In her young adulthood, just as Mr. Bush aspired and won the White House, a few other data points helped solidify the stereotype. She was featured in the National Enquirer as “George W.’s Wild Daughter” in December 2000, photographed holding a cigarette as a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin and happily tripping over a friend.
She was subpoenaed twice for underage drinking, the second time with Barbara in tow. (People magazine headline: “Oops! They Did It Again.”)
Such incidental notoriety might take a private toll, especially as the heavily analyzed daughter of a president who had described his own struggles with alcohol. Woman. Hager has said she took big introductory classes to avoid more intimate classrooms where she might have to say her name. She was followed by an intelligence squad on social outings. She turned down stately invitations from European embassies hoping to welcome a senior daughter on their summer hike.
“She says, ‘No, we’ll have our backpacks, we’ll take our Eurorail, we’ll stay in a hostel,'” said Mia Smail, a close friend who traveled with her. “It was this commitment to normalcy.”
While Mrs. Hager took a sometimes puckish stand-in role in her father’s re-election in 2004 — punctuated by a congressional speech in which she joked that her grandmother, the former first lady, “thinks ‘Sex in the City’ is something that marries People do but never talk about” — her relationship with the press could still be awkward.
In a widely shared photo that year, she was seen sticking her tongue out at reporters from the back of a Secret Service vehicle. (She has said she was trying to prove to her father that the windows were adequately tinted. She was wrong.) At one point, she fell into a dead sprint mid-jog after NBC’s David Gregory waved at her from the North Lawn .
At the same time, Mrs. Hager has displayed a postgraduate appetite for media ventures on her terms. She had first worked as a teacher at a Washington charter school for mostly low-income families. But after a UNICEF internship in Latin America, in 2007, with the support of Washington super-lawyer Robert Barnett, she began buying a book about an HIV-stricken Panamanian teenage mother she had met.