Jimmy Carter photo

Dallas, Texas Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Fundraiser.

July 21, 1980

Instead of repeating all of the names that have just been called, even the distinguished United States Senators and Governors and others, I'd like to address my formal remarks to all of you collectively, but especially to Jess Hay and to Betty Jo, who've made this such a wonderful evening for all of us. And I deeply appreciate what you've done for us, Jess.

I didn't come here at all concerning my own campaign. That's against the law at this time. I came here to help the Democratic National Committee. I came here to help the Texas Democratic Committee and all the members of it. But primarily I came to Dallas to find out confidentially who shot J. R. 1— [laughter] —and if any of you could let me know that, I could finance the whole campaign this fall.

1 A character on the television show "Dallas."

It's a wonderful thing for us to be able to get together. I've had a good day. I was in Kentucky earlier, briefly in Indiana, and then went by Justin, Texas, to visit one of the homes of the farm families that have been devastated by the drought, and then to have a great rally at the station here in Dallas, and then to come out to Jess Hay's home.

It's a wonderful opportunity for a President to see the strength of our Nation, the unity that we share, the confidence in ourselves, the blessings which God has given all of us, and the opportunity for an even greater America in the future. When we look at the current headlines and television and listen to the radio, the prime impression we get is one of disappointment, failure, difference, debate, weakness, fear, doubt, trepidation, and lack of confidence. That's not at all the America that you know and the America that I know as President.

We're a nation that has maintained peace, because we are strong. And we are a nation that has never failed to measure up to responsibilities when they are placed on our shoulders. And we are a nation that will never fail in the future. We will stay strong. We will stay at peace. We are not a country that's trying to dominate others. We are not a nation that is willing to open up a new vista of a cold war. Within the process of keeping our own selves at the full measure of our economic, military strength, we can keep peace for ourselves and for many others who look to us for leadership.

The Democratic Party is one that has never forgotten the principles on which our Nation was originally founded. The Declaration of Independence was signed 204 years ago. We have made steady progress. The Democratic Party is almost that old; it's the oldest political party on Earth. It's one that believes in competence; it's one that believes in the strongest government being the closest to the people. It's the government and a party which has shared in the last 3 1/2 years some of the most intense, focused problems and responsibilities of the entire world in peacetime history. We've not failed to measure up to that responsibility.

We have extended our hand of friendship to literally hundreds of millions of people around the Earth who, in the past, looked upon us as enemies or potential enemies. We've kept our Nation at peace. With the exception of eight servicemen who were lost in the desert in Iran, in an accident, on a humanitarian mission, we've not had a single American serviceman or woman killed since I've been privileged to serve in the White House. And I pray to God that I can go out of office with that same record intact.

We've recognized not only the military strength but political strength of our Nation. Others look to us for leadership. In Europe we have strengthened NATO—its spirit, its military commitment, its unity-far beyond anything it has seen since NATO was originally founded. When I meet with the leaders of Europe and of Japan, they recognize that the bulwark of liberty and freedom, of stability in a troubled world is our own great Nation.

This country, because of its innovative spirit, because of the free enterprise system, which we cherish, has always been on the cutting edge of change. We've never feared change. Sometimes we face the future, which is uncertain, with some degree of trepidation, some degree of caution. But as we see a problem that has not yet been answered, as we see an obstacle which has not yet been overcome, the natural tendency of Americans is to bind ourselves together in a spirit of unity and common commitment, of drawing closer to the principles that are precious and never change, and a facing of the future with an accommodation for technology and for changing political circumstances, which we absolutely do not fear.

We now have entered an era which will change the lifestyle of Americans, an energy period when we have first had to recognize that the natural resources with which we have been blessed have some limit. We've not flinched from that responsibility.

As you all know, in 1973 we had our Nation's security threatened. Our Nation was almost brought to its knees economically and, indeed, threatened militarily when our lifeline of oil, 12,000 miles to a troubled area of the Middle East, was endangered by an embargo. Unfortunately, the Republican administration then in power in Washington did nothing, and we have not had until just recently, with a courageous Congress, a fine energy policy for our country. Everything in that policy couldn't suit the people of Georgia or the people of New York or the people of Texas, but we've set our hand to a plow that will set a furrow that will get the Federal Government and its nose out of the private: affairs of American citizens and out of the free enterprise system and let our Nation be strong.

As we stand on our own feet and make our own decisions in an independent manner, there are two ways that we can stop our overdependence on foreign oil: One is through conservation, to save energy, to stop wasting energy; and the other one is to produce more energy in this country. We are doing both. And the next 10 years will see us spend, for the benefit of our Nation, in those areas more than $227 billion for a new life for our people, a life that will not constrain our style of living or the quality of our existence, but will give us an exciting, dynamic, challenging opportunity again to prove that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

And, finally, I'd like to say that as President of this country I never forget that my party is one that has never forgotten the individual human being. We are competent, we are consistent, we are concerted in our effort; but we are also compassionate. We look upon those who are less fortunate than we, who have suffered from some affliction or some discrimination, with a great deal of understanding, recognizing that if they are able to take whatever talent or ability God might have given them and to use that talent to a useful purpose, they will sever their dependence on government to sustain themselves and become productive and aggressive citizens, joining in with us.

And now to close my speech, I would say this morning, when I started to come to Texas, I asked [Senator] Lloyd Bentsen, "What do you need more than anything else—a fine long speech from the President?" And he said, "No, Mr. President. What we need is rain." And I said, "Okay, we'll have rain." So, in appreciation to the rain God has given us, let's harness our efforts and whip the Republicans in November and keep our country strong.
Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 7: 34 p.m. at the residence of Jess and Betty Jo Hay.

Following the fundraiser, the President returned to the White House.

Jimmy Carter, Dallas, Texas Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Fundraiser. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250961

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