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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
October 28, 2004
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Victory '04 Rally in Port St. Lucie, Florida
South County Stadium
Port St. Lucie, Florida
1:48 P.M. EDT
MRS. BUSH: Thank you very much, Mel. Mel Martinez, your next senator from Florida. Thank you very, very much, Mel. (Applause.)
Thank you. We've had a great day today in Florida. We started out in Sarasota, we're here now and then we're going to be in St. Augustine next. I'm having a beautiful time traveling your beautiful state to talk about how important it is to reelect George W. Bush. (Applause.)
But it's also really important to elect Mel Martinez as your next senator. (Applause.) He's such a really wonderful guy. He's already served our country in a really great way as a Cabinet secretary for President Bush. He has a wonderful story. He came to Florida on Pedro Pan, the Peter Pan project. His parents sent him Cuba. He didn't see them for five years -- is that right. About five years lager, they got here. And I think his story is such a tremendous story. It's just one of a million American stories of things that can happen here in our country because we have so many freedoms and we're so fortunate to be Americans. And the stories of Americans are what I've gotten to hear as I travel around our country.
Congressman Mark Foley, thank you very, very much. Thank you for being here with me, and thank you for your service to your constituents and for your friendship. (Applause.)
And Nancy Brinker is one of my longtime friends. When she lived in Dallas -- now, as you know, she lives here in Florida. But years ago, I would always work on the Susan Komen foundation fundraiser, the fundraiser that she started for -- or actually the big, huge foundation that she started in honor of her sister who died with breast cancer. My mother is a breast cancer survivor. I know in this crowd, there are probably other breast cancer survivors.
Remember that this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is the month to tell your mother and your sister and your daughters to have a mammogram and to be sure they do everything they can to detect breast cancer early, because that's still the best prevention.
Nancy, thank you for your service to all women in the United States. (Applause.)
I also got to visit her in Budapest when she was our ambassador to Hungary and I had a great time there. And she served our country so well. Thank you for that service.
I also want to than the state senators and the state representatives that are here with me today. Thank you for your service to your state and to our country. And thanks to everyone who's here. Thanks to all the volunteers who are putting up the signs and making the phone calls, and everybody that's going to show up on Tuesday to vote, thank you so much for your friendship. (Applause.)
Earlier this month, our daughters, Jenna and Barbara, went with me to Vero Beach. We came to do -- right after the hurricane there to do some of the help with hurricane relief. And we're so inspired by the resiliency of the people of Florida and by the volunteers, the National Guard who helped us as we all worked that day to get people water and food. The police and the rescue workers and, especially, of course the members of the Red Cross worldwide -- I mean, that came from around the country to help in Florida as well as the Red Cross and Salvation volunteers and workers that are from Florida.
I want you all to know that all of America has been thinking about Florida with these four hurricanes -- not one but four -- and I know that now many families are beginning to rebuild and to get their feet back on the ground. And I just want to tell you that the United States government will continue to help in whatever way we can. And I know that here, you all also suffered a lot of damage in the hurricanes. And one thing I noticed when I visited Vero Beach is just how decent and generous Americans are. I think we can take comfort in knowing that, in times of tragedy, Americans always unite to help each other. (Applause.)
And of course what I'm really happy to do today, to be here in Port St. Lucie, is to talk about why it's so important to reelect President George W. Bush. (Applause.)
We've been through a lot together these last four years. But today, our economy is growing, we're closing the achievement gap in our schools, and America is safer and stronger thanks to the decisive leadership of our President. (Applause.)
I visited Ohio a few weeks ago and met a woman entrepreneur. I've had a great time traveling around our country and meeting women business people. And she said, "President Bush was born for such a time as this. He never wavers 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.)
And like this woman entrepreneur, women across America are playing an important role in this election. We have clear ideas about the kind of leader we want to protect our children and to move our country forward. We want a leader who will keep our country and our families safe, a President who will make sure every child receives an excellent education and that our families have affordable and accessible health care. (Applause.)
