Twinspotting® last updated: Friday at 10:45 a.m.
They're rich, they're attractive, they're saucy, and their Dad's the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! They're the Bush Twins, America's First Daughters, Barbara and Jenna -- kinda like Chelsea, but twice as nice. The Twins kept a low profile during the 2000 campaign, but now they're all grown up (22) and pitching in on their Dad's reelection effort. With the Republicans convening at Madison Square Garden this week, the Twins have been let loose in Manhattan -- and Twinspotting® will be following their every move.
Keep checking this page for updates!
Barbara, Jenna, and Dad. (AP File Photo)
Friday, Sept. 3
President Bush grips Jenna in a painful-looking embrace following his acceptance speech Thursday night at the RNC. (AFP Photo)
BAWITDABA DA BANG A DANG DIGGY DIGGY:
The Bush2 posse rolled into New York's Avalon nightclub on Wednesday night to attend a concert by national treasure Kid Rock (apparently the closest thing to a bona fide rock star willing to perform at a Republican Party event). Jenna Bush, with "lacy white shirt draped over one shoulder," downed MGD and flouted NYC's strict anti-smoking laws while Barbs "clapped along to the tunes and chatted with girlfriends," reports People Magazine's website. After Kid Rock blazed through a catalogue of classics including "Cocky" and "If I Were President," the Twins made a futile attempt to rouse the crowd of booze-soaked conservatives into a chant of "Four more years! Four more years!" reports the Daily News's Lloyd Grove: "Both girls leaned over their 'Evita balcony' and shouted, exhorting friends around them to join in. But it was not to be. The teeming masses below, clamoring for a Kid Rock encore, drowned out the Bush daughters' feeble yells, and Jenna and Barbara were soon forced to abandon their quixotic quest." What's worse, Mr. Rock wouldn't even give the Twins a shout-out, Grove adds. Despite this double-dissing, the Twins "lingered in the deejay booth, until they were finally asked to leave by the venue's employees who were shutting down for the night," People reports. The posse then alighted in their fleet of black SUVs and "brought the party home to the Waldorf-Astoria."
WHITE HOUSE BLUES: The N.Y. Post's Cindy Adams (recently crossed off Boston.com's Enemies List), reveals that the Twins prefer not living in the White House because they see their father too often, plus "it makes them antsy and interferes with their dating."
DRESSING THEM UP:
Lynn Yaeger dissects the Twins' eccentric wardrobe
("Jenna's beaded faux-vintage cocktail dress and Barbara's white trousers, peculiar windbreaker jacket, multiple strands of beads, and early-21st-century roll of bare tummy flesh") in the Village Voice
"The Bush sisters don't know it, and if they did they probably wouldn't admit it, but their nutty clothes owe their existence to the vociferous demonstrators just outside the Garden. It was the spiritual parents (and is some cases the real parents) of those protesters who, 40 years ago, tore up the rule book on 'appropriate' dressing, who argued that you could and should wear hiking boots with a Victorian nightgown, or throw an army coat over a tutu, or don any other weird combo that suited your fancy... It is one of the many, if unsung, victories of the '60s social revolution."
CAN'T STOP TALKIN' ABOUT THAT SPEECH: The trash-talking over the Twins' Tuesday night Gammie-bashing continues... John Hieger, a young columnist from the Seattle Times's NEXT Team ("Opinion from the next generation") proclaims the speech "so bad it was awesome." For real.
Meanwhile, haven't you been wondering what Sopranos star Edie Falco thought of the performance? "There are all kinds of snitty things I could say about the twins, but in an effort to become more like the person that I want to be, I will pass on that opportunity," she tells People.
So who was responsible for Tuesday night's train wreck? According to The New York Times, none other than trusted Bush adviser Karen Hughes, "who wrote the speech with 'some input' from Jenna and Barbara, according to Susan Whitson, a spokeswoman for the twins. 'Karen has known the girls for so long she was able to capture their personality,' Mrs. Whitson said. 'What we've heard is that people thought it was cute and funny.' " The Times also prints a good line from former Clinton speech-writer Mark Katz: "They were more Paris Hilton than Chelsea Clinton. The only way the speech could have been more lame was if they had been triplets"
Finally, hear Washington Post reporter Ann Gerhart pronounce the word "tittering" while recapping the Twins' speech with Today's Matt Lauer. (This video was all messed up on our monitor; hopefully you'll have better luck.)
