Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Your Favorite First Lady

Posted July 12, 2007

Who is your favorite first lady of all time?

I started thinking about this with the death of Lady Bird Johnson. She was an incredible person who reminded me of a lot of the strong and colorful women I grew up with in Burke County. Lady Bird was an early environmentalist, a courageous supporter of civil rights, and a very bright and compassionate personality who had a powerful influence on the decisions of LBJ. Plus, I absolutely loved her Texas dialect.

Dolley Madison is another one of my favorites. She grew up as a Quaker in the Greensboro area. After the death of her first husband she married James Madison who was 17 years her senior. Dolley Madison was famous for her sassy personality, social graces and passion for snuff. Historians say she slept in Washington with a sabre by her bedside during the British invasion of 1812.

The only first lady I have had the pleasure of spending much time with is Barbara Bush. During a one-on-one interview with her in Houston in 1992 I was impressed with her candor, sincerity, spunk and humor even though I asked her a series of tough questions.

Who, in your opinion is the finest of the first ladies?


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  • bleslie Jul 12, 2007

    This is getting interesting. I always greatly admired Jackie Kennedy for her grace, dignity and glamorous good looks. However, she seemed to lack the warmth and accessibility of some of the other great ones in my opinion.

  • sparkyy Jul 12, 2007

    I agree that one of our best First Ladies was Lady Bird Johnson.
    But, I think Jackie Kennedy was the best. The way she carried on after a tragedy and raised her children with dignity without
    her husband. She was truly a remarkable young woman, mother, and widow.

  • Legswilson Jul 12, 2007

    I'll have to give a vote to each party... I think Jackie Kennedy and Nancy Reagan were both the epitome of style and grace.

  • They call me CATMAN Jul 12, 2007

    Nancy Reagan who was married to the best president this country has had in a long time.

  • EGH3 Jul 12, 2007

    The only one it could be "Nancy Reagan"

  • tennispro Jul 12, 2007

    I meant her nephew!!

  • tennispro Jul 12, 2007

    Barbara Bush and Laura Bush are my two favorite first ladies. Laura's interest in Literacy have been highlights of her career.I also met Roslyn Carter when my roomate married his nephew . She was very kind and gentle spoken.

  • jgirl5830 Jul 12, 2007

    Jackie Kennedy hands down, but I also like Laura Bush. I think these 2 are true "ladies" Jackie brought class and style to the white House and our country, and her work on historical preservation is to be commended. Not that I was asked but I'll throw in there that Hilary Clinton was thee worst first lady in my opinion.

  • niall Jul 12, 2007

    Abigail Adams gets my vote.

    We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.
    Abigail Adams, letter to John Adams, 1774
    US wife of John Adams 1764 (1744 - 1818)

  • mjk111259 Jul 12, 2007

    Hand down Jackie Kennedy the best first lady!!!! No Contest




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Bill Leslie