Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at a Republican Party Fundraising Reception in Raleigh, North Carolina

November 14, 1975

Thank you very, very much, Jim. My good friend Governor Holshouser, Jesse Helms, your fine Senator, Congressman Martin, Tom Bennett, Bob Shaw, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

I have one thing to add to the story that Jim Broyhill tells. I did spend almost a year down at Chapel Hill Pre-Flight School. So, that is another 10 months to my service in the great State of North Carolina. [Laughter]

Obviously, I am terribly delighted to look out and see so many great, dedicated, and enthusiastic Republicans standing here today. Yes, today we are standing, but I can assure you that after next year's election a lot more Republicans are going to be sitting in Raleigh and in Washington--[laughter]--let me finish-in seats that are now held by Democrats. [Laughter]

You know, it is long overdue, particularly here in the great State of North Carolina. Frankly, I don't understand it. I don't understand how North Carolina can have three of the greatest basketball teams in the country--UNC, State, and Duke--teams that move like greased lightning, and also have a Democratic controlled legislature that can't even get out of its own way. [Laughter] And if any of the Democrats in the Congress are listening, that problem isn't limited to Raleigh. [Laughter]

Quite frankly, I am here to say that our Republican Party has a philosophy and a force whose time has come. We are reasonable, reliable, and a ready home for all concerned Americans, a home for responsible Republicans, the home of involved Independents, and yes, even the home of just plain disgusted Democrats. We welcome them all.

I am extremely happy to be here as you prepare for your State Republican convention. I know from firsthand experience the Republican Party of North Carolina helped lead the way toward a two-party political setup in the South. And the people of this great State have seen at first hand that Republican government is good government. I can say that with tremendous enthusiasm and strong feeling because you have such an opportunity of great pride in your Republican officeholders, your outstanding Governor, Jim Holshouser.

You know he has done a tremendous job in being your Governor. But I have traveled all over this State with Jim at various political gatherings for the benefit of the party in your State and our country, and I am just darned glad to have him as a very, very good friend.

But I am equally proud of my friendship with and the record of your hardworking Members of the Congress, your fine Senator, Jesse Helms, and of course, my good friends and former colleagues in the House of Representatives, Jim Broyhill and Jim Martin.

May I express my strong support for your State legislators and other public officials, who I think contribute significantly to the building of a party and the record of a party. I think all of these people deserve one more great big hand, and I will join them.

I would be very negligent if I didn't express my appreciation for the contributions that two dear, old friends of mine, Earl Ruth and Vinegar Bend Mizell-- the contributions that they made when they were in the House of Representatives and the fine job they are doing in our Administration at the present time. 1

One of my dearest friends in the Congress for 20 years was Charlie Jonas. He and I served on the Committee on Appropriations together. We literally voted day after day after day the same way. And I haven't had a chance to see Charlie here today, but if any of you do, give him my best. He is a great, great American.

Now, the Republican Party in North Carolina has grown; it has prospered in a very dynamic and dramatic way. Although you are still a minority in voter registration, as we are as a party nationally, you have won victory after victory with good candidates, good issues, and good, strong, active, party organization. And these are the keys to success in North Carolina as they are everywhere. I think with your record, we are going to send some folks in to learn how you do it. I congratulate you.

Because we are a minority in this State, in registration at the national level, I don't think we can afford dissension within our own party. When we sacrifice party unity, we all too often sacrifice victory as well. From now on, let's concentrate on winning elections instead of arguments.

In 1976, I am absolutely convinced that a strong, united Republican Party will win more than its share of victories in North Carolina and throughout America. And what you do here in North Carolina can be tremendously significant. We will go, in trying to achieve these successes, to the American people with a record of strength at home and strength abroad.

Our national defense has never been stronger. The American dollar is once again one of the strongest currencies on the international money market. Our trade surplus is once more the envy of the world. Let me thank with emphasis the farmers of North Carolina, the working people of North Carolina, and the businessmen of North Carolina for helping to make this significant progress a reality.

Over the past few months our economic progress at home has been very encouraging. From time to time I concede there have been some temporary interruptions, but on balance, we are moving toward a strong economic recovery and long-lasting economic stability.

The signs of this progress are clear for all to see. Our gross national product for the third quarter of 1975 increased by more than 11 percent--the biggest quarterly increase in 20 years. That is progress, by any standards.

Our industrial production, which is a fundamental in our society, rose at an annual rate of 20 percent nationally, between June and September. And just as importantly, productivity of our people that work in the factories and on the field, the productivity of American workers has been steadily improving for months. And that is progress, and that is probably the best way to beat inflation in this country.

