Country queen Dolly Parton has defended DIXIE CHICKS singer Natalie Maines' controversial remarks about American President GEORGE W BUSH - insisting it's something she could have done.

The revered JOLENE singer is urging country fans to forgive and forget what Maines said about the President during a show in London - and simply enjoy the trio's great music.

Parton says, "I have to say in defence of them that they are great girls and I'm sure they never meant the harm that has come from all this.

"Natalie is like me - she opens her mouth sometimes before her brain kicks in.

"I think it's time to just forgive them because that's the American thing to do. We should just move on from that. It's a mistake and I feel they feel worse about it than anybody.

"It is better to choose what you say than say what you choose, but I hope they do well and I think people just thought they weren't supporting our troops and I don't think that's true. I felt so bad about that."

Parton admits she was upset when country stars in general refused to publicly support the Dixie Chicks.

She adds, "Everyone was so afraid to even touch that or say anything because they were afraid they were gonna wind up in a worse mess."

07/07/2003 09:30