Jimmy Carter photo

Remarks at the Conclusion of a Campaign Rally at Quad Cities Airport in Rock Island, Illinois

October 26, 1976

I just want to say a couple more things. I don't think anybody could work any harder the last two years or the next seven days than I and the members of my family and the many volunteers like some of you who have helped us. But I can see certain things that need to be done immediately after the election.

One of them is to restore a sense of cooperation between the President-elect and the Members of Congress. Now we've had our country and its reputation in international affairs damaged. As I said a little earlier, every time we've made a serious mistake it's been because the American people have been excluded from the process.

We've lost the sound common sense and common decency and good judgment and high moral character that exists among Americans like you.

After the election is over I intend to take a couple of days—full-time—off by ourselves, and call in foreign policy experts and call in the Members of Congress who are leaders—both parties, Democratic and Republican—and say, "What can we do to restore a bipartisan support for our nation in its role of leadership around the world?" And, "What can we do to secure a proper relationship to trade and tourism and cultural exchanges and student exchanges with the roughly 150 nations around the world?" And, "How can we repair our relationships with Mexico and other nations in the South, with Canada, with Japan, with Europe, so they can trust us once again?" And, "How can we deal with the developing nations of the world to ensure adequate supply of raw materials and good markets for our goods?"

We need to reassess the foreign policy stance of our country. And as we approach the inauguration day, if I am successful next Tuesday, we'll plan on how best to approach a good welfare system, a good tax structure, a reorganization of the federal government, a new farm program for next year— that's going to be our major one for the next four or five years—for these things need to be done in harmony with the Congress.

Now I've been a governor for four years; I've dealt with the legislature. Sometimes we had differences. We tried to work out those differences ahead of time when we could. Because there's a lot of knowledge within the Legislative Branch of our government.

And I know the people look to you very closely for your guidance when they go to Washington, particularly in election year. And I want to be sure that if we do have a disagreement, that I can come back to you and present my case to you, and say this is what I promised you; I'd like for you to get your senator, your congressman, your congresswoman, to cooperate if they will, because I think that the final repository of guidance, high standards, commitment, and a demand that our promises are kept that are made in an election year, are with you.

So I'd like to ask you not only to help in the next seven days, but the next four years. I hope that I'll be your President If you help me, I will. This country needs to be changed, and you're going to be part of it. [applause]

Just one other thing. I want to thank all of you for coming out here this afternoon. I know that many of you have your time very valuable—to be with your family, to be with your jobs, recreation. [Shout from audience—"I don't have a job"—laughter.] I hear this all over. I don't want to embarrass anybody, but how many don't have a job right now?

I understand. You know one of the greatest things you can do is to put people to work, and I am afraid that our President is only concerned about one job and he's going to be disappointed there next week. [applause and cheers]

There's a lot of work to be done in this country. Right? And the American people want to work. But in this last eight years the Republicans have turned our nation to a great degree into a welfare state.

We are now spending 700 percent as much on unemployment compensation as when Richard Nixon went into office eight years ago. We are spending twice as much on welfare as we did when the Democrats left the White House. So I believe that we'll never have a balanced budget, which I'd like to see, we'll never have the needs of our people met, which I'd like to see, we'll never have an end to the inflationary spiral, which I would like to see, as long as we have 7 1/2 to 8 million people out of work. And so one of the major commitments that I make to you is a top priority, beginning even before inauguration day, is going to be to put the American people back to work, and you can depend on that. [applause]

Now beginning next January the 20th, I'll be working for you. But between now and next Tuesday, I want you to work for me. Okay? [applause and cheers] We're in it together. Our country is one that's always depended on its people. And in terms of greatness, quite often those are the times when the difficulties were the greatest. And when the American people responded.

Well, we've got problems right now. But I hope that none of you will abandon our government or abandon our country. Because I want you to vote for me, but even if you can't, I hope next Tuesday you'll vote.

Because this is a very good demonstration to the rest of the world that freedom works. That independence works. That liberty works. That democracy works. That equality of opportunity works.

And when the rest of the nations see America with its people out of work, with its White House embarrassed, with a lack of vision for the future, and with people not participating in the governmental process, it's a reflection on our system of government. And I hope that all of you will make a deep commitment now, a personal commitment, even a sacrificial commitment, in the next seven days to do something about it. And let's have the biggest turnout we've ever had, in Iowa and Illinois, and the biggest victory for a Democratic candidate that this nation has ever seen. [applause]

Thank you very much.

Jimmy Carter, Remarks at the Conclusion of a Campaign Rally at Quad Cities Airport in Rock Island, Illinois Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347586

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