Jimmy Carter photo

Beverly Hills, California Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Fundraising Reception.

September 22, 1980

Senator Kennedy and Governor Brown, Tom Bradley, Lew Wasserman, Chuck Manatt, Edie, and all of you who've come here tonight:

It's indeed a pleasure to be introduced in such a forceful and effective way by Senator Kennedy. He has a lot of friends in California. I can certainly vouch for that. [Laughter] I haven't always been pleased with that fact, but tonight I'm delighted. And I might say that had we had this kind of unity all the year, I would have had a much more pleasant springtime. [Laughter]

But as Senator Kennedy pointed out, it's important to the Democratic Party, it's crucial to the future of our Nation that issues that are troubling to our people and to the people throughout the world be clearly aired, that the issues be sharply defined, that hopes be raised, that confidence be restored, that unity be ensured, and that the doubts and trepidation and embarrassments that have been with us under the Republican Party in the past and as a prospect for the future be eliminated.

I'm particularly glad to come and meet with average families, common, run-of-the-mill Americans to get your views here at the Beverly Hilton in Hollywood. [Laughter] That's been the source of my political strength in California- [laughter] —and I think it's the source of American strength in the future to have you and others like you throughout the country on our side.

I want to say two or three things to you this evening that are important to me and, I believe, to our country. Ted Kennedy, Jerry Brown, and I share a common faith in the future, a common vision of what our Nation ought to be and will be, a belief in a Democratic Party that has an open heart, that's deeply concerned about principle, about compassion, and about concern for those who are aged, poor, who don't speak English well, who've been deprived in the past of an adequate opportunity for progress in their own lives, who've been deprived quite often of a chance for equal justice and of the proper self-respect that was guaranteed to all Americans by the original founders of this country.

In addition to that, we are committed to peace. We've had 3¼ years when our Nation has been at peace. Not a single soldier has been sent into combat, and I pray God we'll have the same success in the next 4 years. And we've had that peace through strength. Our Nation is the strongest nation on Earth—militarily, politically, economically, and I believe morally and ethically.

I have no apology to make for keeping our Nation's defense strong. We had a steady decrease in commitment to American defense during the 8 years prior to my own administration. Since then we've steadily increased our commitment to defense-still only about 5 percent of our gross national product. And I believe that's the best way to ensure not only peace for our country but for our allies and friends around the world. The best weapon, as I said at Torrance early today, is the weapon that's never fired in anger, and the best soldier is one that never sheds blood on the field of battle. And as long as we know that we are strong and our allies know our strength and our potential adversaries respect that strength, our Nation can maintain its commitment to peace.

We've had notable success the last 3 1/2 years in addressing, I believe courageously-the Congress, the Governors, and also myself issues that in the past had been ignored. I won't name them all, but just one or two.

Energy is a subject that permeates the consciousness now and for a long time the lives of every family in this country. For a long time it was ignored. And now America has recognized that for economic progress and for an exciting, dynamic life in the future, we must reduce our unwarranted dependence on foreign oil. We've been remarkably successful in the brief months since the Congress passed legislation establishing an energy policy for our country for the first time in its history.

This year we will import about 6¼ million barrels of oil per day—2 million barrels each day less than we did when I first became President. At the same time, we have a massive commitment to conservation. We already have 10 times as many homes using solar power as did 4 years ago. We've multiplied by a factor of 2,000 percent the commitment of our Nation to research and development in solar power. We have more oil wells and gas wells being drilled this year than any year in this history of our Nation, and we're producing more coal in our country this year than any year in the history of our Nation.

And this is just the beginning of a wonderful era working toward energy independence for our country that will be vital to the American people. And on top of that foundation, we're now ready to make sure that the tools and factories of our Nation are modern and that the workers, who are now the highest and most productive in the world, stay competitive with any other nation on Earth. These kinds of economic progress opportunities will give our Nation the strength to continue through the 1980's with the hope that it lives in our hearts intact.

Finally, I'd like to say that we have a great obligation to our allies and friends. One of the most gratifying experiences of my Presidency has been the ability to work toward a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. I recognize that when I contribute to the peace and the security of Israel, I make a direct contribution in a magnified form to the peace and the security of the Nation that I have been elected to lead. My goal in the next 4 years is to continue this progress. And with Sol Linowitz' help, President Sadat, Prime Minister Begin are now arranging for continued negotiations. The Foreign Minister of Israel and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Egypt were in my office last week on the second anniversary of the Camp David accords and met for hours with Sol Linowitz to lay the foundation for more progress.

After this election year is over on November the 4th, then our prospect is that President Sadat, Prime Minister Begin, and myself would have another summit meeting to pursue the progress that we've made so far and bring about a realization of the hopes and dreams of the Israeli people, the Egyptian people, and in my judgment, a vast majority of the people in the other surrounding nations adjacent to Israel, for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East with the security of Israel intact. This is important to us and to all the people on Earth.

And finally, let me say that I deeply appreciate the confidence and help that you've given me. California is a crucial State. The outcome of the election could very well depend upon the electoral votes from California. This will not be an easy campaign, to beat Ronald Reagan in his home State. That is a noble goal, which I'm sure you share with me. And I do not intend to lose this election.

I'll be back here as often as I can. My wife will be here, my children will be here, my mother will be here, Fritz Mondale will be here. [Laughter] I don't want you to get tired of the Carter family, politically and blood-kin, but we intend to carry California, because I know from experience, the last 3 1/2 years how important the occupant of the Oval Office can be. It's one of the most gratifying and exciting jobs on Earth.

The Presidency of the United States is held in great reverence and respect by people in every nation on Earth. The decisions that come there are crucial decisions. There are no easy answers in the Oval Office. If the answers are easily derived, they are found within a person's own life or within a family or a home or a county courthouse or a city hall or a State legislature or a Governor's office.

If, in that process, they cannot be resolved easily, then those questions come to the Oval Office. Advisers are valuable. I would challenge anybody to compare the Cabinet quality that I have now with any Cabinet that's served this Nation down through history. But I've also found that when the issue is of the utmost importance to the American people and perhaps the world and it's most difficult to resolve that that's when advisers are highly likely to be evenly divided in the counsel they give to the President. At that time it's a lonely job. And a sensitivity to the hopes and ideals of the American people, a knowledge of the facts, an awareness of the interrelationship of our country to all the other countries on Earth, a knowledge of the personal characteristics of leaders of those foreign countries, an intimate, detailed study of the bureaucratic structure of our Federal Government and its interrelationship with local and State governments-all those factors come into a decision in the lonely confines of the Oval Office.

I've had, with your help, 3 1/2 years of experience. I've been a good student. I don't claim we've never made mistakes, but we've made steady progress. We've carved out for this country a great vision of the future, and we've kept our Nation at peace. I've dealt with many crises during the last 3 1/2 years, and I'm thankful that most of those crises—that you never knew about them. Had I handled a crisis improperly or had I made an incorrect judgment, that crisis would be a vivid issue in your mind and perhaps would have endangered the safety and the peace of the entire world,

I don't claim to be infallible, but I have a reassuring belief that the intimacy with which you give me your support and your counsel and your advice and your criticisms makes you a partner with me in shaping the future of our country and ensuring that the United States of America, the greatest nation on Earth, will be at peace and even greater in its influence in the years ahead. That's my prayer. With your help, we'll make that prayer come true.
Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 6:45 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Following the reception, the President went to the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, where he remained overnight.

Jimmy Carter, Beverly Hills, California Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Fundraising Reception. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251567

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