NEWS- Jenry? Bush daughter to marry a Darden guy
Never mind the potential thrill of the first White House wedding since Tricia Nixon's more than three decades ago. What Charlottesvillians really want to know is, will Jenna Bush be hanging out at Blue Light? Or will she prefer Mas, Zocalo, or Bang!?
It's big national news that the blond First Twin is betrothed to a Richmond boy, but in Charlottesville the buzz is even hotter, since Bush's new fiancé, Henry Hager, is a second-year Darden student.
Hager, 29-year-old son of former Republican Lt. Gov. John Hager, and Bush, 25, reportedly met around the time of George W. Bush's second inauguration in January 2005. The union has both families' blessings, according to a report in Richmond's Style Weekly. John Hager, whom Bush once nominated to be assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services in the Department of Education, lives in Richmond and now heads the Virginia Republican party. Son Henry, a Wake Forest graduate and one-time White House aide, interned for Karl Rove in 2003.
Back in January 2005, Style Weekly broke the story of the Hager/Bush match, and editor Jason Roop has been on call ever since, answering questions for national media outlets including the New York Times. On Friday, August 17– a day after the nuptial plans broke– an MSNBC reporter stationed in Richmond for Michael Vick's dogfighting hearings managed to do double duty by interviewing Roop in front of Richmond's federal courthouse where Vick's cronies had just copped a plea.
Henry Hager did not return the Hook's calls or email, nor did his parents, who live in the posh Windsor Farm subdivision near Carytown. Roop, however, says he caught up with Henry's politico pop on Friday morning.
"He spoke in generalities about them being excited and two great kids," says Roop. "He said they were trying to keep it a private matter, to let the kids do what they wanted." Roop says the younger Hager's Richmond pals have "signed a pact" not to speak to the media about him or the engagement.
At Darden, where classes have not yet begun, several students say they've been inundated with calls from family and friends across the country asking if they've met the future groom.
First year Denver native Chinesom Ejiasa says he's glad Hager's at Darden, even though they've never met. "Any publicity is good publicity, so you can't go wrong," he says.
"A White House wedding would be cool to see," adds Ben Pitts, another Darden first year recently arrived from New Jersey.
Unlike, for instance, first daughters Amy Carter and Chelsea Clinton, Jenna Bush raked in a few unflattering headlines during her college years at the University of Texas at Austin. She was pictured in the National Enquirer falling backwards clutching a cigarette, and she was busted two other times for misdemeanor underage drinking episodes.
However, locals who'd delight in catching Jenna in one of her famously wild moments may have missed their chance, as in the past several years she seems to have mellowed.
She and her mother, First Lady Laura Bush, recently announced plans to co-author a children's book about a little boy who doesn't like to read. And Jenna has another children's book already in press: Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope, about a 17-year-old single mother with HIV living in Panama.
Despite such current wholesome activities, as recently as 15 months ago she still had a bit of her party-girl potty mouth, according to an August 17 article in the Washington Post, which also suggests Jenna may have been thinking about crystal stemware for some time.
"The courtship was serious enough that in May 2006, Jenna apparently thought he was ready to tie the knot," reports the Post, claiming Jenna and Hager were seen and overheard by numerous diners at a D.C. restaurant when waiters surprised her by bringing champagne to the table with a note taped to the glass. "Jenna read it and burst out laughing," writes the Post. "'I thought you were proposing!' she hollered loud enough for everyone to hear. 'I nearly [soiled] my pants!'"
Will we soon get to overhear similar repartee between Jenna and Henry– er, "Jenry"?– at Charlottesville's hot spots? Perhaps so, as even the First Lady's press office admits it's likely she'll at least be visiting the area before Hager's graduation in May 2008. But will Jenna actually pick up and move south before then?
Style's Roop, now something of an expert on the relationship, doubts it.
"This is a family that does things by the book," he says, "so that's highly unlikely."