For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 19, 2004
Remarks by First Lady Laura Bush at Bush-Cheney '04 Rally
Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall
Las Vegas, Nevada
May 18, 2004
3:13 P.M. PDT
MRS. BUSH: Thank you all so much. I'm so pleased to be here. And
thank you very much, Lorraine, for the wonderful introduction. And
thank you Wayne Newton for calling us out here on the stage and also
for your service to our country as a USO entertainer. Thank you very
much for that. (Applause.)
I'm so pleased today to be here in Las Vegas to talk to you about
my husband. (Applause.) I want you to know about his positive agenda
to make America safer and stronger and better. And I'm really proud to
be here to ask you to help us reelect George W. Bush as President.
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
MRS. BUSH: The President and I first traveled together on the
campaign trail in 1978, when George was running for Congress. Newly
married, we spent the first year of our marriage in a car, driving up
and down the panhandle of West Texas. The race didn't turn out as well
as we hoped, but we had a great time. Believe me, you learn a lot
about your husband when you spend a year traveling in the car with
him. (Laughter.) By the end of the campaign, he had even convinced me
to vote for him. (Laughter.)
Last week, we took the first bus tours of our last campaign. We
had just as much fun as we did back then in 1978. But being on the
campaign trail isn't like it used to be. These days, George isn't
behind the wheel. (Laughter.)
But we still love meeting people, wonderful men and women like you,
who give the President such great support.
When George asked me to marry him, he promised I'd never have to
give a political speech. (Laughter.) And I promised I would go
jogging with him every day. (Laughter.)
Since then, I've given a lot of speeches but I've never done any
jogging. (Laughter.) I guess that makes us even. (Applause.)
I've grown to enjoy giving speeches actually, because they give me
a chance to see good friends and new faces. Lorraine Hunt, Nevada's
excellent lieutenant governor, thank you for introducing me.
I also want to thank Dema Guinn, the First Lady of Nevada; and
Lynnette Boggs McDonald, the Clarke County Commissioner, for being
The people of this state are fortunate to have good leaders in
Congress. And I'm so pleased to see the wives of two outstanding
members here, Dawn Gibbons and Laurie Porter. Thank you all for being
here with us. (Applause.)
And I want to congratulate Earlene Forsythe, who was recently
elected the Charwoman of the Nevada Republican Party. (Applause.)
You're leading our party in a state that's crucial to the
President's reelection. And I'm sure we'll see you a few more times
between now and November 2nd. (Applause.)
I've also had the chance backstage to meet with women who are part
of our W Stands for Women effort. Over the next five months, they'll
be talking to friends and neighbors about the President's achievements
on behalf of women in America and around the world. George and I both
thank you for your help in this campaign.
I know that you see what I see. The President is a steady leader
during these historic times. (Applause.) He's hopeful about the
future because he has tremendous confidence in the American people. He
has a good and compassionate heart.
When the President took office, he was determined to accomplish
great goals on behalf of all Americans. At the time, we couldn't
possibly have imagined how challenging the last three years would be.
But I've known George Bush for nearly 30 years, and I've known for
every second of our time in the White House that the President has the
courage and the character to meet the demands of this time.
On taxes and education, on promoting compassion at home and
promoting democracy abroad, the President has stood solidly on the side
of the people who are working to make life better for themselves and
for their neighbors. Thanks to the President's tax relief plan,
millions of families are keeping more of their own money and deciding
how to use it. (Applause.)
In some families, tax relief means more money to pay the monthly
bills. In other families, it means money to start a college savings
plan or contribute to a retirement account. For small business owners,
tax relief means expanding operations and adding jobs. And for many
Americans, tax relief is an opportunity to donate to a local charity.
These millions of individual decisions are lifting our economy and
improving the lives of people all across our country.
The economy keeps getting better. We've experienced the fastest
economic growth in 20 years. (Applause.) The home ownership rate is
at an all-time high. And I'm so proud of that fact that more Americans
own their own homes now than ever before. (Applause.)
Minority home ownership, in particular, is strong. We set a new
record in the first quarter of this year. More than half of all
minority families now own their own homes. (Applause.)
And since August, more than a million new jobs have been created.
That is one million Americans who are proud to be back on the job,
thanks to the President's leadership and our growing economy.
