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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 16, 2004

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Bush-Cheney '04 Rally in Hamilton, New Jersey
Colonial Firehouse
Hamilton, New Jersey

11:27 A.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much. Thank you, Congressman Smith. Thank you very much for your leadership in New Jersey. And thanks to every one of you for being here today. I'm so happy to be here in New Jersey. And just in case you don't know it, our dog Barney was born right here in the Garden State. (Applause.)

Thanks to -- I want to thank Senator Joe Kyrillos and Peter Inverso and State Assemblyman Bill Baroni. Thank you all very, very much for welcoming me here today. (Applause.)

And I understand we have an Olympic gold medal winner with us, Joseph Read. (Applause.) There he is. Thank you. And congratulations Joseph -- Jason, I mean. Jason, thanks so much for representing the United States of America. (Applause.) There it is, you see his gold medal?

And special thanks to every one of you, to each one of you who have come out today to welcome me. And thanks to all of you for working hard to make sure President Bush is elected for four more years. (Applause.)

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

MRS. BUSH: I know that I can speak on behalf of the people of New Jersey and all Americans, that we're all thinking about the people of the Gulf Coast states who are suffering today because of Hurricane Ivan. Our thoughts and our prayers especially go to those people who lost a loved one. The federal government is working very closely with all those state governments to provide them with whatever they need. And I know that many Americans are checking with the Red Cross to see if they can help. So I just want to encourage you. Today is a really good day to make a donation to the Red Cross.

We can find comfort in knowing that in times of tragedy, Americans always unite to help each other. And I know that's especially true in New Jersey, and I know it's especially true after September 11th when so many people here in New Jersey suffered the loss of the person they loved best. (Applause.)

But I'm really happy to be here in New Jersey today to talk about my husband and why it's so important to reelect President Bush. (Applause.) I have watched my husband lead this country with strength and conviction through some of the most difficult struggles our generation has ever seen. He has taken decisive action to lead us out of recession with the largest tax relief in a generation. (Applause.)

Thanks to my husband's commitment to tax relief, America has added 1.7 million jobs since last August, and that's more jobs than Germany, Japan, England, Canada and France added, combined. (Applause.) And New Jersey is leading the region in job creation, with 57,000 new jobs in the last year. So congratulations to all the workers of New Jersey. (Applause.)

The unemployment rate in New Jersey has fallen to 5 percent, and it's 5.4 percent nationally. And today, more families than ever before -- I think this is such an encouraging statistic -- own their own homes. We have the highest home ownership rate ever. (Applause.) And, in fact, for the first time in our history, more than half of all minority families own their own homes. (Applause.)

And thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act, our schools have improved with higher standards, accountability and the most federal funding ever for elementary and secondary education. (Applause.)

And my husband has made the tough decisions that have helped safeguard our children from terror and liberate people from tyranny. (Applause.)

Last week in Ohio, I was visiting a woman-owned business and the entrepreneur that had that business summed up the President's success this way. She said, "President Bush was born for such a time as this. He never waivers when it comes to doing the right thing. It makes me feel so secure to know that our leader has such a love for our country." (Applause.)

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

MRS. BUSH: George is committed to making America safer, stronger and more hopeful for all Americans. We know that families face new challenges and that government should respond to these changing times.

Just think about the difference in today's society and our parents or grandparents. Today, in most families, both parents are working full time. Two-thirds of all mothers now work outside the home, and more single parents are doing double duty alone. More entrepreneurs are starting their own businesses while workers are changing jobs several times during their careers. And more people are going back to school to keep up with our changing economy. And we're also living longer.

In New York, President Bush outlined his agenda for a new term. Helping families face the challenges of this changing world is at the heart of the President's plan. We all know that all opportunities start with education. We want our children to go to the best schools and we want them to learn the skills that they need to be successful in life. And we want our students in high schools to be well prepared either to go on to college or to join the work force.

President Bush believes that we need to strengthen math and science education in high school and broaden Internet learning, so that young people can compete in our new technology-driven world. For workers who want to go back to school to learn new skills, the President will work with community colleges to make career training for the new jobs that are available, available for more people. And because higher education is a dream for so many people, he'll make Pell grants more available so that many more Americans can earn a college diploma. (Applause.)

And when these graduates enter the work force, I'm proud to say that a lot of them will go to work for a woman boss. (Applause.) Ten million women own their own business in America, and this sisterhood just keeps growing. (Applause.)

In August, I was in Grafton, Wisconsin, where I met Carol Schneider at her company. Over 30 years ago, Carol started a business in her neighbor's back bedroom, complete with $500 and a barking dog. (Laughter.) It wasn't easy to expand her business, especially when she was going to community college during the day, working full time and raising three young children. But Carol refused to give up, and today she manages 100 employees in 14 offices, and she leads a company worth $36 million. (Applause.)

Carol credits the President's commitment to tax relief to enabling her to open four more offices this year. Carol told me, the economy is doing great and it's because President Bush implemented policies that allow people to keep their own money, more of their own money, and to spend it how they choose. (Applause.)

