Laura Bush’s Clovis speech

Source: White House press office

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all. Thank you, Carolyn. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Carolyn, and thank you for serving your community as the President
of the Library Board. I want to thank Senator Clint Harden who is here with
us today, your state senator. Thank you very much, Senator, for being with
us. (Applause.)

State Representative Grider, thank you so much for being with us as well.
And all the leaders from Curry County who are here with me today. Pat Lyons,
who is New Mexico’s Commissioner of Public Lands is here. Thank you so much
for being here, Pat. And Rhonda Bookout the candidate for Curry County
Treasurer is here. (Applause.)

Thanks so much. And special thanks to Ellen Vaughan and Jeff Naggs and to
the many volunteers who are working hard to make sure George W. Bush leads
this country for four more years. (Applause.)

It’s great to be in Clovis. Curry County and eastern New Mexico are so
close to where George and I grew up in West Texas, I feel like I’m home.

I’m glad to see so many farmers and ranchers here, and I want to thank
everybody from Cannon Air Force Base who is here as well today. Thank you all.

But I’m here to talk about why it’s so important to reelect our President
George W. Bush. As I’ve traveled across the country in the last several
months, I’ve met so many people who have a deep love for our country and for
our President. People across America see what you and I see — my husband is
a man of character and conviction. (Applause.)

We’ve all watched as President Bush has led this country through the most
historic struggle of our generation. 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 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.)

These are historic times, and they’re also times of change that require
new ideas to move America forward. Just think about the difference in our
lives today and the lives of our parents or grandparents. Today, in most
families, both parents are working outside the home, including two-thirds of
all mothers. And more single parents are doing double duty alone. More
entrepreneurs are starting their own businesses and workers are changing jobs
often during their whole career. More people are going back to school to keep
up with our changing economy.

At our convention 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. And just like Carolyn said, we know all
opportunity starts with education. (Applause.)

During his first week in office, President Bush sent a plan to Congress to
change public education in America, because too many children from our poorest
schools were being left behind. And today, 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.

More children are reading at grade level. Scores in math are improving.
And students here in New Mexico are proving the pundits wrong and they’re
closing the achievement gap. (Applause.)

Last May, I visited Reginald Chavez Elementary School in Albuquerque,
which is a Title I school where more than 80 percent of their students are
Hispanic. In 2003, Reginald Chavez was awarded a Blue Ribbon School by the
Department of Education for being an exemplary school. At Reginald Chavez,
the principals, the teachers, the parents and the students believe in meeting
higher standards, not making excuses. And their hard work is paying off.

All across the state, students are making great gains and we owe this
success to New Mexico’s incredible teachers. (Applause.)

In the next four years, my husband wants teachers who choose to work in
low-income schools and those who are working hard to close the achievement gap
to receive extra compensation. The President also wants our students in high
schools to be well prepared for the jobs of the 21st century with strong
skills in math and science. And for workers who want to go back to school to
learn new skills, the President will work with community colleges to make sure
career training is available and accessible to all Americans.

And because
higher education is the dream of so many, he wants there to be many more Pell
grants so that more Americans can earn a college degree. (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 American
women own their own business in America, and that sisterhood just keeps
growing. (Applause.)

Millions of families and small business owners are saving more of their
own money because President Bush worked with Congress 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 talk about tax
cuts, you’re also talking about tax relief for small business owners so they
can expand their businesses and hire more people.

And I’m pleased that last week the United States Congress voted to extend
the tax relief. (Applause.) This gives families and small business owners
certainty to keep them on the path to greater prosperity.

Home ownership rates in the United States are at the highest ever. More
families own their own homes than ever before in American history. In fact,
for the first time, more than half of all minorities own their own homes in
the United States. (Applause.) And more than 1.5 million minority families
became homeowners in the last two years. I think that’s really an encouraging
statistic. (Applause.)

Since last August 2003, we’ve added 1.7 million jobs in America. That’s
more jobs than Germany, Japan, England, Canada and France added, combined.

President Bush was proud to sign the recent Medicare bill, which is giving
seniors savings on their prescription drugs. And he’s making health care more
affordable with health savings accounts. These accounts allow you to save tax
free for routine health care expenses in accounts that you own, that you
control, and that you can take with you from job to job or take home with you
if you leave your job to raise a family. (Applause.)

The majority of Americans who are uninsured work for small businesses, and
the President wants small businesses to be able to pool their risk, so they
can buy health insurance for their employees at the same discounts that big
businesses get. (Applause.)

And my husband will make sure that patients and doctors are in charge of
the health care, not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. (Applause.) George
believes that government should help people improve their lives, not try to
run them. (Applause.)

All of these issues are important in our country. But 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.

President Bush and I want all our men and women in uniform and their
families to know how much every American appreciates their service and their
sacrifice. (Applause.) We appreciate courageous Americans like retired Air
Force Sergeant Lee Ann Lam, who is back here behind — oh, right down here —
and Retired Gunnery Sergeant Rube Render, who are here with us today.

Sergeant Render’s daughter, Pauline Franklin, is also a member of
the United States Marine Corps. (Applause.) And special thanks to Lindsey
Smith for being here with us. Her husband, Sergeant Dale Smith, is currently
serving in the Army in Afghanistan. (Applause.) Lindsey, you and your family
and all military families are in the thoughts and prayers of every American.

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 to 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 leave their homes without a male escort.
And the little girls of Afghanistan, who were literally forbidden to be
educated, are now in school. (Applause.)

Next week, more than 10.5 million Afghans, including four million women,
will vote in their first free presidential election in the history of their
country. (Applause.)

And because we acted, the people of Iraq are free from the tyranny of
Saddam Hussein. President Bush met with Iraq’s new leader, Prime Minister
Allawi, at the White House last week. Prime Minister Allawi said that the
Iraqi people are determined to exercise their right to vote this January, even
as they face violence from those who oppose democracy. These acts are grim
reminders of why our work to defeat terror and to support free societies in
the Middle East is so important. (Applause.)

We have more hard work to do, but we must remember that building a
democracy takes time. Think how long it took us in our country, even though
our founders left us with the perfect document. 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. (Applause.)

On the 4th of July, Lance Corporal Laura Barrow who is serving in Iraq
wrote the President a letter, and we were moved by her dedication. She wrote,
“Our nation didn’t win its freedom overnight. It took many brave men to
establish the free democracy we call America. The same will be true of Iraq.
It will take many brave men and women with conviction and resolve to establish
a free democracy so that the Iraqi people will enjoy the same freedom as
Americans. I’m so proud to be serving my country. I believe in this cause,
Mr. President.” (Applause.)

We will stand with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan while their dreams
for freedom are being fulfilled. And President Bush will work to make our
country safer and stronger and more hopeful for all Americans. (Applause.)

There are just a few weeks left until the election, so I want to encourage
you to talk to your neighbors about the President’s accomplishments and about
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.

Tomorrow night, in Miami, the American people will see the strong,
decisive man I’ve known for the last 27 years, a man who says what he means
and does what he says. (Applause.)

These are times of change for our nation, but they’re also years of
promise. George and I grew up right out here in this same part of the
country, 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. May God bless America. Thank you for
your friendship.