From day one, the President has been a friend to parents and
teachers who want to improve America's schools. My husband is so
committed to education because he sees our schools the way a parent
looks at schools. He wants to make sure that children who are at risk
of being left behind get the help they need to be successful students.
The No Child Left Behind Act is bringing more money, higher
standards, and stronger accountability to schools throughout America.
Now parents are getting more information about their children's school,
and children who need extra attention are getting it. (Applause.)
The President and I have spent a lot of time traveling to schools
around the country, talking with teachers who devote every day to our
children. During these school visits, I've seen the President reading
with children, encouraging them as they go through their lessons,
talking to them about the importance of going to college. He knows
that education policy is not just about passing laws in Washington;
it's about giving teachers and parents the tools they need to provide a
first-rate education for students all over our country. (Applause.)
In February, I was here in Las Vegas to visit the Advanced
Technologies Academy, which is offering students higher level courses
and access to the best technology. I met with students who were
studying the Russian author Dostoyevsky. Now, that's a tough enough
task for most adults. But at the Advanced Technologies Academy,
because teachers are setting higher standards, students are achieving
We all know that education is a lifelong endeavor. The President
recently announced a new plan to double the number of people who get
job training through federal grants. The President's plan expands job
training partnerships with local businesses, with community colleges,
and other private sector organizations.
Whether you're a new high school graduate who needs high-tech
training, or a single mom trying to find a better job, or a factory
worker who needs to learn new skills, the President's job training
proposals will help Americans succeed in the best jobs in the new
My husband has always believed that government can be a force for
tremendous good in our society, and he appreciates the great work
that's done outside of government by compassionate citizens who
recognize needs in their communities and take action to meet them.
George and I have seen firsthand the good and generous hearts of the
Compassion and ingenuity are being put to work all over this
country to lift up lives. From mentoring the children of prisoners to
delivering meals and a few minutes of friendly conversation to elderly
neighbors, Americans rise to meet every challenge. And we have a
boundless capacity to improve the lives of the people around us.
As we help our neighbors at home, we're also sharing the blessings
of liberty with our neighbors abroad. The terrible attacks of
September 11th, 2001, showed us the face of evil in the world. But
they also called us to the good work of promoting freedom and democracy
in the far corners of the globe. Today, 50 million more men, women and
children live in freedom thanks to the United States of America and our
From the very night of September 11th, when George and I were
reunited at the White House, I have seen his courage and character
guide his efforts. The President organized a broad coalition of
nations to remove the Taliban from Afghanistan. Al Qaeda's biggest
supporters were driven from power and the people of Afghanistan are
liberated from their oppressors. (Applause.)
Today, women can walk freely in public without male supervision.
(Applause.) Millions of girls are going to school, many for the first
time in their lives. And Afghanistan's new constitution protects the
rights of all people to vote and speak freely.
In Iraq, the men and women of our military, along with allies from
many nations, toppled Saddam Hussein's government and liberated the
Iraqi people. (Applause.) Today, they are building a democracy.
Iraqis have a new constitution that protects the rights of women as
well as ethnic and religious minorities. We must be vigilant in
protecting the rights of all Iraqis. The pictures we saw recently from
the Abu Ghraib prison do not reflect the character of our troops or the
people of the United States of America. (Applause.)
From the beginning of battle to this very hour, the vast majority
of our military has conducted themselves with honor and compassion.
(Applause.) They are supplying villages with their first taste of
clean water. They are delivering medicine and supplies to hospitals
and schools. Our troops and their coalition partners have refurbished
over 1,000 schools in Iraq, so millions of children can study and learn
I'm proud of the men and women in uniform, and my husband for
leading this noble cause. (Applause.)
I'm proud of my husband for so many reasons, not least of which is
the dignity and respect he shows for every single person he meets --
the same dignity and respect he has for the office he holds.
These are especially challenging times for America, but they're
also really hopeful times. In the very midst of these very, very hard
months, I think we can look to a wonderful future for the people of
Afghanistan and the people of Iraq and the people of the United States
of America. (Applause.)
But these are times that require particularly strong and determined
leaders. And I'm proud that my husband is that kind of leader.
Thank you all very, very much. Thank you for working to reelect
George W. Bush. Thank you for your friendship. May God bless you and
may God bless our wonderful country. (Applause.) Thank you all so
3:31 P.M. PDT END