Thank you very, very much, Governor Jim Holshouser.
Coming back to Winston-Salem and back to North Carolina is almost like coming back to home for me. Our oldest son graduated from Wake Forest 3 years ago. A long time ago, I went to the University of North Carolina Law School and stayed at Carr Dormitory. There must be a little rivalry there. And then in the early days of World War II, I was stationed at the pre-flight school down at Chapel Hill. And over a period of 20-some years, I have campaigned for candidates for Congress, candidates for the governorship, candidates for the Senators. And so I think I have been the length and the breadth of North Carolina and hopefully, I have a friend or two. And thank you all for coming here.
I do want to thank every one of you for coming here on a Saturday afternoon to express your support, your interest, and with this kind of enthusiasm, we are bound to win a week from Tuesday.
Now, let me give you a little straight talk, because I think you are interested in straight talk. First, I hope you will listen very carefully. Since I took office about 19 months ago, we have given you straight talk. We have not promised more than we can deliver, and we have delivered everything that we promised. And we will keep that commitment in the future. Secondly, I think all of you recognize that for the last 19 months this country has gone through a very difficult time domestically.
When I took office, inflation was up here about 12 percent or more per year. We have cut it in half or more, and we are going to continue to make progress in the battle against inflation. When I took office some 19 months ago, we were on the brink of the worst economic recession this country has had in 30 years. And very shortly after August of 1974, unemployment started to go up and employment started to go down.
Now, there were some people who said we should make a quick fix, we should put everybody on the government payroll, we ought to bust the budget. I said there is a better answer. Ford's got a better idea. And so we tried to hold the line on Government expenditures against the budget busters. As a result, I vetoed 46 bills in 19 months. That's a record. And we have 39 of them sustained by the Congress, and we saved the taxpayers $13 billion. That's progress.
Because we didn't panic, because we didn't lose our cool, because we had a firm hold on the tiller, we have come out of that recession. And we are on the way up with employment going up and unemployment going down--and it is going down more and more in the months ahead.
But now, let me talk to you for just a moment about the problems we are going to face in the future, and we faced some of them in the past. There are some--I don't challenge their motives, I just think they are dead wrong--who want to expand the Federal Government at the Federal level and who want to take more and more power away from the States and more and more authority away from local communities. I happen to have great faith in Governors like Jim Holshouser, and I believe that we should give more faith and responsibility to your good local officials. There is nothing that sanctifies the wisdom of people in the bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. You have got good people in North Carolina who can make good decisions if we give them the money to do it.
But there are some people who think all answers have to come from Washington, D.C. They want to expand the bureaucracy, they want to put more power in the hands of those people who run things in Washington.
Let me give you a word of warning, and I think this summarizes it as about as cogently as you can. And please listen. We should never forget that a government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have.
Now let me say a word about our circumstances as we look around the globe, as we look at our national defense capability. There are some who want to downgrade America, who allege that we are weak, they don't know what they are talking about. And let me say it very firmly--America is strong today, and it is going to stay strong for our national security.
There have been some charges made that we don't have enough of this and enough of that. Let me just be very specific. In strategic capability we have more warheads, we have better accuracy, we have more strategic aircraft--America is fully capable of meeting any challenge under .any circumstances. We can deter aggression, we can keep the peace, and we can handle our problems of national security because America is strong. And let me assure you that under this administration this year and for the next 4 years we are going to stay strong because we have peace. And we are going to keep it because we are strong.
Let me conclude by saying that this is one of the most exciting, one of the most inspirational audiences that I have seen any place in this campaign. The momentum is going. We won in New Hampshire, we won in Vermont, we won in Massachusetts, we won in Florida, we are going to win in Illinois, and we are going to win in North Carolina. And when we get to Kansas City, we are going to win there, and we are going to win November 2.
Thank you very, very much.