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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 28, 2004

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Victory '04 Rally in Salem, Oregon
Chemeketa Community College
Salem, Oregon

1:55 P.M. PDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all very, very much. Thanks so much. And special thanks to Mylene and to Sharon Smith. Mylene Walden, I know you all know, wife of Congressman Greg Walden. And Sharon, wife of our senator, your Senator Gordon Smith. I want to thank both of them for their friendship. I get to see them every once in a while in Washington and they are terrific women. So thank you all both very much. (Applause.)

I also want to thank all the great Republican candidates, the excellent candidates who are here today. I think some might be on the stage with me, and some sitting around here. Thank you all for joining me. (Applause.)

And a special thanks to every one of you, everybody who came out today to be with me. I want to thank you very, very much. Thanks for your hard work in the Bush campaign, thanks for making sure George W. Bush is reelected for four more years. (Applause.)

I'm so happy to be back in Oregon. It's so important for me to be here to talk to you about why it's important to reelect President Bush. As I have traveled across our country over the last several months, I've met so many people who have a deep love for our country and for our President. (Applause.)

People across America see what you and I see, and that is my husband is a man of great character and conviction. (Applause.) We've watched as President Bush has led this country through the most historic struggle of our generation. We've been through a lot together these past four years. But today, our economy is growing, we're closing the achievement gap in our schools, and America is safer and stronger, thanks to the President's decisive leadership. (Applause.)

In Ohio, I visited with a woman business owner, who summed up our success this way. She said, "President Bush was born for such a time as this. He never waivers when it comes to doing the right thing. It makes me feel so secure to know that our leader has such a love for our country." (Applause.)

These are historic times and they're also times of change that require new ideas to move America forward. Just think about the differences in our lives today and the lives of our parents or grandparents. Today, in most families, both parents are working outside the home, including two-thirds of all mothers. And more single parents are doing double duty alone. More entrepreneurs are starting their own businesses and workers are changing jobs often during their lifetimes. And more people are going back to school to keep up with our changing economy.

At our convention in New York, President Bush outlined his agenda for a new term. Helping families face the challenges of this changing world is at the heart of the President's plan. (Applause.)

We know that all opportunity starts with education. Thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act, our schools are improving with higher standards, accountability and the most federal funding ever for elementary and secondary education. (Applause.)

Education experts are using scientific research to determine which programs help students learn, and then we're informing teachers and principals so they can use the most effective programs in their classrooms. And you might not know that one of these researchers is from the University of Oregon, Dr. Doug Carmine, and he's here with us today. Thank you, Doug, for joining us today. (Applause.)

I've known Dr. Carmine since George was Governor of Texas, and his expertise has helped make the No Child Left Behind Act such a success. More children are reading at grade level and scores in math are improving. And we also owe much of this success to America's incredible teachers. (Applause.)

And as we help our younger students, we also want to make sure that high schools -- students in high schools are well prepared for the new jobs of the 21st century. We want students in high schools to have increased math and science teaching, because we know that's where the new jobs are in the 21st century. And this is where great jobs like Chemeketa Community College -- great places, great schools come in. Community colleges are vital partners in helping train workers for good jobs in growing fields.

And that's exactly why Kimberly Culver decided to come here. Even as a little girl, Kimberly knew that she wanted to be a nurse. When Kimberly became a young mother, she worried that she'd have to put her goals aside. But her own mother wouldn't hear of it. Kimberly enrolled in a program to help teen parents get their diplomas, and Kimberly did get her diploma. In fact, she graduated high school with honors.

Then she went on here to Chemeketa Community College. She received a scholarship to help pay for child care, and she worked at a local doctor's office while she earned her nursing degree. In June, Kimberly graduated. She's now an R.N. and ready to fulfill her dream of working with students. (Applause.)

Community colleges are helping many people achieve their dreams, and we can extend that opportunity even further. President Bush wants to make it easier for high school students to take courses at community colleges and earn credits toward their degrees before they even graduate. He also wants to make federal financial aid more flexible so more Americans can receive training, earn a degree or take specialized courses that help them reach their goals. (Applause.)

