Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at the Dedication of the Anderson Independent and Anderson Daily Mail Building in Anderson, South Carolina

October 19, 1974

Governor West, Senator Thurmond, Senator Hollings, John Ginn--distinguished president and chairman of the board--the owners of these two fine newspapers, the wonderful citizens of the Third Congressional District in the State of South Carolina:

It is a very high privilege and a great honor for me to have the opportunity. of being in Anderson on this occasion, and I thank you for your warm and very friendly welcome. It is just nice to be here.

I am here for four reasons, and let me indicate them at the outset.

I am here because I like the people of South Carolina. I am here because I like the philosophy, the political philosophy of the people of South Carolina. I am also here to do a little selling on a program that I think will strengthen America and make us stronger and better and make us even more proud of a great country, the United States of America. And I am here to participate in an auspicious occasion, the dedication of this fine facility for these two outstanding newspapers.

As I said at the outset, I am here because I like the people of South Carolina. And I think, since I have been in South Carolina four times in the last 12 or 13 months, I have some individuals on the platform who can attest--Governor West, Senator Thurmond, Senator Hollings, they have been with me on several or all of these occasions--and they know from firsthand experience that the people of South Carolina have a deep affection in my heart. I like what they believe, and I like how they react, and you are just darned nice people. I thank you for your hospitality.

I also indicated that I have a great sympathy for and adherence to the philosophy of the people of South Carolina. I know that you in South Carolina believe that it is important to have strong local government and to have strong State government, and you also believe in the freedom and independence of the individual.

You also recognize that the Federal Government is important, but you want your Federal Government to be a partner and not the dominating force as the problems arise and the solutions are sought.

You believe in a partnership between State, local, and Federal government. And that is the kind of philosophy in which I believe.

There is another little observation I would like to make--and I don't mean to be critical of those who differ with me--but oftentimes in the 25-plus years that I served in the Congress of the United States, I saw well-intentioned individuals in the House as well as in the Senate who believed that if they gave and gave and gave to individuals that in the long run perhaps that was helpful and beneficial.

But oftentimes, as I sat in the Chamber of the House of Representatives and watched this effort being made, I frequently wondered whether those who pushed and worked for those programs of piling one Federal program on top of another day after day after day, whether they ever realized and recognized that a government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.

We want a government that does what we as individuals can't do, but we don't want a government in Washington so big that at some time or some point down the road, it can take from us everything we have.

One of the things that I liked about Marshall Parker is that I feel that his philosophy and mine coincide almost identically. And Marshall, it is nice to see you, and I thank you for your very kind and friendly words.

As I said, I am here to do a little propagandizing and selling for a program that I think is good for America. We, as a nation, I found in the 60 or 70 days that I have been President, we have some problems. We have the problem of inflation. We have the problem of trying to keep the economy strong and get it stronger so that we have jobs, that we have profits, that we have a better, better life for all our people.

And so, about 10 days or 2 weeks ago, I submitted to the Congress and to the American people a 31-point program. I think it is well thought out, I think it is well-constructed, so it would follow that important path of whipping inflation on the one hand and providing a strong economy on the other.

I am confident that the Congress will support it. They did some things before their recess that began yesterday or the day before. There is more on the matter to be done when they return after November 5.

But also, it is important that 213 million Americans, individually as well as collectively, join in this struggle to keep America strong.

We have these WIN buttons--W-I-N--"Whip Inflation Now." We have had already over 100,000 people write the White House enlisting in this crusade. And I urge that every one of you here do exactly the same--waste less, save more, and build a better America, conserve our energy, and tackle the problems of inflation, and strengthen the long-run economy of the greatest country in the history of mankind.

The fourth reason I am here is to speak about the importance of the news media and to congratulate the owners, publishers of these two fine newspapers.

Now I have been warned on occasion that it is sometimes risky to expose myself to the press. I don't happen to necessarily agree with that philosophy, although I did have a press conference in the Rose Garden the other day at the White House, and I must confess that not everything turned out or turned up roses.

