The White House released the following excerpts of President Bush's speech tonight via satellite to the Republican National Convention:
On Hurricane Gustav:
We are thankful that the damage in New Orleans and across the Gulf Coast was less than many had feared.
I commend the Governors of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas for their sure-handed response and seamless coordination with the Federal government. I thank all of the wonderful volunteers who stepped forward to help their brothers and sisters in need.
On Senator McCain Being Prepared To Make the Hard Decisions That Fall Solely to the President:
John McCain's life has prepared him to make those choices. He is ready to lead this Nation.
We live in a dangerous world. And we need a President who understands the lessons of September 11, 2001: that to protect America, we must stay on the offense, stop attacks before they happen, and not wait to be hit again. The man we need is John McCain.
On Senator McCain's Courage and Vision:
John McCain's life is a story of service above self.
John is an independent man who thinks for himself. He's not afraid to tell you when he disagrees. ... No matter what the issue, this man is honest and speaks straight from the heart.
Last year, John McCain's independence and character helped change history. The Democrats had taken control of Congress and were threatening to cut off funds for our troops. In the face of calls for retreat, I ordered a surge of forces into Iraq. Many in Congress said it had no chance of working. Yet one Senator above all had faith in our troops and the importance of their mission – and that was John McCain. Some told him that his early and consistent call for more troops would put his Presidential campaign at risk. He told them he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war. That is the kind of courage and vision we need in our next Commander-in-Chief.
On Americans Choosing the McCain-Palin Ticket:
I am optimistic about our future, because I believe in the goodness and wisdom of the American people. I am optimistic because I have faith in freedom's power to lift up all of God's children and lead this world to a future of peace.
And I am optimistic about something else: When the debates have ended, and all the ads have run, and it is time to vote, Americans will look closely at the judgment, the experience, and the policies of the candidates – and they will cast their ballots for the McCain-Palin ticket.