We want a leader who understands that we know best how to spend our own money. (Applause.) And we want a President who is strong and steady and compassionate, and who keeps his word. And I'm so proud that my husband is that kind of leader. (Applause.)
President Bush knows that empowered women are vital to a democracy, and we all know that, especially as we look around the world now and see what happens in countries where half the population is left out. And, if he didn't notice it from that, he's got three strong women at home who don'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 presidential administration in history. (Applause.) Dr. Condoleezza Rice advises the President on foreign policy, and Margaret Spellings is in charge of domestic policy. That means at the White House, women are in charge of everything abroad and everything at home. (Applause.)
Of course, if you have a mother like Barbara Bush, you're used to strong women. (Laughter and applause.) A couple of summers ago, George and I were visiting his parents in Maine for the 4th of July. And we got up about 6:00 in the morning, which we always do, and got some coffee and went in to sit with them in their bedroom. And George sat on the sofa and put his feet up on the coffee table. And all of a sudden, Barbara Bush hollered, "Put your feet down." (Laughter.) George's dad said, "For goodness sake, Bar, he's the President of the United States." (Applause.) And Bar replied, "I don't care -- I don't want his feet on my coffee table." So you see, even Presidents have to listen to their mother. (Laughter.)
Actually, George is a lot like his mother. My husband makes his views clear and he stands on principle. And above all, the President says what he means and he does what he says. (Applause.)
Four years ago, when our economy needed a jumpstart, my husband said that he would reduce taxes, and he kept his word. Millions of families and small business owners are saving more of their own money because the President worked to pass the largest tax relief in a generation. (Applause.) Married couples, parents, workers, and business owners all saved more of their own money. And today, our economy is growing and it's getting stronger every day. (Applause.)
America has added 1.9 million new jobs in the last 13 months. And in a new term, my husband will work to keep taxes low so that more workers can find good jobs and families can save for their own retirement or for their children's education.
Four years ago, President Bush promised to end the soft bigotry of low expectations by reforming our public schools. He kept his word. (Applause.) He worked with Congress and passed good, sound education reform to bring high standards to the classroom and to make our schools more accountable to parents. We're really seeing progress.
Math and reading scores are rising. And, just in case you don't know, Florida is leading the United States in the increases in test scores. (Applause.)
We're closing the achievement gap by helping minority students. And George will build on these reforms and extend them to our high schools so that no child in America will be left behind. (Applause.)
Four years ago, my husband said he would work with Congress to give seniors relief from the rising cost of prescription drugs, and he kept his word. Today, because of the Medicare bill, millions of Americans, more than 4 million Americans, have already signed up for their Medicare prescription card. Low income American seniors are getting $600 this year credit on their card and $600 next year. And in 2006, when the full prescription drug benefit begins, seniors will save even more. (Applause.)
My husband knows that we must do more to lower the cost of healthcare and to make sure good doctors aren't forced out of practice because of the high cost of medical liability insurance premiums. In a new term, President Bush will work to reform the medical liability system and reduce frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.) And he'll make sure that patients and doctors are in charge of health care decisions, not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)
George believes that government should try to help people improve their lives, not try to run them. (Applause.) And the President believes that one of the most promising ways government can help improve our lives is by supporting medical research.
My husband kept his promise to double the amount of funding for the National Institutes of Health and I'm proud that my husband is the first President to authorize federal funding of stem cell research. (Applause.)
Last year, the federal government invested nearly $25 million in embryonic stem cell research and over $191 million in adult and other stem cell research. The President's policy makes it possible for researchers to explore the potential of stem cells while respecting the ethical and the moral implications associated with this research. (Applause.)
As President, my husband has met the toughest challenges with strength and conviction. He believes that it's his duty, the responsibility of every leader, to find solutions to problems, not pass them on to future Presidents or future generations. And that is why President Bush is committed to strengthening Social Security today for a new generation tomorrow. (Applause.)
