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

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at North Carolina Victory 2006 Rally
The Morris L. Mac McGough Arena
Fletcher, North Carolina

10:41 A.M. EST

MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much, Congressman. Thank you very much. Thank you Congressman Taylor. Thank you all very much. Thanks, everybody. Thanks to each and every one of you for the very warm welcome to North Carolina.

One of the great things about traveling around our country during election time is that I get to see fall foliage all over our country. Yesterday, I was in New Hampshire and saw it there, and Pennsylvania. But I have to tell you, you've got the best. (Applause.) It was so beautiful flying in and looking down at the woods, which are just gold and orange and so really, really beautiful. So you've got a wonderful state, one of the most beautiful states in our country. (Applause.)

I want to recognize Congresswoman Virginia Fox, the United State Representative from the 5th district. She is here with us. Virginia, where are you? She's right over here. Thank you, Virginia, for joining us. (Applause.) The chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, Ferrell Blount, is with us today. (Applause.) And I know you've already been introduced to some other local officials and other candidates. Thank you all. Thank you for serving your communities.

Charles' wife, Betty Taylor, is here. (Applause.) When your spouse is in politics, you're involved whether you want to be or not. (Laughter.) And we know that successful politicians are the ones whose families stand with them are there with them all the time. So thank you very much, Betty, for your support. (Applause.)

I'm delighted to be with you to support Charles Taylor's campaign for the United States Congress. (Applause.) Charles cares deeply about the people of North Carolina, and in Washington, he's distinguished himself as a passionate advocate for the 11th district.

Congressman Taylor is helping North Carolina by increasing employment opportunities in your state. Charles first learned the value of a job as a young man, bagging groceries at the A&P in Brevard. He sold eggs from his family's farm to save up for his first acre of land, which he eventually built into successful tree farms spanning thousands of acres.

During his 15 years in Congress, Charles Taylor has made sure all North Carolinians can provide for themselves and their families. He's improved the business climate for western North Carolina - for western North Carolina entrepreneurs, so they can expand their companies and create more jobs for the 11th district. Earlier this year, Congressman Taylor brought $2.6 million in federal funding to 3TEX, a Rutherford County defense company. These resources will help protect our nation, and create hundreds of jobs for your state. (Applause.)

And Congressman Taylor has secured more than $15 million to bring broadband Internet to western North Carolina. This new technology will attract high-paying jobs to your state, and help the 11th district compete in the 21st-century economy. Thank you, Congressman Taylor, for this good work. (Applause.)

In Washington, Congressman Taylor makes sure that North Carolina's tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly. He supports President Bush's tax cuts. (Applause.) These tax cuts have fueled our economy, and they've helped 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. (Applause.)

Something else Congressman Taylor and the President have in common - and something I share with them - is a commitment to natural preservation.

Congressman Taylor is an enthusiastic steward of our country's natural resources. Charles has devoted his career to farming hardwood trees in western North Carolina, and he's the only registered forester in Congress. (Applause.) In the House, he's deeply committed to preserving North Carolina's forest ecology.

Congressman Taylor serves on the House Appropriations Committee, where he's chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. On the subcommittee, Charles oversees federal funding for the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Congressman Taylor is a champion of responsible federal conservation initiatives - and he makes sure these efforts benefit from the latest advances in environmental sciences. Thank you, Congressman, for this very important work. (Applause.)

And one of the benefits of natural and historical preservation is that it gives our children more opportunities to learn about our country. Visits to national parks, to museums, to aquariums, to national monuments are great activities for young people, offering them positive and healthy ways to learn and spend time with their families.

Congressman Taylor has a strong record of commitment to young people. Here in North Carolina, Charles and Betty are actively involved scouting. Their support helps boys in western North Carolina build leadership skills and develop the character they need to become successful young men. (Applause.)

Charles just mentioned the Education and Research Consortium, which works with local universities and public schools to bring advanced technology into western North Carolina's classrooms. As part of the consortium's "American Memory" program, more than 4,000 local teachers have integrated digitized primary sources from the Library of Congress into their curriculum. And through Congressman Taylor's "Math Labs" initiative, teachers use high-speed technology to help struggling middle school and high school students master mathematics. Thank you, Congressman Taylor, for your commitment to North Carolina's young people. (Applause.)

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

Charles Taylor understands the needs of our troops at this crucial time in our country's history. (Applause.) Charles and Betty's son Bryan is an Army Captain who graduated from West Point, and who served in Iraq. (Applause.) Here in the 11th district, Charles has improved benefits for North Carolinians who've served our country in uniform. He's secured more than $75 million to expand and improve the VA Medical Center in nearby Oteen. (Applause.) And in Congress, Charles Taylor is 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. (Applause.)

And in Afghanistan, women and girls can now be educated. (Applause.) 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. (Applause.)

All of us are proud of the men and women who are deployed around the world defending our country. (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. (Applause.)

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. (Applause.) They ask the American people to stand with our troops.

Charles Taylor 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. (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 are 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 our debate here at home in a way that does not jeopardize our troops in harm's way. (Applause.)

Charles Taylor understands his responsibility to our country as your representative in Congress. It's so important that we stand with Congressman Taylor during this crucial time in our country's history. (Applause.)

Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting Charles Taylor. Thanks especially to all of the volunteers for your hard work making the phone calls and knocking on doors. You've already done so much to help Charles and our other terrific candidates in North Carolina. And 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. We've got the best grassroots volunteers, too. 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, talk to your friends and neighbors about Charles Taylor and North Carolina's great Republican candidates. They need your support - and our country needs them. (Applause.)

Thank you all. Thanks so much for coming out today. Work hard over the next week to make sure Charles Taylor is re-elected to the United States Congress on November 7.

Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)

END 10:56 A.M. EST

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