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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
August 9, 2004

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Victory '04 Rally in Royal Oak, Michigan
Boys and Girls Club
Royal Oak, Michigan

5:53 P.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all very, very much. Thank you, Olivia. I was standing backstage and I could see the monitor and I heard her start to sing and then I heard the rest of you start to sing with her and saw the flags waving. It was a very moving way to come in here today in Royal Oak, Michigan, and I'm so glad to be here.

I want to thank Congresswoman Candice Miller for her friendship and for her support of George in Washington, for standing by him. Thank you very much, Candice. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Don't forget to vote for Candice also on November 2nd -- Candice Miller. (Applause.)

I'm so glad to be here in Michigan today, to be with all of you and to talk to you about why it's so important to reelect George W. Bush. (Applause.) The President and I first traveled together on a campaign for Congress, he was running for Congress in 1978 back in Midland. Newly married, we spent all of our time in our car, driving up and down the panhandle of West Texas. Believe me, you learn a lot about your husband when you spend that much time in a car with him. (Laughter.)

And now, this is our last campaign. Being on the campaign trail isn't what it used to be. These days, we travel in a very nice airplane. (Laughter.) And George isn't behind the wheel anymore. (Laughter.)

But we still love the very best part of every campaign, and that's the people -- the wonderful people we meet all across our country. Thank you all so much for coming out to see me today. (Applause.) Thank you all so much.

I'm so glad also that Congressmen Joe Knollenberg is here with me. Thank you very much, Joe, for being here. (Applause.) The President needs Joe by his side in Congress, so we're asking you to be sure and vote for him in November. We also hope you'll send Myrah Kirkwood and Cynthia Cassell to Congress. Thank you all, thank you for running. Thanks a lot. (Applause.)

Carlo Ginotti needs your vote in the State House here in Michigan. (Applause.) And thanks to State Representative Ruth Johnson for being here. Thank you so much, Ruth. (Applause.) She also deserves your support in her race

I'm also grateful for all the state and local officials and candidates and party leaders who are here. We have a great woman leading the Republican effort in Michigan, Betsy DeVoss. Thank you, Betsy, thank you very much. (Applause.)

And I loved meeting Jack and Patti Salter just a minute ago, who have done so much for Boys and Girls Clubs. Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.) And thanks to Brett Tillander for welcoming us; he is the executive director here now. And to Cynthia Merritt and Olivia, who just sang our national anthem for us. Thank you very much for lending your voices. (Applause.)

And a very special thanks to Pastor Williams for the invocation. Thank you so much, Pastor. (Applause.)

Thank you all. George and I want to thank every one of you, everyone who is here today, for your help in his campaign. I know that you see what I see: The President is a steady leader during these historic times. He is hopeful about America because he has tremendous confidence in the American people. He has a good and compassionate heart. And he knows that the heart and soul of America is found in towns just like Royal Oak, Michigan. He understands your values and they inspire his work in the White House.

When the President took office, he was determined to accomplish great goals on behalf of all Americans. At the time, we couldn't possibly imagine how challenging these 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 he has the character and the courage that these times demand. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

MRS. BUSH: Thanks to President Bush's leadership, America is moving forward. And with your support, he will make our country safer, our economy stronger, and our future better for every citizen for the next four years. (Applause.)

The President's tax relief plan is leaving more money in the hands of millions of families across America. Families with children received tax relief. People who are married received tax relief. And small business owners received tax relief. More than 3.6 million people right here in Michigan are paying less in taxes thanks to President Bush. (Applause.)

In some families, tax relief means more money to pay the monthly bills. In other families, it means money to start a college fund for their children or a retirement fund for themselves. For small business owners, tax relief means expanding their operations and adding jobs. These millions of individual decisions that Americans are making with their own money are lifting our economy and improving the lives of people around our country.

The economy has made great gains. After enduring a recession, terrorist attacks, and corporate scandals, we are now enjoying strong economic growth. More Americans than ever before are realizing the dream of home ownership. Minority home ownership is particularly strong. We set a new record this year in our history. More than half of all minority families now own their own homes. (Applause.) And more than 1.5 million jobs have been created over the last eleven months. The record is clear. More Americans are proud to be back on the job thanks to our growing economy. (Applause.)

And the President has the right plan to keep our economy strong. He will urge Congress to make tax relief permanent. He'll make sure regulations on business are fair and reasonable. He'll continue his efforts to make energy -- to make America more energy independent. And the President will work to give all Americans their own opportunity to own their own home, own their own business, or own their own health care accounts.

Reliable health care is vital to our economic security. No one can feel confident about the future if they fear that the next illness might wipe out their savings or send them into debt. That's why the President is taking action to make health care more affordable and more accessible to millions of Americans. (Applause.) He worked with Congress to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare to help seniors afford their medicines. Already, more than four million seniors have signed up for their prescription drug discount cards. And in 2006, all seniors will be able to choose the coverage plan that suits them best.

The President has expanded the system of community health centers in America. Now, more than 13 million people are seeing doctors and nurses at community health care centers, regardless of their ability to pay. (Applause.) And President Bush is expanding insurance options for Americans, promoting new ideas like health savings accounts. He wants to make sure that patients and doctors are in charge of medical decisions, not bureaucrats in Washington. (Applause.)

