Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at a Republican Party Reception in Jackson, Mississippi

July 30, 1976

LET ME thank all of you, Clarke, and all of the others, on behalf of Betty and myself, for the very wonderful experience we have had since we have been in Jackson today.

I had a very good give-and-take with the delegation that is going to Kansas City. I answered a good many questions and, I hope, satisfactorily. But I was most impressed with the quality of the people that are representing the Republican Party at Kansas City from the State of Mississippi.

Let me talk for just a minute, if I might, about what I think we must do between now and Kansas City and what we must do from Kansas City to November 2. And bear in mind there is just 73 days between the end of the convention in Kansas City and November 2. So, we have to have a plan that will ensure the success of the philosophy that we all believe in, because that day of November 2 will make a great deal of difference as to what will be the policy of this country, both at home and abroad, for the next 4 years.

I am going to take a very affirmative stance and a very vigorous campaign throughout the country. I believe that for the last 2 years, since I became President, we have done a good job. We have done a good job in restoring the confidence of the American people in the White House, itself.

It is almost fortuitous that it is practically 2 years to the day that I was here in the great city of Jackson, Mississippi, helping to campaign for one of your outstanding Republican Congressmen, Thad Cochran. Earlier that day, I had been up at the Golden Triangle1 and tried to be helpful for another Republican candidate, who wasn't successful, but later went down to Hattiesburg on behalf of Trent Lott, who was successful, and he is one of your fine Congressmen.

1 An area in eastern Mississippi formed by the adjoining cities of West Point, Starkville, and Columbus.

But in the 2 years since I became President, we not only have restored the trust of the American people in the White House itself, with a candid, straightforward approach that we have followed, but we have turned this economy around. And I think if you go back 24 months ago, this country was in serious economic trouble.

We have, through good policies, fiscal responsibility, despite the opposition that controls the Congress, where they have sought to pile one spending bill after another on the desk of the Oval Office--and incidentally, I vetoed 53 bills, 42 of them have been sustained--and the net result is we have saved the taxpayers of this country $13 billion. And I might add parenthetically, if they send any more of those bills down with those wild spending programs, they will be vetoed again and again and again.

But we have also-not only in restoring confidence in the White House but in turning the economy around so everything that ought to be going up is going up and everything that ought to be going down is going down--but we have achieved peace. And we have the military capability and the diplomatic skill and strength to maintain the peace.

So, we will have an affirmative program going to the American people, saying, that for 2-plus years we have made great headway, but it is only the foundation for greater success in the next 4 years.

I think an affirmative approach is the way to win this election. But in addition, I firmly believe that as a candidate at the head of the Republican ticket we must add to the numbers of our Republican ranks in the Congress. We are outnumbered better than 2 to 1 at the present time. And if we are going to be affirmative for the next 4 years, we have to add to those on our side of the aisles good people who believe as we do, who will fight for those things that are going to keep the strength of this country, both at home and abroad.

But in addition, you might be interested in how I believe we can successfully take on our opponents. The Democratic nominee has embraced in toto the Democratic platform. That platform, if you read it very carefully, calls for a number of things that I don't believe coincide with the philosophy of the people of the great State of Mississippi.

I believe we can attack the leader of the Democratic Party in that he has embraced the voting record of the Democratic Congress. And if you look down that record, whether it is in excessive spending or legislation that will impose more and more regulations on the American economy or any one of the other areas where I think the Congress has done badly, any candidate that embraces that legislative record is vulnerable, and he must be held to account.

A good many people have said to me, "Well, Governor Carter, what philosophy does he have?" I have not really been able to detect any uniformity in philosophy--[laughter]--except when he selected Senator Mondale as his running mate and indicated there was a high degree of compatibility ideologically. I Laughter] I think it identified very clearly that his views are those fundamentally of Senator Mondale. Some time--just for interesting reading--I suggest that you look at the voting record of Senator Mondale. I have some suspicion that that voting record would not coincide with the philosophy of the people of Mississippi.

So, to sum it up, we will campaign affirmatively and vigorously. We will identify the voting record, the philosophy of our opponents, and we will work to help elect more Republicans from the courthouse to the statehouse to the Congress. And I am absolutely convinced that we can win in November, and I will ' give 110 percent in that regard.

Betty and I again thank you all very, very much. We have just had a great time. We appreciate your hospitality.

Note: The President spoke at 6:05 p.m. in the Empire Room at the Ramada Inn. In his opening remarks, he referred to Clarke Reed, Mississippi State Republican chairman.

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

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