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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
August 31, 2004

Mrs. Bush's Remarks to the FEDPAC Luncheon
New York Marriott Marquis Hotel
New York, New York

12:23 P.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all very much. Thank you, Barbara and Jenna, for that very sweet introduction. One of the great things for me about having Barbara and Jenna on the campaign trail now with us is getting to hear them talk about how much they love me -- and in public, no less. (Laughter.)

Jenna and Barbara just graduated from college and now they're on the speaking tour for their dad's campaign. (Applause.) They've found great enthusiasm for the President all across America. And George and I are so happy to be spending time with our girls on this, our last campaign. (Applause.) And I can't think of a better place to have some fun with my daughters than in New York City. (Applause.)

There are also some other members of the Bush family here today. My mother-in-law, Barbara Bush. (Applause.) Also my brother-in-law Neil and his wife Maria are here. (Applause.) I'm so happy that Mandy Bush, George P.'s new bride, is here. (Applause.)

Our national convention is giving us the chance to have a family reunion, so I want to thank all of the aunts who are here as well, and the cousins who are here today to support me when I'm giving this speech today, but more importantly support their cousin, George Bush. Thank you all so much. (Applause.)

And also out of this crowd, I want to recognize Secretary Gale Norton, Secretary Ann Veneman -- (applause) -- former EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman -- (applause). Strong, Republican women, I might add. And the members of Congress who are here, my friend from Texas, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. (Applause.) Senator Olympia Snowe from Maine. (Applause.) Senator Ernest Istook from Oklahoma. Thank you all very much. (Applause.) Also, Governor Mike Johanns from Nebraska, one of our very close friends, Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton of Colorado, and former Governor Pete Wilson. (Applause.)

Today's luncheon is possible because of the leadership Diane Thompson. (Applause.) Diane is a strong advocate for our Republican candidates, as the Executive Director of FEDPAC. Thank you, Diane. And thanks to each and every one of you today for your very, very warm welcome. (Applause.)

This is an exciting time for our party and for our family. And I'm so pleased to speak for women who are acting in politics throughout America and who represent the great ideals of the Republican party. Today, we'll build, and together we'll build on the success of the last four years and spread opportunity to every corner of America by reelecting President George W. Bush. (Applause.)

FEDPAC is helping to elect candidates who hold true to the values that we share as Republican party members. And your efforts to help Republican women who are running for office are especially valuable. This month represents the 84th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. (Applause.) Since then, women have gone from voting in elections to voting in the halls of Congress. Today, 84 women are members of Congress, including 14 United States senators. (Applause.)

FEDPAC supports the National Federation of Republican Women, which has a long history of helping bring women into the political process while promoting the Republican cause. When the NFRW was created, the Republican message wasn't exactly catching fire. Franklin Roosevelt had recently won the second of his four presidential victories. Just six states had Republican governors. And of the 531 members of the House and Senate, only 105 were Republican. We've really come a long way as a party. (Applause.)

Today, the federal government is led by Republicans at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. There are 28 Republican governors, including Republican governors in the four largest states. And for the first time since 1954, there are more Republican than Democrat state legislators. (Applause.) We are the majority party in America -- (applause). And Republican success is due in no small parts to your work educating voters, recruiting great candidates and getting people to the polls.

President Bush and I appreciate everything you're doing for your communities, to get out the word about his accomplishments and his plans to move America forward. My husband knows how vitally important empowered women are to a democracy, and he has three strong women at home who won't let him forget it. (Applause.)

I'm proud that, in my husband's administration, there are more women in senior positions than in any other administration in history. (Applause.) Dr. Condoleezza Rice advises the President on foreign policy -- (applause) -- and Margaret Spellings is in charge of domestic issues. That means that in the White House, women are in charge of everything abroad and everything at home. (Applause.)

And in fact, it's not just that way in the White House. Women make nearly 70 percent of their families' financial and health care decisions and more than half of all investment decisions. All issues facing our nation are women's issues. (Applause.)

We have a lot at stake in this election. We want our economy to be strong, for all women to have the opportunity to work and to chart their own destinies. We want our children to be safe, and for them to receive the best health care when they're sick. And we don't want to be afraid that our doctor might close her office because trial lawyers have made it too expensive -- (applause).

We want every child in every neighborhood to learn to read. And we want women around the world to have the right to vote and have their voices heard. (Applause.) These are the goals President Bush has worked so hard to achieve in his first four years. And he knows what he wants to do to make our country safer, stronger, and the future better for all women in the next four years. How do I know? Because I know George W. Bush. (Applause.)

George and I grew up in the same small town, Midland, Texas. (Applause.) It's here that he learned the values of hard work, family and integrity. His family lived just four blocks away from mine, but we didn't meet until much later in life. Little did I know that I would literally marry the boy next door. (Laughter.) And after 27 years of marriage, I can tell you that my husband still has the same values and beliefs that he did when I met him. (Applause.)

As I've traveled in every corner of our country, I see how his leadership and the decisions he has made are benefiting all Americans. I'm especially inspired, although not surprised, by what women are accomplishing.

Earlier this month, I visited several women-owned businesses and spoke with women entrepreneurs. There was a towing company in Iowa, a quilt shop in Wisconsin, a construction company in Ohio and a high-tech aerospace firm in Colorado, all owned by women. (Applause.) These companies are growing and thriving because the women who own them had the courage to strive for success and the freedom to achieve their goals.

Freedom has a special meaning for all of us, especially since the attacks right here in New York and in Washington and in Pennsylvania on September 11th. These terrible acts showed us the face of evil in the world, but they also called us to the great work of protecting our homeland and promoting freedom and democracy abroad. Since that fateful day, President Bush has worked to America safer by confronting terror threats around the world so that we don't have to fight them at home. (Applause.)

I'm proud of my husband for recognizing the challenges that America faces at home and abroad, and we're taking decisive action to meet them. We are living in very historic times. And, thanks to the President's leadership, these are also hopeful times for our nation. We need your support to make sure America benefits from the President's leadership for four more years. (Applause.)

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

MRS. BUSH: All of you can contribute so much to our campaign by getting out the word about the President's record of accomplishment. Talk to your neighbors and friends and register them to vote. There are nearly 23 million unregistered Republicans, and every single vote counts.

Everything you do to reach voters and get them to the polls will be a huge help for the President's campaign. Thank you very much for working hard for President Bush and for all of our Republican candidates. And thank you for your friendship. May God bless you and may God bless America. (Applause.)

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