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Text of Laura Bush's speech

Thank you, George. I like being introduced by the President of the United States. And Barbara and Jenna, you were great. We are so proud of you both. I want to recognize the best father and Mother-in-law anyone could ever ask for: President Bush and Barbara Bush. And my husband's brothers and sister who have become my brothers and sister too. Watching tonight from her home in Midland, Texas, my mother, Jenna Welch. Thank you for the wonderful privilege you have given my husband and me of serving this great country.

Our lives have been enriched by meeting so many of our fellow Americans. As we've visited your communities, we have witnessed your decency, kindness and character. I am enjoying this campaign. It has reminded me of our very first one, 26 years ago. George and I were newlyweds and he was running for Congress. Our transportation wasn't quite as fancy back then -- an Oldsmobile Cutlass, and George was behind the wheel. Even then, he was always on time and he knew exactly where he wanted to go. You learn a lot about your husband when you spend that much time in a car with him. By the end of the campaign, he had even convinced me to vote for him.

This time I don't need any convincing.

I am so proud of the way George has led our country with strength and conviction. Tonight, I want to try to answer the question that I believe many people would ask me if we sat down for a cup of coffee or ran into each other at the store: You know him better than anyone -- you've seen things no one else has seen -- why do you think we should re-elect your husband as President?

As you might imagine, I have a lot to say about that.

I could talk about my passion, education. At every school we visit, the students are so eager. Last fall the President and I walked into an elementary school in Hawaii, and a little 2nd-grader came out to welcome us and bellowed, "George Washington!" Close, just the wrong George W."

When my husband took office, too many schools were leaving too many children behind, so he worked with Congress to pass sweeping education reform. The No Child Left Behind Act provides historic levels of funding with an unprecedented commitment to higher standards, strong accountability and proven methods of instruction. We are determined to provide a quality education for every child in America.

I could talk about the small business owners and entrepreneurs who are now creating most of the new jobs in our country ... women like Carmella Chaifos -- the only woman to own a tow truck company in all of Iowa. The President's tax relief helped Carmella to buy the business, and modernize her fleet, and expand her operations. Carmela is living proof of what she told me. She said: "If you're determined and you want to work hard, you can do anything you want to. That's the beautiful thing about America."   Continued...

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