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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
November 2, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Michigan Victory 2006 Rally
College of Aviation at Western Michigan University
Battle Creek Campus
Battle Creek, Michigan

11:20 A.M. EST

MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much, Tim. Thank you so much. And thanks to each and every one of you for the very warm welcome to Battle Creek. It's my honor to stand on the stage with Tim Walberg and Sheriff Bouchard, and to ask each and every one of you to go to the polls on Tuesday to vote for them, to bring all of your friends and neighbors to the polls with you to make sure they're elected on November 7th. (Applause.)

I also want to recognize Sue Walberg and Pam Bouchard, who are here with us today, and Betsy DeVos, whose husband is running for governor -- Dick DeVos. (Applause.)

When your spouse is in politics, you're involved whether you want to be or not. (Laughter.) And one thing we know is that successful politicians have families who stand with them and are with them all the time, and certainly all three of you do that, and I want to thank you very, very much for that. (Applause.)

Ruth Johnson is with us. She's the nominee for lieutenant governor. (Applause.) In the crowd, I think we have Holly Hughes, the RNC National Committeewoman, and Chuck Yob, the RNC National Committeeman. Thank you all for joining us. (Applause.) And also, I think Ellen Weiser is here. She's a member of the Michigan Board of Education. Hey, Ellen, good to see you. (Applause.)

I'm delighted to be with you today to support Tim Walberg's campaign for the United States Congress -- (applause) -- Mike Bouchard's election to the United States Senate -- (applause) -- and Dick DeVos and Ruth Johnson's campaign for governor. (Applause.)

These candidates care deeply about the people in your state, and in Washington and Lansing, they'll be passionate advocates for Michigan's families. (Applause.)

Tim Walberg will bring to Congress the principles of efficiency and accountability that have defined his public service. (Applause.) I like it that you all are clapping on every single line. (Applause.) During his 16 years in the state legislature, Tim never once voted for a tax increase. He supported 30 tax cuts. (Applause.) He co-sponsored Proposal A, which enacted the largest property tax cut in your state's history. (Applause.)

In Washington, Tim and Sheriff Bouchard will make sure Michigan's tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly. They support the Presidential Line Item Veto, which will help eliminate unnecessary spending from the federal budget. And Tim Walberg and Mike Bouchard support tax cuts. (Applause.) The tax cuts that have been enacted since President Bush took office have fueled our economy, and they've added 6.6 million new jobs since 2003. That means 6.6 million more Americans wake up every morning with the dignity and the sense of purpose that comes with a job.

Dick DeVos is dedicated to creating jobs in your state. In his hometown of Grand Rapids, Dick formed and co-chaired the Grand Action committee, a public-private partnership that turned Grand Rapids' health care system around and revitalized the city's downtown. Under Dick's leadership, Grand Rapids built a sports arena, a convention center, and a $130 million heart hospital. These projects improved the quality of life for the Grand Rapids community, and they created thousands of new jobs. (Applause.)

Following his years in the state legislature, Tim Walberg served as the president of Warren Reuther Center for Education and Community Impact. At the Center, Tim worked with employers in southeast Michigan to give local residents -- especially students -- professional experience, which then will help them provide for their families as they get older. Thank you, Tim, for this important work. (Applause.)

Tim also understands the urgent need to improve Michigan's economy. He knows that tax cuts are vital to economic growth. By working in the State Senate to reduce Michigan's tax burden, Tim helped entrepreneurs in his district create more jobs for his constituents. Tim has worked hard to improve employment opportunities in southeast Michigan -- work that Dick DeVos will continue throughout the state as governor. (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 need to build successful lives.

Tim Walberg and Mike Bouchard have strong records of commitment to young people. Before his election to the Michigan House, Tim served as a pastor for almost 10 years. He's been a role model in his community, and he's guided Michigan youth with positive and encouraging words. As a member of the Boy Scouts of America's District Committee, Tim helped boys in Michigan develop the leadership skills and the character they need to grow up to become healthy and successful men.

And Sheriff Bouchard has had a distinguished career in law enforcement, a profession he entered to protect Michigan's young people. As Oakland County sheriff, Mike launched the Computer Crimes Unit to safeguard children from predators on the Internet. During his time as a state senator, Mike served on the Education Committee, where his leadership improved Michigan schools.

Thank you, Mike and Tim, for your commitment to Michigan's young children. (Applause.)

We all know, though, that the well-being of young people in Michigan and across our country ultimately depends on our government's ability to protect them -- by defeating terrorism and increasing liberty abroad. (Applause.) In Washington, Tim Walberg and Mike Bouchard will be champions 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. (Applause.)

And in Afghanistan, women and girls can now be educated. It's hard for us to imagine a government that would prohibit half of its citizen from being educated. But now, Afghanistan has a new 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 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. With us today is the family of a young Marine who was killed while serving in Iraq. I've just met his parents Annette and Norman, and his brothers Todd and Michael Nealey, and his grandmother. They lost their grandson and brother, Lance Corporal Troy Nealey, on Sunday. Troy died from injuries caused by enemy fire in Al Anbar Province.

Every one of us salutes Lance Corporal Nealey, and his family. And we give Barbara, Norman, Annette, Todd, and Michael our deepest respect. (Applause.)

Around the country, President Bush and I have met with families who've lost a loved one, like the Nealeys. In military hospitals, we meet with soldiers who've been wounded in combat. And from our troops and their families, we hear the same request: that we honor the sacrifice of these young men and women by seeing their mission through. They ask the American people to stand with our troops. (Applause.)

Tim Walberg and Mike Bouchard stand with our troops. (Applause.) They understand that this election is critical to the future of our country. And they know that America faces challenges too important to be reduced to just politics.

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.) 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 debate here at home in a way that does not jeopardize our troops in harm's way. (Applause.) Tim and Mike understand their responsibility to you and to our country. So it's so important that we stand with them during this crucial time in our country's history.

Thanks to each and every one of you for supporting Tim Walberg, Mike Bouchard, Dick DeVos, and Ruth Johnson. 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 Tim and Mike and Dick and Ruth, and other great candidates in Michigan. And in the next few days, 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. (Applause.) 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 Tim Walberg, Mike Bouchard, Dick DeVos and Ruth Johnson, and all of Michigan's great Republican candidates. They need your support, and our country needs them. (Applause.)

Thank you all very, very much for coming out today. Thank you for working hard to make sure that Tim Walberg and Mike Bouchard are elected on November 7th. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

END 11:34 A.M. EST

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