'W Stands for Women' tour kicks off in Michigan
LANSING, Michigan (CNN) -- In the critical state of Michigan, where the presidential race is very tight and the prize is 18 electoral votes, the Bush campaign on Wednesday launched it's "W Stands for Women" tour.
The tour includes Bush's wife Laura and other prominent GOP women, including Lynne Cheney, wife of Bush running mate Dick Cheney, and Bush international policy advisor Condoleezza Rice. But the undisputed star of the group is the Republican nominee's mother, former first lady Barbara Bush.
"I have to confess that I feel funny talking about women's issues," Barbara Bush said as the three-day tour kicked off in Lansing, Michigan. "You see, I think women care about the exact same thing that men care about."
Barbara Bush said her son was shaped by strong women, including wife Laura and his teen-age twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara.
"Thanks to them, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that George will be able to negotiate any kind of situation, regardless of how difficult, stubborn or complicated the opposition is," she said.
On the campaign bus, Barbara Bush said that two back operations have kept her from stumping more vigorously for her son -- not that he needs that much help. The campaign trail aside, what really makes the 75-year-old former first lady "sore" are distortions about her son's intelligence.
"I think the Gore campaign has made an enormous issue of the fact that George is not smart," Barbara Bush began. "Did Al Gore graduate from law school, did Al Gore graduate from divinity school? No."
The former first lady is also intent on clearing up the brouhaha that began during the Republican primary season, when her husband, former President George Bush. told a New Hampshire crowd that he was proud of "this boy" -- a reference to the eventual GOP nominee.
"My George did something that was very normal for any father, and said 'I'm so proud of my boy,' and the opponents and the press picked up as though that was something simply awful," she said. "Show me one parent that doesn't refer to their son or daughter as my boy or girl, and I'll show someone who doesn't love their children."
Laura Bush said the issues on this tour are education, tax cuts, Social Security and Medicare. There's no mention of abortion rights.
"I think these issues we're talking about are bigger issues for women across the country," she said.