HEART-BREAKER: It appears B&J may have crashed their first marriage. Columnist Chris Rose of the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes: "All right, I've got to get this off my chest. After a week here in New York, away from my wife and family, something happened. I've kind of got a crush on Jenna."
So much for the Republican Party as the staunchest defender of the institution of marriage.
OUT TO SEA: Finally, a little item from the lovable Wonkette: "The bushy twins tried to charter a boat... for Saturday. The captain... and crew were dealing with the Service, and NYPD cops for hours regarding security and such. Then the twins wanted a steep discount on the costs so the Captain told them pretty much to go to hell."
Thursday, Sept. 2
TWINS SPEECH FALLOUT, DAY 2:
Today's N.Y. Daily News
is bursting with Twins:
"Reliable sources" tell the News's Rush & Molloy that Karl Rove was among the Bush-Cheney political aides bemoaning B&J's giggly, anti-grandma speech Tuesday night. "Whoever approved this, I'm going to put on a slow boat to China," Rove reportedly threatened.
Former President George H.W. Bush, however, took a more charitable view of his granddaughters' performance: "I think they did a superb job. Of course, I'm not objective."
(Gammie also declined to criticize her public trashing, telling The New York Times that she found the Twins' speech hilarious, though "I didn't get some of it, obviously." Lucky for her.)
The News's Lloyd Grove polls a cross-section of political-watchers for reaction to the controversial primetime performance. Some highlights:
Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway: "They're smart, they're intelligent, they're accessible, they're real."
Democratic consultant Mike Feldman: "I give them credit for getting out there and for trying to put a compassionate face on a very conservative candidate and very conservative agenda. They're the sugar that makes the rest of the stuff go down."
Ohio delegation guest Terrence O'Donnell: "I think they're hilarious. You can tell that Jenna is trouble."
Grove also reveals that Jenna was spotted "chilling out" in a dark corner at Midtown bar Whiskey Park following her big speech. Barbara was nowhere to be seen.
Slate's Julia Turner seems practically sickened by the Twins' moment in the spotlight: "If the twins were aware that they'd been saddled with a horrific clunker of a speech, they didn't let on. They were too busy basking in the glory of themselves. While the mystified audience obediently clapped after each putative punch line, the girls let out appreciative giggles, smiled, and tilted their heads this way and that."
Finally, Globe cartoonist Dan Wasserman offers his take on the Twins' speech.
ANOTHER SPOTTING: The Post reports that Mary Kate and Ashley were spied at SoHo's Circa Tabac, enjoying a nutritious meal of Diet Cokes and cigarettes. Whoops! Wrong Twins!
TWINS CENTRAL: Fans of Twinspotting should not miss the excellent TheFirstTwins.com, a comprehensive fansite devoted to all things Barbara and Jenna. Among the recent highlights: MP3 files of the Twins' speech. (The proprietor seems to feel we're muscling in on his turf, but likes our layout. Don't worry, pal, Twinspotting happily acknowledges the superiority of TheFirstTwins. In fact, we're addicted!!)
ANOTHER MUST-READ: Twinspotting somehow overlooked Vanessa Grigoriadis's top-notch Twins manifesto "Party Girls," in the most recent issue of New York magazine.
The lengthy piece is jam-packed with Twins tidbits, including the tale of a night spent drinking and text-messaging at a Bond Street bar with friends of the rich and powerful (including an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune), then retiring to a friend's apartment for wine ("that someone had brought from their dad's wine cellar").
We also learn:
New York has been the Twins' "nocturnal playground" for the past few years
Their fav Manhattan eatery? Nobu.
The Twins have special buttons on their cell phones that alert the Secret Service when they're ready to move
Barbara calls Jenna "Little Sister," because Barbara is one minute older (they were born five weeks early by C-section because of complications during Laura's pregnancy)
Both are currently boyfriend-less
Friends call Barbara "Barbs"
We leave you with one more anecdote, but we do urge you to check out the article for yourself. It is not to be missed:
"Once, at [the Bungalow 8 club in the meat-packing district], Jenna saw Joey co-star Jennifer Coolidge and a few friends in a banquette across the way. 'I loved you in Legally Blonde 2,' gushed Jenna (Coolidge played Reese Witherspoon's hairdresser confidante). Coolidge didn't know who she was, and smiled wanly. 'My daddys the president,' offered Jenna."
