Pete, Governor Vanderhoof, Lieutenant Governor Strickland, my former colleagues in the House of Representatives, Jim Johnson, who represents an area of this great country that I love and adore:
It gives me a lot of trouble--Vail, Colorado--but let me also say it is wonderful to be here with my old and very, very dear friend, Wayne Aspinall, who took the same oath of office that I did on January 3, 1949. I am proud--you know, I just feel emotional about our relationship over a long period of time.
I can tell you that his office was opposite mine on the corridor--as a matter of fact, Jack Kennedy's was just a couple of offices down--and all I am saying is that in Wayne Aspinall, I developed a close, personal rapport that transcends partisan politics. He and I disagreed, but friendship you don't sell out. You keep it. You love it. And that is my relationship with Wayne Aspinall.
You know, it is great to be in Colorado--West--again. It has often been said that Colorado is a land of breathtaking beauty, and after crowning your homecoming queen and her lovely court--I would have a tough time picking who was going to win, I might add--a breathtaking beauty as well, and I congratulate you for everything. A college homecoming is a happy time and I wish Mesa College Mavericks--Mesa but we have some community names out in Michigan all of you could not pronounce, either. I love you, anyhow.
But I understand this has been one of your better years, and as a former football player at the University of Michigan, I know what a 1-5-1 season is. You know, my senior year at Michigan, after being national champions with undefeated teams for 2 years, the year that I was supposed to be constructive we ended up with a one win and seven lost--and we lost to Ohio State 34 to 0. We are going to do better this fall.
Well, anyhow, I was elected the most valuable player by my teammates after losing seven out of the eight games, and I did not know whether to sue or smile. [Laughter]
Well, as some of you already know, the Ford family has a very special place in our heart for Colorado. It is our second home. We are not voting taxpayers, but we don't mind because we think we get our money's worth under your good Governor and under Pete Dominick and the others, so we just love being here in Colorado. We wish we could be here more often, and we might surprise you.
I just hope you get a little more snow earlier than you did last year. Have you got some?
That is Vail over there, I guess, isn't it? All right. We love it. We will be here if we get a cooperative Congress. I wish you could promise me that; it would be good for the country.
Well, anyhow, Betty and the Ford children and I have had great times here. We have been to Aspen. We have been to Vail. We have been many other places in Colorado and we love the people. We love the country. We love the total atmosphere, and it is so nice to be here on a Saturday afternoon. We are looking forward to coming back, and thank you very, very much.
Let me just say that when I come to a place like this with a ballpark and so many people and so many fine public servants and your Governor and Pete and Jim Johnson and my former colleague, Wayne Aspinall, it just convinces me that this country is predicated on the strength and the diversity of people-Democrats, Republicans, Independents--you know, people who were born here, people who came here, people who migrate to Colorado. Aren't we lucky to have a country where all of these assets and attributes just come out in a place like Grand Junction? I think it is wonderful.
You know, you are a long way from Florida, you are a long way from Alaska, you are far, far away from New York and California, but you have something special. The Continental Divide does not divide our country. As long as we remain one people in spirit, as long as we continue to share the ideals of freedom, dignity, opportunity that brought us together in the first place, we will remain united.
And it is because of this "grand junction" of interest in ideals that I am optimistic when it comes to America. There are plenty of big problems that are waiting to be solved--inflation, energy, pollution, crime--to name only a few. But there is not one of them that we as Americans can't lick if we pull together and act responsibly. There is, however, one thing our elected officials must remember. No government can expect the people to act responsibly when it fails to do so itself.
If your government does not act to give you an example, if it does not tighten its belt, if it does not give you vision, imagination, strength, courage, dedication, how can government ask you to respond accordingly?
You cannot, from a governmental point of view, ask people to do something about whipping inflation if the Congress is dominated by the people that want to spend and spend and spend, keep on stoking the fires of inflation with excessive spending. If they are going to spend more than they take in, year after year after year, how can we ask honest, decent, responsible citizens to act a little differently if you cannot do it? There is not a double standard.
Well, we cannot expect people to set aside their differences and pull together as long as a spirit of irresponsibility--irresponsible partisanship, if I can define it a bit--and rankling prevails in government.
And this is one of the reasons, quite frankly, that I am here today. I want to ask for your help, your help in giving the American people the kind of problemsolving government all of us want and every one of us deserves. And believe me, as Coloradans there is plenty of that that all of you and I, as a taxpaying but nonvoting Coloradan, can do, too.
