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First Lady Laura Bush says her husband deals with the pressures of being commander in chief over an increasingly unpopular war by exercise, rest and going to church.

Discussing on “Larry King Live” her efforts to alert women to the dangers of heart disease, Bush said there’s no escaping the stress of living in the White House.

“It’s 24 hours,” she said. “It’s every single day. There’s, you know, you’re always aware every minute or our troops in harm’s way in Iraq or all the other challenges that we face in the United States. And so I think that you try to have a certain balance in your life, which we do. And, you know, we go to church. We exercise together, we watch movies together. We do all the other things that–watch baseball on television, for instance–that we both find relaxing.”

The first lady said she and the president do not talk a lot about stress. “But we’re very aware of the stresses on each other,” she said. “And we are–we do live a healthy lifestyle. We eat a healthy diet. We both–and we just like to do this–we go to bed early and we get up early. And certainly rest is important, also to reduce stress. People who are fatigued are more likely to be stressed.”

Bush admitted the war in Iraq, of which more people now disapprove than approve, has worn her down.

“Well, of course, it’s wearing, wearying,” she said. “There’s no doubt about it. And I understand how the American people feel and that they feel like things aren’t going like we want them to there.

“On the other hand, I know how important it is for us to continue to help the Iraqis and that to leave now would be a serious mistake. And I really agree with the president on that, that the Iraqi government needs to get up and running as fast as they can.

“And, of course, we want our troops to come home. Nobody wants war. No one’s pro-war. We want the–to be able to have a democracy there, to have the people in Iraq, who have been oppressed by a dictatorship for all these years, to be able to build a good government that represents everyone. And I think it’ll happen.

“Is it going to be fast? No. And we never expected it to be fast.”

She said the war is probably going to be going on after her husband leaves office. “I mean I have no idea and there’s no way I could predict,” she said. “But I hope not. I hope that they can build their government and reconcile with each other and build a country. This is their opportunity to seize the moment, to build a really good and stable country. And many parts of Iraq are stable now. But, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everybody.”

Bush said she and the president don’t have long discussions about the war or any one issue in particular, but he does bring the job home.

“He works here and lives here,” she said. “It’s just a job that’s 24 hours. It’s seven days a week. And you never get away from it. And you know that. I mean, people don’t–who are fainthearted–don’t run for president.”

Bob Allen is managing editor of

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