Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at a Republican Party Reception in Cleveland

June 06, 1976

Jim Rhodes, Bob Taft, Charlie Mosher, Bob Hughes, Ray Bliss, all of the other distinguished members of the party organization, wonderful Republicans here today:

I think we can get 97 delegates from the State of Ohio. I spent the better part of a day in New Jersey today, and they have 67. I challenged them to get all 67. I said that if they did I thought maybe Ohio might get 97.

You know, you good Buckeyes for too many times and too long a period have been whipping us up in Michigan. Now, just a few weeks ago, the voters in the Wolverine State gave me 65 percent majority. Can Ohio beat that?

That's one victory I would like to see Ohio achieve over Michigan. But to be serious, let me say this: We are going to win in Kansas City because the Ford administration for the last 22 months has had a good record.

We have restored the confidence in the White House that had been dissipated over the previous period. We have restored the economy, so that from a year ago we are on the road up. And Jim Rhodes spoke about jobs--300,000 more jobs in the month of May, 3,600,000 more jobs in the last 12 months.

On last Friday, the Department of Labor announced that for the fourth successive month there had been an all-time record established in the United States for more jobs than ever in the history of the United States. We are going up and up and up with jobs, and they are jobs primarily in the private sector, where five out of six jobs exist anyhow. But this economy we are now moving forward with is the kind of economy that gives jobs that are permanent, that provide for advancement, that are the kind of jobs that are meaningful and not as the result of a bloated Federal budget where people are put to work for a few months and then fired.

We have the right kind of an economic plan that provides 3,300,000 more jobs in 12 months. As we work with your Governor seeking to build the kind of highways that will come out of the $17 billion highway program that I signed into law a week or two ago, the uranium enrichment plant down in Portsmouth, these are the kinds of cooperative efforts that provide primarily the jobs in the private sector, but at the same time coordinate those efforts with those in the public sector.

So, this administration has turned the economy around. Everything that is supposed to be going up is going up, and everything that is supposed to be going down is going down. The best evidence of those things that are going down is the drop in the rate of inflation. When I became President 22 months ago, the rate of inflation was 12 percent or more per year. For the first 4 months of this calendar year, the rate of inflation, which affects everybody, rich or poor, those on welfare and otherwise, was at the rate of 3 percent. We've made a 75-percent reduction in the rate of inflation, and I am darn proud of that achievement.

This country is at peace. We achieved it, we have the military capability, we have the diplomatic skill to maintain it. And let me add two footnotes. There is not a single American boy fighting on foreign soil under this administration, no American boy sacrificing his life on foreign soil. I might add a second point. The Ford administration never has, never will commit U.S. troops to southern Africa.

Now, let's talk about two other reasons why President Ford ought to be nominated. Number one, he can be elected, and there isn't another Republican candidate that can be elected. And thirdly, if we want to strengthen the Republican Party in the House and the Senate, if we want to add to the Republican Party strength in the local offices and in State offices, you want a candidate that can win, that carries the party forward.

Some of you may remember the tragedy of 1964, and let me tell you how it affected the Congress. In 1964 we had 180 some Republicans in the House of Representatives. We lost almost 50. Do you want that to happen again? We lost a number of Senators. You don't want that to happen.

So, what you want is a candidate leading the Republican Party on a national scale that can win, that can work with and help to elect Republican candidates across the board. Well, I think we have the record. I think we can win, and we can help the party. This is what it is all about. Let's see you get 97, so that is 67 from New Jersey, which makes 154 or thereabouts, [1]64--I need that computer. [Laughter]

Then let me just add a footnote. Don't rule out--I think we might win in California. I sent the First Lady out there--or First Mama, as she likes to be called--in order to get my votes up to her polls, and she tells me that things look very encouraging. So, we are going to win in New Jersey, we are going to win Ohio, we are going to give them a fight in California. We are going to win in Kansas City, and we are going to win November 2.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 5:50 p.m. in the Cleveland Room at the Sheraton Cleveland Hotel. In his opening remarks, he referred to Coy. James A. Rhodes of Ohio, Senator Robert Taft, Jr., Representatives Charles A. Mosher and William J. Hughes, chairman of the Republican committee in Cuyahoga Count)', and Ray C. Bliss, Republican national committeeman for Ohio.

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

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