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Jenna and Barbara Bush reveal they 'tried to veto' dad's presidential run

TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager and her twin sister Barbara admitted they initially weren't too excited about their father running for president.
/ Source: TODAY

Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush are proud to have been part of history, but there was a time when the TODAY anchor and her twin sister weren't too excited about their father becoming president.

The Bush sisters were 18 when their father, George W. Bush, announced to them that he was going to run for president in 2000, just as they were getting set to head off to separate universities.

"We both tried to veto that idea,'' Jenna said Friday during a Facebook Live interview alongside Barbara discussing their new book, "Sisters First: Stories From Our Wild and Wonderful Life."

"I think like normal 18-year-olds we really wanted to enjoy college and grow and make mistakes, which we did. But I think pretty fast, pretty soon into his tenure, we realized how awesome it is to live history and how lucky we really were."

The sisters already had a familiarity with the White House given that their grandfather, George H.W. Bush, had been president as they were growing up.

Jenna was attending the University of Texas and Barbara was at Yale University as they endured the spotlight of being the daughters of the leader of the free world.

"Through him we got to travel around the world with our mom and our dad,'' Barbara said. "We got incredible exposure and got to meet unbelievable people, and that of course outweighed any reservations that we had."

That experience of being put under the microscope led them to reach out in solidarity to President Obama's daughters during his presidency. The Bush sisters, 35, wrote a touching letter to Sasha, 15, and Malia, 18, at the end of Obama's second term in January.

"We have watched you grow from girls to impressive young women with grace and ease. And through it all you had each other,'' they wrote. "Just like we did."

They also had a sense of humor about some of their own troubles under the spotlight during their time in college. Malia is headed off to Harvard in the fall.

"Enjoy college. As most of the world knows, we did," they wrote, referring to widely-reported brushes with the law they both experienced while drinking underage.

"And you won’t have the weight of the world on your young shoulders anymore. Explore your passions. Learn who you are. Make mistakes — you are allowed to."

Jenna also shared rare photos on TODAY of Sasha and Malia's first visit to the White House.

"I think this is why we were so fiercely protective of them,'' Jenna said on Facebook Live. "We saw ourselves in them. We were the same age when our grandfather became president.

"I think the most unexpected thing is that even though sometimes you wished it wasn't happening and you could be normal and do normal things, at the same time, it is this unbelievable experience and it's this small club of people that get to live history, and there's nothing cooler than that."


Bush twins pen touching letter to Obama sisters: We'll be rooting for you

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George W. Bush is a 'spoiling grandfather' to Jenna Bush Hager's daughters

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.