George W. Bush photo

Remarks on a Report by the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors and an Exchange With Reporters

July 25, 2007

The President. I've been running with Max and Allen—I mean, Neil. I met these guys at Walter Reed. Neil lost both legs, and he told me he's going to run with me on the South Lawn of the White House. Max lost his leg, and he told me he was going to be jumping out of airplanes with the 101st Airborne. Sure enough, he's jumping out of airplanes with the 101st Airborne, and along with Neil, he's running on the South Lawn.

This is a—running with these two men is incredibly inspirational to me. And it should be inspirational to anybody who has been dealt a tough hand. Sometimes in life you get dealt a hand that you didn't expect to play. And they got dealt a tough hand, and they're playing it with all their soul. And I appreciate you guys being here. It means a lot to me.

Today Senator Dole and Secretary Shalala delivered a report to the White House. I told the press corps that they were going to go out and hold a press conference. They've held their press conference. I'd like to make some comments on that report.

First of all, the spirit of that report is, any time we have somebody hurt, they deserve the best possible care, and their family needs strong support. We've provided that in many cases, but to the extent we haven't, we're going to adjust. In that recommendation, there are things the United States Congress should do, and I call upon them to do it.

In that report, there are a lot of things that the executive branch of Government can do, the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense. And I've instructed Secretary Gates and Secretary Nicholson to look at every one of these recommendations and to take them seriously and to implement them, so that we can say with certainty that any soldier who has been hurt will get the best possible care and treatment that this Government can offer.

I'm working with two men who have been hurt, two men who refuse to allow their current circumstances to get them down or to keep them down. I am proud to be with you guys. Neil, thank you.

Sergeant Neil Duncan. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. God bless you, Max.

Specialist Max Ramsey. Thank you, Mr. President.

The President. He wanted me to jump out of airplanes with him. I respectfully declined.

President's Run

Q. How does it feel to be with the Commander in Chief running around the track?

Sgt. Duncan. Fantastic. It's an accomplishment. It's, like, the pinnacle of recovery, I think. Being a wounded vet, coming out of Afghanistan a little over a year and a half ago, and then being here, running around this track is just amazing. I couldn't ask for anything better.

The President. Don't ask him why he outran me.

Q. Why did he outrun you?

The President. Because he's a faster runner. Anyway, thank you guys. It's a proud moment for me, a proud moment.

NOTE: The President spoke at 4:25 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Spc. Max Ramsey, USA, who was injured in Iraq in March 2006; Sgt. Neil Duncan, USA (Ret.), who was injured in Afghanistan in December 2005; former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna E. Shalala and former Sen. Robert J. Dole, Cochairs, President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors; and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.

George W. Bush, Remarks on a Report by the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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