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Bush's daughter Jenna gets engaged

Once a party girl and now a teacher, she will marry a former White House aide.

August 17, 2007|Maura Reynolds | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Jenna Bush, the presidential daughter turned schoolteacher and author who is perhaps best known for her hard-partying ways, is settling down, the White House announced Thursday.

Bush, 25, and longtime boyfriend Henry Hager, 29, are engaged to be married, according to a brief statement from the first lady's press office. No wedding date or location have been set.

In the more than six years of her father's presidency, Bush, who has a twin sister, Barbara, has evolved from a lighthearted college student and party girl into a charter-school teacher and social activist. An unpaid internship with UNICEF in Panama last spring introduced Bush to Ana, a 17-year-old HIV-positive single mother who inspired her to write a book. "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope" is scheduled for publication Oct. 2.

According to advance copies, the book is dedicated to her "amazing" parents and "my patient Henry."

Hager has been Bush's boyfriend for several years. One of his most prominent appearances with her was as her date to a state dinner in honor of Britain's Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, in November 2005.

The two met when Hager, from a prominent Republican family in Virginia, worked on President Bush's reelection campaign and later when he served as a junior White House aide. He is now pursuing an MBA at the University of Virginia.

Hager's father, John H. Hager, is a former lieutenant governor of Virginia who served until recently as an assistant secretary of education in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. In July, he was elected chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.

Jenna Bush graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 with a degree in English. Barbara graduated the same year from Yale University.

During their father's first term, the daughters kept a low public profile, in part because White House officials refused, sometimes stridently, to disclose any information about them.

They made headlines anyway: In 2001, a few months after her father was sworn into office, Jenna -- then 19 -- was twice charged with alcohol-related misdemeanors. Her driver's license was suspended for 30 days, and she performed 100 hours of community service.

As they graduated from college, however, the twins shed their cloak of secrecy and took on more prominent roles in their father's political life, appearing with him frequently at campaign events. And with greater maturity, the stories of their hard-driving social lives began to diminish.

"It's been a while since the twins truly cut loose in public," the Washington Post gossip column, "The Reliable Source," lamented in June 2006. Jenna Bush's "more recent outings, though slavishly chronicled in this column, have been far more subdued -- weekend dinners at nice restaurants, shopping trips, and a Richmond 10K with 'Sister.' "

Bush accompanied her mother on a trip to Africa in June. The first lady and first daughter are collaborating on a children's book.


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