The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
October 21, 2004

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at Victory '04 Rally in Lebanon, New Hampshire
Lebanon Opera House
Lebanon, New Hampshire

11:57 A.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Thanks everyone. Thank you all so much for coming out to be with me today, and thank you so much, Senator Gregg, for your friendship, and for your very warm welcome.

Today is the perfect day for a road trip with a few friends -? (laughter) -- and I can't think of a better place to do it than here in New Hampshire with your beautiful fall foliage. It's really great to be here.

I want to give special thanks Kathy Gregg, my really good friend. Kathy and I have spent a lot of time together traveling in your state, in New Hampshire. And also she has been to the ranch with me a couple of times, and I value her friendship.

Also, Kitty Sununu has been showing your state off to me all day, and I'm so glad that she's here. Thank you, Kitty, for joining us.

And I'm also happy to be traveling with my friend Cindy McCain. A few years ago, Cindy and I were on different buses -? (laughter) -- and their bus nearly knocked us off the road! (Laughter.) But today, I'm so happy that she and Senator McCain are traveling with us on the road to victory. Thank you very much, Cindy. (Applause.)

I'm also really happy that Congressman Charlie Bass is with us. And thank you very much, Congressman. Thank you for your friendship. (Applause.) And I'm also especially honored to have Cheryl McGuiness with us. Cheryl has been through so much, and we all admire your grace and your dignity, Cheryl. Thank you for being here. (Applause.)

And thanks to Mayor Cliff Desrosiers. Thank you so much, Mayor. And to State Representative Terri Dudley, thank you both for welcoming us here to Lebanon.

I'm so happy to be back in New Hampshire to talk about why it's so important to reelect our great President, George W. Bush. (Applause.) You know, 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 President's decisive leadership. (Applause.)

In Ohio, I visited with a woman business owner who summed up our success this way. 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."

These are historic times, and they're also times of change. Just think about the differences in our lives today and the lives of our parents or grandparents. Today in most families, both parents work outside the home, including two-thirds of all mothers. And more single parents are doing double duty alone.

More entrepreneurs are starting their own business. Workers are changing jobs often during their lifetimes, rather than going to work for one company and spending their whole career there. And more people are going back to school to keep up with our changing economy. President Bush has outlined an agenda for a new term. Helping families face the challenges of this changing world are at the heart of the President's plan.

We know that all opportunity starts with education. And thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act, our schools are improving with higher standards, with accountability, and with the most federal funding ever for elementary and secondary education. (Applause.) As we help our younger students by making sure they learn to read by the third grade, we also want to make sure that our students in high schools are well prepared for the new jobs of the 21st century.

We want high school students to have increased math and science training, because we know that the new jobs will demand these skills. We also want to make federal student financial aid more flexible, so more Americans can go to college, they can earn a degree, or they can take specialized courses that will help them get a great job. (Applause.)

And when these graduates go to work, I'm proud to say that a lot of them will go to work for a woman boss. (Applause.) Ten million American women own their own business, and this sisterhood just keeps growing. In fact, women are starting small businesses at twice the rate of men in the United States. (Applause.)

And 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.) And just in case you don't know, a lot of small businesses are either sole proprietorships or sub-S corporations, which means they're taxed with regular income tax. So when you're talking about tax relief, you're also talking about tax relief for small businesses, so they can expand their operations and hire more people.

America has added 1.9 million new jobs since August 2003. That's more jobs than Germany, Japan, England, Canada and France added, combined. (Applause.)

We know we have more work to do to make sure that every person that wants to work in America can find a job. This month, President Bush signed a bill extending the tax relief so that families and small businesses can stay on the path to greater prosperity. The bipartisan bill, which Senator Gregg and Congressman Bass supported, extends the $1,000 child tax credit, the marriage penalty relief, and the expanded 10 percent bracket. Over all, 94 million Americans will have a lower tax bill this year, including 70 million women and 38 million families with children. (Applause.)

