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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
June 13, 2006
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Breakfast Reception for Santorum Victory Committee
10:00 A.M. EDT
MRS. BUSH: Thank you, Senator, for the very kind introduction. And I want to thank each and every one of you for your very warm welcome. It's great to have this opportunity to be here in Pennsylvania for Senator Santorum, and then to have the opportunity to speak to all of you and meet each one of you. So thank you so much for coming.
I also want to acknowledge the new Chairman of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania, Robert Gleason. Where's Robert? (Applause.) Thank you very much, Robert. Good to see you.
I don't know how many of you have your blackberries on, but if you haven't heard, the President is in Iraq right now. (Applause.) He flew there last night to meet with the new Iraqi cabinet, which, as you know, they have the new Prime Minister -- Maliki is his name -- and then he just completed the cabinet last week with the new Defense Minister and Interior Minister. So he is there while his Cabinet, the President's Cabinet is at Camp David. They'll have closed, secure videoconference, the two cabinets getting to know each other. And so, I'm thrilled and I'm proud of my husband. (Applause.)
I'm also proud of your United States Senator, Rick Santorum, and I'm so happy to be here with him. (Applause.) He's a very important member of the Senate, and he's a passionate advocate for the people of Pennsylvania. And I hope each one of you know that, and get the word out to all your friends.
He's known in this community as a devoted family man, but he's known in Washington for being devoted to the well-being of all Pennsylvania families. And during his 11 years in the Senate, Rick has worked to do many, many things that have improved our life, all of us in the United States. He's worked to improve our health care system so that more Pennsylvania families can have access to good medical treatment. He's shown a special commitment to women's health, particularly through his co-sponsorship of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp Authorization Act. The Act extended the stamp's expiration deadline by two years, allowing more money to be raised for breast cancer research.
The stamp was created with the support of the Susan Komen Foundation. The Susan Komen Foundation was established by my good friend, Nancy Brinker, after she lost her sister, Susan Komen, to breast cancer.
Yesterday, I was at the Komen Foundation's 2006 Mission Conference, where I was the one that had the opportunity to announce a new partnership between the Komen Foundation, between Johns Hopkins and MD Anderson Cancer Center and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to get the word out to women in the Middle East about breast cancer.
When Nancy Brinker started the Komen Foundation, women in the United States didn't talk about breast cancer. It was embarrassing, people didn't mention it. And that's still how it is in the Middle East. So this new partnership hopefully will really get the word to women in the Middle East about what they can do to take charge of their own health, and to make sure if they get breast cancer that it's detected early, which is the time it's best -- you have a best chance for a cure.
I'm very proud to have had the chance to be there that day. I think this is great diplomacy, health diplomacy, important diplomacy for the United States. And I'm really happy that the stamp that Senator Santorum authorized the extension of, wrote the authorization for the extension, has already raised $48 million for cancer research in the United States. (Applause.)
It's also raised awareness, it's promoted early detection, and it's helped women find the courage and the hope to win the fight against breast cancer, women like my mother, Jenna Welch. So thank you very much, Rick, for this legislation. (Applause.)
Senator Santorum's work to improve health care for Pennsylvanians is one way he's helping families in your state. Making sure Pennsylvanians' tax dollars are spent wisely in Washington is another. The Senator supports tax cuts, and last month, with his support, President Bush signed into law the largest tax relief package in American history. (Applause.) These tax cuts have fueled our economy -- I noticed in the newspaper that the state of Pennsylvania has a surplus now -- and it's helped add 5.3 million new jobs since 2003. And that means 5.3 million more Americans wake up every morning with the dignity and sense of purpose that comes with a job. (Applause.)
And on another issue that's very close to my heart, Senator Santorum is committed to a great education for all children. (Applause.) He's helped bring accountability to our classrooms through his support of the No Child Left Behind Act. Rick has co-sponsored legislation to improve teacher training, especially the teaching of American history and civics. And he supports increased funding for Pell Grants, which have allowed more Pennsylvania students realize the dream of a college education.
In his 2005 State of the Union address, President Bush announced the Helping America's Youth initiative, and he asked me to lead it. Guiding young people as they build the knowledge and the self-respect they need to lead successful lives is at the heart of Helping America's Youth.
Over the last year I've traveled to many parts of our country, including Pennsylvania, visiting with young people and with the adults who are so important to their lives. I've been to schools and after-school programs. I've met with mentors and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. I visited fatherhood initiatives. I've met with gang intervention programs where I've met young people who are leaving gangs and finding jobs.
And all of these visits culminated last October in the White House Conference on Helping America's Youth. At the conference, we introduced an online, interactive Community Guide. The guide helps concerned adults learn more about their own communities -- like which neighborhoods have the most youth-related problems, and what local resources are available to address these problems. The information is available on the website, www.helpingamericasyouth.gov -- that's g-o-v. I urge all of you to look at the guide and use it here in Pennsylvania, in each of your neighborhoods.
There are few people as dedicated to helping Pennsylvania's youth as Senator Santorum. This year the Senate passed Rick's legislation to ensure that public school teachers and staff are subject to background checks before they enter the classroom, so that our children are safe at school. (Applause.) And just last week, Rick introduced the Project Safe Childhood Authorization Act, which will help protect children in their communities and on the Internet.
We all know that the well-being of families in Pennsylvania and throughout America ultimately depends on our government's ability to keep families safe -- by defeating terrorism, and then by increasing liberty abroad.
In the Senate, Rick has been a champion of our troops as they've helped bring freedom to Afghanistan and Iraq. And thanks to our men and women in uniform -- (applause) -- because of the actions of our men and women in uniform, Afghan women and girls now can be educated. It's hard for any of us to imagine a country that would actually forbid women and girls to be educated, or anyone to be educated. And so that's great. And now, of course, the President is having the chance to meet with the new Iraqi government. The new cabinet is complete, and they will work hard now to build their democratic government. And the United States stands with them as they do that.
Senator Santorum has also been instrumental in our efforts to keep people around the world free from devastating pandemic diseases. He's an effective advocate of the President's initiative to curb malaria and HIV/AIDS, encouraging Americans to share life-saving resources and compassion with suffering people in Africa, Asia, and other threatened regions.
Rick's dedication and achievements remind us of why he must be reelected. (Applause.) And one of the things I like best about Senator Santorum is that he understands that America faces challenges that are too important to be reduced to politics.
President Bush has an ambitious agenda for the rest of his time in Washington, and he takes his responsibility to the American people very seriously. Ending our dependence on foreign oil, reforming our immigration system, rebuilding the Gulf Coast, and keeping our country safe from terrorism are not easy tasks, but they are absolutely vital goals. And to accomplish them, we need serious national conversations conducted with civility and respect. And I know Rick is a thoughtful, positive and powerful part of that dialogue. (Applause.)
This is just one reason why Rick is a wonderful leader for your state. If you look through his record of distinguished public service, you will find many more. Thank you all very, very much for your generous support for his campaign. Thank you for coming out to speak to me today. And I want to thank you in advance for all the hard work you'll do to make sure Senator Santorum is reelected next November. Thank you very much. (Applause.)