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Gerald R. Ford: Remarks During a Michigan Whistlestop Tour.
Gerald
Gerald R. Ford
485 - Remarks During a Michigan Whistlestop Tour.
May 15, 1976
Public Papers of the Presidents
Gerald R. Ford<br>1976-77: Book II
Gerald R. Ford
1976-77: Book II
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Michigan
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[1.] FLINT: (9:18 a.m.)

Let me say at the outset how wonderful it is to be back in Michigan, our home State. Betty and I are deeply grateful for this wonderful turnout in Flint. We have been here many, many times, and we are deeply appreciative for your reception and the help and assistance we have gotten from the people in the Flint area over the years. And we are especially grateful for the tremendous turnout.

I ask you to help us on Tuesday. We must win in Michigan, and Flint is very important.

Let me tell you why I think we ought to win. If you will reflect a bit back to August of 1974, when I took the oath of office as President of the United States, this country was having many, many troubles. There was a loss of confidence in the White House itself. We were on the brink of an economic recession, the worst in 40 years, and inflation was at 12 percent or higher. Our allies around the world, because of our domestic problems, were uncertain as to whether the United States had the will and the capability to meet its responsibility of leadership in the free world. Our adversaries around the world were uncertain as to whether we would continue one course of action or another.

In the last 21 months I think Jerry Ford has done a good job, and I want your help. Of course, I have had a lot of help from First Mama, too. [Laughter] But let's take a look at where we are today.

In the first place, because of my openness, my candor, and my proven integrity, the American people know that they have a reason to have the feeling of confidence in the White House and the President of the United States.

This administration has achieved the peace that we have today because of our military capability and our diplomatic skill. And we have the capability, militarily and otherwise, to maintain that peace in the future, and we are going to do so.

Let me remind all of you that for the first time in 20 years a President can either seek reelection or seek election and say that this country is at peace. And I can say to you without any hesitation or reservation that we do have the capability today, we will have it tomorrow, to maintain that peace, and with this administration for the next 4 years, we will.

Let's take a look at the economy. I know Michigan has had a tough time in the last 12 months. We have had difficult times around the United States, but I inherited the situation. Where do we stand as far as inflation is concerned? When I became your President, it was 12 percent or higher; for the first 3 months of 1976, the rate of inflation has been reduced to 3 percent or less. That is progress, and we are going to make more of it in the future.

A year ago today, we were having serious employment problems, and we still have them in some areas of our country, including the State of Michigan. But in the last 12 months we have added 3,300,000 jobs in the United States. We have 87,400,000 people gainfully employed, an all-time record.

Unemployment is going down, and employment is going up, and we are going to keep those trends going with my policies. As a matter of fact, everything that is supposed to be going down is going down, and everything that is supposed to be going up is going up.

One final comment: This administration has taken the position from the very day that I took the oath of office, we will promise no more than we can deliver, and we will deliver everything we promise. That is a good program, and I want you to support it.

With your help on Tuesday, we can send a message across the whole United States. And if you give me the support that I think this record deserves, I promise you that in the next 4 years I will not let you down; I will continue the good job that we have done for the last 21 months.
Thank you for your help.

[2.] DURAND (10:17 a.m.)

Before I have an opportunity to say a few words, Betty and I would like to come down and shake some hands, and then we'll come back and have an opportunity to say hello. Let me just say at the outset: Gee, it's nice to be back home. I appreciate very, very much, as Betty does, all of you being out here in Durand. Thank you very, very much.

[At this point, the President left the train to greet the community welcoming committee and members of the public audience. Upon reboarding the train, the President made additional remarks as follows:]

Betty and I are deeply grateful for this wonderful welcome back home, and we thank you very, very much.

This is a wonderful train trip through the heart of Michigan. It's just for 1 day, but it's the beginning of a great trip from now to November 2, when we are going to win the election.

I want to thank particularly the people who have helped here in Durand and all of the surrounding area.

But, let me say very emphatically, I need your help on Tuesday, and if you give us the help that I know you will, it will be a tremendous impact throughout the country. I won't let Michigan down. Don't you let me down on November 2 or next Tuesday.

Now, let me take just a minute to tell you why I want you to support me. First, when I became President in August of 1974, this country was in deep trouble. There was a lack of confidence in the White House. There had been scandals. There had been a tremendous disaffection by the American people.

Secondly, we were suffering inflation of 12 percent, and we were on the brink of the worst economic conditions for the last 40 years. Unemployment was about to go up; employment was about to go down. And our allies abroad were uncertain, and our adversaries were concerned as to what we might do under the circumstances.

