PARIS, France (CNN) - Former first lady Laura Bush praised the performance of her husband's successor Monday, breaking with many Republicans in telling CNN that she thinks President Obama is doing a good job under tough circumstances.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/09/07/laura.bush/art.lbush0907.cnn.jpg caption="Former first lady Laura Bush defended President Obama's decision to address the nation's schoolchildren."]
She also criticized Washington's sharp political divide during an interview covering a range of topics including her thoughts on first lady Michelle Obama, former Vice President Dick Cheney, the situation in Afghanistan and Myanmar, and life after eight tumultuous years in the White House.
Bush sat down with CNN on Monday during a United Nations meeting in Paris, France, where she was promoting global literacy, a cause she trumpeted during her husband's administration.
The typically reserved former first lady defended Obama's decision to deliver a back-to-school speech to students, putting her at odds with many conservatives afraid that the president will use the opportunity to advance his political agenda.
"I think he is [doing a good job]," Bush said when asked to assess Obama's job performance. "I think he has got a lot on his plate, and he has tackled a lot to start with, and that has probably made it more difficult."
Michelle Obama is also "doing great," she said, in part by turning the White House into a comfortable home for her family. Watch the interview