George W. Bush has been spotted quite frequently hanging around the SMU campus since his retirement -- grabbin' a Goff's No. 2, playin' a little Frisbee golf in front of Dallas Hall, doin' a little 2 a.m. backstroke at Perkins Natatorium, the usual. But today, he makes it for reals with an afternoon speech at McFarlin Auditorium, where he'll talk about his George W. Bush Institute -- his first real sneak preview of the so-called "action-oriented think tank" attached to the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the SMU campus. James Glassman, executive director of the institute, gives The New York Times a hint of what George and Laura will talk about:
Mr. Bush will announce the appointment of the first five of two dozen scholars to be affiliated with the institute, which has already scheduled a half-dozen conferences for next year, according to organizers. The former first lady, Laura Bush, will also speak at Thursday's event to discuss how women's issues will be injected into all the institute's program areas, including sponsorship of a conference on the education of women in Afghanistan.
"The president has been working with these ideas for a long time now," said James K. Glassman, a former top State Department official now serving as the institute's founding executive director. "He wanted to do something very different from other former presidents, and that is to create a research institute that's independent, nonpartisan and scholarly and that will have an impact on the real world."
Update at 12:36 p.m.: More Dubya news today: He's chosen the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia to conduct a "comprehensive oral history of his presidency." Says Bush, "This oral history project will offer future generations a comprehensive look at what it was like to lead the country during some extraordinary challenges."
Update at 3 p.m.: The Washington Times provides the initial coverage of Bush's speech, during which he said, "As the world recovers, we will face a temptation to replace the risk-and-reward model of the private sector with the blunt instruments of government spending and control. History shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement, but too much."
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