Jimmy Carter photo

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Fundraising Reception.

October 02, 1980

My good friend, Mayor Bill Green, wonderful ally and strong supporter of mine and friend of yours and mine, Bill Batoff, fine city comptroller, Tom Leonard, other fellow Democrats, some of whom I've already met and shaken hands with, others whom I will meet in a few minutes:

That introduction was beautiful, and I appreciate it. It's kind of put me back in the best spirits. When I drove up in front of the hotel, a lot of people were very disappointed at my modest means of transportation this evening. I arrived by automobile. The Vice President arrived by aircraft carrier. [Laughter] And it just shows where I stand in the Carter/Mondale partnership. I do want to thank and congratulate Fritz. He arrived with an adequate degree of flair.

As a matter of fact, before he descended in the helicopter and came in, be even wanted to borrow my old Navy uniform which I had to lend him. Also, be came to Philadelphia Navy Yard for the first time as Vice President, and as some of you may know, I came to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for the first time as an ensign in the U.S. Navy in 1946, very shortly after Rosalynn and I were married. He made the front page and when I came there for the first time, I don't recall it being on the front page.

I think the arrival of the Saratoga here was a very important, tangible achievement, and it was not easy as many of you know. It was a very important symbolic achievement as well, because what we are going to accomplish with the Saratoga is exactly what Bill Green referred to in our desire and our commitment to accomplish for the entire Nation's economic system-refitting it, overhauling it, revitalizing it, modernizing it, providing jobs in the process, and showing the rest of the world that we can produce more, use it more efficiently, and make ours a better nation.

It also symbolizes our determination to keep this America secure, to keep it strong through a carefully considered and efficient program, to modernize and strengthen our national defense. I'm a professional military officer; I served in the Navy for 11 years. I'm a graduate of Annapolis. I was a submarine officer. I came here to go to radar school as a young ensign.

When I became President and went into the White House for the first time, I realized that in the 8 years preceding my inauguration, 7 of those years we had a decrease in the commitment of American dollars to strengthen American defenses. We were going steadily downhill. Since then, every year since I've been in office, and the commitment for this fiscal year that just began yesterday and for the next 4 years, we'll have a steady increase in our commitment to our Nation's defense in real dollars above and beyond inflation.

It's been more than 50 years since a President could stand before a group like this and say, "Since I've been in the White House, I've not had to send an American soldier into combat." And I pray to God that when I go out of office, I will have a sustained record of peace. The peace must come from American strength. The best weapon is one that's never fired in combat, and the best soldier is one that never has to shed his blood on the field of battle. Our Nation's strength gives us peace. It also gives us the influence and the flexibility and the commitment and the idealism and the desire and the goal of the American people to extend that beneficial peaceful influence to others. That's one of the choices that is going to be made on November the 4th.

A crucial element of peace is the dealing with crises in the Oval Office. They arrive there often, a steady stream of them. And if they are handled properly, quite often you never know about them; they never become a headline in the news. But if a potential crisis is handled improperly, it can affect the life of every person in this Nation, perhaps every person in the entire world.

This is not a partisan commitment, to handle crises and to keep our Nation on the road toward sustained peace, with the consciousness of every American exemplifying that desire. Every President since Harry Truman, Republican and Democrat, has been committed to the proposition that our Nation has as its major goal the protection of our security and, along with it, the control of nuclear weapons. President Ford, President Nixon before him, and I worked to forge the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union to provide for balanced, limited, and then reducing the level of nuclear armaments.

Yesterday I read the report where my opponent said that he's going to abandon the SALT II treaty and substitute for it an American nuclear arms race as a card to be played against the Soviet Union. That concerns me very deeply as President. And I believe that the lack of understanding of Governor Reagan about its impact on the consciousness of America and about the attitudes of our allies and the attitudes of nations all over the world who don't have nuclear weapons and the attitude of our potential adversaries, including the Soviet Union, can be quite profound.

There is no way for our Nation to embark on a nuclear arms race to try to force the Soviet Union into abandoning their commitment to escalated nuclear armaments. It would spell the end, in my opinion, of any possibility of this sustained effort that all Presidents have maintained.

There are other sharp differences. Everywhere I go, I get questions about the equal rights amendment. Our Nation has made steady progress since it was founded in concept here in your city to constantly broaden the commitment of our country to equality of opportunity, to give voting rights to people to elect their own senators, to give young people, black people, women the right to vote.

Every Republican President in modern days, the Republican Party platform for 40 years has committed itself to the equal rights amendment until this year. This is abandonment of the right of women to be treated equally. All this amendment says is that neither the Federal Government nor any State government can pass a law which discriminates against women. That's all it says—a simple, but very important commitment of the American people. And for one who hopes to be President of this country to abandon that commitment, to me, is a profound change, not only in this country's policies but in the policies of the Republican Party. I think we have got to guarantee women's rights in the Constitution of the United States of America.

There's another choice that will be made on November the 4th that affects every one of you, and that's the economic future of this Nation. We've been shocked the last few years, since 1973, with pressure from suppliers of oil, foreign countries, OPEC, Arab nations. We had a constant escalation in the percentage of oil we imported prior to the time that I became President.

