Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at a President Ford Committee Reception in Louisville.

May 14, 1976

Thank you very, very much, Thruston Morton, Ambassador John Sherman Cooper, my former colleague in the House of Representatives, Tim Lee Carter, these wonderful party people and President Ford leaders, and all of you wonderful people here in Kentucky:

I just want to thank you very, very much for the warm reception. I'm deeply grateful.

As we were flying in, I was trying to recollect how many times I have been in Louisville and Kentucky, whether it was helping to campaign for another candidate for Congress or a Member of the Senate or whether it was a gubernatorial candidate or just down here to raise money for the Republican Party, but it has been a good many times. And the net result is I think I have a few friends in the State of Kentucky and the Republican Party.

I know with all of you people out here who can do a job in the Third District and throughout the State of Kentucky, boy, if Thruston Morton says we can win here in Kentucky, I believe him, and we can.

But let me talk for just a minute, if I might, about why I think we ought to win. Thruston touched on several of the points, but I like to simplify it and say when you look at the record, it is substantively good, and it has been good for America and 215 million other Americans.

Peace, prosperity, trust--that is what the Ford record is for 21 months. If you go back to August of 1974, you will recall that there were many, many people throughout the world--many nations, many leaders, our allies--who were uncertain as to what the new administration would do. John Sherman Cooper, from his long experience in not only political life but in diplomatic circles, could tell you that our friends around the world were uncertain. They didn't know just what the policy of the new administration would be. They didn't know how to react and, of course, our adversaries were also uncertain.

But if you look at the record for the last 21 months, you will find that we have strengthened our alliances in Western Europe. NATO today, with the United States playing a very major role, is in the best shape it has ever been, and the net result is we are going to keep peace in Western Europe.

Or if you go to the Middle East, in the 21 months since I have been President, we made additional progress, significant progress towards a permanent, just, equitable peace in that very volatile, very controversial part of the world. And you know why we were able to have a major function in getting Arabs, on the one hand, and Israelis, on the other? Because they trust this administration, they know we have the capability militarily and diplomatically. They know that we are doing the best we can to solve some of the most difficult problems in international affairs in the history of mankind, but we have made one major step in that area, and we can make some more in the years ahead.

Or if you go to the Pacific, we suffered a setback in Vietnam. Many people in that part of the world felt that we were going to withdraw and not participate. But because we have strengthened our alliance with Japan, today, along with other allies in the Pacific, the United States has a presence and a meaningful influence in the Pacific.

So, regardless of where you look in this world today, the United States can hold its head high, can be proud. We have got the military capability to convince our allies of our strength and to keep our adversaries from taking any risks whatsoever. So, this administration has achieved peace, we have it, and 4 more years will keep peace.

But let's look back, for a moment, to see where we were a year ago, as far as the economy was concerned. We were in the depths of the worst recession in the last 40 years. It had been preceded in 1974 by inflation that was 12 percent or better per annum--the highest inflation by some 50 years.

I can recall very vividly some labor leaders and some politicians, mainly on the other side of the aisle, who lost their cool and got panicky and said to the President and said to some Members of Congress, we've got to spend a lot more Federal money, we've got to add a lot of new programs, we have to do a lot of things on an emergency basis.

Well, that sounded like good politics then, but the truth is it was the wrong thing to do, and I didn't do it. I kept my cool. We fought off the Congress. I vetoed 49 bills; 42 of them have been sustained, and we have saved the taxpayers $13 billion. And I'll add a foot

Note: The President spoke at 5:15 p.m. at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. In his opening remarks, he referred to former Senator Thruston B. Morton, honorary chairman of the President Ford Committee, and John Sherman Cooper, U.S. Ambassador to the German Democratic Republic.

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

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