably, how the families, especially the children, of national candidates are treated. The strategy of making Mary Cheney's private life an issue failed with the voters in November of 2004. But in the years since, it has become acceptable to mock candidates and their families, and other elected officeholders, in highly personal ways; David Letterman feels free to ridicule Sarah Palin's teenager daughters, and the audience laughs. That is the legacy of the 2004 campaign.

It's not the first time Bush has spoken in support of Sarah Palin, or the first time she's defended the Palin family against media scrutiny. It may be, however, the first time since the Palins did an InTouch cover.

But by far the most disturbing of the leaked passages is this one:

On December 18 [2002], ABC broadcast Barbara Walters's annual special on the Ten Most fascinating people of the year. Barbara had selected me as 2002's most fascinating person, calling me a ‘beacon of calm in the center of the storm.' It was flattering, but even as it aired, I said to George with a smile, ‘Bushie, what goes up must come down.'

Yes, Laura Bush apparently calls her husband "Bushie." Prospective readers of her book, consider yourselves warned.

Laura Bush Opens Up About Crash [NYT]
Laura Bush Memoir: Iraq, Gay Marriage And Overseas Intrigue [Politico]
Laura Bush On Gay Rights And A Tragic Car Crash [Atlantic]

Earlier: How To Talk Like Laura Bush & Sarah Palin