Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks in Seattle, Washington

October 25, 1976

Thank you very, very much, Dan, Joel Pritchard. And may I at the very outset introduce a very good friend of mine. He's a good friend of yours. You've seen a lot of him lately, but you'd like to see him in person--Joe Garagiola. Joe. He can run as well as talk. [Laughter]

MR. GARAGIOLA. I'm not very good at making political speeches. I just believe in people; I believe in President Ford, and for the first time in my life, I think I've booked a winner.

THE PRESIDENT. I would also like to express my deep, personal appreciation to the master of ceremonies, Peter Graves, who went with us in Illinois, who was with us in California. Thank you very, very much, Peter.

In this process, you get some experience on bands. Well, let me say that the Bellevue Band, the Queen Anne Band, and the Everett Band--they're all first-class.

I can't express deeply enough my appreciation to Dan Evans. And when people say he's a Governor's Governor, believe me, that means something to me. I respect his tremendous job for you, and I'm deeply appreciative of his personal friendship. Thank you very, very much, Dan.

I said in Kansas City, in August, just a few months ago, that we wouldn't concede a single State and we wouldn't concede a single vote. We haven't, and we won't, and that's why we're going to win on November 2.

When I see such a tremendous crowd here on the waterfront of Seattle, I'm absolutely confident with the enthusiasm that you have that we're going to carry the State of Washington on November 2, and we'll win in this election across the country. And while I am here in Seattle, let me extend a very special invitation for all of you to come to Washington, D.C., on January 20, 1977, to be a part of the inauguration of Jerry Ford and Bob Dole.

You know where I stand. I stand on your side for limited government, for fiscal responsibility, for rising prosperity, for lower taxes, for military strength, for peace in the world. And I'm proud to stand here in Seattle and say not a single young American is fighting and dying on any foreign soil today, and we'll keep it that way. After so many years in which America's defensive needs were short-changed, I proposed the two largest defense outlays in America's history. And that was tough to convince the Congress to stop slashing away--in effect, cutting away---our military capability.

The people of Seattle not only understand the importance of a strong national defense, you've been doing something about it. The Nation is proud of the vital role which Seattle and the Boeing Company have played in making America the leader in aviation, both civilian as well as military. Congratulations. At this moment, the Boeing B-52 is the backbone of our strategic bomber force, an absolutely indispensable element in preserving peace through strength.

Let me add that my opponent in this campaign, I think mistakenly so, has promised a defense cut of at least $5 to $6 billion. That kind of defense cut would require troop withdrawals from strategic bases overseas; delay or cancel advanced weapons systems like the B-1 bomber; a slowdown in our ship construction program, which helps to keep the peace throughout the world. It would mean closing defense plants and military bases right here, possibly--not only in the United States as a whole but the State of Washington as well.

You don't want that, either. I don't want it. And we'll keep our defenses strong in the next 4 years of a Ford administration, so we can maintain the peace, deter aggression, and stand tall and strong with our allies as well as facing up to any challenges of our adversaries. That's my pledge to you for the next 4 years.

After so many years of runaway growth in the Federal budget, I submitted a budget for this fiscal year which cut the rate of growth of Federal spending by one-half. I've held the line on Government spending with 66 vetoes and saved you, the hard-pressed taxpayers, more than $9 billion. And let me tell you what that means to an individual tax-paying family. Nine billion dollars saved in the Federal Treasury--those vetoes saved each American family about $200 in Federal spending in the last 12 to 18 months.

Because I've not been afraid to say no to excessive spending, we will submit a balanced budget for the Federal Government in 1978, and we'll have another tax reduction for the American taxpayer in the meantime. Listen carefully. My idea of tax reform is tax reduction. I propose raising your personal income tax exemption from $750 to $1,000. Congress didn't act on that proposal. I can't understand why.

