Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at a President Ford Committee Reception in Dallas.

October 09, 1976

THANK YOU very, very much, Bill, and let me express from the bottom of my heart my gratitude and appreciation for all of you 1,500 to 2,000 wonderful Dallas County, Tarrant County, Texas workers for the Ford-Dole ticket. Thank you.

We arrived this morning, and let me say to all of the people of the Lone Star State that we have had; I think, one of the finest days in this campaign, one of the finest days in my 2 years and plus of the Presidency. I can't express my gratitude deeply enough. It has been a super day--the State Fair, a great football game, and then this great rally.

I would like to make three points, three points that I think are principal and crucial in this campaign: number one, trust; number two, the national security of the United States; and number three, taxes.

Some of you may have seen the debate last Wednesday. It was 90 minutes. I have in my hand here an eight-page document that shows that Jimmy Carter, in 90 minutes, made 14 distortions, misrepresentations, or inaccuracies. If my mathematics is right--don't some professor cross me up--[laughter]--that is about one inaccuracy, distortion, misrepresentation, or untruth, one each six' minutes--that is too darn many for a President of the United States.

And he made a few others in the first debate, and let me remind you of one. The Governor says he is going to come in and reorganize the Federal Government. I think the Federal Government has to be tightened up to be more responsible and more responsible to the American citizens. But I don't think I would trust turning that job over to Jimmy Carter, based on his record in Georgia.

The record shows that in 4 years he was the Governor of the great State of Georgia, employees went up 25 percent, the cost of government went up over 50 percent. And when he left the State of Georgia, the bonded indebtedness was $200 million more than when he came in. That's a lousy record. With that kind of a record, just imagine what he would do with the Federal Government.

Let's take one other totally inaccurate statement. I had said last Wednesday that he had advocated a $15 billion reduction in the Defense Department. He denied it. The record shows that in a meeting in Savannah, Georgia, it shows that when he was interviewed in Los Angeles, California--on two occasions he said in print, quoted, that he had advocated a $15 billion reduction in the Defense Department. That's a matter of fact, and his denial is a total untruth, period.

Now let's talk about what he wants to do to the Defense Department. He wants to reduce it $15 billion. That was a year ago. He now wants to reduce it 9 to 7 or 7 to 5. I really don't think he understands what the Defense Department is all about, except he wants to either cancel or delay the B-1 bomber.

Let me just take that as an illustration to show how irresponsible his ideas are on what we need to protect the peace and to keep the United States number one. The B-l--it is a .replacement for a B-52 bomber. The B-52's are about 20 years old. Before the B-l's come in in any sufficient number, it will take another 4 to 5 years.

Jimmy Carter wants to cancel or delay the B-i, which means that the young men--the pilots, the copilots, and the crew--if Jimmy Carter wins and he cancels the B-I, our young pilots and crews will be flying aircraft older than they are. That's not the way to run the Defense Department.

You can depend on this: Jerry Ford won't send an American pilot in combat in an aircraft older than he is. We want the most modern weapons. We want the best trained crews. We want the best leadership, and under our administration we have it, and we will keep it that way.

A $5, a $7 or a $9 or $15 billion cut in the Defense Department will gut our defense strength. We won't stand for it, and we're going to win on it.

Now let's take the third issue. This last January I recommended to the Congress of the United States that we ought to have a $28 billion limitation reduction in the rate of growth of Federal spending, and in return we ought to have a $28 billion tax cut. For every dollar that we save in spending we should have a dollar reduction in Federal taxes. Jimmy Carter, what does he want? He talks in platitudes, he talks in inconsistent positions, flip-flops one day from one position to another.

Let me say this very seriously: The best tax reform that I know is tax reduction for the American taxpayer.

The middle-income taxpayers in this country, that are the strength of America, are the people that have gotten shortchanged in the last 10 or 15 years in our tax legislation. They are the people that pay the taxes, obey the laws, give us the strength and the inspiration in this great country. They have been shortchanged, short shrift. The best way I know to give them the kind of a fair tax break is to increase the personal exemption from $750 per person to $1,000. That's what we ought to get, and that's what we will get, under a Ford administration.

Let me make one other observation. I think everybody in this great gathering this afternoon, if they look back over the great, great Presidents of the United States, they would say that Teddy Roosevelt was pretty high on the list--Teddy Roosevelt, one of the Rough Riders, one of the individuals who really did what he said he was going to do. Teddy Roosevelt made a tremendous comment that I think is very apropos to the circumstances today. Teddy Roosevelt said, "We should speak softly and carry a big stick." If you look at the record of Jimmy Carter, what he wants to do to our Defense Department, how he wants to weaken the national security of the United States in the next 10 years--Jimmy Carter, he wants to talk loud and carry a flyswatter. [Laughter]

In Kansas City I said that we would not concede a single State, we would not concede a single vote; we were going to campaign from the snowy banks of Minnesota to the sandy plains of Georgia. We are doing it. And when I see at this tremendous crowd, when I hear about the wonderful effort that you make in the Dallas area, when I see how enthusiastic you are, when I know of the record you have made in the past, let me say the momentum is with us. We are going to carry Texas and thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 5:55 p.m. at the Apparel Mart. In his remarks, he referred to William McKenzie, Dallas County Republican chairman.

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

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