Jimmy Carter photo

Baltimore, Maryland Remarks at a Fundraising Dinner for Harry Hughes.

October 10, 1978

Senator Sarbanes; Governor Blair Lee; Mayor Schaefer; Congressman Long and Congressman Mikulski, Gladys Spellman; candidates who will in the future be Members of Congress, Joe Quinn, Sue Ward; Chairman Rosalie Abrams; Louis Goldstein; my good friend Harry Hughes; Steven Sachs; ladies and gentlemen, friends who have made one of the wisest decisions and who will make other wise decisions in November that Maryland has ever seen:

Speaking of polls, I thought until recently that the most famous one in the world was Dr. Brzezinski. But I think that— [laughter] —recently, we've had an election of a new Pope. And when I came on the stage, I remembered Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski, and then I remembered the Baltimore Sun. And I've gotten very confused about this.

I do want to say that it's good to be back in the State that offered to me and my predecessors Camp David. That was a great achievement for peace; thanks to you for making it possible. My esteem in the country has gone up substantially since then. It's very nice now that when people wave at me, they use all their fingers. [Laughter]

I believe things are getting better all over, and I think particularly in Maryland. As I sat here a few minutes ago and looked at and listened to Blair Lee, I tried to think of some descriptive words that were appropriate for him. I think statesman and a Christian gentleman fit him very well.

He's brought credit to the office that he fills, and he's acted in an exemplary way—a kind man, a gentle man, a confident man, an honest man, one who's generous, and I think, one who's been quite unselfish and dedicated. It's an honor for me to be with a man like him.

And I also believe that he has set a tone in the political structure of Maryland that will be filled and perhaps even enhanced by Harry Hughes when he becomes Governor early next year.

It's nice to have a man in the Governor's office, as Harry Hughes will be, who is fiscally knowledgeable and responsible, a man who's campaigned around this State as a relative unknown, who was not expected to win, but who didn't depend upon powerful political allies to put him in office, who cast his lot directly with the people whom he met on the street and in factory shift lines—people who have to work for a living, people who have admired the spirit and ideals of Maryland, but sometimes have been disappointed in the realization of those dreams and ideals—a man who understands what it means to have a fair and equitable distribution of State funds and, I think, above all, a man who will bring permanently throughout his terms of office as Governor a basic character, a basic integrity to the politics of Maryland, which will be an inspiration to all of us and a source of great gratitude on the part of people who will put him in office.

I'm very grateful to be on the stage with Harry Hughes, your next Governor.

I might give you a warning, however. I was really a little disappointed to see the recent poll result which showed the Democratic candidates so far in the lead.

One of my responsibilities as Governor,* as the titular head of the Democratic Party, is to work with Chairman John White and to try to monitor what goes on throughout the country in all 50 States-with 435 House of Representatives races and about 35 or 40 U.S. Senate races and about two-thirds of the Governors being elected this year. And quite often, I have seen a person with an immense, almost unshakable lead in the early polls be defeated, not because the candidates slacked off or quit working or became overconfident, but because the supporters of that candidate took for granted a victory and didn't go out and work just as hard as they would if he was an underdog or fighting a very tough, close battle in the public opinion polls.

*Reference should have been "President." [Printed in the transcript.]

You've come here tonight to contribute financially to the election of Harry Hughes. But it would be a tragedy if all of you who are highly motivated, who believe in him, and who want better things for Maryland won't go back to your own home with your family, with your neighbors, with your block, with your community, with your city, and exert your leadership in recruiting a massive turnout on election day for him.

It's not impossible that this bright vision for Maryland, this breath of fresh air that's sweeping across Maryland might be lost unless you and Harry Hughes, his family, all of us, including myself, do our utmost to get him elected.

Do you promise that after tonight you'll work just as hard for him as you worked for anyone in the primary; do you promise to do that? [Applause]

If so, we'll have a great victory. And I think it's very good for a candidate to have a tremendous victory on election day, because this tells the people to rally to him, it tells the legislature to give him support, it gives him the strength politically to carry out campaign promises. It lets him epitomize the finest aspects of our political system, the finest aspects of the Democratic Party.

