The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
August 30, 2006

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at a Mike McGavick for Senate Lunch
Three Rivers Convention Center
Kennewick, Washington

12:54 P.M. PDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you, Mike, for your very kind introduction, and thanks to each and every one of you for the warm welcome to Washington. I'm so happy to be here in your state. I'm especially happy to have this opportunity to campaign with Mike. It's really important that he's elected to the Senate. He's told you a lot of -- or shown you just by what he said -- a lot of the really important reasons it will be to have Mike McGavick in the Senate. So I'm having a great time traveling with him today.

I know that you all heard that Mike spent part of his summer on the "Open Mike" tour, traveling all around Washington State in a 37-foot red RV holding open forums behind an old radio mic. Well, this morning, Mike is letting me stand in for him at the "Open Mike." I'm just glad I didn't have to drive around in that 37-foot RV from the other Washington to get here. (Laughter.)

I want to acknowledge Gaelynn McGavick. Gaelynn, you were great on what you just said. I think you do see what a wonderful partnership Mike and Gaelynn have. In a race, when you're in a political race or serving in political office, you really do find out that it's a family business, that everybody's involved, whether they want to be or not, and that the children that you have, who hear at home on television things about the person they love things that they don't like, that's just one of the things that does happen for sure, when you take the chance that they're taking and enter public life.

But I do want to tell you that the chance to serve our wonderful country is such a huge privilege. It's worth all of the downside that there might be, being involved in a political race. We have such a spectacular country and such really, really fine people. So it's been a huge privilege for me. I want to thank each one of you for your support for President Bush, as well as for Mike. (Applause.)

I also want to acknowledge, of course, Congressman Don Hastings. Congressman Hastings does a terrific job for you all in Washington, D.C. I think you know that. It's fun to get to be with him in his district today, and his family members. Diane Tebelius is here with us. She's the Chair of the Washington State Republican Party. (Applause.) Ms. Fredi Simpson is here, the Washington State National Committeewoman is with us, as well. (Applause.)

And I want each of you to know how delighted I am to have this chance to be here with you to support Mike McGavick's campaign for the United States Senate. Mike was born and raised in Seattle. He cares deeply about his fellow Washingtonians, and he knows a lot about your state. He's very knowledgeable about Washington.

As chief of staff to another Washington Senator, Slade Gorton, Mike learned the values of civility and cooperation that are so important in the Senate. And he touched on that just then in what he said. And like Senator Gorton, Mike will make the issues that are important to the families of Washington his first priority in Washington, D.C.

Mike brings to the Senate the principles of efficiency and accountability that have defined his life and his successful business career. He'll ensure that Washington state tax dollars are spent wisely and responsibly. Mike supports the Presidential Line Item Veto, which will help eliminate unnecessary spending from the federal budget. (Applause.)

And in the Senate, Mike will support tax cuts. Tax cuts have fueled our economy, and they've helped add 5.5 million new jobs since 2003. And that means 5.5 million more people wake up every morning with the dignity and the sense of purpose that comes with a job.

There are few people more dedicated to creating jobs in your state than Mike. (Applause.) In 2001, one of the state's largest employers, the Safeco Insurance Company, faced almost certain bankruptcy. But when Mike took over as Safeco's CEO, his leadership skills -- his common sense, his commitment to accountability, and his willingness to make tough decisions -- turned the company around. By 2004, Safeco was profitable again, saving the company from going out of business and saving thousands of Washington jobs.

These jobs represent more than paychecks for Washington families. They offer Washington's young people the hope of good employment, which is one of the most important things we can do for our young people.

Another important way we can help young people is by guiding them toward the knowledge and the self-respect they need to build successful lives.

In his 2005 State of the Union address, President Bush announced the Helping America's Youth Initiative, and he asked me to lead it. Helping young people learn to make wise decisions for their lives is at the heart of Helping America's Youth.

Since the President announced the initiative, I've traveled to many parts of our country, visiting with young people and the adults who are so important to their lives. I've been to schools and after-school programs. I've visited fatherhood initiatives. I've met with mentors and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. I've visited gang intervention programs, where I've met the young people who are leaving gangs and finding jobs.

All of these visits led to the White House Conference on Helping America's Youth last October, and then to two regional conferences recently in Indianapolis and Denver. At the conferences, we introduced an online, interactive Community Guide. This guide helps concerned adults learn more about the problems facing the young people in their communities, and what local resources are available to address these problems.

The information is on the Helping America's Youth website, -- that's

g-o-v. And I urge you to look at the website, and use it here in your communities in Washington.

Mike is also committed to the well-being of young people. And he told you one part of what he's most interested in. He's especially dedicated to an issue that's close to my heart, and that's early childhood literacy. Mike understands that education is vital to every child's success, and that learning begins in the very first years of a child's life. As CEO of Safeco, Mike worked with other Washington business leaders to launch the Business Partnership for Early Learning -- which will invest more than $4 million over the next five years in early-learning initiatives here in your state.

We all know, though, that the well-being of families in Washington and throughout our country ultimately depends on our government's ability to keep them safe -- by defeating terrorism and increasing liberty abroad. (Applause.) In the Senate, Mike will be a champion of the men and women of the United States military.

Thanks to our men and women in uniform, the Iraqi people are now free from the oppression of Saddam Hussein and working to build a democratic future for their country. President Bush has pledged that the American people will stand with them as they build their democracy. We've invested too much -- our own troops have, our country has -- to pull out on the Iraqis now. (Applause.) With us today is Shelly Best, who lost her husband, a Marine Sergeant who was killed in a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2004. And Shelly's over here. (Applause.) All of us are so proud of those young men and women who are deployed around the world defending our country and making sure our families are safe here in the United States.

In Afghanistan, women and girls can now be educated. It's hard for us to imagine a country that would forbid half of its citizens to be educated. But now little girls are in school all over Afghanistan, thanks to the men and women of the United States military. (Applause.)

Mike's dedication to the people of Washington and his achievements remind us of why it's so important for him to be elected. Mike understands -- and this is what he told you when he spoke -- that America faces challenges too important to be reduced to simple politics and name-calling.

President Bush has an ambitious agenda for the rest of his time in Washington, and he takes his responsibility to the people of America very seriously. Ending our dependence on foreign oil, reforming our immigration system, rebuilding the Gulf Coast, and keeping our country safe from terrorism are not easy tasks, but they are absolutely vital goals. To accomplish them, we must have serious national conversations, conducted with civility and respect. And Mike McGavick will be a thoughtful, positive and powerful part of that dialogue. (Applause.)

This is just one reason why Mike will be a wonderful leader for your state. When you look through his distinguished record of public service, you'll find many more.

Thank you very much for coming out to support Mike, and thank you for your generous support of his election. I urge you to redouble your efforts between now and November to make sure Mike McGavick is elected to the United States Senate. Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)

END 1:06 P.M. PDT

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