Small business owners like Carol are some of the hardest working people in America. And my husband wants more Americans to be able to share in this success. The President knows that that starts with keeping taxes low. Already, small business owners have each saved an average of $3,000 this year alone. Owners are investing this extra money, expanding their operations and strengthening our economy.

And just in case you don't know, many small business owners are either sole proprietorships or sub-S corporations, and both of those are taxed like regular income taxes. So when you talk about tax relief, you're talking about relief for small business owners. They can use that extra money then to expand their business and to hire more people. (Applause.)

My husband also wants workers to have something that none of us have enough of, and that's time -- time to play with our kids, time to take care of our parents, or time to volunteer in our community. President Bush will work with Congress to make flex time and comp time available so that more Americans can better manage the demands of work and family. (Applause.)

And because so many people change jobs several times now during their careers, workers also need health care and retirement accounts that they can take with them. We have the best health care in the world, and my husband believes that it's time to put care back into the hands of patients and doctors. (Applause.)

The President is making health care more accessible with new ideas like health savings accounts. Health savings accounts enable people to save tax free for routine medical expenses like eyeglasses or a checkup. Workers can then take these accounts with them if they start a new job or if they leave work to raise a family. This is health care that we own, we manage and we keep ourselves. (Applause.)

Another growing crisis that concerns us all, especially women, is medical liability reform. Recently, I traveled to Philadelphia where I met Erin Zezzo, who learned about junk lawsuits the hard way. Erin had a trusting relationship with her OB-GYN, who had delivered her first two children. Shortly into her third pregnancy, Erin's doctor stopped delivering babies because he couldn't afford the medical liability insurance. Erin had to find a new doctor while she was six months pregnant.

Frivolous lawsuits raise the cost of health care insurance and they drive good doctors out of practice. (Applause.) To help doctors and women like Erin, President Bush will work to reform the medical liability system and reduce junk lawsuits. (Applause.)

And because we are living longer, it's more important than ever that we can own and manage our own retirement plans. The President wants to give younger workers -- their choice -- the option to create personal retirement accounts in Social Security, so they can manage those accounts themselves and pass them on to their spouse or children. (Applause.)

All of these issues are important in our country. But as we grieve for the families in Russia, and as we mark the third anniversary of September 11th, I believe what's most important is my husband's work to protect our country and to defeat terror around the world. (Applause.)

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

MRS. BUSH: Too many families here had a loved one or a neighbor or a friend who went to work in New York that day and never came home. I met with several families earlier and I know that that happened to them and they lost the person they loved best. It's for our country and our children and our grandchildren that we do the hard work of confronting terror and promoting democracy. (Applause.)

President Bush and I want our men and women in uniform and their families to know how much we appreciate their service. I also appreciate the service of the veterans who are here behind me today. (Applause.)

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

MRS. BUSH: Thanks to the United States military and our allies, we can be proud that 50 million more men, women and children live in freedom today. (Applause.) After years of being treated as virtual prisoners in their home by the Taliban, the women of Afghanistan are now able to leave their houses without a male escort. And after being denied an education, even the chance to learn to read, the little girls in Afghanistan are now in school. (Applause.)

More than 10 million Afghan citizens have registered to vote in this fall's presidential election, and more than 40 percent of that number are women. (Applause.)

And because we acted, the people of Iraq are now free from the tyranny of a brutal dictator. The Iraqi Interim Government is preparing for national elections in January, even as they face the violence from those who oppose democracy. And we pledge to stand with the Iraqi people during this historic time for their nation. (Applause.)

But as we stand with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, we must remember that building a democracy takes time. Think of how long it took us in our country, even though we were given the perfect document by our founders. It took almost 100 years after our founders declared all men are created equal to abolish slavery in America. And not until 84 years ago did American women get the right to vote. Our nation has not always lived up to its ideals, yet those ideals never ceased to guide us. (Applause.)

We are the beneficiaries of the work of generations before us, and it's our responsibility to continue that work. My husband believes that there is more to do to make our country safer, stronger and more hopeful. And he'll continue the work of leading America forward while holding true to our timeless ideals. (Applause.)

So I want to encourage each one of you, talk to your neighbors about the President's accomplishments and his plans for a new term. Reach out to Democrats and Independents who appreciate strong and optimistic leadership. Make sure your friends are registered to vote and then turn them out at the polls. Everything you do will be a huge help for the President's campaign. (Applause.)

These are times of change for our nation, but they're also years of promise. We have great confidence in our ability to overcome challenges. We have gained a new appreciation of the many blessings of America, and we've been reminded of the responsibilities we have to the country we love.

George and I grew up in West Texas, where the sky seems endless and so do the possibilities. My husband brings that optimism, that sense of purpose, that certainty that a better day is before us to his job every day. And, with your help, he'll do it for four more years. (Applause.)

Thank you all so much. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you, and God bless America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

11:50 A.M. EDT


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