Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at a Ford-Dole Committee Reception in Milwaukee

October 29, 1976

THANK YOU. It's wonderful to be in Milwaukee. It's wonderful to be with all you great Badgers.

When I left Kansas City, I said we would not concede a single vote and we would not concede a single State. We don't, and we expect to win Wisconsin.

I want to express my deep appreciation to all of the people, whether they were in one part of the Republican Party or the other part of the Republican Party or some other area. I appreciate very deeply the unification and the joint effort that is being made in the great State of Wisconsin, so that we can go forward together for a victory on November 2.

I was going to tell Ody and Warren1 later today and ask them to express it to you, but I see so many nice people here I'm going to do it myself-[laughter]--I'm going to invite every one of you to come down January 20 and be there for the inauguration of Jerry Ford.

1 Ody J. Fish, Wisconsin Republican national committeeman, and Warren P. Knowles, Governor of Wisconsin 1965-71 and Wisconsin President Ford committee chairman.

I do want to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to Bob Kasten and Bill Steiger, who have just been extremely helpful. I need them down there. You need them down there. We just need to add a few more to the Wisconsin delegation.

I would like to make one or two comments that I think might be helpful to you as you work in the next 4 days--we are in the countdown period--to convince those Independents and those Democrats that they ought to join with us in what really has become a crusade.

I was so pleased at the tremendous outpouring of warmth and friendship of the crowd outside of the hotel here. lust wonderful, but it's indicative of what we are finding all over America.

More and more Americans are realizing the great change that has taken place since August of 1974. We were in troubled times. People were mad at each other. They were divided. They had lost faith in America. There was a lack of faith in the White House itself. Inflation was over 12 percent. We were on the brink of the worst recession in 40 years. We were still involved in Vietnam. It was a troubled time for America. We were in turmoil.

But what we tried to do was to put the ship on an even keel and steer a steady course. And gradually, we have turned the economy around. Inflation is less than 6 percent. We have added 4 million jobs. Instead of a recession, we are moving toward a strong, healthy economy. We are out of Vietnam. And I am proud to say to you--and you should say it to everybody--this administration has no young Americans fighting or dying on foreign soil.

And you can go to the high schools and colleges today and say to every young man, you aren't faced with selective service. We have an all-volunteer military force, a military force of 2,100,000 that is well-trained, well-equipped, well-led, a force that is number one. And under President Ford, we are going to keep it number one.

My opponent wants to cut a minimum of $5 to $7 billion out of the defense program. You can't negotiate with our adversaries, you can't strengthen our allies if you are going to have a weaker U.S. military force. We have to stay strong to be at peace, and under my administration, with strength and diplomatic skill, we are going to stay at peace and get our third century kicked off in the right way for our young people, for America, for all mankind.

One other point. As I said, we are moving so that we are getting, I think, a healthy and strong economy. It's not as good as we would like it, but the remedies that we recommended Congress finally approved in part. But the remedy that we must have for the next 4 years is a restraint on Federal spending, so that we, in good conscience, can say to the American people, you can have another tax reduction.

Last year I recommended to the Congress that we increase the personal exemption from $750 to $1,000. That's meaningful. Let me illustrate it. I was in a plant the other day and one of the workers in the plant said, "Well, what are you doing about my taxes?" I said, "Well, how many children do you have?" He said, "I have three; a man and wife." I said, "If Congress had been responsible, we could have given to you, when you make out your income tax return next April--you would have had a $1,250 increase in your personal exemptions." But Congress didn't act. I think it was wrong. I think it was irresponsible. But that recommendation from me is going to be on their desk in January of next year. And if they don't pass it in 1977, it will be on their desk in 1978, and if they don't pass it then, we will go out and beat them in 1978.

The middle-income taxpayer has been shortchanged too long under the Federal tax system. But at the same time, if we are going to create jobs, we have to give industry an incentive. So, coupled with this increase in the personal exemption, I think we have to give some tax relief in the corporate income tax so they will have the wherewithal to expand, to build new plants, to provide those jobs--and we have 2 to 2½ million young people coming into the labor market every year, and we can't have a stagnant economy if we are going to provide those young people with jobs.

Now, my opponent wants to take care of the unemployment by dead-end, taxpayer-financed jobs. I am against it. I am for the free enterprise system.

Thank you all very, very much. Wisconsin is crucial, Wisconsin is critical. If we carry Wisconsin, we are in. So what your job is, is to maximize what you have done. We have been grateful for what you have achieved, but boy, it is like the last quarter of the big game, and this is big because it determines America's course, America's direction in the next 4 years.

Thank you. I want your help. Let's maximize it, and Wisconsin be in favor of a Wolverine.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 9:54 a.m. in the Monarch Room at the Marc Plaza Hotel.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks at a Ford-Dole Committee Reception in Milwaukee Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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