We began working on an energy policy, which the Congress, with Bob Edgar's help, has now put into effect. The American people have been convinced by me as President and by others, including some of you, that we've got to conserve energy and produce more American energy. We've already had beneficial results. This year every day we are importing 2 million barrels of foreign oil less than we did the first year I was in the White House—a sustained protection of our Nation's economy and also our Nation's security, because anyone who thinks will know that we are not free to exercise our foreign policy if we should become subject to blackmail from foreign oil suppliers. And to achieve our energy security is an important commitment of this Nation. It's one that I've exemplified. It's one that the Nation has responded with effectiveness.

My opponent wants to abolish the windfall profits tax. He said the day before yesterday he wants to abolish the Department of Energy. He wants to eliminate conservation measures, including the 55-mile-per-hour speed limit. He wants to let the oil companies decide the energy policy of our country. This is a sharp departure from what America has decided and, in my judgment, would have severe consequences for our country.

The base that we've built now with an energy policy will permit us to go forward toward a vitalized, exciting, dynamic, successful new economic system. American workers are already the most productive on Earth. We need to keep them that way by giving them new tools and new factories. Coal production, the highest this year of any year in the history of our Nation. Oil and gas wells, the highest number being drilled this year of any year in history.

The day before yesterday—yesterday, rather, I was in Detroit, in Flint, Michigan, seeing brand new American automobiles coming off the assembly line, safer, more durable, and just as fuel efficient as any produced on Earth; workers excited about the quality of their product, asking American buyers, now that the products are here, to go into their American dealers' showroom and look at those products and then make a judgment about what's best for your family and our country in your decision for a new automobile.

The steel industry, which has been on its knees, is now prepared, through refundable tax credits and a commitment that I have for next year to give accelerated depreciation and to reestablish the trigger price mechanism to protect our industry from excessive foreign imports and dumping. This has revitalized the possibility of this basic industry to restore itself.

We've got so many advantages economically that if we can take advantage of our free enterprise system, the entrepreneurial attitude of Americans, the freedom and worth of the individual human being, our superb research and development capabilities and education institutions, there is no doubt in my mind that we can move forward and be the cutting edge of progress and set an example not only for Americans but for the rest of the world. But it's going to require a firm hand at the tiller of the ship of state and a policy that will be progressive in nature.

The Reagan-Kemp-Roth tax proposal, which could be implemented in the future, would be a devastating blow to the economy of our country. Instead of investing in new investments, it has 90 percent of it going for personal tax breaks primarily to the wealthy Americans, perhaps to many of you. But it's highly inflationary in nature, and it's not fair to the American people. This kind of an approach also would put a tremendous additional burden on the property taxpayers of this Nation if major Federal programs are shuffled away from the Federal Government responsibility onto State and local government.

The last thing I'd like to say to you, as Democrats and as my friends, is that Philadelphia and Pennsylvania will play an important role in the outcome of this election and in the future of our Nation. It's happened in the past, as you know. You played a major role for me in 1976, and you played a major role back in 1960 when the Democratic organization, led by Bill Green's father, Congressman William Green, decided the outcome of the race in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and nationwide. And as all of you remember, in 1968 if just a few of us had had a deeper commitment to support a wonderful Democrat, Hubert Humphrey, the course of history would have been different, and he would have been President instead of Richard Nixon.

These last few weeks will make the difference on November the 4th, and that will make the difference, not just in the next 4 years but I believe for the rest of this century, to set a course for our Nation to follow.

I'm grateful for Bill Green. I know what he can do. It's really good for us now to be on the same side, and this time he and I both are going to win.

And I think I'd like to close my remarks by referring to another person on the stage with me, Bill Batoff, a man who made this reception possible, who's been my staunch friend and supporter through thick and thin, who's helped me politically and personally and financially. He stands with the Democratic Party as a staunch leader. He's a man who loves this country dearly. He's a man who supports the great principles on which it was founded. He's a man who believes in peace for us and peace in the Middle East.

My most vivid impression or memory of Bill Batoff is when he and I sat at the same table at the White House with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, as we honored the historic treaty between Israel and its most powerful Arab neighbor. I remember Bill because he and Sadat were the only two smoking pipes that evening. And I know that he shares my commitment to a lasting peace; that's a very important thing.

A secure Israel at peace with its neighbors is a direct investment in security and peace for our country. It's not a gift or a handout or an act of benevolence. It's an investment that I have, as a President, in the security and peace of my own country. And I'm committed to that proposition-that if I live and if I stay in office, we're going to have a comprehensive peace for Israel and the entire Middle East.

Shortly after the election, I expect to be having another summit meeting with President Anwar Sadat and Prime Minister Begin. We'll be pursuing then the obstacles that still remain. It's just one of a vast array of items still on the agenda, including those I've already mentioned to you where we've made good progress.

We have a great deal of which we can be proud, but our work has not yet been completed. I need a lot of partners, and some of the partners I have are here tonight. And I am very grateful to you as my partners as you work together to make the greatest nation on Earth even greater in the future.

And now I would like to shake the hands of everyone here and thank you personally for your commitment and your support and our confidence in our country.
Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 6:18 p.m. in the North Cameo Room at the Fairmont Hotel.

Jimmy Carter, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Remarks at a Democratic National Committee Fundraising Reception. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/252054

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives