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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
October 21, 2004

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at "W Stands for Women" Rally in Hopkinton, New Hampshire
Hopkinton Town Hall
Hopkinton, New Hampshire

1:58 P.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you, Jenna, for that very kind introduction. One of the great things about having the girls on the campaign trail with us is getting to hear them talk about how much they love us -? (laughter) -- and in public, no less. (Laughter.)

Thank you all very, very much. Thank you for your warm welcome today. Today seemed like a perfect day for a road trip with a few friends -? (laughter) -- and I can't think of a better place to take a fall drive than here in New Hampshire. Thank you all so much for that.

Kitty Sununu has been showing of your state to me all day, and I'm so glad that she's traveling with me. Special thanks also to my friend Cindy McCain for being here. A few years ago, Cindy and I were on different buses -? (laughter) -- and her bus nearly knocked ours off the road. (Laughter.) But today, I'm so happy that she and Senator McCain are traveling with us on the road to victory.

And of course, I'm happy to be traveling with two of our closest friends, your Senator Judd Gregg and his wife, Kathy. (Applause.) President Bush and I are also very glad to have Congressman Charlie Bass and his wife, Lisa, as our friends. Thank you both for being here. (Applause.)

And thanks to our beautiful Miss America, Erika Harold. Thank you, Erika, for joining us. (Applause.)

And, of course, I'm especially honored to have Cheryl McGuiness traveling with us. (Applause.) Cheryl has been through so much, and we really admire her grace and her dignity and her example to the rest of us. Thank you so much, Cheryl. (Applause.)

And thanks to Sharon Sykas and Linda Henderson and Lorraine Keavany for welcoming us to Hopkinton. I'm so happy to be back in New Hampshire. And especially to be here to talk about why it's so important to reelect President George W. Bush. (Applause.)

President Bush and I love to visit your home state, as you know. And so does the President's family. Barbara Bush has been traveling in New Hampshire for us, and she was here in this very same town hall in 1992 on her bus tour.

A couple of summers ago we were visiting them at their house in Maine for the 4th of July. George woke up at 6:00 a.m. and, as usual, he padded downstairs for a cup of coffee. Then he went and sat on the sofa in his parents' bedroom and put his feet up. And all of a sudden, Barbara Bush hollered, "Put your feet down." (Laughter.) George's dad said, "For Goodness sake, Barbara, he's the President of the United States." (Laughter.) And Bar replied, "I don't care; I don't want his feet on my coffee table." (Laughter.) So you see, even Presidents have to listen to their mother. (Laughter.)

George is a lot like his mother. My husband makes his views clear and he stands on principle. And above all, the President says what he means and he does what he says.

When our economy needed a jumpstart, my husband said that he would reduce taxes -? and he did. 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 today, our economy is growing and it's getting stronger every day. In a new term, my husband will keep America on the road to prosperity by working to keep taxes low. (Applause.)

Four years ago, my husband said we were going to reform public education in America because too many children from our poorest schools were being left behind. And he worked with Congress to do just that. Today, 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.)

We will continue to make sure that every child in America receives an excellent education. And in a new term, my husband wants to make career training and student financial aid more accessible so more Americans can go to work to earn a college degree.

Four years ago, my husband said he would work with Congress to give seniors relief from the rising costs of prescription drugs -? and he did. The Medicare bill passed the Congress and he signed it and, in 2006, when the full drug benefit will begin, seniors will save even more on their drug costs. And in a new term, the President will work to bring down the cost of health care by reforming the medical liability system and working to reduce junk lawsuits. (Applause.)

When it comes to healthcare, education, and strengthening our economy, George believes that government should try to help people improve their lives, not try to run them. (Applause.)

As President, my husband has met 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 or future generations. And his first and most solemn duty is to protect our country and protect the people of the United States. (Applause.)

He has worked to defeat terror around the world. And President Bush and I want the men and women of the United States military and their families to know how much every American appreciates their service and their sacrifice. (Applause.)

We appreciate the sacrifice of courageous Americans like military wife April Heuton, who is here with us today. April, we want you to know that your husband and all military men and women are in our thoughts and prayers. And there's her husband right there, home on leave from Iraq. Thank you so much. (Applause.)

As long as my husband is Commander-in-Chief, our troops and first responders will have the support they need, and the United States military will remain an all-volunteer military. (Applause.)

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.)

Just two weeks ago, millions of Afghans voted in their first free presidential election in the history of their country. And in a great display of how far Afghanistan has come, a 19-year-old woman was the first person to cast her ballot. (Applause.) The people of Iraq are working to build their country, even as they face violence from those who oppose 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 elections will be held this coming January.

The future holds great promise, and though there will be many difficult struggles to remain, the United States will stay a constant friend to both nations. (Applause.)

Americans know that building a democracy takes time. Think of how long it took us. 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.)

This is a critical moment in our history. In just 12 days, voters will face the choice between an America that is uncertain in the face of danger, or an America that takes decisive action to defeat terror and spread liberty. Americans can choose a leader who understands the threat we face today. Families and business owners can choose a President who will keep taxes low so that people can keep more of their own money. We can choose a President who wants the health care system to be where patients and doctors are in charge, not government bureaucrats. (Applause.)

And parents can choose a President who will keep us on the path to excellence and high standards in our schools for every single child. The choice is clear: America needs the leadership of President Bush for four more years. (Applause.)

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

MRS. BUSH: So with less than two weeks to go, 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. Get an absentee ballot if you're going to be away on November 2nd, then make sure you vote, and turn out as many people as you can. Everything you do will be great 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 is before us to his job every day and, with your help, he'll do it for four more years. (Applause.) Thank you all. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)

2:10 P.M. EDT

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