First Lady Joins Celebrities in Star-Filled PSAs

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NEW YORK ( -- Entertainers, politicians and professional athletes will appear in nationally televised
First Lady Laura Bush sings in the public service announcement promoting Washington, D.C.
public service announcements starting today to promote tourism in the nation's capital.

Singer Roberta Flack, First Lady Laura Bush, District of Columbia Mayor Anthony Williams, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Washington Freedom soccer player Mia Hamm and Washington Redskins football player Darrell Green, among others, are featured in the PSA doing something only Ms. Flack is known for: singing.

'Of Thee I Sing'
Ms. Flack, who grew up in the Washington area and graduated from Howard University, opens the 30-second PSA in front of the Capitol singing the George Gershwin classic "Of Thee I Sing," and the other celebrities and politicians continue singing snippets of the song throughout the spot.

All of the participants worked pro bono for the campaign, which was created and produced by EUE/Screen Gems.

"The new public service announcement shows the fun side of the District of Columbia with some of the most familiar faces in some of the most inspiring places in the city," said Vicki Isley, vic epresident of marketing and communications for the Washington D.C. Convention and Tourism Corporation. "As we approach July 4 -- the first Independence Day since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 -- it's a good time to celebrate what's great about D.C. and to invite all Americans to visit their nation's capital."

Hotels bounce back
The terrorist attacks helped push hotel occupancy to lows of 12% to 15%, but the city's occupancy rate is already making a comeback, with an 86.6% occupancy rate in April, up 21% from a year ago.

Earlier this year, actors from the popular NBC political drama The West Wing were featured in similar PSAs shown in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Norfolk, Va. The campaign, called "Come, Be Inspired," generated 5,400 Washington hotel room nights from February through April, according to the tourism center.

"Both campaigns are inspiring looks at the city," Ms. Isley said.

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