First lady stumps to mobilize Bush supporters in St. Paul

Laura Bush spoke to begin Test Drive 4W, which lasted 11 days.

Chad Hamblin

First lady Laura Bush entered the St. Paul RiverCentre on Friday to the sound of approximately 1,700 supporters chanting, “Four more years.”

“I’ve known George (W.) Bush for nearly 30 years,” she said during her speech, meant to trump support for her husband’s presidential campaign. “And I’ve known for every second of our time in the White House that the president has the character and the courage to meet the demands of these times.”

Laura Bush spoke in St. Paul to kick off Test Drive 4W, an 11-day effort to mobilize supporters across the nation.

“We need volunteers to spread the word about the president’s positive agenda for America,” she said.

In her speech, Bush spoke about the president’s successes in Iraq and his future plans for health care, education and the economy.

“I know you see what I see: the president is a steady leader for these historic times,” she said. “He has a good and compassionate heart.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who also spoke at the event, said he is excited about the upcoming campaign.

“This is a state that’s in political transition,” he said. “We used to be a classic liberal state, and now we’re transitioning to a politically competitive state. That’s a good thing for democracy.”

President George W. Bush lost the state of Minnesota by 2 percent to Al Gore in the 2000 election.

In addition to Pawlenty, State Auditor Pat Anderson, Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer and Laurie Coleman, wife of Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., spoke before Bush took the stage.

Tony Zammit, chairman of the University College Republicans, said the rally was “excellent” and that he plans to participate in Test Drive 4W.

“The whole event was really well-done,” he said. “The first lady stood up by the rope and shook hands with everyone who wanted to shake hands.”

However, University DFL President Austin Miller said many people who don’t normally participate in politics are joining Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry’s campaign to get Bush out of office.

“This is going to be one of the biggest grassroots campaigns because everybody hates Bush,” he said. “Every path he’s taken our country on has not been very good.”