What are the results of 21 months of Jerry Ford as President of the United States? We have restored trust in the White House. We have been open. We have been candid. We have been forthright. We have talked straight to the American people. And the net result is there is a restoration of trust by the American people in their Presidency. I think that deserves the support of the American people.

But let's take a look at the economic circumstances that have taken place in the last 21 months. We have reduced the rate of inflation from 12 percent to under 3 percent. That's a 75-percent cutback. That's a good record, and it ought to be supported by the American people.

Twelve months ago, we were in the worst economic conditions this country had had for 40 years, but what has happened in the last 12 months? We have added 3,300,000 jobs. We have now in America 87,400,000 people working, an all-time high. It's not good enough, but it is a record. And we're going to do better in the next 4 years with your help.

Let me say this country is at peace. We achieved it, we have got it, and we are going to keep it with a Ford administration for the next 4 years.

Let me just make this final comment: Those who have known me in Michigan in the 27 years that I have been honored to serve the people of this State, this country, I have always had the philosophy that you should not promise more than you can produce and that you ought to produce everything that you promise. That has been the key word of my public life--straight talk, a feeling that I represented you, and that I did the very best job that I possibly could.

We have had tough times the last 21 months. I have talked straight to the American people, they believe me, and I think they want the kind of trust and peace and prosperity that the Ford administration can give in the next 4 years.

I ask for your help. I think I have earned it. And I will continue to be the kind of good President that you want for the next 48 months.
Thank you very, very much.

[3.] LANSING (11:28 a.m.)

Good morning, everybody. Betty and I are delighted to be in Lansing. We're delighted to be home in Michigan. We thank you for coming out in this beautiful Michigan weather. [Laughter] We thank all the bands. We thank all of you.

You know, this train ride, which started in Flint and is going to end up in Niles, goes through the heartland of Michigan. It's a train ride that is the beginning of victory in Kansas City and November of 1976.

Just a few years ago President Harry Truman won with a whistlestop; President Eisenhower won with a whistlestop; President Ford is going to win with a whistlestop.

Let me just express Betty's appreciation as well as mine for all of you coming here, and I want to ask you very seriously for your help and assistance on next Tuesday. It is very critical that we maximize our vote in that election, and the help that all of you can give will be very significant--the help that you yourself give, the help that your neighbors give, your friends, and all of the people that you know.

And as you talk to your friends, let me give you a few ideas why they ought to vote for me. I think I have earned the right to be President for the next 4 years.

If you will go back to August of 1974, this country was in a tough situation. The American people had lost the confidence of the White House. The American people were concerned about economic conditions. We had inflation at 12 percent. We were on the brink of an economic recession, the worst in 40 years. People were concerned about where we were going in foreign policy. Our allies were not certain as to the will and as to the direction of the United States. Adversaries were concerned as well.

In the last 21 months we have turned things around. We have taken the situation from a lack of trust and a lack of confidence, so the American people today know they have a President who is frank, who is honest, who has integrity, is forthright. And the net result is the people can say they have trust in the White House, and they trust Jerry Ford.

We have made a lot of progress in trying to solve our economic problems. We are not home yet, but let me just give you some indicators of the progress we have made. Twelve percent or more inflation in 1974--the first 3 months of 1976, 3 percent--we have cut the rate of inflation by 75 percent, and that's a darn good record.

Secondly, a year ago unemployment was almost 9 percent. We have turned it around. In the last 12 months, we have added 3,300,000 more people with jobs in America, and we are going to do better and better in the months ahead. Just the month of April this year 710,000 more jobs in America, and you can see, I can see, all Americans can see that everything that is supposed to be going down is going down and everything that is supposed to be going up is going up and the Ford administration, Jerry Ford, can take credit for this progress.

One final comment: We've got trust, we're making things better here at home, we're achieving the kind of economic progress that is necessary, and we have got peace in America today. We have turned it around from a war that we were in a year ago to peace today, and with the programs that we have of military capability and diplomatic skill, we're going to keep the peace for the next 4 years.

I had the privilege of representing some wonderful people just west of here for almost 26 years. I always believe that you should promise everything you can deliver and deliver everything that you promise, and I have done it as your President for 21 months and will do that for 4 more years as well.

As I said at the beginning, Betty and I are just pleased to be back here in Michigan with our hometown or home State folks, and we are counting on you. It's a critical election on Tuesday, and let me say this: You won't let me down, and Jerry Ford won't let you down for the next 4 years.
Thank you very, very much.

