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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 1, 2008

Press Availability by Mrs. Laura Bush
Xcel Energy Center
St. Paul, Minnesota

7:24 A.M. CDT

MRS. BUSH: (In progress.) We're going to -- the delegates will be meeting this morning. They'll be doing the regular business of a convention, all of the things they have to do legally to nominate Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin.

And so that will continue to go on, and I think the party will just decide night by night whether or not to go on with the planned evening programs.

Of course, everyone who's here is disappointed, all the delegates who've come in from around the country are disappointed that they're not going to get to have tonight's big celebration the first night of the program. But they all understand, and everyone's eyes are on the Gulf Coast and everyone is thinking about the people there.

And in a few minutes, Cindy McCain and I are going to go to meet with the Louisiana delegation for their breakfast and visit with them. And so I hope today during the rest of the day I'll be able to visit with some more delegations. There's a luncheon that was planned that will go on as usual that I'll go to. But I hope I'll have the chance to see a lot of other delegates.

So thank you all to everybody here in Minneapolis/St. Paul for your hospitality, and we'll just see night by night whether or not the program will go on.

Q Now, Mrs. Bush, we were told that perhaps you and Mrs. Cheney were going to address possibly the delegates to the convention, maybe even the nation, about what's going on and the need for help in the Gulf Coast.

MRS. BUSH: Cindy McCain and I will be addressing the -- I don't know if we'll be addressing the nation, but we'll be doing an event at the very close of business today, around 5:00 p.m., I think, here at the convention to talk about what's happening on the Gulf Coast and what people around the country, as well as the people here, the delegates here can do to help specific states. We've had -- we've gotten a video, I think, from every governor except maybe Bobby Jindal, who hasn't had a chance to make a video, and -- the Governor of Louisiana -- about specific ways we can help each of the Gulf Coast states. So I think we'll do that, I hope, at the close of business today.

Q This is a tough situation all around. Is it just hard to --

MRS. BUSH: It is. It's a very tough situation. I'm so sad for the people on the Gulf Coast. I've been there a lot since Hurricane Katrina, have been particularly interested in the schools, the rebuilding of the schools, the rebuilding of the school libraries. And they, amazingly enough, have really rebuilt those, a lot of those school systems. And so I'm particularly worried about the schools. I hope they don't suffer damage. I hope these families can get back home right away and get their kids right back in school.

And so we're all thinking about them and praying for everyone and hoping for the very best and that this will not be a hurricane with a whole lot of damage.

Q Do you think that Republicans made the right -- you know, the right call?

MRS. BUSH: Yes, I think absolutely. I mean, everybody is watching the Gulf Coast and everybody -- and the United States is thinking about them, and certainly everybody here at the Republican Convention are. So we'll see. I hope they'll be able to get a couple of nights of a good convention program. But we'll just see day by day.

Q Does that impact things politically at all? Because, I mean, obviously every four years you get to do this and already one night has been locked out. Politically, is that a problem?

MRS. BUSH: You know, I mean, we'll see. I don't know. But I hope we'll get to hear at least a really strong acceptance speech from our candidates.

Q For Governor Palin, this is to be her coming-out party. What's your reaction to the fact that this is being overshadowed this whole week?

MRS. BUSH: I know, and I'm sad about that. I'm so proud, actually, that I'm going to get my wish and I'm going to get to vote for a Republican woman on this ticket. So I'm real excited about that. And I'm excited about her candidacy. I know her. I've met her at the National Governors Associations. I was just with her in Alaska when the President and I stopped there on our way to see our troops on our way to the Olympics.

And I'm very excited about her. She's a really tough Western woman and I appreciate all the qualities that she brings to the Republican ticket.

Thanks, everybody. Thank you all.

END 7:28 A.M. CDT

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