As I stand here before you, I have one deep feeling in my heart, and that is thanksgiving to all of you who turned what 8 months ago was a prediction of absolute defeat into a wondrous victory tonight. Thank you very much.
It has been a long campaign. We have not avoided presenting our issues and our platform and our record and our future to every single State and territory in this country. Many of you have had to campaign for me while I stayed at the White House to conduct the President's duties.
I've had two secret weapons: One is all of you out there who worked so hard, and the other one is my wife, who worked in the open and who is not a secret weapon anymore.
A few minutes ago, after the first returns came in from Ohio and from West Virginia and other States, I called Fritz Mondale on the phone to ask him if he would be my running mate in 1980. He said if I would debate him that he would join me in the campaign. [Laughter] Obviously, having a partner like Fritz Mondale is a tremendous advantage for a President who is an incumbent, taking care of the duties of this great Nation as President, and it's also a tremendous advantage for a candidate like myself, running for reelection.
This team spirit has been permeating throughout our whole campaign. And I'm now dedicated to bringing our Democratic Party back together, after we have faced two formidable candidates who ran tremendous campaigns on their own, to reach out a hand of friendship and cooperation for them and their supporters, to share the values and the commitments, to share the principles, and to share the future of the Democratic Party and what it stands for.
This is the end of a long primary season, and it's the early beginning of a general election campaign. I intend to be very active as a campaigner in the fall. And I look forward to meeting the Republican nominee—I presume it will be Governor Reagan—both on the campaign trail and in intense, head-on-head debates to let the American people choose whom they want.
It's time to set the record straight. It's time to present clearly to the American people what our Nation is, what it has been; the formidable challenges and problems which we face; the fact that there are no easy answers and there are no easy solutions; that we must be bound together in a spirit of partnership and mutual commitment to realize the tremendous potential of our country in the future.
We need not fear those questions or those problems or those obstacles. In times of trial and testing, our Nation has never failed. It's good in a democratic system to have the American people participate, and 15 million Democrats have participated so far in this primary season. Now it's time for the American people to clearly define the issues and to make a choice for the future.
As for myself, I have no doubt that our Nation will triumph and win a tremendous victory over the problems that face us now, because of our innate strength. And I have no doubt that together, you and I, and all other Democrats, will triumph in November and return a Democrat next year to the White House again, and I hope that Fritz Mondale will be my running mate there.
Again, in the general election campaign I need your support, your friendship, and your dedicated work, as you've already demonstrated you're eager to give. And I close my remarks the same way I began them: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. God bless every one of you. Thank you.