[4.] BATTLE CREEK (1:58 p.m.)

Good afternoon. It is great to be in Battle Creek, and thank all of you for coming out. We love Michigan, we are glad to be back home.

Betty and I started this train trip from Flint to Niles across the heartland of Michigan, where we have many, many friends over a long, long period of time, so we have just had a wonderful reception, and this one in Battle Creek is tremendous. And let me say that this train trip through the heartland of Michigan is the beginning of a victory in Kansas City that will end up with a victory on November 2.

You know, I'm an old Michigander--and I mean literally old. I played football so long ago back at Ann Arbor that it was back when the ball was round. [Laughter]

But I have been honored and pleased to have on this trip with me two of the University of Michigan's outstanding coaches, two friends of mine whose teams I have admired and cheered for on television and otherwise, and I'm so pleased to have with me Bo Shembechler, the great football coach at the University of Michigan. And then, we also have with us that fine, fine coach of the University of Michigan basketball team, Johnny Orr. Thank you, Johnny.

You know, the Ford candidacy has got the kind of momentum that the University of Michigan football team had last year and the kind of momentum that the Michigan basketball team had. We're going to keep going, but with all apologies we're going to win the final one November 2, too.

But let me say a word or two why Betty and I are here, why we want your vote. I think I have done a good job the last 21 months. Refresh your memory, if you will.

In August of 1974, this country was in a very difficult situation. For reasons we all know, the American people had lost their confidence in the White House. There had been scandals in very high places. We all know that we were suffering at that time from inflation at the rate of 12 percent a year, and we know that we were on the brink of the worst economic times in the last 40 years, a serious recession.

We also know that in August of 1974, our allies abroad were uncertain as to whether the American people and the American Government would meet its responsibilities on a worldwide basis, and our adversaries abroad were likewise uncertain as to their relationship with the United States.

When I took office on August 8 [9] of 1974, it was not an easy job. We had a lot of things to do. We had some real tough jobs to handle and some very difficult and formidable obstacles ahead of us.

BYSTANDER. And you blew it.

THE PRESIDENT. We blew it in the right direction, young man, and those of you who don't agree--and if you would go out and look for a job, you would get one.

Now, let me say what we have done. We have taken inflation from 12 percent down to less than 3 percent, and that's a good record by any standard. And in the last year we have added 3,300,000 more people on the payrolls, and we added 710,000 more on the payrolls in the month of April. And we're going to get more and more people gainfully employed, even though in April of this year we had 87,400 more people employed in the United States than any time in the history of America. That's a darn good record.

And then, as we look around the rest of the world, I can tell you from my personal experiences that the United States of America--215 million of us--we are respected as a nation because we are a leader in the world with our allies on the one hand, and we meet the challenges of our adversaries on the other. We have got peace now, we achieved it in the last year, and we are going to keep the peace through strength in the years ahead.

Therefore, when you look at the record, I think it's a record that deserves support. I think it's a record that I can come to you and say, "Jerry Ford has done a good job, you ought to keep him on for the next 4 years."

So, Betty and I are delighted to be in Battle Creek. We are most appreciative of your coming out on this Saturday afternoon. We thank you for what you have done in the past, and we urge you to go to the polls on Tuesday. We urge you to get your friends to go and vote for a record that I think will justify your support and will give America the kind of leadership that it deserves for the next 4 years.
Thank you very kindly.

[At this point, the President left the train to greet the community welcoming committee and members of the public audience. Upon reboarding the train, the President made additional remarks as follows:]

Gee, you have been just a great audience here in Battle Creek, and it has made Betty and me feel so wonderful to come back home and see such wonderful people and to go through some of the areas of the State that we visited over the years and had an opportunity to see the blessings of Michigan.

Really, we are going to do our very best between now and November 2, and starting next Tuesday to get those votes, to get those delegates, and to get those votes in November. And with your help next Tuesday, we will win, period.

I would ask First Mama to make a speech, but I understand the train is about to pull out, and I am afraid that if I let her speak it will make me look bad. You know, whenever I have not got time to campaign--and I do have to be President a good share of the time--I send Betty out to get my votes up to her polls. And she does a good job of it, and I am very, very grateful and thankful.

You better get on, Rick,1 because we are leaving. He's a good photographer, but I don't want him to get lost as we move ahead.

1 Ricardo Thomas, White House photographer.

Real nice to see every one of you. I see so many people I have known over the years, and I just wish we could stay longer, but we do have to get to Kalamazoo and Niles. And we are going to end up up at Holland in the Tulip Parade.

