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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 25, 2007
President Bush Jogs with Wounded Soldiers, Discusses Care For Returning Wounded Warriors
4:25 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: I've been running with Max and Allen -- I mean, Neil. I met these guys at Walter Reed. Neil lost both legs, and he told me he's going to run with me on the South Lawn of the White House. Max lost his leg, and he told me he was going to be jumping out of airplanes with the 101st Airborne. Sure enough, he's jumping out of airplanes with the 101st Airborne, and along with Neil, he's running on the South Lawn.
Running with these two men is incredibly inspirational for me. And it should be inspirational to anybody who has been dealt a tough hand. Sometimes in life you get dealt a hand that you didn't expect to play, and they got dealt a tough hand, and they're playing it with all their soul. And I appreciate you guys being here. It means a lot to me.
Today Senator Dole and Secretary Shalala delivered a report to the White House. I told the press corps that they were going to go out and hold a press conference. They've held their press conference. I'd like to make some comments on that report.
First of all, the spirit of that report is, any time we have somebody hurt, they deserve the best possible care, and their family needs strong support. We've provided that in many cases, but to the extent we haven't, we're going to adjust. In that recommendation, there are things the United States Congress should do, and I call upon them to do it.
In that report, there are a lot of things that the executive branch of government can do, the Veterans Administration, Department of Defense. And I've instructed Secretary Gates and Secretary Nicholson to look at every one of these recommendations, to take them seriously, and to implement them, so that we can say with certainty that any soldier who has been hurt will get the best possible care and treatment that this government can offer.
I'm working with two men who have been hurt, two men who refuse to allow their current circumstances to get them down or to keep them down. I am proud to be with you with guys. Neil, thank you. God bless you, Max. He wanted me to jump out of airplanes with him. I respectfully declined.
Q How does it feel to be with the Commander-in-Chief running around the track?
SERGEANT DUNCAN: Fantastic. It's an accomplishment. It's like the pinnacle of recovery, I think. Being a wounded vet, coming of Afghanistan a little over a year-and-a-half ago, being here, running around this track is just amazing. I couldn't ask for anything better.
THE PRESIDENT: Don't ask him why he outran me.
Q Why did he outrun you?
THE PRESIDENT: Because he's a faster runner. Anyway, thank you guys. It's a proud moment for me, a proud moment.