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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
November 1, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Ron Lewis for Congress and Kentucky Victory 2006 Rally
David Colvin Community Center
Radcliff, Kentucky

11:47 A.M. EST

MRS. BUSH: Thanks so much, thank you very much, Ron. Thank you for that very funny introduction. (Laughter.) And thanks to each and every one of you for the warm welcome to Kentucky. I'm so happy to be here, and I'm so thrilled to be here with Ron Lewis to support his campaign for the United States Congress. (Applause.)

There are a few people I want to recognize in the crowd. Mayor Sheila Enyart, Mayor of Radcliff, is here with us. (Applause.) State Senator Elizabeth Tori, who is running for reelection, is with us. (Applause.) Judge Harry Berry, Hardin County Judge Executive. (Applause.) State Representative Gerry Lynn, also running for reelection. (Applause.) Tim Moore, the candidate for the open state representative seat. Tim, thank you. (Applause.)

And of course, I have to recognize Kay Lewis. (Applause.) When your spouse is in politics, you're involved whether you want to be or not. (Laughter.) And we know that the politicians who do the very best are the ones whose families stand with them and are with them all the time. (Applause.) So I want to thank Kay and their daughter Allison, who is with us, and their son Brent, whose birthday is today. (Applause.)

I'm delighted to be with each and every one of you here in Radcliff, home to the famous Fort Knox. (Applause.) And I'm so happy to stand -- to have this chance, I'm honored and happy to have this chance to stand with your Congressman, Ron Lewis. (Applause.)

Ron cares deeply about the people of Kentucky, and in Washington, he's distinguished himself as a passionate advocate for the 2nd district. Like Abraham Lincoln -- whose birthplace is in nearby Hodgenville -- Ron was born in a log cabin. He was raised on his family's farm, and during his 12 years in Congress, Ron has been a champion of Kentucky's rural communities. (Applause.)

Congressman Lewis has served on the Agriculture Committee, where he's a respected voice for Kentucky's family farmers. He introduced the Rural Communities Investment Act. This bill offers tax incentives to encourage business investment and increase homeownership in rural areas throughout our country. And Congressman Lewis authored legislation that helps Kentucky farmers benefit from recent technological advances, so they can increase their yields and compete in the global marketplace. Thank you, Ron, for your support of Kentucky agriculture. (Applause.)

Congressman Lewis has brought to Washington the principles of efficiency and accountability that have defined his public service. Ron makes sure Kentucky tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly. He supports the Presidential Line Item Veto, which will help eliminate unnecessary spending from the federal budget. And Ron 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.)

Congressman Lewis is dedicated to bringing jobs to Kentucky. Ron first learned the value of a job as a young man, when he worked his way through Morehead State as a laborer with Armco Steel.

In Congress, Ron has improved employment opportunities for all Kentuckians. He supported the historic 1996 Welfare Reform Act, which has helped millions of Americans enjoy the independence that comes from providing for themselves and their families. Through his leadership on the House Ways and Means Committee, Ron has improved the business climate for Kentucky entrepreneurs, so that they can expand their companies and create more jobs in the 2nd district.

During the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process, Ron led the effort to save Fort Knox. (Applause.) This base is vital to your local economy, and it's critical to the defense of our nation. (Applause.) It employs thousands of Kentuckians. Thanks to Congressman Lewis, Fort Knox will remain a functioning Army garrison, and will soon bring an estimated 3,500 new jobs to the 2nd district. Thank you, Ron, for this important work. (Applause.)

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 lead successful lives.

Congressman Lewis has a strong record of commitment to young people. Ron has secured more than $2 million in funding to help law enforcement officers combat the spread of methamphetamines. He's supported legislation that keeps harmful drugs out of Kentucky's rural communities and away from Kentucky's young people. (Applause.)

Ron has more than 25 years' experience as a Baptist minister. He serves as a role model in his community, and he's guided Kentucky youth with positive and encouraging words. Thank you, Ron, for your commitment to Kentucky's children. (Applause.)

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

Congressman Lewis understands the needs of our troops at this crucial time in our country's history. On the Veterans and Armed Services committees, Ron has been a powerful advocate for Kentuckians who've served our country in uniform. He's traveled to Iraq to visit our troops. Ron supports the USA Cares program -- based right here in Radcliff. (Applause.) USA Cares is a wonderful grassroots program started here, which provides assistance to troops and their families all through our country. In Congress, Ron Lewis 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 they're working to build a democratic future. (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 democratically-elected government, and 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. Every day, thousands of these men and women risk their lives overseas to make sure their families, and all of our families, are kept safe here in the United States. (Applause.) 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 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. (Applause.)

They ask the American people to stand with our troops. Ron Lewis 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 are absolutely vital goals. (Applause.) 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.) Ron Lewis understands his responsibility to you and to our country. So it's so important that we stand with Ron Lewis during this crucial time in our country's history.

Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting Ron. 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 Ron and our other terrific candidates in Kentucky. 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. (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. Talk to your friends and neighbors, go to the phone banks, knock on doors, and tell them that Ron Lewis and Kentucky's great Republican candidates need their support. They need all of your support, and our country needs them. (Applause.)

Thank you all so much. Thank you very much. Thank you for coming out today. Thank you for all the work you're going to do to make sure Ron Lewis is reelected to the United States Congress on November 7th. (Applause.)

END 12:01 P.M. EST

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