Remarks During a Campaign Stop in Manchester, New Hampshire
I predict to you, that as soon as the Republican Convention is over, there is going to be an almost unprecedented, vicious, personal attack on me, on Senator Mondale, on other Democratic candidates. The Republicans are going to be desperate because of the success that the voters have had in the last year in learning about the absence of leadership, the suffering that we have experienced from the mistakes in foreign policy, in the management of the White House, in dealing with our problems, and because of their low showing in the polls—the division within their party—they are going to be desperate. And in desperation, they are going to turn to personal attacks— mark my words.
We need to make sure that we can withstand those attacks by one means only—not by hiding, not even by lashing back. But by being immune to successful attacks because we're wrong, or because we're dishonest, or because we lack courage, or because we're divided, or because we're timid. In other words, in order for Democratic candidates to be successful in the fall, we have got to deserve in every possible aspect of our presentation as candidates, our promise to the people, any legitimate criticism.
Tile Democratic Party is my party. I have never voted for a Republican in my life. I believe in our party. But we're not perfect. We've made some serious mistakes. In the last 24 years, you know how long Democrats have been in the White House? Eight years. Eight years. And there's a reason. Because the people of this country on election day felt that they could trust Richard Nixon better than our candidates. And because they felt that the Democrats that we put up against Eisenhower were inferior in some way. So we've got to deserve support. We ought to remember how deeply hurt the American people have been in the last few years. Our basic confidence, our basic trust, our basic faith, in our own country, has been shaken. I think, more than any other time in the last hundred [years] we feel that something precious has slipped out of our hands. And I feel only a tremendous responsibility not to betray the trust of people like you all over the country who have confidence in me. I want to be a little better, a little cleaner, a little more honest, a little harder working, a little closer to you, than I would under ordinary circumstances. Because we are in a time of testing. When the people say, I'll give my government one more chance. I'll give my system of government one more chance. I'll give my candidate one more chance. I don't want to lose that chance, to re-cement relationships between us as people and our government. I want to tear down the wall that's been built around Washington. I want to tear down the wall that's been built between the White House and Congress. I want to tear down the wall that's been built between one kind of person in this country and those who might be different. I want to tear down the wall that's been built between us and the ideals and standards that have made us a great country.
At noon, I spoke about the family. Every decision that I make as a candidate, every decision that I.make as a future President, is going to be based on strengthening the family, and interrelationship one to the other. But we've got to earn that support
And the last thing I want to say is this. We've got to retain our unity. If we get divided in New Hampshire, if each candidate after your September primary has a tendency to go alone, if there is a breakdown in communications or exchange of ideas between myself and your own candidates locally in New Hampshire, it will be a serious mistake. The unity of our party can be preserved through the campaign. It ought to lay a basis for success in the future. I believe in my country; I know you do too. I have deep feelings of patriotism. I know they are mirrored in New Hampshire. I believe in the right of people to be free, independent, self-reliant. I believe in the work ethic. I believe that the best government is the one closest to our people. I believe in stripping the secrecy away from the processes of government I believe in basic human rights, civil rights. And investment in people, not buildings. So do all of you. But those things have got to be preserved. And if they can be preserved by us, and the future of our country I believe is in the hands of those like us all over the country, I believe we can win in November. Restore the things we've lost and prove to the rest of the world and to our own nation, as I've said many times in the primary, that we still live in the greatest country on earth.
Jimmy Carter, Remarks During a Campaign Stop in Manchester, New Hampshire Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347639