Laura Bush touts husband’s record on women |

Laura Bush touts husband’s record on women

Associated Press

HENDERSON – First lady Laura Bush pointed to advances made by women around the world on Tuesday and said her husband was an advocate who would continue fighting for women and children if re-elected.

“We all know that empowered women are vital to a democracy,” Bush told a crowd of more than 2,000 people at a Republican rally. “That is even clearer to us today as we look around the world and we see what’s happened in countries where half the population is left out.”

Bush pointed to the women of Afghanistan as examples of newly found freedoms achieved by the war on terrorism.

“After years of being treated like virtual prisoners by the Taliban, the women of Afghanistan are now allowed to leave their homes without a male escort,” Bush said. “And after being denied an education, even a chance to learn to read, the little girls of Afghanistan are now in school.”

It was the first lady’s third trip to Southern Nevada this year and part of a Western campaign swing that took her to Salem, Ore., earlier Tuesday.

During her Nevada speech, Bush mentioned women who hold powerful positions within her husband’s administration, including National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Margaret Spellings, White House assistant to the president on domestic policy.

“That means in the White House women are in charge of everything abroad and everything at home. That sounds about right to me,” Bush said.

Bush also praised her husband for the No Child Left Behind Act and for providing tax cuts, which she says help female business owners and their families. She said, if re-elected, her husband will work to improve access to college and career training for women and will work to provide more flex time to female workers who want to balance their jobs and families.

“We know that we have more work to do to make sure that prosperity reaches every corner of our country,” Bush said. “All these issues are important to our families and the strength of our nation.”

Before addressing the crowd at a Henderson amphitheater, Bush toured the Nevada Health Centers’ Mammovan – a mobile clinic that travels the state offering free mammograms to low-income and minority women. The clinic has provided more than 10,000 mammograms in the past four years and diagnosed 36 women with breast cancer.

“There are many factors of risk for breast cancer. But our greatest risk is ignorance,” Bush said.

Earlier across town, retired Gen. Merrill McPeak, a former Air Force chief of staff who supported President Bush during the 2000 campaign, told about 50 veterans that voting for George Bush had been a mistake.

McPeak said the administration has squandered any international goodwill the United States received after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by going to war in Iraq.

“It is not a test of patriotism to call attention to this stupidity,” McPeak said at a Kerry campaign event at an American Legion hall. “This administration has been careless with our sons and daughters, careless with our money.”

Nevada and its five electoral votes has received an unprecedented amount of attention during the campaign. President Bush has visited Nevada – a state he won four years ago – three times this year. Vice President Dick Cheney has made six visits, while Democratic challenger John Kerry has campaigned here four times and his running mate John Edwards once.

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