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Myra Gutin, Rider University professor talks about the presidents wives.

Gutin is the author of The President's Partner: The First Lady in the 20th Century and Barbara Bush: Presidential Matriarch

Former first ladies Mrs. Barbara and Mrs. Laura Bush will visit Grand Rapids to participate in a luncheon as part of day-long conference about the nation's first ladies. As part of the celebration of President Gerald R. Ford's Centennial Birthday and to commemorate Betty Ford's 95th birthday, on April 8, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation and Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum will host America's First Ladies: An Enduring Legacy. The conference will share insight about the first ladies and how these "leaders behind the leaders" affect change and advance society in valuable ways.

"The Ford family is thrilled that our dear friends Barbara and Laura Bush will celebrate Dad and Mom's remarkable legacies with us," said Susan Ford Bales. "This conference will give individuals a chance to learn about the vital role the first lady plays in every President's administration, an honor my family experienced first hand."

The conference will review the role of the first lady, an intriguing position that has no definition and no salary, yet has extraordinary pressures and increasingly greater expectations. The discussion will examine choices that confront first ladies and the forces that have empowered, as well as challenged, their ability to shape their work and support the President and the nation.

The conference is directed by Anita B. McBride, former chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush and now executive in residence at American University's Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. The conference will include a teacher workshop, luncheon, afternoon symposium and public reception. America's First Ladies: An Enduring Legacy is one of a series of conferences on America's first ladies launched by American University in 2011 and presented in partnership with the White House Historical Association and the National Archives Presidential Libraries.