And he will continue to press Congress to approve association health plans, so that small businesses can pool, so they can buy health insurance for their employees at lower rates. And because frivolous lawsuits raise the costs of health care in America and drive good doctors out of their practices, the President will work to reform the medical liability system and reduce junk lawsuits. (Applause.)

Education is close to the President's heart, and to mine. (Applause.) The No Child Left Behind Act is bringing more money, higher standards, and stronger accountability to schools throughout America. Now we have clear goals for education. Every child should learn to read by the third grade, because reading is the foundation for all other learning. We're assessing students' progress every year in elementary school to make sure that children don't fall behind. And with a new emphasis on high standards and accountability, every student will graduate high school well prepared to go on to college or to enter the workforce.

President Bush has the right plans to ensure that new graduates and experienced workers have the skills to succeed in the jobs of the 21st century. He will expand math and science education in high schools and broaden Internet training in classrooms to ensure that Americans are well equipped to compete in a technology-driven world. He is providing more resources to help workers get high-tech training at local community colleges. And to help moms and dads juggle the demands of work and family, President Bush will work with Congress to make flex time a reality for more Americans. (Applause.)

In this world of rapid change, though, some things never change: Our conviction that every life matters and that every life counts, our belief in liberty and opportunity, the individual values we try to live by -- courage and compassion, reverence and integrity, hard work and duty -- the institutions that give us direction and purpose -- our families, our schools, our religious congregations. These values are fundamental to our lives, and they deserve the respect of our government. (Applause.)

My husband has always believed that government can be a force for tremendous good in society. And he also appreciates the great work that's done outside of government by compassionate citizens who recognize a need in their community and take action to meet it. George and I have seen first hand the good and generous hearts of the American people. Compassion and ingenuity are being put to work all over our country to lift up lives, from the mentoring of children of prisoners to bringing meals and a few minutes of friendly conversation to our elderly neighbors. Our strong values make this a better and more hopeful nation.

As we strengthen our communities here, we are also sharing the blessings of liberty with our neighbors abroad. The terrible acts of September 11th showed us the face of evil in the world, but they also called us to the great work of promoting freedom and democracy. Today, 50 million more men, women, and children live in freedom thanks to the United States of America. (Applause.)

From the very night of September 11th, when George and I were reunited at the White House, I've seen his character and his courage lead his efforts. The President organized a broad coalition of nearly 40 nations to remove the Taliban from Afghanistan. Because we acted, al Qaeda's greatest supporters were driven from power and the people of Afghanistan were liberated from their oppressors. Today, women can walk freely in public without male supervision. And millions of girls are going to school in Afghanistan, many for the first times in their lives. (Applause.)

Afghanistan's new constitution protects the right of people to speak freely and to vote -- and they'll participate in their first election next month. In fact, nearly nine million Afghans have already registered to vote, despite terror threats and intimidation from remnants of the old regime. (Applause.)

In Iraq, the brave men and women of our military, along with our allies from some 30 nations, toppled Saddam Hussein's government and liberated the Iraqi people. Because we acted, the people of Iraq are now free from the tyranny of a brutal regime. The new Iraqi interim government has the full support of the United Nations, NATO, and the European Union. And we pledged to stand with the Iraqi people during this historic, hopeful time. (Applause.)

We face challenges every day as we serve the ideal of liberty. But we know that wherever freedom finds a home, terror is unwelcome. To make the world more peaceful and to make America more secure, we will continue the great work of promoting freedom and opportunity in the Middle East.

I'm proud of my husband for recognizing the challenges America faces at home and abroad, and for taking action to meet them. As the American people consider who they want to lead our Nation for the next four years, they'll have to ask: Who has proven his ability to accomplish great goals and who has the right plan to make America safer, stronger, and better in the years ahead? (Applause.)

George W. Bush saw that our economy would need new energy to overcome recession and help people get back to work -- and he got the job done. George W. Bush saw that our schools needed to improve so that all children can learn, no matter what their neighborhood -- and he got the job done. George W. Bush saw that seniors needed help paying for their prescription drugs -- and after people in Washington talked about it for years, the President got the job done. (Applause.) George W. Bush saw the need to strengthen our defenses at home and confront terrorists abroad, and bring hope to people who are yearning for freedom -- and thanks to the heroes of our military, we are getting the job done. (Applause.) Because of his steady leadership, his compassion, and his optimism for America's future, our President deserves four more years. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

MRS. BUSH: And now the President needs your help to win reelection. All of you can contribute so much to our campaign by getting out the word about the President's record of accomplishment and his vision for the future. Please talk to your neighbors and your friends -- and don't be afraid to reach out to Democrats and independents who appreciate strong and optimistic leadership. Sign up with the campaign here in Michigan, make phone calls, go door to door bringing the President's message to voters. Everything you do to reach voters and to get them to the polls will be a huge help for the President's campaign.

These are hopeful times for our country. We are moving America forward, and we have great confidence in our ability to overcome any challenge. And these are times that require particularly strong and determined leaders. I'm proud that my husband is that kind of leader. (Applause.)

Thank you all very much. Thank you for working hard for President Bush. Thank you very much. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you. May God bless you and may God bless America. Thank you so much. (Applause.)

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