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Akron, Ohio Remarks at a Rally With Northeast Ohio Carter/Mondale Supporters.

November 03, 1980

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much, everybody. I feel great.

Vice President Mondale, Senator Glenn, Senator Howard Metzenbaum, Congressman Seiberling, Congressman Pease,, Congressman Mary Rose Oakar, and distinguished friends from the Akron and Canton region:

Let me say this, and I don't want you ever to forget it: Fritz Mondale is the best Vice President any President has ever had. We faced a lot of problems together. We've worked together. We've prayed together pretty often, and tomorrow with your help we're going to win together.

This is the first time that Fritz and I have been together to campaign at the same location since the Democratic National Convention, and it's fitting that we should come here in beautiful Ohio, the heartland of the greatest nation on Earth. But let me give you a sober reminder. Tomorrow you will decide what kind of America it will be. I know you've considered the consequences of this election. The vote you cast tomorrow will echo throughout the next 4 years—as a matter of fact, throughout the rest of this century, and nowhere will that echo be more clear than how it affects your lives, the lives of your family, those you love here in the Akron-Canton area.

I know there are problems here. We've faced them together. But working with dynamic leaders like John Glenn, Howard Metzenbaum, John Seiberling, and others, we have made a good start on solving these problems. I'm very grateful, for instance, in looking at the statistics, to know that in Ohio we have had, since I've been in the Oval Office as President, an increase in total employment—just in Ohio, 558,000 more people now at work than there were January 1977; in Akron, metropolitan area of Akron, 20,400 people more on the job now than 3 1/2 years ago; in Canton, 18,300 more people at work than there were 3 1/2 years ago. And that's in spite of the fact the last few months, we have had some economic setbacks.

We've faced inflation together. The first quarter of this year, because of OPEC price increases, we had an 18-percent inflation rate. The second quarter, we cut it down to 13 percent. This quarter just ended, the average was 7 percent, still too high. But the point is that we're working together to make this a better nation and to make your own community a better place to live. This is important to remember also, because we've had some specific projects that we've worked out together for you—a private government investment of $86 million to build a Goodyear Technical Center, where workers of this area can be trained and retrained for meaningful, good paying jobs. These kind of projects will continue.

Tomorrow we honor the Nation's most precious freedom, the right to chart the future of our own country. I'm confident that the Democratic Party can continue to give America the future it deserves. I want to ask you a question. How many of you believe that tomorrow we're going to whip the Republicans all the way across this Nation? [Applause]

Let me give you a reminder of something. There is no way that Republicans can beat us, because there are not enough of them to do it. But we Democrats are the only ones that can beat ourselves by not voting. A low turnout by the working families of this Nation, a low turnout by the farmers of this Nation, a low turnout by those who've been deprived in life and given a better chance by the Democratic Party down through the generations-that's the only thing that can hurt us.

If you've been listening to the Republican candidate the last few months, you wouldn't be able to tell what party he belongs to. [Laughter] He's tried to wrap himself in the mantle of great Democratic Presidents. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever heard a Republican candidate for President quote a Republican President?


THE PRESIDENT. Do you know why?


THE PRESIDENT. Because every year-you think back on it—I've been watching Presidential elections since the 1930's-every time when the last few months come before an election, the Republican candidate starts trying to act like a Democrat. They comment, they quote Democratic Presidents, but once they get in office, they govern like Republicans, they talk like Republicans, they act like Republicans, they mistreat American citizens like Republicans. So when they go out of office, they haven't left anything there to talk about, they haven't said anything that you want to quote. [Laughter]

I heard the last part of Ronald Reagan's speech when he accepted the nomination at the Republican Convention. He quoted Franklin D. Roosevelt. Can you imagine Ronald Reagan standing up there and quoting Herbert Hoover or Richard Nixon? [Laughter] Of course not. And I'll say this, too. I don't like it much because no man who says the New Deal was based on fascism has a right to quote Franklin D. Roosevelt. And no man who has always been and still is in favor of abolishing the minimum wage has a right to quote Harry Truman. And no man who has failed to support every single nuclear arms limitation agreement since the Second World War has a right to quote John Fitzgerald Kennedy. And no man who calls Medicare socialism and communism has a right to quote Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Now, you can rewrite the record in some professions or in some businesses, but you can't, with a discerning American electorate, rewrite 20 years of ultra-conservatism under the Republican banner in the last few months before an election takes place. John Kennedy, back in 1960, sized it up pretty well. He saw the same phenomenon then, same thing in '64, '68, '72, '76, same thing today. This is what John Kennedy said. "They're even beginning," he said about the Republicans, "to say a few kind words about Franklin Roosevelt. Twenty years from now," Kennedy said, "they might even speak a good word about Harry Truman, but I guarantee you that Harry Truman won't say anything good about Republicans." [Laughter] Now, that prediction came true, and I want to make another prediction now. Twenty years from now, I predict that the Republicans are going to be saying good things about Jimmy Carter's second term.

I'm proud to be a Democrat. I believe in the heritage and the mission of the Democratic Party. I grew up on a farm during the Depression years, and I saw how the Democrats changed my life. Democrats have been for the progressive changes for the working people of this Nation, every decade, every election, every generation. Don't be misled by Republicans who try to change their spots just before election day. Remember the heritage of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Think for a moment. Remember the heritage of Harry Truman. Remember the heritage of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Remember the heritage of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Remember the heritage of Hubert Humphrey. Every great advance in our country the last half century, from collective bargaining to the minimum wage, from social security to Medicare, civil rights, quality of life—every single one of them has been made by the Democratic Party. And the Democrats have always been opposed by the same basic Republican commitment and philosophy, quite often the same people in every one of these progressive issues.

