Remarks in Langhorne, Pennsylvania
Thank you very, very much, my very good friend and former colleague, Ed Biester. Ed, everybody here knows that you've done a superb job as a Member of the House representing this area in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And I will miss you in the next 4 years, and I thank you for your support and your friendship over the years. Ed, we will miss you very, very much.
But let me add very quickly, I have had the privilege and the honor to get to know Jack Renninger, who is running to succeed Pete [Ed]. And it's my observation, having seen a good many Members of Congress and candidates for Congress, that this district should send Jack down to Washington to represent you and help me in the next 4 years.
But I also want to thank Harry and Ruth for the fine job they have done in this area.
But I would also speak out very strongly for another friend who you need and who I need and the country needs in the United States Senate, and I speak now--strongly, affirmatively--for John Heinz, your next United States Senator.
I brought along here, I am sure, somebody all of you know. He is a very good friend of mine. He has been campaigning with me for the last 10 days and, believe me, he has been extremely helpful and beneficial. Let me introduce to you a great guy, my friend, I am sure your friend, Joe Garagiola. Thank you very, very much, Joe.
Now, for a few minutes in this wonderful Oxford Valley Mall, in Bucks County, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania--when I left Kansas City, I made a commitment that I wouldn't concede a single vote and that I wouldn't concede a single State, and the net result is our campaign has gathered momentum every day.
And so today, I can stand in front of you, this tremendous crowd, and say with conviction that I am inviting you, on behalf of Betty and myself, to come on down to the inauguration for Jerry Ford and Bob Dole January 20, 1977. We will have a real swinger, all for America.
In August of 1974, this country was in deep, deep trouble. That day that I became President--obviously, I will never forget--but that day we were on the brink of the worst recession. Inflation was over 12 percent. Americans had lost faith in their country, had lost faith in the White House. We were still deeply involved in Vietnam. There was anger; there was division among the American people.
And as I took that oath of office, standing in the East Room with Betty at my side, I said I had not been elected by your ballots; I asked to be confirmed by your prayers. Because of your prayers and because we put the good old ship of state, the United States of America, on an even keel, because we had a firm, strong, commonsense hand on the tiller, we began to make the kind of progress that today, we can say in real conviction, America is making progress, America is on its way, America is safe, America is secure. We made an incredible comeback, and we aren't stopping here.
We have cut the rate of inflation by better than 50 percent, which means, particularly to our older people who live on fixed incomes, that they are going to have more and a better opportunity to live their lives in retirement. It means that people are going to invest; that it will be easier to buy a home, particularly for the young person. Yes, we have cut the rate of inflation by better than 50 percent. But let me make a commitment to each and every one of you. I won't be satisfied until we win the battle against inflation 100 percent, period.
Yes, we have gone through a serious recession, the worst in 40 years. But in the last 18 months we have added 4 million jobs, primarily in the private sector. We have 88 million people working today--an all-time history, the tops. I am not satisfied. I won't be satisfied until every person who wants to work has a job. And I pledge to you that will be our goal and we will make it in the next 4 years.
I think the record is clear that we have restored the trust of the American people in the White House itself. I have been open, I have been candid, I have been frank, I have been forthright. And I again make a solemn pledge to each and every one of you that in the next 4 years, you can trust the President who has been open, frank, honest with you in the last 2 years. We will do it in the next 4 years, as well.
Doesn't it make you feel good that I can say--and you know it is true-that not a single young American is fighting and [or] dying on any foreign soil tonight, and no young American is facing the prospect of the draft or selective service? We have an Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines that are number one, and we are going to keep them number one under Jerry Ford.
I know from my experience in the White House that to keep the peace we have we must remain strong. That will encourage our allies; it will warn our adversaries. And that peace, that came so hard, is a peace we can keep because we are united in America.
The Congress is now supporting the kind of defense budget that will buy us the best weapons, give us the best military personnel. Because of our military strength and our diplomatic skill, America has the peace, and we are going to keep it so that we can live a better quality of life here at home, a quality of life with peace and freedom.
But what does that mean? It means that we have to stimulate the economy, and the best way to do that is by a tax reduction. The best tax reform I know is tax reduction.
Last January, when the Congress reconvened, I submitted to them a tax reduction program that would have done two things: One, it would have increased your personal exemption from $750 to $1,000.
The other day, I was in a factory talking to a group of working people, and one of the men said, "Well, how are you going to reduce my taxes?" I looked him right in the eye and I said, "How many children do you have?" He said, "Three." So, he had himself, his wife, and three children. I said, "If the Congress had acted responsibly, next April when you were going to make out your income tax return, you would have had $1,250 more in personal exemption," which, in a family like that gentleman had, would have permitted him to do the things to upgrade his living, improve his quality of life.
The Congress didn't do it. But let me put them on warning. I am going to have a tax reduction proposal on their desk when they reconvene in January, and if they don't pass it next year, it will be on their desk the next year. And if they don't pass it in 1978, you and I will go out and lick'em in 1978 in the next election.
But we also have an obligation to stimulate the economy so that business can expand, so that business can build new factories, buy more equipment. So between giving a tax reduction to the middle-income people who have been shortchanged by the Democratic Congresses for the last 10 years and a tax reduction to stimulate business, we are bound to have a healthy economy under the Ford administration for the next 4 years. I pledge that to you right here in Orchard Valley, Bucks County--Oxford. Let me apologize to Oxford Valley. [Laughter] We were in the right county, anyhow. [Laughter]
But one final observation: We have an obligation to our older people. We have an obligation to do better in the reduction of the rate of crime. We have an obligation to make sure that our water is clear and our air is free. We have an obligation to make certain that the quality of life, so that an individual, a family can buy that home in a decent neighborhood, so that health care is available at affordable prices, so that recreational opportunities are available for all of you.
Yes, now that we are over the hump of the recession and on the way to the right kind of prosperity with peace throughout the world, we can look forward to a new era, the first 4 years in America's third century, a century that can be the brightest and the best in the history of this great country.
I have been proud to be your President during the troubled times of the last 2 years. I would be honored to be your President for the next 4 years.
And so I say to you tonight that 2 years ago you confirmed me with your prayers. Tonight, I ask you to not only confirm me with your prayers but also to elect me with your ballots on November 2. And I pledge to you that Jerry Ford won't let you down in the next 4 years.
Thank you and good night.
Note: The President spoke at 6:38 p.m. at the Oxford Valley Mall. In his remarks, he referred to Harry W. Fawkes and Ruth Nemetz, cochairmen of the Bucks County President Ford Committee, and Joe Garagiola, NBC sports commentator.
Gerald R. Ford, Remarks in Langhorne, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/242577