Gerald R. Ford photo

Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Detroit, Michigan.

May 12, 1976

LET ME make a statement or two, and then I'll take several questions. First, I wish to thank Pete and Ranny and Bill McLaughlin. I also wish to thank Bob Griffin and the Republican delegation.

I have spent most of my life in the great State of Michigan. I got my education here. I got started in politics here. The State of Michigan has been very, very good to me, and during the 21 months that I have been the President of the United States, I have sought to justify their faith in what they gave me during my lifetime. So, as I look back over the last 21 months, I think we have good reason to be proud of the record of the Ford administration.

First, we've had peace, prosperity, and we have trust in the White House. As far as peace is concerned, we've achieved this, we're maintaining it and, I might add that no young person, no young man is faced with the draft or selective service. He has an option. And we're going to keep that strength. And we're going to keep the peace.

Secondly, about a year ago, if I had been here in the State of Michigan, there was a great deal of gloom and despair because of the worst economic conditions in the last 40 years. Because we had the right policies, because we were firm, we didn't panic, we are on a very, very surging boom. And all over this country, I find a restoration of confidence in the economic system that has been so good to so many Americans for the last 200 years.

Then, 21 months ago, there had been a great loss of confidence in the White House and the institutions, and the net result was--as I was saying, 21 months ago there had been a great loss of confidence in the White House. There were scandals. The net result is that when I became President we first had to restore public trust. I think we have done that.

So, I would summarize the situation right today: that we have peace and we have prosperity and we have trust. And that's a good program, and that's the kind of a program the people of Michigan and, I think, the people throughout the United States will support not only in Kansas City, but also in November. I'll be glad to take several questions.

REPORTER. Mr. President, do you think that you have a very good chance of winning in Michigan?

THE PRESIDENT. You bet I do.

Q. Mr. President, what do you hope to do about a possible crossover vote in the State by Wallace Democrats to Mr. Reagan?

THE PRESIDENT. I want every person in the State of Michigan who identifies with my political philosophy, who believes in the program that I have outlined of peace, prosperity, and trust, to vote for me. I want every person who is registered in this State who can feel confidence in what we have done to vote for me, whether they call themselves Republicans, Independents, or Democrats.

Q. Mr. President, are you planning any changes in your campaign strategy?

THE PRESIDENT. Not at all. We run a good, tight ship. And we believe that the program we have is a good one.

Let me refresh your memory a bit. I, early on, made the decision that I was going to enter every one of the primaries--some 30. I recognized at that time we would maybe lose a few, but I felt it was my responsibility to go to the American people, the length and breadth of this country. I have, or I will.

Now, in January or February of this year, there were a good many people who were saying that Jerry Ford would lose a couple of primaries and the whole ballgame would be over some time in February or March. Well, that didn't happen.

We knew that in the month of May there would be some disappointments-there have been--but we decided early that we were going to enter every primary. We were going to win enough delegates to go to Kansas City and win there, and that will be the outcome.

Q. Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you all very, very much.

Note: The exchange began at 11:40 a.m. at Detroit-Wayne County Metropolitan Airport.

Gerald R. Ford, Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Detroit, Michigan. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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