09/02/2008 at 11:00 PM EDT
Forget those public approval ratings. To Laura, husband George Bush is still “the man I love."
The First Lady made her do-over address to the Republican National Convention Tuesday, after her Monday address was canceled in deference to the threat of Hurricane Gustav to Gulf Coast residents. Sounding feisty, Mrs. Bush borrowed Republican John McCain’s “Straight Talk” motto – and targeted Democrat Barack Obama’s campaign theme of change – as she defended her husband’s eight-year record in the White House.
“America is in the middle of a heated campaign,” she said, “… but you haven’t heard very many facts.”
“In honor of our nominee,” she continued, “let’s call this a little straight talk.” The First Lady proceeded to tick down a list of President George W. Bush’s accomplishments, including the “No Child Left Behind” education changes, freedom for Iraq and Afghanistan and HIV-AIDS relief in Africa.
“You might call that change you can really believe in,” she said with a grin.
Saying she was on stage to introduce “the man I love,” Mrs. Bush told cheering GOP delegates: “A lot has changed in the last eight years, but one thing has remained constant: George remains a man of strong values and enduring love for the United States of America.”
President Bush, appearing via satellite from the White House, where he was monitoring the government response to Gustav, told the crowd, “With Laura Bush speaking, you have clearly traded up.”
2002: Laura Bush's first year in the White House
2001: PEOPLE introduces the new First Lady