U.S. first lady Laura Bush has praised Egypt as the leader in the Middle East for democratic reform and women's rights. Mrs. Bush spoke to Egyptian women in Cairo Tuesday before heading home after a Middle East tour that also took her to Israel and Jordan.
On Monday, Mrs. Bush endorsed Egypt's planned political reforms, which include a constitutional amendment to allow more than one candidate in presidential elections for the first time. But Egypt's opposition says the amendment that will be voted on Wednesday is narrow and will prevent any serious challenges to the ruling party. Mrs. Bush added that everyone she spoke to during the five-day tour stressed the need for the United States to push Israel to stick to its plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.