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For Immediate Release - Office of the Press Secretary - March 30, 2005 - 8:44 A.M. (LOCAL)

Remarks by the First Lady

THE FIRST LADY: Thank you, thank you. Why, I never expected such lovely manners traveling outside of civilization. What a lovely surprise! My swarthy friends, what a pleasure it is to be here in one of those out-of-the-way countries that ends with the name of the man who did our vinyl siding back in Austin – Stan. Why, if this barren, tumbleweed-strewn dust bowl only had a strenuously bucolic zillion dollar ranch-style mansion on its own artificial lake, I'd think I was back home in Crawford! Though come to think of it, there is no way in tarnation that a real Texas gal's hairstyle could even start to fit under one of those burlap bird cage covers all you girls over here are so crazy about.

Anyway, I want to thank all you lady Afghanisheses for coming today. And please, don't you feel guilty for not understanding a word I say, because I wouldn't dream of wasting my time learning one word of that gibberish you people use to scream primitive commands at one another. So there, see how much we have in common? (Laughs.) Although learning First Lady English is not as hard as you might think – even for uneducated folks like you all. Because there are only eighty-seven words that the White House allows me to say. And, to get you off to a quick start: "teach, teacher, teaching and teachers" are four of them! Now wasn't that easy?
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But let me get down to business, because I know that most of you don't have long before you have to get home to your domineering, paranoid, fundamentalist religious crazy hubbies who feel threatened by anything more intellectual than a sports statistic. Trust me when I say: I personally know how frustrating that can be, gals. It's enough to make to you suck down eight Long Island Iced Teas and a whole box of ciggies every night, isn't it? (Rolls eyes.)

Anyway, today I'm here with a Liz Claiborne purse stuffed with $20 million US dollars. Roughly 77,000 Euros. This money is specifically earmarked for that educationalizing stuff that is more important to me – well, let's just say they are both very important – than quality mixers. And I have brought this cash personally to make sure you folks don't go and blow it all on poppy seeds – because I know you people aren't baking bagels over here! I wasn't born yesterday. I know what is going on in a country full of beautiful poppies – and not one decent florist! The only Poppy we allow in our home is married to my gargoyle of a mother-in-law.

But if I could only see your inartfully made-up faces under all those monotone duvets, I'm sure I would see how grateful you all are. Why, this wad of cash is almost as much as my hubby pays Halliburton every time they change a lightbulb in Iraq. And yet you didn't even have to work for it – just sit idly by and enjoy the thrilling spectacle of your bombed-out villages and your loved ones being bombed-out even more to ensure film for cable news. How fortunate for you quaint little people! (Double Thumbs-Up Salute.)

OK, now that I've finished saying all the dandy stuff that is specific to you all and Afghanisland, I'm sure you won't mind if I just press "play" on this recording of my regular stump speech. That way, I can hop in my helicopter now and shave a few precious minutes off my interminably long six-hour visit to your depressing, smelly nation. So here you go. Please listen carefully: (Presses "Play")

Thank you, thank you. It's so nice to be here at yet another in a seemingly endless series of made-for-TV events. As you may have heard once or five thousand times before, I used to be a teacher. And a librarian.


That is why, having squeezed those two entire careers into a span of eighteen months over twenty years ago, I am uniquely qualified to serve as America's super-insightful expert on all things school and book-related.


You know, teaching is such an important part of education. In fact, I have it on good authority that teaching is one of the primary causes of folks learning stuff. And without learning, there could be no education. They're like "oil and foreign policy" that way – you can't have one without the other!

(Heavy Applause.)

Our children need education, which is why learning needs to happen. We can accomplish this with the help of schools, where knowledge is taught with the help of people called teachers. I was one of them. Yes, a teacher teaching people taught.

(Rapturous Applause.)

You see, I believe that teaching is the most important thing about teaching. And if there's one thing about teachers, it's that they teach. Boy howdy do they ever. Well, they also read, which is another very important thing that is also related to teaching, education, and pretending I can't hear my husband at the other end of the couch. In fact, reading and teaching can even happen at the same time, which – and this is the really amazing part – can also play a part in education!

(Thunderous Roar of Approval.)

Sadly, too often we forget that writing and books play a key role in reading. As a former librarian, I know that books, and reading them, are a big part of teaching, which is the one other job that I had three decades ago for a handful of months. Because when it comes to education, we should remember that learning stuff to stick in your head comes first.

(30 Second Standing Ovation.)

In closing, let me just say that I was a teacher. I taught elementary school. I know how important teaching is. I know how rewarding it is as well. I was also a librarian. I worked in a library. I know how books can be.

Thank you.

(5 Minute Standing Ovation + F-16 Squadron Flyover)


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