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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
October 7, 2004

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Victory '04 Rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Holy Family University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

6:11 P.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much for the wonderful introduction. Thanks to all the state representatives who are here. Special thanks to Sister Francesca Onley, President of Holy Family University. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Dom Giordano, thank you very much for being our emcee. And Timmy Kelly, that was terrific. It was one of the most beautiful renditions I've ever heard. Thanks so much. (Applause.)

I want to thank all the Republican candidates who are here with me today. Aida Aloian is here. She's running for the State House. I think Melissa Brown maybe is -- here she is, came in in time, running for the U.S. Congress. I hope you all will support her.

I also want to thank all the other state elected officials who have joined us today, and every one of the volunteers who are working hard to make sure George W. Bush is reelected for four more years. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

MRS. BUSH: The President was in Wilkes Barre yesterday. (Applause.) And I know he and I both will be back in Pennsylvania again before November 2nd. And with your help, we're going to carry the state of Pennsylvania. (Applause.)

I have had the real privilege of traveling around our country for the last three-and-a-half years, and especially over the last several months, and I've met so many people who have such a very deep love for our country and for our President. People across America see what you and I see: that my husband is a person of great character and conviction. (Applause.)

We've watched as President Bush has led our country through the most historic struggle of our generation. We've been through a lot together the last 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 decisive leadership of President Bush. (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 wavers when it comes to doing the right thing." (Applause.)

These are historic times, but 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 business, workers are changing jobs often during their lifetime, instead of going to work for one company and staying there their whole life. 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 these changing times is at the heart of the President's plan.

We know, and especially in this gym, we all 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.)

More children are reading at grade level, and scores in math are improving. And we owe much of this success to America's incredible teachers. (Applause.)

As we help our younger students, we also want to make sure that our students in high schools are well prepared for the new jobs of the 21st century. We want high school students to have increased math and science training, because we know that's where the new jobs will be. President Bush wants to make it easier for high school students to take courses at community college and earn credits toward their degrees before they even graduate. He also wants to make federal student financial aid more flexible so Americans can receive training, earn a degree, or take specialized courses that will help them get a great job.

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 in America own their own business, and that sisterhood just keeps growing. In fact, women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men.

Millions of small business owners and families 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.

America has added 1.7 million jobs since August 2003. That's more jobs than Germany, Japan, England, Canada and France added, combined. (Applause.)

We know we have more work to do to make sure everybody who wants to work can find a job. On Monday, President Bush signed a bill extending the tax relief so that families and small businesses can stay on the path to greater prosperity. The bipartisan bill that the President signed extends the $1,000 child tax credit, the marriage penalty relief, and the expanded 10 percent bracket. Overall, 94 million Americans will have a lower tax bill next year, including 70 million women and 38 million families with children. (Applause.)

My husband also wants working moms and dads to keep something we never seem to have enough of, and that's time -- time to play with our kids, time to take care of our parents. President Bush will work with Congress to make flex time and comp time available so more Americans can better manage the demands of family and work.

Another growing crisis that's of particular interest to families and to doctors -- and especially in Pennsylvania -- is medical liability reform. When I visited Philadelphia in August, I met Erin Zezzo, who learned about junk lawsuits the hard way. Erin had a trusting relationship with her OB-GYN, who had delivered her first two children. Into her third pregnancy, Erin's doctor stopped delivering babies because he couldn't afford the medical liability insurance. Erin had to find a new doctor when she was six months pregnant.

Frivolous lawsuits raise the cost of insurance and they drive good doctors out of practice. President Bush will work to reform the medical liability system and reduce frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.) My husband will make sure that patients and doctors are in charge of health care, not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. (Applause.) George believes that the government should try to help people improve their lives, not try to run them. (Applause.)

As President, my husband has met some of the toughest challenges with courage. He believes that it's his duty, the responsibility of every leader, to find solutions to problems, not pass them on to future Presidents and future generations. (Applause.)

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 former state senator and Marine Corps veteran Frank Salvatore, who's with us today. Senator, thank you for your dedication to our country. (Applause.)

As we do the hard work of confronting terror, we can be proud that 50 million more men, women and children now 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 doors without a male escort. And after being denied an education, even the chance to learn to read, the little girls in Afghanistan are in school.

Those who question whether people in the broader Middle East desire freedom need only ask the 10 million Afghans who have registered to vote in this Saturday's first free presidential election in their history. (Applause.) This Saturday will be an historic milestone for all of Afghanistan, and especially the more than 4 million women who also registered to vote and will be heading to the polls. (Applause.)

Because we acted, the people of Iraq are now free from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. Recently, President Bush met with Iraq's new leader, Prime Minister Allawi, at the White House. Prime Minister Allawi said that the Iraqi people are determined to exercise their right to vote this January, even as they face violence from those who oppose their democracy. These violent acts are grim reminders of why our work to defeat terror and to support free societies in the Middle East is so important.

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

Building a democracy takes time. Think of how long it took us in our country. 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. Our nation has not always lived up to its ideals, yet those ideals have never ceased to guide us.

This Friday, this Friday night in St. Louis, the President will once again talk to Americans about his plans for making America safer and more prosperous and for making the world more secure. Americans will see the strong and thoughtful man that I've known for 27 years, a man who says what he means and does what he says. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

MRS. BUSH: There are just a few weeks left now, just a little over three weeks left before November 2nd. So in the next few weeks, talk to all your neighbors and your friends about the President and his accomplishments for our country. Reach out to Democrats and Independents who appreciate strong and optimistic leadership. Make sure your friends and your neighbors are registered to vote and then turn them out at the polls. Everything you do to help will be a huge help for the President's campaign.

These are times of change for our nation, but 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 lies before us to his job every day. And with your help, he'll do it for four more years. (Applause.)

Thank you all. Thanks so much. May God bless America. Thank you all. Thanks a lot. (Applause.)

6:28 P.M. EDT

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