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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
October 19, 2004

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Victory '04 Rally in Primos, Pennsylvania
Primos-Secane-Westbrook Park Fire Company
Station 74 Upper Darby
Primos, Pennsylvania

3:28 P.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you very, very much, Congressman. Thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here. I'm running late and I'm sorry to hold you all up, but the weather, as you can tell, is not that great for flying from New York.

I'm so glad to be here. Thank you very much, Congressman Weldon. Thank you, Julie Nixon Eisenhower. Where's Julie now? Julie, thank you very, very much for being here with me. And I want to thank all the state and local officials that have joined me today -- and especially the first responders who are standing behind me today. Thank you. (Applause.)

Congressman Weldon told me when I came in that when this firehouse was built, when they built this one, they turned the other one into a library. And I think that is so terrific. (Applause.)

I want to thank the Upper Darby High School Marching Band, who entertained the crowd. Thank you all so much. I really appreciate it. (Applause.)

And I'm so happy to be back in Pennsylvania to talk about why it's so important to reelect President George W. Bush. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years! (Applause.)

MRS. BUSH: Two weeks from today, the American people will go to the polls to decide who will lead our country for the next four years. I can tell you that President Bush will make America safer stronger and better. (Applause.) He'll work to bring opportunity and prosperity to every corner of our country. And with your help on November 2nd, we'll carry Pennsylvania and reelect President Bush. (Applause.)

As I've traveled around 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. People all across America see what you and I see, and that is my husband is a man of great character and conviction. We've watched as President Bush has led our country though the most historic struggles of our generation. We've been through a lot together these 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 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 wavers 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, but they're also times of change. Just think about the differences in our lives today and the lives of our parents or grandparents. Today in most families, both parents work 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. Workers are changing jobs often during their lifetimes, rather than going to work for one company and staying there for their whole career. And more people are going back to school to keep up with our changing economy.

President Bush has outlined an agenda for the new term. And helping families face the challenges of this changing world is at the heart of the President's plan.

We know that all opportunity starts with education. And thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act, our schools are improving with higher standards, with accountability, and with the most federal funding ever for elementary and secondary education. (Applause.) And as we help our younger students by making sure they learn to read by the third grade, 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 the new jobs will demand these skills. We also want to make federal student financial aid more flexible, so that more Americans can go to college, earn a degree, or take specialized courses that will help them get a great job.

And when these graduates go to work, 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 business in America, and that sisterhood just keeps growing. In fact, women are starting small businesses at twice the rate of men in the United States. And 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 pay regular income tax like individuals pay. So when you're talking about tax relief, you're also talking about tax relief for small businesses, so they can expand their operations and hire more people. And America has added 1.9 million new jobs since August 2003. (Applause.) That's more jobs than Germany, Japan, England, Canada and France added, combined. And here in Pennsylvania, you've added more than 57,000 new jobs since the beginning of this year. Congratulations to all of you. (Applause.)

We know we have more work to do to make sure every single person in America that wants to work can find a job. This month, 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, which Congressman Weldon supported, 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 believes that every American should have access to the most reliable and most affordable health care. And one way we can reduce the costs of healthcare is to stop frivolous and junk lawsuits. (Applause.) In August, here in your state, I met Erin Zezzo, who learned about the effects of 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 could no longer afford the high premiums of his medical liability insurance. Erin had to find a new doctor when she was six months pregnant.

President Bush will work to reform the medical liability system and reduce frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.) And he'll also make sure that patients and doctors are in charge of health care, not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. (Applause.) George believes that government should try to help people improve their lives, not try to run their lives.

And one of the most promising ways government can help improve our lives is by supporting medical research. The President is strongly committed to advancing research. Since he has been President, he has doubled the budgets for the National Institutes of Health and has requested $28.8 billion for next year's budget. This money will support research that leads to new and better treatments for heart disease and cancer and many other illnesses.

But the President also looks forward to medical breakthroughs that may arrive from stem cell research. You might not realize that, because many people try to distort his record. But the truth is, George Bush is the only President to authorize federal funding for stem cell research.

