Jimmy Carter photo

Detroit, Michigan Remarks at a Rally With Area Residents.

November 03, 1980

Senator Riegle, Senator Levin, Mayor Coleman Young, distinguished Members of the Congress:

Let me say first of all, that I wanted to come back here to Detroit, to Michigan, because I had to be in Washington yesterday and miss my long anticipated visit, and I heard the Republicans claimed they were going to carry Michigan. I came here to show them they're wrong. They're wrong. We'll carry Michigan.

As you know, Democrats have always been builders. People in your State have always been builders. And lately, with the changes taking place all around the world in energy prices, changed buying habits, we've been eager to face the future, forming a new partnership between the automobile industry—its leaders in labor and in management—and government. And one of the most delightful experiences I've had as President has been to see the new, modern, efficient, safe, durable automobiles coming out of Michigan, that are going to put those foreign cars off the market, and you can depend on that.

Also, it's very important—since Michigan is such a great labor State—it's very important for us to remember, as these last few hours approach before election, the sharp and historical differences that exist between the two parties. Every election year, shortly before the voting comes, the Republican candidates begin to act like Democrats. They try to mislead the American voters with highly financed campaigns from rich people. But all of you know that you have never heard a Republican candidate for President quote a Republican President. They all quote John Kennedy or they all quote Franklin Roosevelt, and there's a reason for it. Because once Republicans get in the Oval Office, they govern like and they act like Presidents [Republicans]. 1 They don't do anything to be remembered later. They don't say anything to be quoted later. We want to keep a Democrat in the White House for the working people of this country.

1White House correction.

Think back in your own lives. Think now on the current events and the future that will affect your lives, your family lives, and those you care about. When Chrysler was facing bankruptcy, the Democratic administration and the Democratic Congress moved forward to protect almost 300,000 jobs. My Republican opponent said, "What's wrong with bankruptcy?" Think what it means for minimum wage. My opponent is against minimum wage, would like to repeal it. He's always been against it. Democrats have initiated it and have protected it. Davis-Bacon, labor law reform, every element that's important to you or to your families, are Democratic issues. They've been opposed by Republicans. Social security, Medicare, looking to the future, national health insurance, all of these issues, very important to the working people of this Nation, must be remembered by you in these last few hours.

It's important what you do. Your coming here is obviously a very important factor. It makes me feel better to be welcomed this way in Detroit. But the next few hours you've got to do more than that, because think back: In 1948, just a few votes difference and Harry Truman would never have been reelected President. In 1960, if 28,000 people had voted differently in Texas and a few thousand in Illinois, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson would never have been President. And think in 1968 what happened when perhaps some of you and I didn't help Hubert Humphrey enough. We had the last elected Republican President, Richard Nixon, who betrayed his office and embarrassed our country. We cannot afford to let that happen again. We have got to win tomorrow. The vote depends on you. You help me; I'll help you. We'll have a great country in the future.

One last comment I'd like to make. Obviously the race is between me and Ronald Reagan, but I'd like to make a special appeal to the people this year who have been supporting John Anderson. Obviously we disagree on some issues. There's no doubt about that. But on the basic issues, on progress for the future, on the equal rights amendment, controlling nuclear weapons, keeping our country moving, protecting the minimum wage, working for the working people of this Nation, there's a lot in common between us. And I'd like to ask you these last few hours not to waste a vote. Make sure you cast your vote so that we can prevent an administration being in the Oval Office who disagrees with those basic issues that combine the efforts and the common beliefs of the Anderson supporters and the other minor candidates and my own.

We cannot afford to wake up Wednesday morning and discover that we've got a rightwing Republican administration in the Oval Office for the next 4 years. Let's don't let that happen. Let's win together. God bless you. Work hard. We'll win.

Note: The President spoke at 6:31 p.m. in the terminal at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Jimmy Carter, Detroit, Michigan Remarks at a Rally With Area Residents. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/252196

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