Thank you very, very much, Jim Rhodes, my friends in the Congress, Barbara Nicklaus, Woody Hayes, all of you:
It's great to be in Columbus, and let me tell you why I'm here.
In the last 21 months I have worked at trying to restore the economy, trying to achieve and maintain the peace and to restore confidence and trust in the White House itself. In 21 months I have done a good job. I want your help on June 8.
Jim Rhodes has had a great program to provide jobs in the State of Ohio. We want to help him. And let me tell you what we are doing to help that job program.
I recently signed a highway bill--Bill Harsha 1 from your State was one of the architects of it--that's $17,500 million over a 2-year period, that will provide jobs in the State of Ohio, as it will in all other 49 States.
1 U.S. Representative from Ohio.
But let's talk about where we were a year ago. We were in the depths of a recession, the worst in 40 years. But what we did was not lose our cool. We decided that we had to be affirmative and get jobs in the private sector, not on the public payroll. And the net result is that in the last 12 months, we have increased the number of employees, people on jobs, by 3,300,000--last month, an increase of 710,000. And let me tell you the figures for the last month showed that 87,400,000 Americans are working today, an all-time high. And we're going to do better and better and better.
I'm not going to go around quoting the statistics as to what I want the unemployment figure to be. Here's the only way I judge it: I want an economy in this country so that everybody who wants a job can get a job. That's the criteria.
Now, let's talk about inflation. When I became President 21 months ago, the rate of inflation was 12 percent or higher. In the last 21 months we have reduced the rate of inflation by 75 percent. For the first 4 months of this year, 1976, the rate of inflation on an annual basis is 3 percent or less. Any time you can cut inflation by 75 percent, we must be doing something right, and I think we have.
Now, let's talk about our national security. In my administration we achieved the peace, we have the peace, and we are going to keep it there. And let me point out just what the facts are: There's not a single American boy fighting or dying overseas under the Ford administration, and we're going to keep it there.
One other thing: I believe your memories are sufficiently fresh to think about the problems we had back in the summer of 1974. It was tragic. And since that time, because I have been open, candid, forthright, I have never promised more than I can deliver, and I have delivered everything I promised.
But we have been forthright, frank, and honest, and this is the only way I know to play the ballgame. And we're going to continue that for the next 4 years with your help, and I appreciate it very, very much.