Last year, the federal government invested nearly $25 million in embryonic stem cell research and nearly $191 million in adult and other stem cell research. Many millions more are spent by researchers in the private sector.

My father died of Alzheimer's and I share the President's eagerness to find a cure for this devastating illness. We're hopeful that stem cells will yield cures and therapies for a myriad of illnesses. But we know that the promise of research lies in the advancement of scientific knowledge and in a greater understanding of how stem cells can be used to treat illnesses. The President's policy makes it possible for researchers to explore the potential of stem cells while respecting the ethical and moral implications associated with this research. (Applause.)

Another issue of great importance to all Americans is Social Security. Once again during this election season, some people are trying to scare America's seniors about Social Security. But I want everyone here to know -- and I think he made this very plain in the debates -- my husband believes that Social Security is a central part of our compassionate society. And as long as my husband is President, America will keep the promise of Social Security to all of our seniors. (Applause.)

As President, my husband has met the toughest challenges with courage. He believes that it's his duty, the responsibility of every leader, is to find solutions to problems, not pass them on to future Presidents and future generations. (Applause.) And his first and most solemn duty is to protect our country and to protect the people of the United States. He has worked to defeat terror around the world.

President Bush and I appreciate the men and women like the firefighters in this company, and all first responders around our country who are keeping their neighbors safe. We also want the men and women in the United States military and their families to know how much every American appreciates their service and their sacrifice. (Applause.)

President Bush will always make sure that America's troops have the resources and the support they need to complete their missions. And I want to make it very clear that under the President's leadership, the United States military will remain an all-volunteer military. (Applause.)

We appreciate the patriotism and the courage of volunteers like Marene Allison, who is here with us today. She was one of the first class of women graduates from West Point in 1980. Marene served six years in the Army and today her son, John, is following in his mother's footsteps as a cadet at West Point. Thank you, Marene, and please thank your son for us. (Applause.) All of our military families are in the thoughts and prayers of every single American.

As we do the hard work of confronting terror, we can be proud that 50 million more men, women and children 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 the little girls in Afghanistan, who were forbidden to be educated, are now in school.

Ten days ago, the Afghan people voted in the first free presidential election in the history of their country. (Applause.) Despite threats of violence from terrorists, millions of Afghan citizens went to the polls. We even heard of a bridge that was blown up, but the Afghan citizens found a ford in the river so they could cross it to vote. A 19-year-old woman became the first voter in the election. (Applause.) She said, "I cannot explain my feelings, just how happy I am. I would never have thought I would be able to vote in an election." Isn't that great? (Applause.)

And because we acted, the people of Iraq are free from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. President Bush met with Iraq's new leader, Prime Minister Allawi, at the White House recently. Prime Minister Allawi said that the Iraqi people are determined to exercise their right to vote, even as they face violence from people who oppose their democracy.

Already an Iraqi independent electoral commission is up and running, political parties are planning campaigns, voter registration will begin next month -? and free and fair Iraqi elections will be held this coming January. (Applause.) A recent poll found that more than 75 percent of Iraqis want to vote, and they have confidence in the electoral process and they're hopeful about the future of their country. The Iraqi people are showing that the violent acts of a few can not stop the march of freedom. (Applause.)

Americans know that 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, and not until 84 years ago did American women get the right to vote. Building a democracy is not easy but we know it's right. (Applause.)

Over the last four years, the American people have come to know the man that I've known for 27 years. The American people know that my husband says what he means and does what he says. He keeps his word. (Applause.)

So with just two weeks left, I want to encourage you when you leave here today, tell your neighbors about the President's vision for making America better. Reach out to Democrats and Independents who appreciate strong and optimistic leadership. Make sure your friends are registered to vote -? and get an absentee ballot if you'll be away from home on Election Day. You only have one more week to get an absentee ballot -? the deadline in Pennsylvania is October 26th. Then make sure you vote, and turn out as many people as you can. Everything you do to help will be a huge asset 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 is before us to his job every day. And, with your help, he'll do it for four more years. (Applause.) May God bless you. May God bless America. (Applause.) Thank you all. (Applause.)

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