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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
October 31, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Tennessee Victory 2006 Rally
Meadow View Conference Resort and Convention Center
Kingsport, Tennessee

12:42 P.M. EST

MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much, Bob. That was a very, very nice introduction and I appreciate it very much. Thank you. And thanks to each and every one of your very warm welcome to Tennessee. I'm so happy to be here with you.

I'm also happy that Congressman Bill Jenkins is here - this gives us a chance to thank him for his service to Tennessee's 1st district. Bill is retiring, as you all know, and I want to thank him very much for the way he has served your state and our country. (Applause.)

State Representative David Davis, who is running for Bill Jenkins' seat, congressional candidate for Tennessee's 1st District. David, thank you all very much for being here, too. (Applause.)

The State Senate Majority Leader Ron Ramsey is here. Ron, thank you so much for joining us. (Applause.) And I want to thank all the state and local candidates and officials who have joined us here. Thank you so much for serving your community, thank you for running for office and being involved in public service. (Applause.)

And of course I have to recognize, Elizabeth, Bob's wife. When your spouse is in politics, you're involved - whether you want to be or not. (Laughter.) And we know that successful politicians have families who stand with them and are with them all the time. And I want to thank Elizabeth very, very much for being always there for Bob. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

I'm delighted to be with you all today to support Bob Corker's campaign for the United States Senate. (Applause.) Bob cares deeply about the people of Tennessee, and in Washington, he'll be a passionate advocate for all of Tennessee's families.

Bob has already improved the lives of thousands of Tennesseans through his service as Mayor of Chattanooga. Under Mayor Corker's leadership, Chattanooga's violent crime rate dropped by half. Bob helped city homeowners by reducing Chattanooga's property taxes to their lowest rate since the 1950s. He developed the Outdoor Chattanooga initiative, which encourages city residents to explore the majestic mountains and rivers of central Tennessee.

Through the improvements he made to Chattanooga's waterfront, Bob helped attract to the city an additional $2.1 billion in investments. These development projects brought safe and affordable housing to Chattanooga neighborhoods. They built new headquarters for major businesses, like the Electric Power Board and Blue Cross/Blue Shield. And they created good jobs for the people of Chattanooga.

As your senator, Bob Corker will bring to Washington the principles of efficiency and accountability that have defined his public service and his business career. He'll support tax cuts. (Applause.) Tax cuts have fueled our economy, and they've helped to add 6.6 million new jobs since 2003. And that means 6.6 million more Americans wake up with the dignity and the sense of purpose that comes with a job.

Bob Corker is dedicated to bringing jobs to Tennessee. Bob first learned the value of employment as a teenager, when he held jobs picking up trash and bagging ice in a cold freezer. After college, Bob worked as a construction laborer. He saved up $8,000 to start his own business. That small business eventually grew into a successful construction company, employing Americans in 18 states. As Tennessee's Commissioner of Finance and Administration, Bob helped almost 40,000 Tennesseans move off welfare and into the workplace.

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 them is by steering them away from risky behavior, and guiding them toward the knowledge and the self-respect they'll need to build successful lives.

Bob Corker has a strong record of commitment to young people. As mayor of Chattanooga, Bob brought accountability to the city's classrooms. He increased pay for excellent teachers. During his tenure, local elementary and middle school students improved their test scores in every subject.

Bob believes that one of the best ways to help children is to help provide them with a stable living environment. Bob has worked in his community and throughout Tennessee to help move more families, and especially low-income families, into their own homes. He established a nonprofit organization that has provided more than 10,000 Tennessee families with low-interest loans. Bob's initiative also provides home-maintenance training, so that families can take care of their own homes when they move into them. Thank you, Bob, for this important and compassionate work. (Applause.)

We all know, though, that the well being of young people in Tennessee and throughout our country ultimately depends on our government's ability to protect them - by defeating terrorism and increasing liberty abroad. In the Senate, Bob Corker 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 democracy for their country. (Applause.)

And in Afghanistan, women and girls can now be educated. (Applause.) It's hard for us to imagine a government that would prohibit half of its citizens from being educated. But now Afghanistan has a new elected government, and girls are in school all over Afghanistan.

All of us are proud of the men and women who are deployed around the world defending our country. (Applause.) And this gives me a chance to recognize one of your hometown heroes, Colonel Miles Burdine Reserve, U.S. Marine Corps. (Applause.) Miles recently received a Bronze Star for his service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He's also the CEO of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. (Applause.)

Every day, thousands of these men and women risk their lives overseas to make sure that their families, and all of our families, are kept safe here in the United States. Their love of our country, and of liberty, never wavers - and neither does their belief in our cause.

Many of these men and women have given their lives for this belief. Around the country, President Bush and I meet with their families. In military hospitals, we meet with their fellow soldiers who've been wounded in combat. And from our troops and their families, the President and I hear the same request: that we honor the sacrifice of these men and women by seeing their mission through. They ask the American people to stand with our troops. (Applause.)

Bob Corker stands with our troops. (Applause.) He understands that this election is critical to the future of our country. And he knows 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. (Applause.) And to accomplish them, we must have serious national conversations, conducted with civility and respect.

The right to have these conversations is part of what makes our country great, and our democracy strong. We must be mindful that people around the world are listening to these discussions. Responsible candidates understand that the men and women of our military are risking their lives for us overseas, and that we must conduct our debate here at home in a way that does not jeopardize our troops in harm's way. (Applause.) Bob Corker understands his responsibility to you and to our country. It's so important that we stand with Bob now, at this crucial time in our country's history. (Applause.)

Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting Bob Corker. Thanks especially to all the volunteers for your hard work making the phone calls and knocking on doors. You've already done so much to help Bob and our other terrific candidates in Tennessee - like your congressional candidate, David Davis. In the next week, they'll need more of your energy and enthusiasm.

We're looking forward to Election Day. This is a spirited contest, and we've got great candidates. (Applause.) We've also got the best grassroots volunteers. Our candidates are depending on you, so be sure to get everyone you know to the polls. Go to the phone banks, knock on those doors, and talk to your friends and neighbors about Bob Corker, David Davis, and Tennessee's great Republican candidates. They need your support - and our country needs them. (Applause.)

Thank you all very much. Thank you so much for coming out today. And thanks again very much for all the hard work you're going to do to make sure Bob Corker is elected to the United States Senate on November 7th.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

END 12:55 P.M. EST

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