Ronald Reagan picture

Election Night Victory Speech in Los Angeles

November 04, 1980

Let me just say first of all, this has been, well, there's never been a more humbling moment in my life, not only humbled by the extent of what has happened tonight. Even if it had been the cliffhanger that all of us, I think, were expecting, it would have been the same way. But just to have had the support of the people of this country. I consider the trust you have placed in me sacred and I give you my sacred oath that I will do my utmost to justify your faith.

Earlier this evening, I spoke on the phone with President Carter. The president pledged the utmost in cooperation in the transition that will take place in these coming months. I offered him my own cooperation. He graciously said that he wanted this to be the...

[interrupted by applause as someone showed him a map of the electoral vote].

When that began to slide, I thought the world was going out just as I was getting in.

As I say, the president was most gracious about this. And now, all across America, there are some people that I owe a great debt of thanks to. There they are, they are meeting tonight in our national headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, the national committee people, the dedicated professionals who made the campaign run and in every state, in the counties, in the cities, in the precincts, to all of them who worked so tirelessly, literally hundreds of thousands of volunteers, and I've seen them at work throughout the country on this campaign, I just owe them an immeasurable debt of thanks.

To George and Barbara Bush, our running mates, down in Texas, no one has worked harder than they have. We only crossed paths a few times on this campaign and had to go out of our way to do it because their schedule was so heavy. And I can tell you, we're going to have a true partnership and a true friendship in the White House.

And now, as I said before, my family. I'm so grateful to them, for the love, for the support and for the hard work, because some of them were out on the campaign trail easily as much as Nancy and I were.

And speaking of Nancy, she's going to have a new title in a couple of months. And it isn't really new because she's been the first lady in my life for a long time.

Now, we'll share that a little bit in the future.

You know, Abe Lincoln, the day after his election to the presidency, gathered in his office the newsmen who had been covering his campaign and he said to them, "Well boys, you're troubles are over now, mine have just begun."

I think I know what he meant. Lincoln may have been concerned in the troubled times in which he became president but I don't think he was afraid. He was ready to confront the problems and the troubles of a still youthful country, determined to seize the historic opportunity to change things.

And I am not frightened by what lies ahead and I don't believe the American people are frightened by what lies ahead. Together, we're going to do what has to be done. We're going to put America back to work again. You know, I aim to try and tap that great American spirit that opened up this completely undeveloped continent from coast to coast and made it a great nation, survived several wars, survived a Great Depression, and we'­ll survive the problems we face right now.

When I accepted your nomination for president...I asked for your prayers at that moment. I won't ask for them in this particular moment but I will just say I would be very happy to have them in the days ahead.

All I can say to all of you is thank you and thank you for more than just George Bush and myself, thank you, because if the trend continues, we may very well control one house of the Congress for the first time in a quarter of a century. We have already picked up some governorships and... it looks like a number of the states, we have turned the state legislatures around and so for the first time, they are a majority for us. You did it.

I have one message that I have to give before I leave. I've been upstairs on the phone, trying to get ahold of two celebrations, two parties that are going on, one in Tampico, Illinois, where I was born, and one in Dixon, Illinois, where I grew up. I've got two hometowns. And finally, we managed to get the radio station in that area and they told us that they would broadcast my message to the two parties that are going on, so to all of them, thank you too, back there in the home town.

Thank you all, thanks very much.

Ronald Reagan, Election Night Victory Speech in Los Angeles Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project