Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

October 27, 1976

Thank you very, very much, Congressman Larry Coughlin, Senator Dick Schweiker, Congressman Bud Shuster, your good friend Bob Butera, and all of the other dignitaries here on the podium:

It's wonderful to be in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I love you, and We're going to win.

As I travel around the country and the crowds get bigger, the enthusiasm becomes even greater, but there's one thing I am an authority on, that's the quality of the bands. Inside, you have the wonderful Durning String Band, the Plymouth-White Marsh Band, and as I came in I couldn't help but notice the fine music and the wonderful appearance of the Central Bucks Marching Band, the Norristown South Marching Eagles, and the Sun Valley High School Band. Thank you all. They're the best. Congratulations. I deeply appreciate them all being here.

Let me be very straightforward with you tonight. It's great to be back in Pennsylvania. You've given me a wonderful welcome here. We had a wonderful welcome in Pittsburgh yesterday, and I thank all the wonderful people from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the support that we're going to get on November 2, and we're going to carry the Keystone State.

I'm going to extend to you a special invitation from Betty and myself. Come on down to Washington, D.C. January 20 and see the Ford-Dole ticket sworn in on Inauguration Day.

As we come to the final countdown days--and we have just 6 days left--I want you to know where I stand. I stand on your side for limited government, for fiscal responsibility, for rising prosperity, for military strength, for peace in the world. And I remind each and every one of you that not a single young American is fighting or dying on any foreign battlefield tonight, and we're going to keep it that way.

After so many, many years in which America's defenses were shortchanged, I proposed the two largest defense outlays in the history of the United States. I was fortunate enough to convince the Congress of the United States not to slash and cut our defense appropriations in 1976.

After so many years of runaway growth in the Federal budget, I submitted a budget for this fiscal year which cut the rate of growth in Federal spending by one-half. I have held the line on Government spending with 66 vetoes and saved you, the hard-pressed American taxpayer, $9 billion and each family in this country $200 in Federal spending. And we're going to do better next year. And because, as your President, I have not been afraid to say no to the big spenders in the Congress, we will submit a balanced budget in 1978, and we'll have another tax reduction for the American people in addition.

My idea of tax reform is very simple--it's tax reduction. I proposed last year, in January of 1976, that the Congress increase your personal exemption from $750 to $1,000. Let me be very specific. I'm sure in this great group here tonight there are families where there are three children, a husband and a wife. If Congress had done its job, if Congress had done as I recommended, that family, next April, in making out their income tax return, would have had $1,250 more of tax exemption. Congress failed you. We're going to put it on their doorstep next January. If they don't do it in 1977, we're going to submit it in 1978, and if they don't do it then, we will beat 'em in the next election.

I firmly believe that the middle-income taxpayer--which is about 50 percent of the American taxpayers--they've been shortchanged. Jerry Ford is on their side, and we're going to get that kind of tax reduction out of the next Congress, I pledge to you.

Since I've been your President, in August of 1974, we have cut: the cost of inflation by one-half, and I pledge to you we'll do even better in the next 4 years.

After the worst recession in 40 years, we have added 4 million jobs to the American economy in the last 2 years, not by creating dead-end taxpayers' jobs, but stimulating jobs with a future in the private economy. That's where we can make this country prosperous again. We'll get tax reduction to get jobs, and we will get tax reduction so you will have more of your own money to spend for yourself and your family, and that's another pledge.

We still have too many people out of work. We're not satisfied with the progress we've made, but more Americans were on the job in 1976 than. ever before in the history of the United States--nearly 88 million--and that's a tremendous comeback from where we were just a year and a half ago.

After the tragic betrayal of public trust 2 years ago, America has had its faith restored in the White House itself. My administration has been open, candid, forthright, and straightforward, and we're going to keep it that way' in the next 4 years under Jerry Ford.

I can stand before this wonderful group in Plymouth Mall and say America is on the move, America is on the march, the Nation is sound, the Nation is secure, this Nation is on the way to a better quality of life for all Americans, and this administration has earned the trust of the American people for the next 4 years.

My record is one of progress, not platitudes; performance, not promises. Yes, we have our troubles, but in the last 2 years, we've come a long, long way. We've made incredible progress, and we're going to make more in the next 4 years.

Here at home we're putting our old differences aside, we're putting old problems behind us, and we're healing the wounds. I'm proud to be a citizen of the great United States of America. I look out here, and I know that every one of you are just as proud to be an American as I am.

Since August of 1974, America has had a restoration of trust. We've ended the war in Vietnam. We're making headway out of the recession. It's a record that I'm proud to run on, a record the people of Pennsylvania and concerned citizens all across this land--Independents, Democrats, Republicans--will support this record on November 2.

Give me your mandate, and we'll reduce the rate of growth of the Federal Government. Give me your mandate, and we'll ensure the integrity of the social security system; we will improve medicare so that our older citizens can enjoy the health and 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 a Ford administration.

Give me your mandate, and we will create a tax structure that is fair to all, that will preserve the family in America, the family business, the family farm, that will give business the tax incentives to build new plants, to modernize old ones, and to create more jobs in America.

Give me your mandate, and I will lead this Nation on the path of peace through strength, and we will live in peace, in freedom in the United States.

I have no fear for the future of America. The future is a friend of America. And as you and I 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 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 much.

Note: The President spoke at 9 p.m. at Plymouth Meeting Mall. In his opening remarks, he referred to Robert Butera, Pennsylvania State House Minority Leader.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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