First lady Laura Bush stresses vigilance against threats |

First lady Laura Bush stresses vigilance against threats

EUGENE TONG, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — One day after the FBI issued an alert about a possible terrorist attack, first lady Laura Bush on Tuesday stressed the need for Americans to stay vigilant while carrying on with their lives.

Speaking at a Town Hall Los Angeles breakfast, Bush told a packed auditorium the government is not using scare tactics.

“If they get a threat assessment that they think is credible, then they feel responsible to let people know,” she said. “We’re in a different time, we’ve never really faced anything like this before.”

Hundreds of people attended the $600 per table event at the Century Plaza Hotel and Spa.

The address drew former Gov. Pete Wilson and Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Riordan. But Riordan’s opponents in the March 5 primary, Secretary of State Bill Jones and wealthy Los Angeles investor Bill Simon, did not attend.

The first lady also urged investments of time and money in education as a way to respond to the attacks.

“It helps ensure that America will stand for social justice and equal rights, dignity and high ideals,” she said.

Bush encouraged Americans to assist teachers and educators in comforting children in the aftermath of the attacks.

“Tell them they are safe in their homes and at school,” she said. “We need to reassure them that many people love them and care for them.”

The first lady also delivered a pitch for President Bush’s USA Freedom Corps program announced during his State of the Union address as a way for Americans to get involved in volunteerism and stand together.

“Whether you live in the City of Angels or the Big Apple, or whether you worship on Saturday or Sunday, whether you cheer for the Dodgers or the Yankees, we stand together as one,” she said.

Beth Lowe, 60, a political activist who attended the talk, agreed with the first lady.

“There’s nothing in there that you can argue with, it’s apple pie,” she said.

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