But we in the Democratic Party are not just a party of past accomplishments. We are the party of the future. The Democratic Party is the party that fights for the interests of working people. The Democratic Party is one that fights to protect the quality of our life, that protects the health and security and the self-respect of elderly Americans, that supports national health insurance for all Americans, that supports human rights for people in this country and around the world, including equal rights for women guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States. And we are also the party that's strong enough and sure enough to dare to work for peace.

Now, those are our goals as Democrats, and we're going to fight for them together for the next 4 years. For the last 50 years, no President has been able to make this next statement that I'm going to make to you. For the last 4 years since I have been in office, our Nation has not been at war. We have been at peace; and with your help we will keep this Nation at peace for the next 4 )'ears. But peace is something that must be built, step by step, brick by brick. Every day that I've been in office there've been dangers, there have been conflicts, there have been serious problems or troubled areas somewhere in the world. Each time I've had to make critical judgments: What are America's real interests? What degree of involvement should our Nation have in resolving those troubles or those crises? How should we use our Nation's tremendous strength?

I'm a father. I'm a grandfather. And as President, I will always remember to keep our Nation strong militarily, yes, second to none, but I also will always remember that the best weapon is one that never must be fired in battle and the best soldier is one that need never lay his life down or shed his blood on the field of battle.

Presidents have to make judgments when troubles come. If the crisis is well-handled, our Nation's interests are protected, the crisis passes, perhaps sometimes without your even knowing about it. But if a President makes a misjudgment, it can affect your lives and the life of everyone on Earth. I'm proud that our Nation has helped to achieve a treaty of peace between Israel and her most powerful Arab neighbor—the first peace ever between Israel and an Arab country. That's a commitment of the Democratic Party, to keep our Nation at peace and extend the benefits of peace to others.

Our greatest commitment above all other things, above the minimum wage, national health insurance, is to prevent nuclear war. We must continue our progress in a careful, balanced, verifiable control of nuclear arms. That's the great overriding issue of this campaign. The greatest legacy that we can leave our children is a world at peace. Peace is my passion, and with your support for the next 4 years, maintaining this Nation at peace is my pledge to you.

In closing, I want to make a special statement that I've not made before in this campaign. I want to say a few words directly to those citizens in this country who share the goals that I've just described to you, but who are considering a vote tomorrow for Congressman John Anderson. Obviously, there are some differences between us. But on many of the key issues of this campaign, like the need for energy conservation, pure air, clean water, controlling the spread of nuclear weapons, keeping our Nation at peace, the equal rights amendment, our views are very close. And the most overriding issue of all, the issue of peace and the control of nuclear weapons and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to terrorist countries and to other nations that don't now have the atomic bomb—on this great fundamental issue, all of the candidates are on one side except that Governor Reagan is on the other side.

I ask you to consider the consequences to your lives if you should wake up Wednesday morning and find a new administration ready to take over the Oval Office, not committed to these goals, if they can control our country for the next 4 years. I appeal to you for your support tomorrow for Fritz Mondale and me, not just for your sake or mine but for the sake of these crucial goals that we share. The election of 1980 is a choice between two futures, and let me talk very briefly in closing about the two futures that you and I can have together.

In the next 4 years we can build a nation at peace, a building that can stand for many years in the future; a nation secure, secure in its defense, secure in its energy needs; a nation of new technology, new factories, new jobs, new tools—whole new industries that many of us don't even envision at this time; a nation of new energy sources, where American coal, including that from Ohio, replaces OPEC oil; a nation that stands for human rights, a nation that stands for these things and is not afraid to say so. These goals are not dreams; they can and they must be achieved. They will be on my agenda and on yours. As long as I'm President, we can work together to achieve these practical, vital goals. I need your help to make these goals a reality.

You might say, "Well, I've done a lot this morning, the day before election, to get up early, to come out to the airport to participate in a Democratic rally." Maybe some of you have even given a small financial contribution to Democratic candidates to pay for advertising and so forth. I tell you now that's not enough. It's not even enough for you to go and vote tomorrow, because all of you have shown a special interest in politics by coming out here. There's not a single person listening to my voice that can't contact at least a hundred people between now and the time the polls close tomorrow. A hundred people can make a lot of difference.

Remember 1948, when just a few Democratic votes, if they had changed, would have meant Harry Truman would never have served as President. Remember 1960: If 28,000 people in Texas had voted differently and just a few thousand in Illinois, John Kennedy would never have been President, and Lyndon Johnson, and the Civil Rights Act and the great progress that was made might never have come to pass. Those are two stories that ended with a happy ending. But think about 1968: Because some of us, divided because of Gene McCarthy and the Chicago convention, didn't give our support to a great American, Hubert Humphrey never had a chance to serve as President and Richard Nixon, if we had just worked a little bit, would never have served as the last Republican President to be elected to serve in this country. Think about those things, how important they were to you.

Let's remember not national affairs, remember your own personal lives, the lives of people in your family, your children. I was playing last night with my two grandchildren at home. Think about those things and remember the events tomorrow will also remind us of the last words of a great American who was killed in the heat of a campaign back in 1968. On the last day of his campaign, Robert Kennedy said, and I'd like to leave you with these words, they're the last thing I'll say. I'm quoting him. "I ask you to recognize the hard and difficult road to a better America. I ask you to vote for yourselves. The people must decide this election," he said. "For your sake and for the sake of your children, vote. Vote for yourselves."

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:36 a.m. at the Akron-Canton Airport.

Jimmy Carter, Akron, Ohio Remarks at a Rally With Northeast Ohio Carter/Mondale Supporters. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/252175

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