Remarks in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Fritz Haneman, Senator Case, Mayor Lazarow:
May I say I am deeply grateful to Dorothy and her warm welcome. She comes from Minnesota; that is Gopher country. I come from Michigan, and that is Wolverine country. And when a Gopher and a Wolverine get together, boy, you can't beat 'em.
But I do want to recognize Charlie Sandman, Tom Kane, Web Todd. And I have two very close and very dear friends who have been traveling with me for the last several days, people you know, people you respect, and people that I admire, respect, and appreciate. First, I want to introduce to you Joe Garagiola.
I was going to introduce former Democratic Congresswoman Edith Green, who was, I think, one of the outstanding Members of the House of Representatives for 19 years. While we were in the Congress together, she was on the Democratic side and I was on the Republican side. But I understand that somewhere between the plane and here, Edith didn't quite make it. I understand that she is not feeling well. But she has been campaigning with us and, believe me, to have that kind of superb support from a really outstanding Member of the Congress on the Democratic side, I am deeply grateful and very appreciative.
Now let me say it is great to be back in New Jersey. I was here a week or 10 days ago. When I was here several weeks ago, I saw a sign that said "Jersey loves Jerry." It has gotten bigger since I was here before--[laughter]--but let me say that Jerry loves Jersey, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
It seems that the enthusiasm in New Jersey has gotten even greater than it was when I was here a few weeks ago. But let me give you all a special invitation, because I know that we are going to carry New Jersey, we are going to win the election. But I invite each and every one of you to come to Washington on January 20, 1977, to be there for the inauguration of Jerry Ford and Bob Dole.
As we come to the final days, really, of this great campaign, I want to reiterate where I stand. I stand on your side for limited government, for fiscal responsibility, for rising prosperity, for lower taxes, for military strength that will keep the peace in the world. And may I say with great emphasis, not a single young American is fighting or dying on foreign soil today, and we are proud of it.
After so many years where the defense of this country was shortchanged by the Congress, I proposed the two largest defense appropriations in the history of the United States. And I convinced the Congress in this last year that it was good policy, that it was necessary, so that when the United States meets any challenge in negotiation or otherwise, we have the capability, we have the wherewithal so that the United States is number one. It is today, and we are going to keep it that way.
After so many years of runaway inflation, let me say that we have made significant progress. We have reduced the rate of inflation from over 12 percent to less than 6 percent. And I pledge to you in the next 4 years, we are going to do better and we are really going to win the battle against inflation in this government.
After so many years of runaway growth in Federal spending, I submitted a budget last January that cut the rate of growth in Federal spending by over 50 percent. I held the line on Government spending with 66 vetoes and saved you, the hard-pressed taxpayers of this country, about $9 billion-plus, which means for each family, a $200 saving in Federal spending. And that is progress.
Because I haven't been afraid to say no to those who want to spend and spend, it will be possible for me to submit in 1978 a balanced Federal budget. And we will have another tax reduction at the same time.
I think you in the great State of New Jersey know how risky it is when a candidate says one thing on the campaign trail and then does something else when he gets in public office in reference to taxes. You learned what is is like when a candidate faces the voters with a promise and then turns his back on them after the election and after the inauguration. You will learn with every dollar that you pay for your State income tax here in the State of New Jersey.
There's a good alternative to that kind of political acrobatics. You know where I stand. I am for the little taxpayer and I am against the big tax spender.
My idea of tax reform is tax reduction. I proposed last year, an increase in the personal exemption from $750 to $1,000. What does that mean for a family of five--three children, husband, and wife? If Congress had had the wisdom to go along with it, you, as taxpayers next April, would have been able to sit down when you make out that return, and the family of five would have been able to have a $1,250 increase in your personal exemption.
Now, Congress wasn't smart enough to do anything about it. But let me tell you, I am going to submit that to the Congress next year. And if they don't do it next year, we will go back at them again. And if they don't do it in 1978, we will go to the voters of America, and we will beat those people who won't give you that kind of a tax reduction. The middle-income taxpayer in this country, for too long a time, has been shortchanged, and we are going to change that in the Congress, beginning in January of 1977.
Now, let me say, we have faced the worst recession in the last 40 years in the last 18 months. We have had unemployment that was far too high. But, at the same time let me say on the affirmative side we have created 4 million more jobs and we have 88 million American people working today--an all-time high-and we have achieved this not by dead-end taxpayer-paid jobs, but by jobs primarily in the private sector where five out of the six jobs are today. And as we move ahead in the next few months under the Ford administration, we are going to have more jobs. We are going to have more jobs in the private sector, because we are going to stimulate the economy with tax reductions for you and for business. And that is the way we are going to make America prosperous, the way you want it.
Two years ago, the American people suffered a tragic betrayal of public trust. America, I think we can say, with full confidence, has had its faith restored in the White House. My administration has been open, candid, forthright, speaking right straight from the shoulder, and I promise you, I pledge to you, we are going to keep it that way in the next 4 years.
In every field, America is on the move, on the march. This Nation is sound, this Nation is secure, this Nation has an opportunity for a better quality of life. And this administration has earned the trust of the American people for the next 4 years. I can say with a clear conscience, my record is one of promise-progress, not platitudes; performance, not promises.
Yes, we have had our problems, but in the last 2 years we have come a long, . long way. At home as well as abroad we are putting our old differences aside, we are putting our old problems behind us, healing our wounds, and I am proud to be a citizen of this great country. And I look around this wonderful audience, and I think every one of you are proud to be an American right now.
So, as we come to the final countdown, give me your mandate and we will reduce the rate of growth of the Federal Government.
Give me your mandate and we will ensure the integrity of our social security system. We will improve Medicare so that our older citizens can enjoy the health and the happiness that they have so richly earned. There is no reason why they should have to go broke just to get well, and they won't under the Ford administration.
Give me your mandate and we will create a tax structure that is fair to all, that will preserve the family home, the family business, the family farm; that will give business the tax incentives to build new plants, to modernize, to create more jobs for America.
Give me your mandate on November 2 and we will lead this country on the paths of peace through strength, and we will live in peace and freedom in the United States of America in the first 4 years of our third century.
I have no fear for the future of the United States. For America the future is a friend. And as we go forward together, I promise you once more, as I promised you before, to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me the right to see the right, and to do the very best that I can for America. God helping me, I won't let you down.
Thank you very, very much.
Note: The President spoke at 12 noon on the Boardwalk in front of the Haddon Hall Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Howard F. Haneman, chairman of the Atlantic County Republican Party, Senator Clifford P. Case, Mayor Joseph Lazarow of Atlantic City, Dorothy Benham, Miss America, Representative Charles W. Sandman, Thomas H. Kane, New Jersey campaign manager for President Ford, Webster B. Todd, Jr., chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, and Joe Garagiola, NBC sports commentator.
As printed above, this item follows the text of the White House press release.
Gerald R. Ford, Remarks in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/242420