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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 1, 2008

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at the Louisiana Delegation Breakfast
Crowne Plaza Hotel
Minneapolis, Minnesota

9:32 A.M. CDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all. Thanks so much, Cindy. Thank you. (Applause.) Thanks, everybody. Thank you all. We're the ones who should be applauding you. Thank you very much. I'm so honored to have this chance to be here with Cindy, to be here at the Louisiana delegation with Cindy. (Applause.)

I know that each one of you, more than any other delegation here -- although every single Gulf Coast delegation has their eyes on the Gulf Coast, just like every other delegation across the United States does. But I know that you all are the ones who are most worried, who are looking back home, who are just hoping against hope that the damage won't be that much, that people will be able to go right back home, that kids will be able to get right back into your schools.

I want to congratulate you all on rebuilding your school systems -- especially New Orleans, but all the other towns that lost their school systems in Hurricane Katrina. It's unprecedented how many school systems had to be rebuilt -- not just one school, but whole systems. And I want to congratulate you on that. And we all pray that everyone who evacuated will be able to return right home, and those children will be right back in those good schools. (Applause.)

I came in last night because tonight was the night I was going to give a speech, and I'm so glad to have this opportunity to be with Cindy. Now that tonight's program has been cancelled -- I know you all have all your business to do today, all the delegates will get together and do everything that you have to do legally to nominate Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin for our ticket. (Applause.)

But tonight I had some things in my speech about Cindy McCain, and this is going to give me the chance to tell her what they were. Just in the last few months, Cindy McCain has been to Vietnam with Operation Smile. You all know Operation Smile is the one that doctors come and repair cleft palates on children. She just -- was just in Georgia, in Tbilisi with the World Food Program -- is that right? With the World Food Program? She's been to Kosovo; she's been to Rwanda this summer. She was in Rwanda in 1994, I think it was, right after the genocide. She was back there again with AID.

This is what Cindy McCain has done in the last four or five months while she's campaigned for her husband for president. So you can imagine what she'll do in four years as first lady. (Applause.) Cindy will be such a huge asset for our country and such a wonderful face for all of the world to see, both in her care for people around the world and the very active life she's already led in helping people around the world.

So I'm excited about that, and now I'm glad that she's going to get to hear what I was going to say. I was also going to talk about John McCain, a true American hero -- (applause) -- someone who is so experienced and has paid attention to foreign policy in his job as senator the whole time, and is very, very experienced, especially compared with the other side. And I'm so thrilled that he's going to lead our ticket.

And then I also am especially proud of him for his pick for vice president, Governor Sarah Palin. (Applause.) I'm so happy because I'm actually going to have the chance to vote for a Republican woman this time. (Applause.) All right.

George and I know Governor Palin in her role as governor. She's been to the National Governors Association meeting the last couple of times in Washington, and she was at my table at the last one for dinner, and she was pregnant then with her fifth baby. So all of us, every woman in the room knows that she is really a super woman, to be mother of five and governor.

The other experience that I think she brings that I think is very, very important is that she was a mayor. When you're mayor your constituents live next door. They're not kind of a long way away. You don't get out of touch, like they always act like the President does -- although I'll have to say I don't think President Bush is out of touch. (Applause.)

But that's an experience that no other person on either ticket has, and that is that local experience, the way cities and towns know the federal government affects them. The cooperation between local areas -- which is actually one of the really good things about the preparation for this hurricane, is that now the cities, the states and the federal government are coordinated. The coordination between the three is going to make the response to this hurricane so much better for the people involved, and that's really good news. But it also shows an experience that Governor Sarah Palin has that I think will make our ticket so much more effective when they're president and vice president. So good work on John McCain's pick. (Applause.)

Now, I just want to say to the people of Louisiana, I know we can't believe it, none of us can; we're all looking at it, we can't believe just three years almost to the date and another hurricane is coming in. We're all praying that the damage will not be that bad, that people will be able to get right back home. And I know that every one of you just have a lump in your throat and a little bit of fear in your hearts about going back home and seeing what happens when you get back home, what has happened.

But we're all praying. I know you can do it again. It's so unbelievably wearying. No one knows that except the people who live on the Gulf Coast, what it's been like to try to rebuild in these last three years, and how far things have come. I was just in New Orleans about maybe three weeks ago, and things were looking better and better. Every single time I go more and more things are rebuilt. So we just hope and pray that this will not be as severe as it's been predicted, and that when you all leave here at the end of the week you'll go home and find things in great shape.

God bless you all. Thank you all very, very much. Thank you for your hard work for the Republican Party. (Applause.)

END 9:40 A.M. CDT

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