Administration of George W. Bush, 2008 / Nov. 18 1429
service, she will be presented the Citizens retary. She has been an outstanding member
Medal as well and is probably wondering why of the Cabinet; she is a strong leader. I saw
she was not notified. [Laughter] her leadership, as did the country, firsthand
Each of today’s honorees understands that when Minnesota’s I–35 bridge collapsed. The
encouraging individual creativity and free- Secretary coordinated a swift and an effective
dom of expression through the arts and schol- Federal response. Swift was important for
arship strengthens and enhances our great the people in Minneapolis. Effective is al-
country. And so I want to thank them for ways important when it comes to reminding
their service. I congratulate them. And now our citizens that the Government can re-
I ask the military aide to read the medal cita- spond in a way that will make them proud.
tions. I appreciate the fact that she launched a
[At this point, Lt. Cmdr. Clay Beers, USN, thorough review of bridge safety across our
Navy Aide to the President, read the cita- country and worked with the Congress to get
tions, and the President presented the med- the monies necessary to rebuild that bridge.
als.] The bridge reopened months ahead of sched-
ule, thanks in large part to the organization,
President Bush. Once again, Laura and determination of our Secretary and the peo-
I thank you for coming. I hope you have ple who work for her.
found this eve—this day as joyous as we have.
Madam Secretary, you did your job. That’s
Congratulations. God bless.
what I expected when I asked you to serve,
NOTE: The President spoke at 1:35 p.m. in the and I really want to thank you for your serv-
East Room at the White House. The transcript ice.
released by the Office of the Press Secretary also I’m proud to be here, as well, with the
included the remarks of the First Lady and the Deputy Secretary, Tom Barrett; thank you—
presentation ceremony of the National Medals of as well as the former Deputy Secretary, and
Arts and National Humanities Medals. at one time Acting Secretary, Maria Cino.
I know that a lot of folks in our country
Remarks at the Department of think about transportation a lot, particularly
Transportation this time of year. People are getting ready
to move around for Thanksgiving, and with
November 18, 2008 Christmas not very far behind. And a lot of
Thank you. Please be seated. Madam Sec- our citizens are nervous about travel. They’re
retary, thank you for the kind introduction. not nervous about their safety, but they’re
Thank you for the reception. I am honored nervous about what the experience will be
to be with the men and women who work like: the long delays, lost bags, overbooking
here at the U.S. Department of Transpor- of flights. One way to look at it is they’re
tation. I appreciate you giving me a chance saying, ‘‘Will traveling home for the holidays
to come by and visit with you today. I want be ‘It’s A Wonderful Life,’ or will it be ‘The
to thank you very much for the great job you Nightmare Before Christmas’?’’ [Laugh