But those are the problems you face in meeting the good friends of the news media. But, as it should be and in keeping with my own personal philosophy of being as accessible as possible to the press, I intend to continue frequent, open, friendly meetings with the news media. I think that is good for the country, for the press, and I hope for myself.

And although I wouldn't call this gathering here today a press conference, I am delighted to participate in the dedication of the new Anderson Independent and the Anderson Daily Mail building. I congratulate the owners, the publishers, the employees, and also the subscribers, because you are all an integral part of the dissemination of the news thoroughly, accurately, and without fear of reprisal. And I know that what comes from these two newspapers will be in the highest traditions of the news media.

I hope to continue the traditions that I established as a Member of Congress and as Vice President of meeting with the press, and I hope and trust that the relationship that I have had with the press will continue.

I don't think I do things any differently today than I did when I was a Member of the Congress or even as Vice President. The only difference seems to be that they pay more attention to what I say. [Laughter]

There have been a lot of changes in America in all of our lifetimes, but there is one thing that must be preserved above all others. And I refer here very specifically to the first amendment and all of the rest of the Constitution that Senator Thurmond, Senator Hollings, myself, at the Federal level, and Governor West have sworn to uphold, and that is the Constitution of the United States-the greatest document ever written in the history of mankind--that gives more freedom and more opportunity to more people than any other document drafted by man.

Now we must have a climate of trust and understanding between the Government and the people. This is essential if our system is to work. The Anderson newspapers and the rest of America's press have much to do with that climate, and of course, so do those of us who hold high office.

Now I don't put as much emphasis on public relations as I do on human relations. As John Ginn said--I will say it a little differently--we can all disagree without being disagreeable. That is an important ingredient in maintaining progress in America.

I don't think it is the function of the press to propagandize for any party, any President, or any section of the public. They, as well as the rest of us, should call them as we see them. And I say to every journalist on the occasion of this dedication that I am particularly pleased to see a new building housing two fine newspapers at a time in our Nation's history when too many newspapers have been folding throughout the Nation.

We need more, not fewer, news media and including newspapers. Every reporter, as I see it, is now under an even greater responsibility to report without fear and without favor, and every newspaper has the responsibility to keep alive the tradition of a free press.

Now I happen to differ with those who categorize the journalists I know, and others, as a different kind of American. I prefer to consider everyone on his or her merits and to treat each one of them as I would expect to be treated if our jobs were reversed. I think this is the way we have to deal with one another, whether it is a politician and the news media, or a politician and a constituent, or a competitor in one business or another.

And although I have had a lot of adversaries in my lifetime in the political arena, to my knowledge I have no enemies, nor will I ever have a list of enemies in this White House that I now occupy.

Now there are four of us on the platform who have had a few years, if you total them all up, in political life. And Marshall Parker, of course, was in your State legislature and is seeking election to the Congress of the United States. And if I might just say one nice thing in addition about Marshall, he is the kind of guy I would like to have in the House of Representatives.

But the point I was trying to make is that between the Governor and Strom and Fritz1 and Marshall and myself, we have been exposed to the press, and I suspect all of us in one way or another have been criticized by the press. I am not sure any one of us like it particularly.

But what is more important, I would be more concerned if the press of this country were not free to criticize me or the others that I have mentioned.

But let me say that the ceremony we have undertaken is a dedication to the perpetuation of a free press and the great role that the press plays in our society. And any time I can participate in an occasion that pays tribute to one part or all of our Constitution, I am honored and pleased.

And so, I congratulate John Ginn and his associates. I congratulate all of you. I thank you again.

And join me in that campaign to WIN. We don't want to be a loser. We will be a winner for America.

Thank you very, very much.

1 Senator Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina.

Note: The President spoke at 10:40 a.m. Prior to his remarks, the President participated in the unveiling of the dedicatory plaque for the building.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks at the Dedication of the Anderson Independent and Anderson Daily Mail Building in Anderson, South Carolina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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