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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
October 25, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Sodrel for Congress and Indiana Victory 2006 Rally
Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds
Columbus, Indiana

MRS. BUSH: Thank you so much, Congressman. Thank you very much, Mike. Thank you for that very brief introduction. That's the kind I like. (Laughter.)

And thanks to everybody out here for the very warm welcome to Indiana. I'm thrilled to be here. (Applause.) I want to recognize Murray Clark, who is the Chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. Thanks, Murry. Thanks for joining us. Larry Schikles, who is the Chairman of the 9th Congressional District Republican Party. (Applause.) I also met in the photo line the chairmen -- county chairmen of a number of counties' Republican Party. Thank you all. Thank you for your very hard work. Thanks to all the Republicans Party here. (Applause.)

And then I want to recognize all the state and local officials and candidates who are with us today. Thank you all for serving your communities. Thank you for doing the hard work of serving on the school board or the city council or all the other ways you serve. And to all the candidates: work hard. Election Day is coming, and we're going to win. (Applause.)

And of course, I have to recognize Keta Sodrel, Mike's wife. I don't know where Keta is, I can't see -- oh, there she is, right over there. (Applause.) You know, when your spouse is in politics, you're involved whether you want to be or not. And we know that successful politicians have families that stay with them and stand by their side the whole time. And Keta, thank you very much for doing that. (Applause.)

In fact, several members of Mike's family are here, including his big group of precious granddaughters. Thank you all so much for coming, too. (Applause.)

I'm delighted to be with you today to support Mike Sodrel's campaign for the United States Congress. (Applause.) Mike has had a great start in Washington, and not just because he sponsored legislation -- which was passed, by the way -- congratulating Tony Stewart on his 2005 NASCAR championship. (Applause.)

During his first term, Mike has distinguished himself as a passionate advocate for Indiana's families. He's brought the principles of efficiency and accountability developed during his successful business career. He's brought those principles to the House of Representatives, where he's ensured that Indiana tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly.

Congressman Sodrel supports tax cuts. (Applause.) And this year, with Mike's help, President Bush signed into law the largest tax relief package in American history. (Applause.) And these tax cuts have fueled our economy, and helped add 6.6 million new jobs since 2003. And that means 6.6 million more people wake up every morning with the dignity and the sense of purpose that comes with a job.

There are few people more dedicated to creating jobs in Indiana than Mike Sodrel. (Applause.) Mike spent 30 years in the transportation industry, building successful trucking and motor coach lines that have employed hundreds of Hoosiers.

Mike's transportation background has made him a respected leader on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he's made Indiana his top priority. On the committee, Congressman Sodrel helped secure more than $20 million for the Ohio River Bridges Project. (Applause.) This initiative will build two new bridges over the Ohio River to connect Louisville and southern Indiana, improving transportation options, and creating good jobs for the people of the 9th District.

In Washington, Mike has been a powerful advocate for Indiana's major industries, especially through his leadership on the Agriculture Committee. The farm bill comes up next year for re-authorization, and it's important to re-elect Mike so he can make sure that the next bill benefits southern Indiana farmers. (Applause.)

Corn production is especially important for Indiana's economy, and one of the most promising uses for corn is as an alternative source of energy. From his trucking business, Mike understands that even slight increases in fuel costs affect Indiana's working families. So in Congress, Mike has supported energy legislation that promotes ethanol, clean coal technology, biofuels, and wind and solar energy as alternatives to oil and gas. This legislation is helping end Americans' dependence on foreign oil. (Applause.) It's also opening new markets for Indiana farmers, and creating hundreds of good jobs in your state.

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 need to build successful lives.

Congressman Sodrel has a strong record of commitment to Indiana's young people. He's been a member of the board of the Guerin Home for Abused Children, and Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana. He served on the Advisory Committee of the Boys and Girls Club. And as chairman of the Boy Scouts Regional Council, Mike has helped thousands of boys in Indiana build leadership skills and develop the character they need to be healthy and successful young men. Thank you for that, Mike. (Applause.)

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

Congressman Sodrel understands the needs of our troops at this crucial time in our country's history. As a veteran of the Army National Guard, Mike has sponsored legislation to increase benefits for veterans throughout our country. (Applause.) And in the House, Mike is a champion of the men and women of the United States military. (Applause.)

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.

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

All of us are proud of the men and women who are deployed around the world defending our country. (Applause.) And with us today is Columbus Indiana's hometown hero, Staff Sergeant Jay Brown with the Indiana Army National Guard. He was named Soldier of the Year for the First Battalion 151st Infantry, and he recently reenlisted after two tours overseas in Afghanistan and Bosnia. (Applause.) Jay, thank you so much. (Applause.)

Every day, thousands of these young men like Jay 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 their mission. (Applause.)

Many of these young men and women have given their lives for this cause. 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 men and women, the American people, to stand with our troops until we've succeeded in securing Iraq so that the Iraqi people have a stable government that's an ally to the United States. (Applause.)

Mike Sodrel appreciates our troops' sacrifice. He understands that this election is critical to 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. (Applause.) 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.

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 the discussions here in a way that does not jeopardize our troops who are in harm's way. (Applause.) And it's critical that all of us stand with Mike and all of our Republican candidates, since they're such a thoughtful and positive part of this dialogue.

Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting Mike. And thanks especially to all the volunteers for your hard work making the phone calls and knocking on the doors. You've already done so much to help Mike, and in the next two weeks, he'll need more of your energy and enthusiasm. So go to the phone banks, knock on those doors, and talk to your friends and neighbors about Mike Sodrel and all of Indiana's great Republicans. They need your support, and our country needs them. (Applause.)

Thank you all. Thanks so much for coming out today. Thank you in advance for all the hard work you're going to do. Work hard. (Applause.)

END 4:55 P.M. EDT

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