During a stop today in Des Moines, First Lady Laura Bush made a pitch for keeping Iowa’s Caucuses first-in-the-nation. “It’s really important, I think, for an early presidential state to be a state like Iowa that has such very solid American values,” Mrs. Bush said.
Democrats are in the process of scheduling Caucuses in the state of Nevada after Iowa’s Caucuses in 2008 and before New Hampshire’s Primary. Republicans set their schedule of 2008 presidential contests in 2004, but changes on the Democratic side could send the whole schedule into chaos.
During a speech over the noon-hour in Des Moines, Mrs. Bush waded into the controversy. “Iowa’s really a state that we know better than almost any other because we’ve spent so much time here and one of the really great things about having Iowa be the first caucus state is that Iowans are so respectful and kind to every candidate, whether they’re for ’em or not,” Mrs. Bush said. “You take your responsibility very seriously of getting to know the presidential candidates.”
Laura Bush has been a frequent visitor to Iowa. She started campaigning here in 1979 with her father-in-law, who went on to be elected vice president in 1980 and president in 1988. She returned to campaign for and with her husband in 1999 when he started running for president. Governor Tom Vilsack, a Democrat, has said the First Lady’s frequent visits in 2004 helped Bush beat Kerry in Iowa by 10-thousand votes. Today, Laura Bush was campaigning for two Republican congressional candidates in Iowa, but she first reminisced a bit about those past campaign visits. “And I want to thank you all for the kindness you’ve extended to President Bush and me over all those years that we’ve been here,” she said.
Mrs. Bush spoke for about 10 minutes to a crowd of 12 dozen people who paid at least $250 each to attend the event for Jeff Lamberti’s congressional campaign. “America faces challenges too important to be reduced to just politics,” Mrs. Bush said.
Her father-in-law, the first President Bush, once said he wanted a “kinder, gentler nation” and the current First Lady sounded that theme at the end of her speech. “President Bush has an ambitious agenda for the rest of his time in Washington and he takes his responsibility to the American people very seriously,” Mrs. Bush said. “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.”
You can hear Mrs. Bush’s entire speech by clicking on the link below.