The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 28, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Mike Whalen for Congress and Republican Party of Iowa Breakfast
RiverCenter Adler Theatre
Davenport, Iowa

10:13 A.M. CDT

MRS. BUSH: Thanks, everybody. Thank you for the very warm welcome. I'm thrilled to be here. I told Mike on the way in that when you're in politics in the United States, presidential politics, you spend a lot of time in Iowa. (Laughter.) And it's a great place to spend a lot of time, because people here are kind, they're solid, and represent, really, the very, very best characteristics of America, the best, strongest parts of American character. And so it's a really great place to start presidential races.

And I told Mike we were here in 1980 for George's dad. We were here for Reagan, President Reagan and Vice President Bush in '80, and then in '84 again. And then, of course, we came back when George started to run, and I guess we started coming here probably in '99 before that 2000 race, and were back here again, of course, in 2004.

And I want to thank everybody in this state for your warmth, for your kindness. When you campaign here, even if you meet people who are not for you, they're always kind and polite and civil, and take their responsibility as citizens of the United States very seriously, to hear what every candidate says, to treat every candidate with respect. And I appreciate that very, very much. Thank you all very much for that. (Applause.)

And I want to recognize Kim Whalen, Mike's wife. Just like Mike said, when your spouse is in politics, you've involved whether you want to be or not. But we know that the most successful candidates and the most successful office holders are the ones whose families support them, who are there with them the whole time. And I want to thank Kim and Mike's children very much for supporting their husband and dad. Thanks a lot for that. (Applause.)

And as Mike told us, Kim and Mike were partners even before they were married, when Mike hired Kim to be the bookkeeper for his new business. In 1978, Mike had just graduated from Harvard Law School and had taken the bar exam. Two days after the bar exam, he opened a restaurant in Davenport along Interstate 80, and ever since, Mike has been a successful restaurateur. Even when he's in a business meeting, Mike will apparently pick up the coffeepot and begin pouring for everyone without thinking about it. So when Mike says he's committed to serving the people of Iowa, he really means it. (Laughter.)

I'm delighted to be with you today to support Mike Whalen's campaign for the United States Congress. A native Iowan, Mike cares deeply about the people of this state, and in Washington, he'll be a powerful advocate for the 1st district. Mike brings to the House the principles of efficiency and accountability that have defined his success in a business career. He'll ensure that Iowa's tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly. Mike supports the Presidential Line Item Veto, which will help eliminate unnecessary spending from the federal budget.

And in the House, Mike will support President Bush's tax cuts. (Applause.) These tax cuts have fueled our economy, and they've helped bring 5.7 million new jobs since 2003. And that means 5.7 million more Americans wake up every morning with the dignity and the sense of purpose that comes with a job.

And in Iowa, the unemployment rate is a low 3.7 percent. This is a testament to the hard-working people of your state, and to the effectiveness of tax cuts to stimulate the economy. I want to congratulate each of you in Iowa.

There are few people more dedicated to creating jobs in Iowa than Mike. Mike learned the value of having a job when he was 14 and employed as an entry-level salad bar worker at a local restaurant. I just told you about how Mike opened his own restaurant after he graduated from law school. That one restaurant has grown into a full business -- Heart of America, Inc. -- which now operates 18 restaurants, and nine hotels and motels in Iowa in five other states.

These enterprises promote Iowa cooking, and Mike's best-known restaurant, the Iowa Machine Shed, has introduced the public to new methods of serving pork, turkey and other Iowa agricultural products, boosting your state's farming industry.

Mike has been named Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. Magazine, and received the Entrepreneurial Success Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration, in recognition of how in good economic times and bad, Mike's dedication and skill have sustained his business and created thousands of jobs for Iowans.

Offering young people the hope of good employment is one of the most important things we can do for our children. Another way we can help our young people is by steering them away from dangerous behaviors and guiding them toward the knowledge and the self-respect they need to build successful lives.

In his 2005 State of the Union address, President Bush announced the Helping America's Youth initiative, and he asked me to lead it. Helping young people learn to make wise decisions for their lives is at the heart of Helping America's Youth.

Since the President announced the initiative, I've traveled to many parts of our country, visiting with young people and with the adults who are so important to their lives. I've been to schools and to after-school programs. I've visited fatherhood initiatives. I've met with mentors and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. I've visited gang intervention programs, where I've met with young people who are leaving gangs and finding jobs.

All of these visits led to the White House Conference on Helping America's Youth last October, and then to two regional conferences since -- one in Indianapolis and one in Denver. At the conference, we introduced an online, interactive Community Guide. The guide helps concerned adults learn more about the problems facing youth in their own communities, and what local resources are available to help address these problems. The guide is available on the Helping America's Youth website, which is -- that's g-o-v. I encourage you to look at the website and to use these resources here in your own communities.

Mike Whalen has a strong record of commitment to young people. He launched a Christian radio station to provide Iowa youth with music that carries a positive, encouraging message. And four years ago, Mike and Kim co-founded the

Wildwood Hills Ranch in St. Charles, Iowa. Wildwood Hills serves abused and needy youth from across your state, offering summer camps that allow children to explore the outdoors and develop healthy new interests like swimming and horseback riding. Young people build character, leadership skills and self-confidence in a supportive, faith-based environment. They spend time with mentors and counselors who give the campers help and encouragement. So thank you, Kim and Mike, for this very important work. (Applause.)

We all know, though, that the well-being of young people in Iowa and throughout our country ultimately depends on our government's ability to protect them, by defeating terrorism and increasing liberty abroad.

In Congress, Mike will be a champion of the men and women of the United States military. (Applause.) And thanks to our troops, the Iraqi people are now free from the oppression of Saddam Hussein and are working to build a democratic future for their country. President Bush has pledged that the American people will stand with them as they build their democracy.

And in Afghanistan, women and girls can now be educated. It's hard for us to imagine a country that would prohibit half of its citizens from being educated. But now little girls are in school all over Afghanistan.

All of us are proud of the young men and women who are deployed around the world, defending our country overseas, to make sure that our families are kept safe here in the United States. (Applause.)

Mike's dedication to the people of Iowa and his achievements remind us of why he must be elected to the United States Congress. Mike understands that America faces challenges too important to be reduced to just 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're absolutely vital goals. To accomplish them, we must have serious national conversations, conducted with civility and respect. And Mike Whalen will be a thoughtful, positive and powerful part of that dialogue. (Applause.)

This is just one reason why Mike is a wonderful leader for Iowa. When you look through his distinguished record of public service, you'll see many, many more.

Thank you all very much for coming out to support Mike. Thank you for your generous support for his election. I urge you to redouble your efforts between now and November to make sure Mike Whalen is elected to the United States Congress.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

END 10:25 A.M. CDT

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