Wednesday, Sept. 1
HUGS AND HURTS:
Barbara and Jenna appeared onstage for the Republican Youth Convention today at Madison Square Garden (left), but moments later the lovey-dovey scene was interrupted by a group of noisy AIDS demonstrators, who were soon carried out of the convention hall to an unknown fate. (Reuters / AP Photos)
TWINS SPEAK -- AGAIN (DESPITE PUNKS):
Jenna and Barbara reprised last night's primetime speech with an address this afternoon before a group of young Republicans at the RNC Youth Convention. However, the event was marred shortly after the Twins left the stage when the Youth Convention erupted in a short-lived spree of mild violence. A group of about 10 AIDS protesters jumped up in the middle of remarks by White House chief of staff Andrew Card, blowing whistles and chanting, "Bush kills" and "Bush lies." This came in stark contrast to the Twins, who described their father as "open-minded," "disciplined," and "always on time." The demonstrators were promptly carted off by police, and at least one was arrested. One GOP supporter, 20-year-old Daniel Suhr of Milwaukee, was punched in the head during the melee, the AP reported. Barbara and Jenna were uninjured.
Before this unseemly scene, the Twins had entertained the young audience with childhood tales of attending Texas Rangers games with their father. Barbara described the president as a "down-to-earth" guy, who always made her friends feel comfortable in the Bush home -- even though that home was the Texas governor's mansion or the White House. "Another quality that my sister and I are perhaps all too familiar with is that our Dad is extremely disciplined and always on time," Barbara said. "From running a marathon at age 45, to reading the Bible daily, to giving up his greatest passion -- cheesecake -- our Dad has shown us the importance of living a disciplined life."
Reiterating a theme from their primetime speech, the Twins twice more referred to their grandmother Barbara as "The Enforcer" -- although they did not make it clear what, exactly, the former First Lady has been enforcing. Bush2 also noted how much "fun" they've been having in New York. "We have already had an incredible time in New York, and it's been so much fun being with friends from all over Texas and a couple from Yale. It's been very fun," Jenna said.
Fashion update: The Twins both wore tight jeans for their youth speech. Barbara added what appeared to be a gray raincoat, chopped off at the midriff, while Jenna sported a white jacket that might have been part of a catering uniform.
B&J took the stage last night
at the Republican Convention, and their rapid-fire delivery of pop culture references must have left some of the party's elder statesmen scratching their heads. In the space of a few minutes, the Twins discussed "Sex in the City," Bono, and OutKast (Full transcript here
). They also took a jab at grandmother Barbara, seated with her husband, the 41st president, in the convention hall. "Gammie, we love you dearly, but you're just not very hip," Jenna said. Ouch! It appears some of the delegates took issue with this public grandma-bashing. "Oooooh, they're going to go to hell for that one," the Chicago Tribune quoted one female delegate as remarking
. The Twins added that Gammie also doesn't like "some of our clothes, our music, or most of the TV shows we watch." We can think of one more item to add to that list of Gammie's dislikes: When her granddaughters 'dis her on coast-to-coast television. The Twins even had the temerity to suggest that one of them might one day marry a Democrat, saying that thanks to Kennedy-wedding Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, nobody could complain... "except maybe our grandmother." The Twins went on to praise their parents for teaching them the importance of "a good sense of humor, of being open-minded and treating everyone with respect." (Everyone but their grandmother, apparently). They also revealed that George and Laura call one another "Bushy" as a term of endearment.
HAD ENOUGH, GRANDMA?:
Salon.com weighs in today with a piece on Bush2 (you'll have to pay for a subscription or watch an advertisement before viewing the article). The story includes a recap of the Twins' appearance at a "Tribute to First Lady Laura Bush" Tuesday at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. Jenna "spoke in a voice that was raspy, deep and confident, working the crowd with a distinctly Southern and self-deprecating grace," writes Rebecca Traister. The University of Texas grad also discussed a recent European tour she took with her Mom, and provided another hint at the strange pathology infusing her relationship with her grandmother by referring to the former First Lady as Barbara "The Enforcer" Bush. The young Barbara -- apparently the more serious of the Twins -- discussed global women's welfare, Afghanistan, and healthcare.
Today's Doonesbury focuses on the Twins' clothing sense. In keeping with their surroundings in America's fashion capital, the ladies have been looking pretty swanky at this week's RNC festivities. Though Jenna's getup last night at Madison Square Garden -- what looked like a chocolate brown warm-up suit with white piping -- was a bit of a head-scratcher.
