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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
July 30, 2004
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Richard Burr for Senate Luncheon
University of North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
12:25 P.M. EDT
MRS. BUSH: Thank you all and thank you very much, Congressman Burr, for that kind introduction. I'm so happy to be here for you today, to support your race for United States Senate for North Carolina. Thank you all very much for the warm Carolina welcome. And special thanks to the Wilmington College Republicans. I think I see them right here at the middle table. Thank you all for coming. And to everyone who is working so hard to elect Richard Burr to the United States Senate, thank you all for being here and for your support. I know that many of you are also working on my husband's campaign, and President Bush and I appreciate that very much.
I'm so glad to recognize Senator George Allen from Virginia who is over here. He's joining us today, the head of the Senatorial campaign. And thank you very much for being here with us, Senator. (Applause.)
Of course, I'm so excited to be joined on the podium today with your candidate for Governor. Thank you very much, Patrick. (Applause.)
I'm glad that Brooke Burr is with us. Brooke and I have a lot in common. We're both committed to finding a cure for breast cancer. We've campaigned with our husbands for Congress, and we both know what it's like to raise teenagers. (Laughter.)
My husband's first race, George's first race, was a campaign for Congress in West Texas in 1978. Newly married, we spent most of our time in the car, driving up and down the Panhandle of Texas. The race didn't turn out quite as we hoped, but we did have a great time. And believe me, you learn a lot about your husband when you spend that much time in a car with him.
President Bush sends his very best regards to all of you, and he also thanks you for supporting Congressman Burr in his race for the Senate. He wants you to know how vitally important it is to have a strong team in North Carolina, led by Senator Elizabeth Dole and Senator Richard Burr. (Applause.)
All of you know Congressman Burr as a community member, a member of your community, a devoted father, a hardworking public servant, and an experienced leader. He'll always listen to a question or a concern, and you can count on Richard Burr to speak his mind. That's what Brooke told me. (Laughter.)
In Washington, we know Congressman Burr as a principled, skilled legislator, who is not afraid to reach across the aisle to get things done for the people of his home state. From supporting tax relief and increased pay for our troops to demanding greater resources for protecting our homeland, Congressman Burr has spent his time in Washington working on the issues that matter to the families of North Carolina. He understands your priorities and he'll continue to make sure that your voice is heard. And that's why it's so important to elect Richard Burr to the United States Senate. (Applause.)
President Bush and Congressman Burr are working hard to keep America strong and safe. Over the last three years, our country has faced some of the toughest challenges in our history. I've watched as my husband has led our country with compassion and conviction. President Bush has been a steady and determined leader, as he has made the most difficult decisions any President can make, and that's to send young Americans to war to protect our national security and to defend the cause of freedom. And President Bush is grateful to have leaders like Richard Burr to stand by his side during these very difficult times.
As a leader on the House Committee on Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, Congressman Burr knows that we must defend our homeland and the peace of free people around the world. He has supported greater pay and training for our military and better housing and health care for their families. And his support has helped to reverse the devastating cuts in defense from a decade ago.
As a member of the Congress Committee on Bioterrorism, Congressman Burr is strengthening our preparedness for bioterror threats. He is providing North Carolina's police, fire fighters and first responders with the resources they need to protect our hometowns.
For Congressman Burr and for all Americans, September 11th, 2001, was a defining moment. We'll never forget the bravery of our fellow Americans or the spirit of unity that spread across our country. And since that fateful day, I have watched as President Bush's leadership has made not only the world safer, but also people's lives better. Thanks to my husband's decisions and to America's actions, 50 million people are now free from tyranny and oppression. (Applause.)
Consider the women and girls of Afghanistan. During the long years of the Taliban regime, they were virtual prisoners in their homes, unable to leave without male supervision. And if they didn't have a male relative -- and many didn't because they were widowed from long years of war -- they were forced to beg, because they were forbidden to go to school or to work.
Now the people of Afghanistan have new leaders, new freedoms, and a constitution guaranteeing the rights of women. And millions of little girls are in school in Afghanistan, many for the first time in their lives.