Again and again, as I have traveled around this country in recent weeks--and I have traveled around 18,000 miles--I have tried to stimulate people in our country. Yes, I have a little partisan interest, but I have a greater interest--and I think Wayne Aspinall would agree with me--I have got an interest that involves you, whether you are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, or otherwise.
Gosh, what a stake we have in a country like this. If you have ever traveled abroad you have understood the comparison between what we have and what others might have.
It is almost unbelievable, but I am told that the speculators and forecasters are saying that 42 percent of the people eligible to vote on next Tuesday will cast their ballots. Forty-two percent; which means that if 21 percent of the people eligible to vote, or slightly over 50 percent of those 42 percent, decide something, you are going to be in the minority; you will have decisions made by people that are in the minority. I will abide by what the majority of our people say, whether they are Democrat, Independent, or Republican. But I cannot accept the fact that Americans--bearing in mind what so many have given in the way of their life, their sacrifices overseas and otherwise--that only 42 percent are going to let 21 percent of the people make their decisions. Is that American? Is that what our country was rounded on, what is the concept of our whole system?
We want people to get out and vote and to express themselves, to make a determination. And if we do, we will accept it, and it will be better for all of us. And you in Colorado know that if that is done you will reelect your fine Governor, who has done much to make your State healthy economically, burgeoning in activity, and yet who has done a great job in keeping the right balance in-between growth and our environment. And I am glad to be here, John, to participate in something that is a tribute to you and your leadership in the statehouse.
Something I have been interested in for a long time is reorganization of the executive branch. We are going to do something about it in the Federal Government, but your fine Governor has already done something about it in the State government. And I congratulate you and compliment you for this achievement.
Now, let me say something about your Congressional delegation. You have got, in Jim Johnson, you have got a person who represents this district with great capability, character, and dedication. Now, Jim--when I was minority leader in the House--did not always agree with me. We always disagreed without being disagreeable. But I respected his independence; but I also appreciated his willingness to be a teamplayer when he could move and be strong and helpful. So, I express to you, Jim, my deep gratitude not only for your teamwork but your independence. It is good for our country.
Bill Armstrong, another one of your fine Members of the House of Representatives--I think he is great. He came when Jim did. He represents a little different part of your great State, but it is an important, an integral part of our great State of Colorado. And I congratulate him, and I hope you will support him in this reelection campaign.
I had the opportunity of knowing Don Brotzman for a number of years, and Don--I have skied with him and I also served with him--he is a little better in both respects, and I therefore recommend him to be reelected by the people of Colorado.
Well, you have got some challengers, some candidates, that I hope you will support. Keith Records 1--I hope you will give him the best support, and the biggest help that you possibly can. He has got a good, sound approach to the problems that I think are important to our country.
1 Republican candidate in the Third Congressional District of Colorado
Then you have Frank Southworth.2 I know Frank. I know the problems, some of the difficult areas of the city of Denver. He has got range and depth and experience. He served on the school board and has been a leader in trying to give quality education to the people and to the students of Denver. I congratulate him and urge his full and total support.
2 Republican candidate in the First Congressional District of Colorado.
But now I come to something that really--if I could just make a special contribution here, it is to Pete Dominick. You know, Pete and I have known one another for 30 years, so it is not one of these political convenience acquaintanceships. I have known Pete when he was a law school student and I was. I have known Pete in subsequent years. I knew him as a Member of the House of Representatives. I watched him when he was a Member of the Senate and I was the presiding officer as Vice President. I have watched him intimately as I have been President and he has been a Senator. I think he has done a great job. And if I were in Colorado with the right to vote, I would vote for Pete Dominick as strongly and as effectively as I possibly could.
Well, Pete gives me the kind of representation that I would like, and therefore, I am delighted to be in Grand Junction. He has all the attributes, the wisdom, the experience, and the kind of knowledge that makes the difference between doing what is right and what is wrong.
Well, let me turn very quickly, if I might--I am going to throw away this part of my prepared text and talk to you frankly. I come from an area in Michigan that probably has more people with the name of "Van" of any area in the whole United States. I had Holland, Michigan; Zeeland, Michigan; Great London, Michigan, et cetera. Gee, they had good judgment. They voted 76 percent Republican. And I was not a Hollander, but I had, I think, a sound philosophy, or at least they think I did.
And so, when I come out and see a Vanderhoof, that is like talking to my old friends that I tried hard to represent in Holland and Zeeland and Great London and all the other places for 26 years. So, I understand a good public servant in John Vanderhoof. You better reelect him. He is good for Colorado.
Now, certainly, after I meet this great gang here today on this platform, I am going to meet with the Colorado cattlemen. This is not the first group of cattlemen that I have met with in the last week. I have met with a group in Oklahoma City. I met with a group in Washington. I met with a group in Portland, Oregon, yesterday, and I am looking forward to meeting this group in Colorado this afternoon.
I know that they have got particular problems, and you have similar problems here in this area of this great State. But let me make an observation or two. I intend to carry out the meat import law, which means there will be no meat imports in violation of that legislation. We will not grant any exceptions or waivers thereto. And I suspect there are a few dairy farmers in this group. How many are here? Aren't we lucky? They are all out working, and we are having a good time.
But let me say this: I intend to not change the present dairy import quotas, because I do not think we can, under the present circumstances, justify any increase in the quotas. And therefore, I think the dairy people will support the fine, firm, discerning action that Secretary Butz has recommended to me.
But let me add one other thing. You know, we as Americans like competition. I don't mind a German or a Dutchman or a Frenchman competing with me on an equal basis, but I will be doggone if I want the Government to subsidize the product he is trying to sell to the American people.
We will challenge him on the open fields, head-to-head, and we will do all right. Some of the foreign governments in Western Europe have been doing-by what they call countervailing duties--subsidizing dairy products in their countries. We won't stand for it, and if they are going to do that, we will challenge them, head-to-head.
Now, one final observation in the great field of agriculture: You produce tremendous cattle in this country, either cattle feeders or out on the range. I like it either way, but let me say this: We know that in some of the countries such as Australia, Argentina, and elsewhere, they have got tremendous numbers that are about to be exported, some perhaps to us.
In the meantime, Japan, Western Europe, Canada has imposed arbitrary limitations on the export of American products to those countries. I will say to you: They are .not going to limit our imports, and we are going to hold the line on exports to the United States.
Let me make one final observation and comment. Inflation, according to all the scorecards, is the biggest problem that faces most Americans. Eighty-three percent of the American people think this is the hardest, the toughest, the strongest issue in this great campaign, and I think I agree. As I travel around the country, I have listened to a lot of people; I talked with many. And it does bother people.
One of the root causes of inflation in America is the irresponsible fiscal policy of your Federal Government. We have to change it. Now, I don't believe that in good conscience I could stand here and say that every Republican is an inflation fighter and every Democrat is a spender. I could not honestly say that, and if I have any conscience, I want to be honest with you. But I will say that the tilt of spenders is in the opposition party, and the tilt of savers is in our party. So, as I travel around the country, I want savers not spenders elected to the Congress, so we can whip inflation.
Well, there is one other thing that I would like to mention before closing. You know, we have three great branches of this Government of ours. I fervently respect it as a lawyer, as a public servant, as a citizen. We have a strong President, supposedly, in the White House. We have a strong Congress, supposedly, in the legislative branch. We have a strong Supreme Court, supposedly, heading the judiciary system. They are equal, coequal branches of our Government. Our forefathers, some 200 years ago, put together this system that was to be so finely tuned that it would protect our freedom, give us the opportunity for participation, and also make it right for us as we moved on to pass through the years ahead.
How lucky we were they were right, they did it correctly. But now we face a challenge, and I do say it fight to all of you. There is the possibility that through apathy, you could end up in this next Congress with what I very pragmatically call a veto-proof Congress.
What does that mean? It totally disrupts and tears apart that finely tuned balance so that you no longer have a system of checks and balances. It means that one branch of our Federal Government will have a totally dominating, controlling impact on how your Government is run.
Wayne knows that. He and I have not always agreed on whether a veto ought to be sustained or not, or whether it ought to be done on a Democratic or Republican basis. But if you so distort the ratio in the Congress so that the Congress can totally override by a veto-proof Congress whatever a President decides, you have destroyed, you have upset, you have literally torn asunder a basic concept of what is good for America.
I don't want to come back here 2 years from now and say, "I told you so," because I think you have more judgment. You are going to send Jim Johnson, Pete Dominick, and your good Governor, not only to Washington but to your State capital, to give you the kind of government that will be balanced, that will be right, that will have vision, that will have responsibility. It is the kind of government that is good for all of us, and I pray you will do your very best on November 5.