The number of Americans with jobs went up by nearly 1,600,000 between March and October alone, and that is progress. For the last 8 months, we have averaged a billion-a-month balance-of-trade surplus in the United States, and boy, that is really progress.

Inflation has been cut by more than half between 1974 and 1975, down from 12-percent double-digit inflation to the range of 6 percent. Obviously, that is not good enough, but it is still progress. And we are going to make more and more, particularly if we can get this spendthrift Congress to hold the line..

These are all signs of progress, of growing economic strength, stability, and vitality. Now, to maintain this momentum, the American people must demand that their elected officials hold the line on government spending and look past the next election to the next generation and to long-time economic growth and strength.

This is the responsibility of people in public office today. The painful lessons of the past prove beyond any doubt that we cannot spend our way into prosperity, but we can certainly spend our way into the poorhouse. And we don't want that.

Any family in North Carolina knows it, I know it, and I hope we can convince the Congress of it before they bring the whole country to the brink of economic default. We simply cannot go on spending money like we have been spending in recent years. We couldn't afford it then, and we can't afford it now.

I have sent to the Congress a very simple plan to slow down the alarming rate of growth in the Federal budget and to give the American people a much deserved tax cut at the same time. I proposed a tax cut of $28 billion to be matched by a $28 billion reduction in the growth of Federal spending--very simple, but very sound.

As you might have expected, the Democrats in the Congress like the idea of the tax cut, but they are singing that old "can't do" chorus on the spending cut. They have decided that with an election year coming up, it wouldn't be wise to upset the various special interest groups which have lobbied so hard to keep on spending Federal money like there was no tomorrow.

You know, they never think about tomorrow. They are always thinking about today. And I think the day of concentration on short-term benefits and long-range disaster has ended.

Let me remind my friends in the Congress that there is a tomorrow, a day of reckoning when the bill or bills will come due. We can't afford a tax cut without a spending cut. It is just as simple as that. If we do, you can look forward to more double-digit inflation eating away at your paycheck, your grocery bill, your savings, your pension, and everything else that involves your money.

As they spend and spend and spend, they don't seem to realize that a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.

Quite honestly, I think the Democrats in the Congress are misjudging and underestimating the American people. If they won't do anything responsible about your taxation, maybe it is time you did something about your representation. [Laughter]

The "can't do" Congressional chorus has called that tune long enough. If we had a Republican Congress again to work with a Republican President in maintaining that momentum and preserving the progress we have already made-yes, I know the Republican Party of North Carolina is ready to help in this tremendous effort, and I thank you for your help.

But now, as I close, since the pollsters are climbing all over the country, combing America from one end to the other for validation of various judgments and opinions, I would like to conduct my own poll right here this afternoon. I would like your views on what you think your President should be doing.

As a starter, do you want your President to accept budget-busting appropriation bills without a fight? Do you? 2

Do you want your President to roll over and play dead while the Congress passes more and more legislation to strangle the free enterprise of this great country?

Do you want your President to go along with those who would sacrifice local control over local affairs on that altar of big brother Federal Government?

Do you want your President to let a foreign oil cartel to keep a hammerlock on America's energy future?

Do you want your President to let the Congress cut--and I mean really cut and slash--the muscle from America's defense budget?

Do you want your President to let some publicity-seeking individuals undercut, undermine, destroy the effectiveness of our intelligence-gathering community that is so important to the future and the care and security of the United States?

If your answer is no--and I think I have heard it right--[laughter]--then you want a Republican President and you need a Republican Congress to work with him.

So, it comes right down to this: Strength at home, strength abroad, a record of progress and peace--these are what the people want and what we Republicans are prepared to offer. We want an America that is strong and just and free, an America that stands for hope and promise and peace throughout the world.

Next year is one of major decision. The people of North Carolina and your neighbors throughout America must decide what direction this country will take as we enter our third century.

Let's make sure that the decision is for an America at peace, for a nation renewed, for a people with pride, for a future that summons us to new challenges and new glory. Let's make 1976 a great, great year for America by making it a great year for the Republican Party. And let us Celebrate that great victory together next November.

Thank you very much.

1 Governor of American Samoa and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, respectively.

2 The audience responded "No" to this and each of the subsequent questions asked by the President.

Note: The President spoke at 1:22 p.m. in the Royal King's Hall at the Royal Villa Hotel. In his opening remarks, he referred to former North Carolina State Republican Chairman Thomas S. Bennett, and Robert G. Shaw, incoming chairman.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks at a Republican Party Fundraising Reception in Raleigh, North Carolina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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