And thanks to America's actions, the people of Iraq are free from the tyranny and the torture of Saddam Hussein. We are now seeing great progress in Iraq's transition to democracy. The new Iraqi interim government assumed responsibilities for the citizens of Iraq, and they are now making decisions about the economy, security and other issues important to their fellow citizens.
The new Iraqi government has the full support of the United Nations, NATO, the E.U. And we pledged to stand with the Iraqi people at this historic and hopeful time for their nation.
We still face many challenges every day. But we know that there's no safe alternative to resolute action. The defeat of violence and terror in Iraq is vital to the defeat of violence and terror in the world.
A strong economy is also essential to our security, and President Bush needs Congressman Burr's leadership in the Senate to help make tax relief permanent. Richard's strong support for the President's economic stimulus plan is enabling millions of families -- including two-and-a-half million here in North Carolina -- to keep more of their own money.
For many families, tax relief means money to pay the monthly bills or to start a college savings plan for their children or to save for their own retirement. For small business owners, tax relief means expanding the operations of their business and the ability to hire more employees. These millions of individual decisions that people are making with their own money are lifting our economy and improving the lives of people around the country.
We're experiencing the fastest economic growth in 20 years. The home ownership rate is at its highest level ever. Minority home ownership is particularly strong. And I'm proud that we've set a new record in the first quarter of this year. Now more than half of all minority families own their own homes. And new jobs continue to be created every day.
President Bush believes that America's workers are the best in the world and that, when given a level playing field, we can compete against workers anywhere. The President is providing more resources to educate and equip American workers with the skills to meet the demands of an ever-changing work force.
And that's just what Congressman Burr is doing here in North Carolina. He developed an innovative program with local community colleges to help displaced workers learn new skills for jobs in biotechnology. His program is considered a prototype for community colleges across the country.
Like President Bush, Richard also knows how vitally important it is that every child receives an excellent education. Our children's education is the single most important responsibility we have. Congressman Burr supports the No Child Left Behind Act, which provides more federal money for schools than ever before and higher standards for our children and our teachers.
Congressman Burr also understands that reliable health care is fundamental to our economic security. No one can build confidence about the future if they feel the next illness they have might wipe out their savings and drive them into debt. President Bush is taking action to make health care more affordable and more accessible to millions of Americans. He worked with Congressman Burr to add prescription drug benefit to Medicare to help seniors afford their medicines.
Congressman Burr's FDA bill streamlined the drug approval process so that patients don't have to wait so long for lifesaving medications.
Junk lawsuits drive up the cost of medicine and they drive good doctors out of their practice. And I know that Richard Burr supports the President's plan to reform the medical liability system to reduce junk and frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
In this world of rapid change, some things never change, our conviction that every life matters and that every life counts, our belief in liberty and opportunity, and the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. The individual values we try to live by, courage and compassion, reverence and integrity, hard work and duty, the institutions that give us direction and purpose, our families, our schools, our religious congregations. These values are fundamental to our lives, and they deserve the respect of our government.
I know that you're here today because, like Congressman Burr, you believe that every child deserves to grow up healthy and safe. You believe that every American deserves an excellent education. You believe that we can help secure peace and freedom in the world. And you believe that through acts of faith and love, we can build a more compassionate America. President Bush and Richard Burr share your beliefs and they'll continue to make them their priorities as they strive to build a stronger America.
When you leave here today, redouble your efforts to elect Richard Burr to the United States Senate. There are just three months left, three full months left until November 2nd. So go to work right now to talk to your friends and make sure your neighbors vote. Remember that every single vote matters and every vote for Congressman Burr is a vote for a better and stronger America.
You are electing someone who will represent your hopes and dreams in our nation's capital, someone who will uphold the strong character of the people of North Carolina. Congressman Burr serves the people of North Carolina with integrity and conviction and these are the values we need in the United States Senate. Please join President Bush and me in supporting Richard Burr for senator.
Thank you all so much. Thank you for being here. And thank you for your friendship. (Applause.)