As long as my husband is President, America will keep the promise of Social Security to all of our seniors. Social Security is good for people who are receiving it now, or for people my age, baby boomers, who will receive it soon.
The President is exploring ideas to strengthen Social Security so that our children and our grandchildren will have a secure Social Security trust. One good proposal is to allow younger workers to save some of their payroll taxes in a personal savings account. These accounts would allow people to receive a better rate of return than the Social Security trust, and they would help workers build a nest egg of their own that the government can't take away. (Applause.)
All of these issues are important to our families and our nation. But I believe what's most important is my husband's work to protect our country and to defeat terror around the world. (Applause.)
The terrible acts of September 11th showed us the threat that we face. But they also called us to the great work of promoting freedom and democracy in far corners of the world. President Bush and I want the men and women of the United States military and their families to know how much every American appreciates their service and their sacrifice. (Applause.)
And I know that Port St. Lucie lost one of its precious sons when Marine Ian Zook was killed in Iraq on the 12th of October. Every one of us and all Americans grieve with Ian's family and we want to thank them for their sacrifice and for their grace. (Applause.)
I also want to thank all the veterans who are here for your example that you've set for our young troops. (Applause.) We appreciate the service of courageous Americans like Sergeant Daniel Depagnier, who is here with us today. Daniel, thank you for your dedication to our country. (Applause.) Daniel is also a retired New York City fireman -- fireman or policeman? -- policeman, who retired down here to Florida. (Applause.) Thank you for your service. (Applause.)
As our Commander-in-Chief, my husband will always make sure that our troops have the support they need, and the United States military will remain an all-volunteer military. (Applause.)
As we do the hard work of confronting terror, we can be proud that today 50 million more men, women, and children have the chance to live in freedom, thanks to the United States of America and our allies. (Applause.) Earlier this month, millions of Afghan citizens voted in the first free presidential election in the history of their country. (Applause.) And in a great display of how far Afghanistan has come, a 19-year-old woman cast the first ballot. (Applause.)
The people of Iraq are also looking forward to elections there next January, even as they face violence from those who oppose democracy. Already, an Iraqi interim electoral commission is up and running and political parties are planning campaigns. Voter registration will begin next month, and free elections will be held this coming January.
The future holds great promise for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and, though many difficult struggles remain, the United States will be a friend to both nations. (Applause.)
Americans know that building a democracy isn't easy. Think about how long it took us in our country. It took almost 100 years after our founders declared all men are created equal to abolish slavery -- and not until 84 years ago did American women get the right to vote.
We know that democracy requires the participation of all citizens, and voting is one of our greatest rights and responsibilities. Make sure you go to the polls this Tuesday to vote. (Applause.)
This is a critical moment in our history. We face a choice between an America that is uncertain in the face of danger or an America that takes decisive action to defeat terror and spread liberty. Families and business owners can choose a President who wants to keep taxes low so people can have more of their own money. We can choose a President who wants a health care system where patients and doctors are in charge, not the government. And parents can choose a President who will keep us on the path to excellence and high standards in our schools for every child. The choice is clear. America needs the leadership of President Bush for four more years. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
MRS. BUSH: So, with just five days left before the election, I want to encourage you when you leave here today, get to work to tell your neighbors about the President's leadership and his vision for making America safer and stronger. Reach out to Democrats and Independents who appreciate optimistic and strong leadership.
Carole Johnstone is just one of many Democrats who plans to vote for President Bush on November 2nd. Carole, thanks for your support. (Applause.) I encourage all of you to vote, and turn out as many people as you can. You can even offer to drive a friend or a neighbor to the polls. Everything you do will be a huge help for the President's campaign.
On November 2nd, I know the people of Florida will stand with George, and we'll carry this great state and win an election. (Applause.)
Thank you all very, very much. Thank you for your friendship, and may God bless America. (Applause.) Thank you all.