Jimmy Carter photo

Miami Beach, Florida Remarks at a Fundraising Reception for Bob Graham.

October 26, 1978

It's always exciting to me to come to Florida, but particularly when I have a chance to participate in seeing a bright, new political star flash across the Florida heavens, and that's what's happening here. And running on the same ticket with Claude Pepper— [laughter] —is Bob Graham, an older, more experienced politician, but equally as exciting.

This is a happy day for me to come back down here, because you gave me so much support and help when I needed it. When I was flying in, I thought there was a day of mourning in Florida. I saw over the Eckerd Drug Stores black drapes- [laughter] —I didn't know what happened. 1

1 Jack Eckerd is the Republican gubernatorial candidate.

But we've got in Bob Graham a young man who has proven already that he knows how to reach the consciousness of a doubtful electorate and knows how to understand at first hand the ideals and the needs and the yearnings and the fears and trepidations and the hopes of average, ordinary working people who comprise this State.

I've watched his campaign with a great deal of interest. And I've seen his former opponents, Bob Shevin and others, come forward in a very generous and courageous way, immediately after the campaigns were over, and say, "We give you our support, because we know you and we have confidence in you."

At this moment in Bob's campaign, prospects look very good. And I congratulate you and him for it. But if there's one thing I've observed in this Nation the last 3 or 4 years, it is that upsets can happen. And I thank God for it. And you know what the polls looked like just a few weeks before Bob Graham was nominated to represent the Democratic Party. It would be a serious mistake for those who have confidence in the Democratic nominees to take anything for granted.

You've come here with a generous heart, with a willingness to help the Democratic ticket, and particularly Bob Graham, financially. That's not enough. He's being outspent by a great and widening margin. And the impact of a highly professional television campaign and a radio campaign in the last few days can be a very dangerous development in a wellorganized political effort.

He needs all the help you can give him. If you haven't given the limit, I hope you will do so. If you have and your wife or husband also have, my plea to you is to take a checklist of your friends who have confidence in you, whether they be Democrats or Republicans, call and ask them for an equally generous contribution.

If you were raising money for some other worthy cause of a benevolent nature, you would drop your own professional responsibilities and work for several days or several weeks in preparation for a highly publicized fundraising banquet at which you might possibly be the master of ceremonies or be recognized there.

Those investments pay rich dividends. But I can think of no investment that would pay any more dividends than to have a continuation of an honest and a competent gubernatorial administration in Florida. Things could turn sour in Florida with the wrong kind of leader, and your good life could change. And I would like to ask you the next few days—we only have 12 days until the campaign is over-to invest several of those days in being a campaign manager for Bob Graham.

Call your friends and neighbors, those who have confidence in you, and ask them to go and vote and to contribute their time and finances as well. That's not too much to ask to make an investment in the future of your State and your Nation.

I'll do the best I can as President to represent you well. I have great responsibilities on my shoulders, as you well know. And one of the greatest sustaining factors that can encourage a President in times of potential discouragement or potential failure is to have a strong Governor on whom a President can depend.

So, if you believe in the things that I'm working to achieve, if you're grateful for the good life that you have here in Florida now, and you're willing to make an investment in the future, I hope you'll make that sacrificial effort the next few days.

The Democratic Party has always been one of compassion. We've reached our hands and hearts out to those who were less fortunate than we. We've stood for the elimination of racial discrimination, sex discrimination. We've tried to give people better jobs, better homes, better education, better transportation, a brighter future, a strong Nation militarily. We've stood for peace around the world.

Our motives are above suspicion. We are a compassionate, concerned party. But we are also a competent party. You can't educate a child nor feed a hungry person nor defend a nation or its principles with waste, corruption, or inefficiency.

And you again have a man here who's proven in his own life that he is honest and he is competent. When you have a combination of compassion on the one hand and competence on the other, that's a combination that's hard to beat.

Nobody can beat Bob Graham November 7 if you help him. Will you help him? [Applause] If you'll help him, I will, too.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 6:20 p.m. in the Jade Promenade Room at the Fontainebleau Hotel.

Jimmy Carter, Miami Beach, Florida Remarks at a Fundraising Reception for Bob Graham. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243597

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