Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at a President Ford Committee Reception in Springfield

March 05, 1976

First, I want to thank all of you for coming and the help and assistance not only with the fundraising but also with the support that you give otherwise. I'm absolutely convinced we have the momentum going.

We had a rather close race up in New Hampshire, but we came from behind and we prevailed. We had a good victory in Massachusetts. I didn't spend any time up there, but we had a good organization. And, of course, we entered in Vermont and our opponent didn't, so we came out of that in good shape. I have been down to Florida twice, and the momentum has turned around. And even the campaign manager for the opposition, who originally said they were going to win by 2 to 1, has conceded that it was 55 percent and 45 percent, so we made a 12-point gain almost overnight.

But, then, I think the momentum is even going better than that. At the present time, it is neck and neck. But I'm certain that with our people, with the momentum we have--I'm optimistic about what is going to happen in Florida, and as I hear about what Dick Ogilvie1 and the others have done here with the help of you--that Illinois can be a good strong State for us in Kansas City.

The point that we're trying to make is that we have some proven policies I think, domestically, we've done extremely well in the last month or 6 weeks. We had a very tough time there, as all of you recognize, about a year ago, but we didn't lose our cool; we didn't panic.

We took our lumps. We got some strong help in the Congress. I was saying downstairs, we vetoed, I think, 46 bills; 39 of them have been sustained. But if you add up what has been saved with those vetoes, $13 billion--and that's $13 billion less deficit, less borrowing by the Federal Government--I think that has had an impact in preventing crowding out as far as the capital markets are concerned. It has given confidence to the American people.

We had some additional good news this morning. Unemployment dropped from 7.8 to 7.6, which proved that last month's reduction in unemployment was not a fluke, but it was for real. We had another 125,000 go on the employment rolls.

It's interesting that we have now regained every lost job from the depth of the recession. Now our problem is to continue the gains so that the new people entering the labor market--and about 2 million of them a year do enter the labor market--we're all convinced that with the programs we have, unemployment is going to Continue to go down.

Alan Greenspan,2 yesterday, in being interviewed by some of the top reporters in Washington, was very optimistic that our forecasts that we included in the budget were being exceeded. And if we get some more healthy good signs-which I am confident will be the case--we will have to, perhaps, revise our estimates for fiscal year 1977. For the benefit of the press, I'm not telling you that we're going to--[laughter]--but if plans continue, I think with our policy of frankness and honesty, we'll have to take another look at it.

But it just looks very encouraging politically, economically. And I feel that our international policies are achieving results through strength, and we're going to keep that strength up there. Any comments to the contrary--we are second to none. We do have the necessary strength to reassure our allies and to convince any adversaries that we can negotiate from strength, not from weakness.

So, I'm an optimist about '76 and the next 4 years, and so I hope we can justify your faith in us.

Thank you very, very much.

1 Chairman of the Illinois President Ford Committee.

2 Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Note: The President spoke at 3:45 pan. at the Forum 30 Hotel.

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

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