Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks on Departure From Rochester, New York

October 31, 1976

Can I ask you, make it so quiet temporarily you can hear a pin drop?

It's great to be in Rochester-Monroe County and the great State of New York. Thank you. It is my privilege and honor to be here with some of your wonderful local people, some that represent the whole State. And let me express my deep appreciation and gratitude to your senior Senator, Jack Javits. And then we have got one of your hometown boys--he has grown quite a bit--the former judge and our State chairman, Dick Rosenbaum.

Now, let me say something about some people that I want to be with me in Washington for the next 4 years. First, I want you to reelect for your benefit, for the country's benefit, for our benefit, Frank Horton. And then another one of your outstanding, super guys that has helped me so much, who can help you, help the State, help the country, Barber Conable. And then I want you to send down to Washington--or to keep him there, that is what I really mean-your good friend, your Senator, Jim Buckley.

Now, for just a minute I would like to first express my deep appreciation and gratitude for the tremendous turnout in Michigan weather. [Laughter]

Now, having said that, when I became your President 26 months ago, things were tough. You will recall inflation was over 12 percent. We were on the brink of a recession. People had lost faith and confidence in the White House. We were still involved in Vietnam. And as I stood in the East Room of the White House and took the oath of office, it wasn't an easy time--America was in turmoil. And at that time, I said to all of my fellow Americans: You have not confirmed me by your ballots. I ask that you confirm me by your prayers. And you did. And the net result is America got our ship of state on a steady course, we put a firm hand on the tiller. And America has made an incredible comeback, and you did it, and I thank you.

We have cut inflation by more than 50 percent, and we are going to do better. We have added 4 million jobs in the last 18 months, and we are going to do better. We have restored trust and honesty in the White House, and I pledge that is the way it will be for the next 4 years.

But today, we can all be proud and thankful that not a single young American is fighting or dying on any foreign battlefield. And because we are strong militarily and diplomatically skillful, we will keep it that way in the next 4 years.

But now that we are over the hump, now that we have laid the foundation for the kind of progress that America is capable of, let me just make a passing comment. How many of you were proud of America on its 200th birthday on July 4? I was, too. I was in New York Harbor and saw those "Tall Ships" from all over the world paying respect and tribute to the greatest country in the history of mankind, the United States of America.

But now we have progress to make quality of life. I won't be satisfied until every American who wants to work has a job, and that is a pledge to you. I won't be satisfied until every person who wants to save and buy a home in a decent neighborhood has that home. And we will do it in the next 4 years.

I want it so that young and old, that all of our 215 million Americans, can walk those streets in Rochester, New York, Detroit, Grand Rapids, in safety and security. We are going to lick the problem of crime in America. And we want a quality education for all Americans. We are going to have the best health care. People will be able to afford it.

But let me conclude with this pledge: For the last 2 years, when things were going toughest, I was proud not only of the character of the American people, the character of our form of government, but I was proud to be your President. And now as we move into the third century of America's history, I ask you on November 2, to not only confirm me with your prayers but to confirm me with your ballots. And I won't let you down.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:50 a.m. at the Rochester-Monroe County Airport. In his remarks, he referred to Richard Rosenbaum, New York State Republican chairman, and Representatives Frank Horton and Barber B. Conable, Jr.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks on Departure From Rochester, New York Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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