We've always been a party of compassion and competence, compassion and competence. Sometimes we haven't lived up to that reputation or that commitment. But I believe it's accurate to say that now the American people are beginning to realize that the Democratic Party can be both. No one has ever doubted that the Democrats cared about others. We are a party with the heart. We are a party who reaches out to those who are less fortunate than we. We've been extremely interested in seeing good programs implemented to let people get an education, let people have a job, to let people have a home, to see cities improved, to see highways built.

We've always had that reputation. And we're trying to carry it out, not only on the State level but also at the local and Federal level.

I was very proud the other day—having campaigned several times with Mayor Schaefer, with Bob Embry in Baltimore, having learned what a real urban renewal program ought to be—to see Baltimore recognized and your mayor receive an award in Germany for having the finest urban renewal program in the world. It's a credit to you, and it shows what a party can do.

We are forming now an urban policy on a nationwide basis patterned substantially after what has been done in Baltimore, forming a new partnership between local, State, and government officials, private individuals, just private homeowners, working people, retired people, to let our country be more clean, more decent, and have a better place to live.

The Congress last )'ear passed a new farm bill to let our agricultural families who have been deprived in the past of an adequate level of income have a better life. And Maryland is a great agricultural State.

And the Members of your Congressional delegation who are here on the stage with me have helped to forge now, not a division between urban and rural dwellers, but kind of a new partnership there as well.

We believe in basic rights of human beings. One of those basic rights is the chance for a job. When I campaigned around the country for 2 years, the single most important issue that was brought up every time I had a political meeting was the high unemployment rate.

When I became President about 20 months ago, 10 million Americans did not have a full-time job; 7 million Americans or more didn't have any job. We had an 8 percent unemployment rate. Since then we've had an unprecedented achievement. The Congress has passed laws that have been implemented effectively. Our economy has been stimulated. And we've had a net addition to over 6 million jobs. The unemployment rate has been brought down 25 percent, a very good demonstration of what the Democratic Party stands for, to let people stand on their own two feet, resolve their own problems, support themselves, be constructive members of a societal structure.

We've tried to bring to the Federal Government a kind of breath of fresh air. The Congress has now passed very stringent ethics bills, which I will sign into law in the next few days, requiring all executive offices in the Government, all Members of Congress to account for their incomes, to make sure that any conflict is identified or preferably avoided. And the Congress has done this enthusiastically on their own, because there have been embarrassments about top public officials.

We're trying to root out fraud. As you well know, here in Baltimore, in the General Services Administration, a few bad managers are giving our Government a bad name. But we're trying to bring some resolution of this problem. And the Congress has also passed a new Inspectors General bill to establish 12 offices, independent, within the largest agencies, to root out and detect fraud and mismanagement and waste from your Government, which I head.

We're now getting ready to embark on a massive program for anti-inflation. And I've tried to bring to the Government the proper basis for management itself. When I ran for President, we had a Federal deficit of almost $70 billion, $66 billion. We've tried to cut that down, to cut the deficit down. And this year the Congress has completed appropriations bills with a deficit cut down to less than $40 billion. Next year it's going to be lower. My goal is to have a balanced budget. And if the economy permits it, I'm going to work with you to bring about a balanced budget in our country.

There's no place for waste, and at the same time we've strengthened education programs, strengthened our highway programs, strengthened our urban development programs, cut down the Federal deficit, we've also cut taxes substantially-$8 billion last year; the Congress has just passed another bill to reduce taxes 19 or more billion dollars more.

And I think the combination of those three things shows that we have a firm grip now on the fiscal management of our Government.

We're trying to eliminate unnecessary regulations—and those that are written, to write them in plain English. We're making the people that write them sign them. And we're trying to make it so people can understand them, even peanut farmers from Georgia.

We've tried to put "free" back into our free enterprise system. One of the things we've already done is to tackle the airline industry. We've lowered fares dramatically. The airlines objected strongly, and now they've increased their passenger capacity and utilization greatly. Their profits are up. Everybody is benefiting. The Congress has now passed a law to make sure that this is permanent.

We're going to move on other sections of the transportation industry in the future. We're trying to get government's nose out of the business of the people, let the free enterprise system work, make government a model for others, remove the things that are embarrassing and restore some fiscal integrity and fiscal management principles to government and give our people better services at the same time. And so far, we've done it. We're going to keep on doing it in the future.

I'd just like to mention two other things. One is that in your city, in your State, there are tens of thousands of dedicated public servants who work for the Federal Government, as do I. They have sacrificially, in many instances, dedicated their one life on Earth to a career of serving other Americans. Quite often they don't get credit for what they do. And sometimes in the past they've not been permitted to do their best.

For the first time in 95 years, I proposed to the Congress civil service reform legislation to let superb employees be recognized and to utilize their talent and ability and dedication; to inspire those who have not done too well to do better or to be transferred or discharged; to let managers manage; and to let Federal employees be proud of their own careers and let the American people be proud of them.

I'm very grateful that the Congress has now passed, in an intact form, the civil service reform legislation. This will help, again, to give better management to your Government and to mine.

We've also maintained the strength of our country in other ways, not just a strong government itself, but a strong nation, a strong defense. Although our military might is unequaled anywhere in the world—and it will be kept that way—it's not just a quantity of weapons or even the resolve of American people to defend ourselves or even the sacrificial dedication of service people that makes us strong. In the past we had been weakened because many Americans had lost confidence in what our Government stood for: the Vietnam war, the Watergate tragedy, the CIA revelations, and other things had induced the American people to feel that our country was not clean enough, it wasn't decent enough.

We didn't raise a banner high, around which people could rally and of which people could be proud. But now I think we've committed ourselves on a worldwide basis to try to exemplify in our foreign dealings what Americans feel in our own hearts.

We're not supporting every tinhorn dictatorship around the world any more. And we have let people know that our protection, our support, our enhancement of basic human rights, in which we believe in America, is also a burning, intense, permanent belief around the world. And as long as I'm President, the United States will be identified in the minds and hearts of people everywhere as the Nation that stands irrevocably and permanently for basic human rights. It's an important thing; it'll be maintained.

And the last thing that I'd like to mention is something that we've already covered, and that is peace throughout the world. We've been fortunate in the last 2 years. Not a single American service person has shed blood in any conflict anywhere on Earth. I hope that I can go out of office at the end of my service having maintained that record.

But we're also trying to use our good offices to bring an end to bloodshed in other parts of the world: in the Middle East, with a permanent peace there for the first time in history; in Lebanon. Secretary Vance left Pretoria, South Africa, this morning, having tried to put together an end to the potential bloodshed and dispute in Namibia. We've been working on the problems in Rhodesia. He's on the way to the Soviet Union this afternoon to continue his discussions on SALT. Warren Christopher, Deputy Secretary of State, left at 3 o'clock this afternoon, going to Greece. And we hope we can finally bring some resolution of the problems between Greece and Turkey and the Cypriots who have suffered so much on Cyprus.

So, we're trying as best we can to represent what you want our Nation to be, what all of us want the Democratic Party to be; but you can help us accomplish, if you are part of it, because as I said during the campaign many times, we want a government that's as good and honest and decent and compassionate and competent as the American people.

And this is the kind of government that we're trying to achieve in Washington. It's the kind of government that I know that Harry Hughes will achieve in Annapolis for Maryland, beginning next year, with your help.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 7: 20 p.m. at the Baltimore Civic Center. In his opening remarks, he referred to Rosalie Abrams, chairperson of the Maryland Democratic Party, Louis Goldstein, Democratic candidate for Maryland comptroller, and Steven Sachs, Democratic candidate for Maryland attorney general.

Jimmy Carter, Baltimore, Maryland Remarks at a Fundraising Dinner for Harry Hughes. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244160

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives