THANK YOU very, very much, Mary Louise. It is wonderful to see nothing but good Republicans in the White House. [Laughter]
Betty and I are very grateful that you all came, and we are most anxious that you relax and enjoy yourselves. We welcome you to this really wonderful place. Unfortunately, Betty is traveling. She likes to travel, and she just happened to pick a place at random called Florida for a few days. [Laughter] But she asked me to express to all of you her very warm welcome.
Let me take just a minute or two before we all go into the East Room for a reception, a few refreshments. There are three things that I think are vitally important that we all have to look at.
Number one, what are we doing to convince a substantial majority of 215 million Americans that they ought to vote for a Republican candidate and a Republican policy? I think we have a policy that we are working on, both at home and abroad, to convince a majority of the American people that they ought to vote for our policies and our candidate.
Number two, I think our policies ought to reflect what will make you enthusiastic to go out and support them in every State of the Union, and I think what we are trying to do, both at home and abroad, should give you that kind of enthusiasm.
Number three, the things we are seeking to do here in the White House ought to help you recruit the best candidates at the local and at the State level, the kind of candidates that will be proud to support us. And we will be proud to support them, because the party must have a broad elected basis of people at the local and the State, as well as the Federal level.
Now, let me take just a minute or two to tell you what we are doing. You are familiar with the circumstances better than a year ago. This country was facing some very difficult problems--inflation much too high, 12 to 14 percent; unemployment about to burgeon; employment about to go down.
But if we look at what has transpired in the last 12 months, we can be very optimistic that we have overcome the worst ravages of the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930's. We have cut inflation in half; employment is going up; unemployment is going down; capital goods expenditures are going up; real personal earnings are increasing. There isn't a single indicator that isn't improving. The trends are all good.
And let me assure you we are going to continue to get good economic news, and the American people believe, I think, that a government that does this, not through quick fixes but through solid policies, those are the policies that are in the best interest of the United States.
Now, it is absolutely essential that if we are to enjoy the fruits and the benefits of a good economy, that we have to be strong enough to take care of the best interests of the United States. We have to be strong enough to deter aggression, to preserve the peace, and to protect our national interests.
The facts are that in the last 2 years, I have submitted to the Congress and to the American people the two largest defense budget requests in the history of the United States in peacetime. Those requested appropriations for the best military personnel, the strongest weapons, the best planning by the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, will give us the capability to deter war and to preserve our national security.
This kind of a program should reassure our allies on a worldwide basis, and this kind of a program should invite cooperation from any party that we negotiate with. Let me assure you that this administration will stand tall and strong in seeking peace through strength.
Let me close with just this final comment: In the State of the Union Message, in the budget message, and in the economic report, we laid out some basic criteria, what we are trying to do.
We are seeking to get an appropriate balance in the following areas: We want a balance between those who pay the taxes and those who are the beneficiaries. We want a proper balance between the Federal Government and State and local units of government. We want a proper balance in the distribution of the necessary funding for the security of the country and for our necessary domestic programs. We want a proper balance for the freedom of 215 million Americans as they face the problems of government--freedom, peace, strength. They are all in our program, both at home and abroad.
With that kind of a program, we will be able to convince a majority of Americans on November 2 that our policies ought to continue. We will be able to get all of you enthusiastic as you go out and sell what has been done. And number three, we will recruit candidates; we will elect candidates, so they can help us in the years ahead.
Thank you very, very much.