So, we have covered a lot of territory, or will by the time this day is over. Nice to see you.
Thank you very much.

[5.] KALAMAZOO (2:48 p.m.)

As soon as First Mama gets here, we'll say a few words. Here she is. You can see who gets all the cheers in the Ford family. [Laughter]

Let me say that Betty and I are very grateful for the wonderful reception we have had in the State of Michigan, starting in Flint, and here we are in Kalamazoo. Of course, the further west we get in the State, the closer to home we get, so we know many, many people here in Kalamazoo. It's just great to be back in Michigan and have an opportunity on this train ride to see as many of our friends as we have.

You know, that train started in Flint; it's going to end down in Niles, Michigan. It's a train that's going to go from here to Kansas City. We're going to win in Kansas City, and we're going to win in November just as well.

I would like to take just a few minutes, if I might, to first ask for your support and tell you why I want you to vote for Jerry Ford. You ought to have some good reasons, and let me tell you what they are.

When I took the oath of office in August of 1974, this country was having all kinds of trouble. There had been a loss of confidence in the American people as far as their National Government was concerned. There had been scandals in high places. The American people were uncertain as to the leadership of this great country.

At the same time, we were on the brink of an economic recession that was the worst in 40 years. This country was suffering in August of 1974 inflation at a rate of 12 percent or more. And in August of that year, our allies abroad, whether it was in Western Europe or in the Pacific, were uncertain as to the leadership in the White House, and they were uncertain of the will and the resolve of the American people. And our adversaries abroad could have, if they were so disposed, might have taken advantage of this uncertainty.

In the last 21 months I have tried to correct those problems. And if you look at the record, Jerry Ford has done a good job, and he wants the job for another 4 years to do even a better job for all of you Americans. My program for the last 21 months has been one of peace, prosperity, and trust. We have the peace; we achieved it. We have the military capability; we have the diplomatic skill to keep the peace that we have now. And I pledge to you we will make a maximum effort, and we will be successful in keeping the peace in the future for this country and for the world as a whole.

Let me say a word about the progress we have made in tackling effectively the economic problems that I inherited. I told you about 12-percent inflation. For the first 3 months of 1976 the rate of inflation on an annual basis has been under 3 percent. That's a 75-percent reduction in the rate of inflation. That's a darn good record, and we ought to be proud of it.

But, as I said, shortly after I took office we were hit with the worst economic recession in 40 years. Unemployment went up, employment went down. But let's talk about what has happened in the last year. A year ago this recession had hit us very badly, but since last April and May we made tremendous progress.

In this 12-month period we have added 3,300,000 more jobs in America, and in the month of April of this year 710,090 more people got employment, got jobs in America. That's a good record. We ought to be proud of it. And according to the Department of Labor, that reported to all of us a couple of weeks ago, 87,400,000 American people are gainfully employed in America today. It's the highest number in the history of the United States. That's good, but in the next 4 years we will do better every year. I pledge that to you as the President of the United States.

So, Betty and I are here as your President and First Lady--some of you call her First Mama. We would like to serve you for the next 4 years, and we would like to do it on the basis of a successful record. The election next Tuesday is a very important election. It could give us the momentum that's needed and necessary to win in Kansas City. It would give us the momentum to win the November election.

One pledge that Jerry Ford has always made when I had the privilege of serving--the Fifth Congressional District--Kent County, Ottawa County, Iona County, and parts of several other counties--was that I was open, I was forthright, I had an integrity I think was unmatched by anybody in public office, and as President of the United States I have followed those same basic characteristics. The net result is that I can say to you that the American people have good reason to feel that the person in the White House has restored public confidence.

I am honored and privileged to have with me on this trip your great Senator Bob Griffin and your fine Congressman Gary Brown, who both support me.

One thing that I always believed in public life: You should promise only that which you can deliver, and you should always deliver what you promise. So, I promise you in the next 4 years peace, prosperity, and trust.

I want your vote on the basis of the record on Tuesday, so we can keep that momentum going.
Thank you very, very much.

We also have your great University of Michigan basketball coach here, who's a good friend of mine and fully supporting me, Johnny Orr. I hope my record is as good as his.

Betty and I will come down and shake hands with as many as we can, and I don't have the time to shake hands with everybody, but I do want to thank each and every one of you.

Eddie Hutchinson, nice to see you. Eddie Hutchinson who has been one of the fine, fine Congressmen from the Fourth Congressional District. Eddie, I appreciate your endorsement and your support.