And when these graduates enter the work force, I'm proud to say that a lot of them will go to work for a woman boss. (Applause.) Ten million women own their own businesses in America. And that sisterhood just keeps growing. Millions of families and small business owners are saving more of their own money because the President worked to pass the largest tax relief in a generation. (Applause.)

And just in case you don't know, a lot of small businesses are either sole proprietorships or sub-S corporations, which means they're taxed with regular income tax. So when you talk about tax cuts, you're also talking about the tax cuts that help small business owners expand their businesses and hire more people. (Applause.)

America has added 1.7 million jobs since August '03, and that's more jobs than Germany, Japan, England, Canada and France added, combined. (Applause.)

We know that we have more work to do to make sure everybody who wants a job can find one. But I'm pleased that last week the United States Congress voted to extend the tax relief. This gives families and small businesses added certainty to keep on the path to greater prosperity. (Applause.)

And because so many people now change jobs several times over their lifetimes, workers and their families need accessible and affordable health care that they can take with them. President Bush was proud to sign the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill, which is giving seniors savings on their prescription drugs, and he's making health care more affordable with health savings accounts. These accounts allow you to save tax free for health care expenses in accounts that you own, that you control, and that you can take with you from job to job or you can take home with you if you leave work to raise a family. (Applause.)

The majority of working Americans who are uninsured work for small businesses. And the President wants small businesses to be able to pool their risk so that they can buy health insurance for their employees at the same discounts that big companies get. (Applause.)

And my husband will always make sure that patients and doctors are in charge of health care, not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. (Applause.) He believes that government should help people improve their lives, not try to run them. (Applause.)

All of these issues are important to our country. But as we mark the third anniversary of September 11th, I believe what's most important is my husband's work to protect our country and to defeat terror around the world. (Applause.)

President Bush and I want our men and women in uniform and their families to know how much every American appreciates their service and their sacrifice. (Applause.) We appreciate courageous Americans like Lance Corporal Dan Siemieniec, who is currently serving in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps. (Applause.)

Dan's mother Becky is with us today. Becky, please thank your son for us, and know that you and your family and all military families are in the thoughts and prayers of every American. (Applause.)

And as we do the hard work of confronting terror, we can be proud that today 50 million more men, women and children have the chance to live in freedom, thanks to the United States of America and our allies. (Applause.) After years of being treated as virtual prisoners in their homes by the Taliban, the women of Afghanistan are now able to walk outside their door without a male escort. And the little girls of Afghanistan, who were forbidden to be educated, are now in school. (Applause.)

Because we acted, the people of Iraq are free of the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) President Bush met with Iraq's new leader, Prime Minister Allawi, at the White House last week. Imagine, the President of the United States meeting with the President of Iraq* together at the White House. (Applause.)

Prime Minister Allawi says that the Iraqi people are determined to exercise their right to vote this January, even as they face violence from those who oppose democracy. These acts are grim reminders of why our work to defeat terror and to support free societies in the Middle East are so important. (Applause.)

We still have hard work to do, but we'll stand with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan while their hopes for freedom are being fulfilled.

Building a democracy takes time. Think of how long it took us in our country, even though we were given a perfect document by our founders. It took almost 100 years after our founders declared all men are created equal to abolish slavery in America. And not until 84 years ago did American women get the right to vote. (Applause.) Our nation has not always lived up to its ideals, yet those ideals have never ceased to guide us.

President Bush knows that there's more to do to make our country safer, stronger and more hopeful for all Americans, and he will continue the work of leading America forward while holding true to our timeless ideals. (Applause.)

In the next few weeks, talk to your neighbors about the President's accomplishments and about his plans for a new term. Reach out to Democrats and Independents who appreciate strong and optimistic leadership. Make sure your friends are registered to vote, and then make sure they turn out at the polls. Everything you do will be a huge help to the President's campaign.

This Thursday night in Miami, the American people will see the strong, decisive man I've known for the last 27 years -- (applause) -- a man who says what he means and does what he says. (Applause.)

These are times of change for our nation, and they're also years of promise. George and I grew up in West Texas, where the sky seems endless and so do the possibilities. My husband brings that optimism, that sense of purpose, that certainty that a better day is before us to his job every day, and with your help, he'll do it for four more years. (Applause.)

Thank you all so much. Thank you. Thanks, and may God bless America. Thank you all. (Applause.)

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