Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at a Reception for Bergen County Business and Civic Leaders in Paterson, New Jersey

June 06, 1976

Thank you very, very much, Mayor Pat Kramer. I want to express my deepest appreciation to Congresswoman Millicent Fenwick and Congressman Ed Forsythe and Congressman Mat Rinaldo, who are here with me. We had earlier at the airport Senator Cliff Case. And it is wonderful to be in Paterson, first to go to the Great Falls and the tremendous crowd and, secondly, to come to the Kramer home and to see so many darn good Republicans, some fine Independents, and some super Democrats.

Before making a few remarks, let me make this observation. Most of you know I come from the great State of Michigan. Most of you know that anybody coming from Michigan ought to be interested in a healthy and prosperous automobile industry. But as much as I want the automobile industry to have a prosperous year in 1976, this is not the year to trade in a reliable Ford for a flashier model. [Laughter]

On Tuesday, we bare the last of 30-some primaries. I am the only Republican candidate for the Presidency who has entered every primary. And why did I do that? Because I want the opportunity for as many voters in this country to have an opportunity to make a choice. I am entered in the New Jersey primary because I want the people of the Garden State to have a chance to vote for President Jerry Ford.

It's my understanding that my opponent did not venture into the great State of New Jersey with his name on the ballot. I want you to know that we have to make a massive effort between now and Tuesday in this State to make sure, yes, that I get a good vote, to be certain and absolutely positive that the Ford delegates get elected in every one of your congressional districts.

You know I have been in politics a few years, and I know that sometimes people get a little lackadaisical. They get a little apathetic when the challenge is not there. We can't afford that in the State of New Jersey on Tuesday. We have to make a massive effort; we have to get a tremendous vote, and that means that every county leader, that means that every voter in this State, gets not only himself or herself to the polls but makes absolutely positive that everybody who can vote goes to the polls and sends out a strong, strong message that the State of New Jersey is in President Ford's column.

Let me give you a few reasons why I think we ought to have 4 more years of this administration.

Number one, when I became President 22 months ago-let your minds drift back--this country was in a very serious situation. The American people, for reasons we all know, had lost their confidence in the White House. The American people knew that we were suffering serious economic problems with the rate of inflation of over 12 percent. The American people knew we were on the brink of a serious economic recession. The American people knew that their friends and allies around the world were uncertain as to the will and the resolution of this great country. Our adversaries were in a mood that they might well have taken advantage of the circumstances in America.

It was not a very happy time to become President of the United States, but we decided that we would work at the job; we would have solid, sound programs and policies to turn things around.

I believe that because of the frankness, the straightforwardness, the candor, we have restored the confidence of the American people in the White House and in the Oval Office. And we will do it for the next 4 years.

We have turned the economy around. A year ago unemployment was going up, and employment was going down. But because we had a good program, we followed a calm, constructive approach to what the problems were economically.

Today--it was announced just Friday by the Department of Labor--the United States has 87,700,000 people gainfully employed, the most Americans who have ever had jobs in the history of the United States. That is a good record. We had 300,000 more jobs in the month of May. We have 3,600,000 more jobs in the last 12 months.

Let's take just a look at inflation--12 percent when I became President, 3 percent or less for the first 4 months of this calendar year. We made a 75 percent reduction in the rate of the inflation, and that is a good record that we ought to be proud of.

I remind you in the area of foreign policy, there isn't a single American boy fighting and dying on any foreign soil under the Ford administration. We have the kind of military strength that can meet every mission and every challenge, and we have the diplomatic skill to make sure that in the next 4 years we will keep the peace through strength under this administration.

I might say, parenthetically, the Ford administration has no intention whatsoever--there is no reason for it--to commit U.S. troops to southern Africa.

So, when you sum it all up, I think we've got a good record, a record that can make the American people proud from going to adversity to strength and from strength to increased prosperity, a restoration of confidence and trust in the White House, and an economy that will give a job to everybody who wants a job. That's the program; that's what we are going to do.

Now, let me make one final observation. As I travel around the country, and I have visited a good many States, I am positive that President Jerry Ford can be elected President in November. And I am absolutely certain that I can do a better job than any other Republican candidate for the Presidency to make sure that Ed Forsythe and Millicent Fenwick and Pat Rinaldo and some other good Republicans are elected to the Congress in 1976.

Let me make a firm personal commitment. First, I don't promise anything I can't produce, and I produce everything I promise. And furthermore, Betty and Jerry Ford won't let you down in the next 4 years.

Thank you very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:55 p.m. at the residence of Mayor Lawrence (Pat) Kramer of Paterson.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks at a Reception for Bergen County Business and Civic Leaders in Paterson, New Jersey Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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