What would it mean to an individual tax-paying family? I was in a plant the other day. One of the workers asked me, "What are you doing about tax reduction?" And I told him how we wanted to raise the personal income tax reduction by $250 per dependent or taxpayer. I said, "How many children do you have?" And he said, "Three." A wife, three children, himself--under my proposal, that would mean that that taxpayer, when he fills out that tax return in 1977 or 1978, that he would get $1,250 more in a personal exemption. I think that's good tax reform.

We all know that the middle-income taxpayer has been shortchanged in America, and so the Ford proposal for tax reform, which is tax reduction, will give the kind of tax relief that the middle-income taxpayer needs and wants. And if the next Congress won't do it in 1977 or 1978, we'll go to the American people and we'll beat those that keep on shortchanging the middle-income taxpayer.

Now, after so many years of uncontrolled inflation, as Dan Evans said, we've cut inflation in half in the past 2 years, and I pledge to you we'll do even better in the next 4.

Now, after the worst recession in 40 years--I didn't like it; you didn't like it--we've added 4 million new jobs in the American economy in the past 2 years, not by creating dead end, unproductive jobs at the taxpayers' expense, but by stimulating jobs with a future in the private economy where five out of the six jobs in America exist today.

Too many people are out of work. We're not satisfied with the progress we've made, but I say with some pride, more Americans were on the job in 1976 than ever before in the history of the United States, nearly 88 million, and that's a tremendous comeback from where we were just 18 months ago.

After suffering a tragic betrayal of public trust 2 years ago, America has had its faith restored in the White House itself. My administration has been open, candid, straightforward. We call'em as we see'em. We talk straight from the shoulder, and we'll keep it that way for the next 4 years.

In every field, America is on the move, on the march. We've made an incredible comeback in the past 2 years, and we're not through yet. You can believe me when I say this Nation is sound, this Nation is secure, this Nation is on the way to a better quality of life.

And this administration has earned the trust of the American people for the next 4 years. My record is one of progress, not platitudes; performance, not promises. We don't need a Government in Washington to do everything for us or to tell us everything we can or cannot do. As I travel the length and the breadth of America, I find that we have a great reservoir of talent and industry in America, and it's not all concentrated on the banks of the Potomac. You've got it here in Washington and, believe me, we've got it in 49 other States.

Jimmy Carter says we're not respected anymore. This week, America made a clean sweep of the Nobel Prizes for economics, chemistry, physics, medicine, and literature. This is the first time in the history of the awarding of those prestigious awards that a single country has been the home of all these winners. That doesn't sound like a second-rate operation to me.

I'm proud to be a citizen of this great country, just like you are. We've had our problems, but in the past 2 years we've come a long, long way. At home and abroad we're putting our old differences aside; we're putting old problems behind us, healing the wounds, the angers that existed some 2 years ago. It's a record that I'm proud to run on, a record the people of Washington and concerned citizens throughout the whole United States--Democrats, Independents, and Republicans--who can and will support this ticket of Jerry Ford and Bob Dole on November 2.

Give me your mandate, and we'll reduce the growth of government even more. Give me your mandate, and we'll ensure the integrity of the social security system. We'll improve Medicare so that our older citizens can enjoy the health and happiness that they have so richly earned. There is no reason that our older citizens should have to go broke just to get well.

Give me your mandate, and we'll create a tax system that is fair to all, that will preserve the family, the family home, the family business, the family farm, that will give to business the tax incentives to build new plants, modernize old ones, and create more and more jobs throughout America.

Give me your mandate, and I will lead this Nation on the paths of peace through strength, and we will live in peace and freedom in the United States of America.

I have no fear for the future of this great country. The future for America is a friend. And as we go forward, I promise you once more, as I promised you before, to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right, and to do the very best that I can for America. God helping me, I will not let you down.

Thank you very, very much.

Note: The President spoke at 12:46 p.m. at Pier 57. In his opening remarks, he referred to Representative Joel Pritchard and Joe Garagiola, NBC sports commentator.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks in Seattle, Washington Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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