First Lady Laura Bush
Republican National Convention
Xcel Energy Center
St. Paul, Minnesota
September 2, 2008
[White House Transcript]

8:45 P.M. CDT

MRS. BUSH: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Thanks, everybody. I'm thrilled to be part of this historic convention, on the eve of the nomination of John McCain for President of the United States. (Applause.)

And I also want to recognize a former President and First Lady -- my father-in-law, President George Bush, and Barbara Bush, and my sister-in-law, Dorothy. (Applause.)

The Republican Party has a very exciting ticket -- a real American hero, John McCain, and a strong executive and proven reformer, Governor Sarah Palin. (Applause.)

I'm proud that America's first female Vice President will be a Republican woman. (Applause.) Women have always played an important role in our party, from energizing grassroots to driving policy. Thank you to the dedicated women in our audience for making the Republican Party so strong. (Applause.) I am proud that impressive women have served in my husband's administration -- women like Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao -- (applause) -- and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. (Applause.)

President Bush will address the convention in just a minute from the White House. Before I introduce him, though, I want to talk to you a little bit about the man I love. The first time I spoke at our convention, George was governor of Texas. And I was in front of the largest crowd I'd ever addressed. That night I told you about a man of character, whose principles would not shift with the winds of politics or polls. A lot has changed in the last eight years, but one thing has stayed constant: George remains a man of strong values, with a enduring love for the United States of America. (Applause.)

America is in the middle of a heated campaign. Recently, you've heard a lot of politicians offer a lot of opinions. But you haven't heard very many facts. So I thought I'd share a few with you tonight. In honor of our nominee, let's call it a little "straight talk." (Applause.)

On a issue that's close to my heart, President Bush initiated the most important education reforms in a generation, holding schools accountable and boosting funds for reading instruction. Today, student achievement is rising across the board, and test scores for minority students are at the highest they've ever been. (Applause.)

We all know how important it is for America to have judges who respect the Constitution. Our whole nation can be proud of the two newest members of the Supreme Court -- Justice Sam Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts. (Applause.)

Many in this arena, and many across our nation, are people of faith -- people who have answered the call to love your neighbor. The President has empowered faith-based and community charities to partner with government to help those in need. Engaging these groups is successful policy. One way we know is this: Across the country, 35 governors from both parties have started faith-based and community initiatives of their own. (Applause.)

And here's another inspiring statistic. When my husband took office, fewer than 50,000 Africans suffering from AIDS were receiving the medicine they needed to survive. Thanks to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, that number is now nearly 2 million. (Applause.) You might call that "change you can really believe in." (Applause.)

George is using America's influence to lift up lives around the world. Millions of children are protected from malaria by mosquito nets the American people provide. In Afghanistan and Iraq, 50 million people are now living in freedom. (Applause.) And let's not forget President Bush has kept the American people safe. (Applause.)

We'll always be grateful to the men and women who volunteer to wear the uniform of the United States. To the military families who know the anxiety of waiting for a loved one to return: America honors your service, and we give you our thanks. (Applause.)

In two months, the American people will choose a new President. No one knows the job -- what the job requires better than the man who holds this office. Ladies and gentlemen -- my husband, and the President of the United States, George W. Bush. (Applause.)

(The President delivers video remarks.)

MRS. BUSH: Thank you all very much. For the past eight years, I've seen the burdens of the presidency up close. John McCain has what it takes to face the challenges that lie ahead. And he has the support of America's next First Lady -- Cindy McCain. (Applause.)

This year alone, Cindy has discussed landmine removal with Kosovo's President and Prime Minister. She's met with children undergoing reconstructive surgery in Vietnam. She's listened to stories from survivors of genocide in Rwanda. And she's comforted Georgian refugees who fled their homes in South Ossetia. If Cindy can do all of this just in the last eight months, imagine what she can do in the next four years in the White House. (Applause.)

The American people can expect great things from John and Cindy McCain. And President Bush and I can tell John and Cindy that they can expect great things from the American people.

We leave the White House with deep gratitude for your support. Our lives have been enriched by the generosity of citizens across our country: the children who welcomed us to their schools with songs and signs; the volunteers, church pastors, and city mayors who shared stories of caring for those in need; the members of the military, and their families, who answered our nation's call to serve; and those who've approached us with the simple and humbling words: "We're praying for you."

Thank you very much for your encouragement and your prayers. Thank you for your support of the next President and First Lady of the United States -- John and Cindy McCain. (Applause.)

May God bless you, and may God bless America. (Applause.)