Marion, Illinois Remarks to Carter/Mondale Supporters.
THE PRESIDENT. Congressman Simon, Congressman Evans, others leaders of one of the finest political parties in the world:
I want to ask you one question before we start. How many of you believe that in 3 weeks and 1 day we're going to whip the Republicans from top to—[cheers].
I may be mistaken, but I don't think I am. Throughout this country in the last few days, I've seen a renewed interest in the political campaign for President, the reelection of Democratic Congressmen and State officials throughout this country. It's extremely important what happens on November the 4th. I'll do all I can. Fritz Mondale, Rosalynn, my Cabinet, the Democratic candidates for Congress, for United States Senate, Governor, will do all we can. But as you know, the results of the election has always depended on people like you.
How many of you were delegates for me? Would you raise your hand? I'd just like to thank you personally. Stand up, if you don't mind. Thank you. Now, that's a good looking bunch of folks, don't you think? [Laughter]
I want to say just a couple of things, then I'd like to spend as much time as I can shaking hands, because I want to thank you personally.
I've just come from one of the newest and finest and most productive coal mines in this Nation and in the world. I discovered, when I began to study about what I would see, that both the new mines that I've just visited were designed primarily to provide coal for the Georgia Power Company. So, I feel a close relationship already to the folks of this area. [Laughter] And I've already made a speech out at the coal mine to the workers, who've come up from the bottom, from the shaft, to talk to me and to meet with me.
But in this brief time together, I'd like to point out to you that not only does Illinois have the greatest reserve of coal of any State in this Nation but you also, as you know, are number one in the production of corn, number one in the production of soybeans, number two in the production of swine, number one in agricultural exports. My background is a farmer. All of my people have lived in this country for the last two or three hundred years, my family, have been farmers. And when I fly over your beautiful land and see what's happening here in Illinois, I'm doubly proud of what you have to contribute to the well-being of your own families in this country but also to the security of our Nation.
A lot of people are concerned because the OPEC oil companies, the Arab oil nations have 6 percent of the world's energy reserves. This country alone has 24 percent, and ours are in a breadth of different kinds of energy resources. But the most valuable resource we have of all is the land that God gave us.
We've got a good sound agricultural program. And during my own administration, so far, we've had the highest gross income for farmers; the highest net income for farmers; the highest level of exports in 1977, set world records; 1978, we set new records; 1979, we set additional new world records; and this year we'll export $8 billion more American agricultural products than we did even last year.
We interrupted some of the sales of grain to the Soviet Union, but we made sure that we didn't do what the Republicans did when they imposed agricultural embargoes to force down the prices. We imposed grain sale restrictions to protect the security of our Nation and the peace of the world. In the process, we committed ourselves not only to find alternative customers for American grain but to hold up the prices. And if you compare agricultural prices now with what they were in the early part of January, you'll see that we've done very well—sometimes a little slow getting started, I admit that.
But in the process, we have now opened up tremendous new permanent buyers for American grain and American agricultural products. This year we will sell to Mexico 10 million tons of American grain. Exports to Mexico in total this year will be three times as great as they were just 4 years ago. And we're now negotiating what we hope will be an eight- or a ninemillion-ton-per-year grain sale to the People's Republic of China. This is a tremendous opportunity for us, to have permanent customers, high quality customers for American grain.
I'm very proud of what we have done, but I'm especially proud of the people of Illinois. It means a lot to me to have your support on November the 4th. And if we work together, we Democrats, we'll take the treasures that God's given this Nation, we'll stay good stewards of it, we won't waste the quality of our land, we won't waste the natural resources with which God's blessed us. We'll have a better life for ourselves. We'll rebuild the industrial complex of America to keep American workers the most productive on Earth, which they are now, with new tools, new factories, based upon a new energy policy, a new agricultural policy that'll be stable, predictable, and also profitable for us all.
As we have a better life for ourselves, taking advantage of the blessings we've been given, we'll also prepare for a nation with greater security, because we've been living now at the end of a 12,000-mile pipeline half-way around the world to one of the most troubled areas on Earth. With the new energy policy, we have already cut back oil imports from overseas by over 20 percent just compared to this time last year—over 1 1/2 million barrels of oil a day less that we buy from overseas. That's something you've done; that's something you've done.
And I want to see Saudi Arabian oil replaced as a treasure—it already has been, people don't know it—with American soil, and I want to make sure that in the future, as a source for energy for the rest of the world, that we replace OPEC oil with Illinois coal. That's my goal. We'll do it together.
Thank you very much.
Are you all going to help me?
THE PRESIDENT. Right on.
Well, let me say one other thing in closing, and I want to go down and shake hands.
AUDIENCE [chanting]. Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT. I don't need to say it. You say it.
Thank you very much. God bless you.
AUDIENCE [chanting]. Four more years!
THE PRESIDENT. You do your share; I'll do mine. We'll have a great victory on November the 4th.
Note: The President spoke at 5:32 p.m. in the Ban Dor Motor Inn ballroom.
Jimmy Carter, Marion, Illinois Remarks to Carter/Mondale Supporters. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251053