My husband also believes that every American should have access to the most reliable and the most affordable health care. And one way we can reduce the cost of health care is to stop frivolous and junk lawsuits. (Applause.)

President Bush will work to reform the medical liability system so we can reduce those frivolous lawsuits. And he'll also make sure that patients and doctors are in charge of health care, not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. (Applause.)

And one of the most promising ways government can help us improve our lives is by supporting medical research. The President looks forward to medical breakthroughs that may arrive through stem cell research. You might not realize that, because people try to distort his record. But the truth is, George Bush is the first President to authorize federal funding for stem cell research.

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. Many millions more are spent by researchers in the private sector.

My father died of Alzheimer's disease and I share the President's eagerness to find a cure for this devastating illness. We're hopeful that stem cells will yield cures and therapies for a myriad of illnesses. But we know that the promise of research lies in the advancement of scientific knowledge and in a greater understanding of how stem cells can be used to treat illnesses. 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.)

Another issue of great importance to all Americans is Social Security. Once again, during this election season, some people are trying to scare America's seniors about Social Security. But I want everyone here to know -- and I think the President made this clear in the debates -- my husband believes that Social Security is a central part of our compassionate society. And as long as my husband is President, America will keep the promise of Social Security to all of our seniors. (Applause.)

As President, my husband has met the toughest challenges with courage. He believes that it's his duty, the responsibility of every leader, to find solutions to problems, not pass them on to future Presidents and future generations. And his first and most solemn duty is to protect our country and to protect the people of the United States.

He has worked to defeat terror around the world. President Bush and I want the men and women in the United States military and their families to know how much every American appreciates their service and their sacrifice. (Applause.) As commander-in-chief, my husband will make sure that our troops have the support they need, and that 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 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.) After years of being treated as virtual prisoners in their homes by the Taliban, the women of Afghanistan are now able to walk outside of their doors without a male escort. And the little girls of Afghanistan, who were forbidden to be educated, are back in school. On October 9th, the people of Afghanistan voted in the first free presidential election in their country's history. Despite the threats of violence from terrorists, millions of Afghans went to the polls. We heard of a bridge that was blown up, but the Afghan citizens found a ford in the river so they could cross it to vote.

A 19-year-old woman became the first voter in the election. (Applause.) And she said, "I cannot explain my feelings, just how happy I am. I would never have thought I would be able to vote in an election."

And because we acted, the people of Iraq are free from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. (Applause.) President Bush met with Iraq's new leader, Prime Minister Allawi, at the White House a few weeks ago. Prime Minister Allawi said that the Iraqi people are determined to exercise their right to vote, even as they face violence from people who oppose their democracy.

Already an Iraqi independent electoral commission is up and running, political parties are planning campaigns, voter registration will begin next month ?- and free and fair Iraqi elections will be held this coming January. The Iraqi people are showing that the violent acts of a few cannot stop the march of freedom. (Applause.)

Americans know that building a democracy takes time. Think of how long it has taken 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. Building a democracy isn't easy, but it's right. (Applause.)

This is a critical moment in our history. In just 12 days, voters will 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 to spread liberty. Americans can choose a leader who understands the threat we face today. Families and business owners can choose a President who wants to keep taxes low, so they can keep more of their own money. We can choose a President who wants a health care system where patients and doctors are in charge and not the government. And we can choose a President who will keep us on the path to excellence and high standards for every child in school. The choice is clear. America needs the leadership of President George Bush for four more years. (Applause.)

So with less than two weeks left, I want to encourage you when you leave here today, tell your neighbors about the President's vision for making America better. Reach out to Democrats and Independents who appreciate strong and optimistic leadership. Get an absentee ballot if you'll be away from home on November 2nd. Then make sure you vote, and turn out as many people as you can. Everything you do will be a great help for the President's campaign.

These are times of change for our nation, but they're also years of promise. 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.) May God bless you all. May God bless America. Thank you all. Thanks, everybody. (Applause.)

12:20 P.M. EDT


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