[At this point, the President left the train to greet the community welcoming committee and members of the public audience. Upon reboarding the train, the President made additional remarks as follows:]

Let me just add a note as we leave Kalamazoo. When I first ran for the Congress back in 1948, a great American, a Democrat by the name of Harry S Truman, whistlestopped across the United States, and he won. A couple of years later another great American, another President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, better known as Ike, whistlestopped across the country. Those were good ideas, one for a Democrat and one for a Republican. I think it is a good idea for President Ford, and we are going to win in 1976.
Thank you all very, very much.

[6.] NILES (4:12 p.m.)

Let me just say it's been a great day. Betty will be out in just a minute. We kept going down this track, and right before Niles the sun came out. All of you wonderful people, thank you very, very much.

Well, as I said, Betty and I have had a wonderful day, starting in Flint and ending up here in Niles, on this whistlestop tour through the heartland of Michigan. The idea of this trip today I think took me back to a campaign by a great Democratic President, Harry S Truman, when he whistlestopped across the country, and a great Republican President, Ike Eisenhower, and both of them were successful. So, this train trip through the heartland of Michigan is going right on to Kansas City, and from Kansas City we are going to win in November.

Now, we have got a big election next Tuesday. I think we have done a good job in the last 21 months, and I want your vote next Tuesday.

Let me tell you what we have done in the 21 months that I have been President. Let your mind go back to the tough days in August of 1974. There had been a tremendous loss of confidence by the American people in our government, in the White House. We were on the brink of an economic recession, the worst in 40 years. Inflation was at the rate of 12 percent per year. In foreign policy, our allies were uncertain as to what we were going to do and our adversaries were in a position where they might have taken advantage of the uncertainty here at home.

When I took that oath of office on August 8 [9], the United States needed some leadership, both at home and abroad. We started out by setting forth what we were going to do to correct our economic problems. We have set a very steady course, and the net result was, inflation, which was 12 percent in 1974, is under 3 percent today. That's a good record, and we ought to be proud of it.

And then, a year ago, we were in the depths of a recession. Again, there were those throughout the country that wanted us to press a panic button--add a lot of people to the Federal payroll, approve budget-busting bills that would have increased the inflationary pressures.

But, instead, I decided that the right thing to do was to hold firm, to veto the kind of legislation that was sent down from Capitol Hill. And, as many of you know, I vetoed 49 bills; 42 of them have been sustained, and we saved the American taxpayer $13 billion. That's a darn good record.

But then, a year ago, we started our climb out of the recession. In 12 months, from last May to this May, we added 3,300,000 more jobs in America, 710,000 more jobs in May [April] of 1976. And the net result is that in May of this year we had 87,400,000 people gainfully employed in this country, an all-time record, and we ought to be proud of that.

But, the third point, the United States is at peace today. We have the military capability to maintain the peace. We have the diplomatic skill to convince our allies that we are strong and our adversaries that they ought to be respectful of the United States, which they are. We have got peace today, we are going to keep it, and if you give me 4 more years, we will keep it for 4 more years.

As you know, I had the great privilege of representing the Fifth Congressional District just a few miles north of here for almost 26 years. The policy that I followed for that period of time was that we had an open door, we were candid, we emphasized integrity, we were forthright, we called them as we saw them. We never promised more than we could deliver, and we delivered everything we promised. And that is the way we have run the White House for the last 21 months, and that's the way it will be run for the next 48 months if you give me the support that we need on Tuesday, and the support that we will get between now and November.

Well, Betty and I can't thank you all enough for being here at Niles and welcoming us warmly and giving us the opportunity to say a few words to you. We hope we have earned your support. We believe we have done a good job, and I ask you for your support next Tuesday so I can be the Republican representative in the great contest that will end on November 2.

I've worked hard. We've done the right thing. We've got America on the right track. We will keep it there. I can assure you that Jerry Ford, if you give me your support next Tuesday and next November, I won't let you down for the next 4 years.
Thank you very, very much.


Note: The President spoke from the rear platform of Amtrak's "Presidential Express" train at the Amtrak Station in each community on the whistlestop tour. At each stop he left the train to greet the community welcoming committee and members of the audience.

Following the whistlestop tour, which ended in Niles, the President traveled by helicopter to Holland, Mich., where he participated in the Tulip Festival Parade.


Citation: Gerald R. Ford: "Remarks During a Michigan Whistlestop Tour.," May 15, 1976. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=6005.
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