HARDY-HAR-HAR: David Letterman on Tuesday: "But, you probably know, it's been crazy here during the convention: We have had naked people in the streets, we've had all-night parties, arrests, and that's just the Bush twins."
Tuesday, Aug. 31
WHEREFORE ART THOU, ROMEO:
The Boston Globe has tracked down
the Twins' first documented New York stalker: 23-year-old Edward Mazel of New Mexico, whose mother has ordered him not to return home without a snapshot of himself with Barbara and Jenna. "She thinks I'm gonna meet them and they're gonna like me," Mazel said. The young man worked Sunday to meet up with the elusive Twins, and he's already written his opening line: "I'd really like to get a picture of you for my mother." Good luck with that, Ed.
George W. Bush's detractors sometimes express wonder at how he managed to ascend to the highest office in the land. In an interview with A&E's "Biography," the Twins present a possible explanation for the president's success: His wife, Laura. "I think if he had never met my mom, there's no way he could have been as successful as he is just because she is so stable and so supportive... and so giving," Jenna said. The sisters also reveal that the First Lady is "bizarrely clean" and that "every once in a while she'll, like, say a cuss word." (Watch a video clip from the interview.)
Monday, Aug. 30
Barbara and Jenna with their aunt, Doro Bush Koch, and grandmother, Barbara, at a forum at the Waldorf-Astoria on Monday. (Reuters Photo)
IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY:
The New York Daily News's Lloyd Grove reports that the Twins were upstaged by their brassy grandma during a forum at the posh Waldorf-Astoria Hotel titled, "W Stands for Women." "Bush men have never been afraid of strong women!" Barbara Bush declared to cheers from the predominantly female audience. Grove continues: "[The Twins] applauded at appropriate moments and joined in standing ovations. Barbara looked poised and self-contained. Jenna couldn't sit still, her right leg working like the Broadway Limited as her sandaled, bright-red nail-polished foot wriggled this way and that."
GOING FOR GOLD:
The Twins apparently got their fair share of attention at the Olympic Games, the New York Post's Page Six reports. "[Jenna and Barbara] were a huge hit in Greece," the Post quotes the elder Barbara as saying at the Waldorf event. "George and I were a little concerned. The entire American wrestling team wanted to date them."
Sunday, Aug. 29
The Bush Twins and John Kerry's daughters were booed by the audience at the MTV Video Music Awards in Miami. While Vanessa and Alexandra Kerry appeared live on stage, B&J spoke in a videotaped piece from New York. "Jenna and I really wish we could be there, but we're in New York this week to support our dad and, as you might have guessed, we want to suggest that you vote for him in November," said Barbara. "We can all agree on the importance of voting," Jenna added. It was unclear exactly whom the cheers and the boos were meant for or why, CNN reported, but Vanessa Kerry admitted afterward she was "scared."
RED CARPET TREATMENT:
The Bush Twins were the guests of honor at "R: The Party" -- a Republican bash at New York's Roseland Ballroom. New York Magazine
describes the event as "a sorority mixer on a grand scale... attended by a throng of unironic preppies." Disgruntled reporters and photographers were mostly excluded from the party, but were herded into a pen to witness the arrival of the Bush princesses, New York reports
. The New York Times describes the Twins' arrival thusly
: "Several black S.U.V.'s paraded along West 52nd Street, then disgorged the sisters at the red carpet outside the Roseland Ballroom... in the teeth of the frantic media scrum. Barbara wore the white tank top; Jenna, the black jacket with silver trim. Sorry: no interviews! Instead, they did their shy-laughter thing. Then they were inside. Bye! Elapsed time? Forty-five seconds." (Other tidbits via New York Mag
: Celebrity attendees included Don King and a Baldwin. What were the young Republicans boogying down to? The Bee Gees and the Jackson 5.)
Daily News gossip columnists Rush & Molloy report that the Twins partook of beer with college friends once inside the Roseland bash. The News also provides details on the girls' post-party activities: "Around 12:30, Barbara called it a night. Jenna and her Texas pals headed downtown to Crobar for the Southern Delegates welcome party, where they sang along as Lynyrd Skynyrd performed 'Sweet Home Alabama.' Jenna left through the club's back door in the wee hours, hopping into a black SUV."