Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks on the Eve of the Presidential Election

November 01, 1976

[Recorded October 30, 1976. Released November 1, 1976]

Tomorrow is a very crucial election. But tonight America is strong, America is free, America is on the move. But 2 years ago America was in deep trouble. When I became President, inflation was over 12 percent. We were on the brink of a serious recession, the worst in 40 years. There had been a loss of trust in the White House itself. We were still involved in Vietnam.

When I took the oath of office in August of 1974, I said I had not been elected by your ballots, but I asked that you confirm me by your prayers. Those prayers really helped.

In the meantime America has turned around. I put the ship of state on an even keel. I held a firm hand on the tiller for a steady course. Today we are doing much, much better. The rate of inflation has been cut by more than 50 percent. The job picture is getting better. We have added 4 million more jobs in the last 18 months. Eighty-eight million people are working today. We have restored confidence and trust in the White House itself, and America is at peace. Not a single young American is fighting or dying on any foreign soil tonight, and I will keep it that way for the next 4 years.

We have two major problems: One, to keep America strong, to meet the challenge of any adversary, to strengthen our alliances. And I pledge to you that the United States will remain number one. Our Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines will be the best, as they are today. Some people have wanted to cut the defense budget. That would be a big gamble. I believe that the way to keep the peace is to keep strong, but in order to keep our domestic economy strong, we need additional tax reduction.

Last January I told the Congress they should cut your personal taxes. I think the best tax reform is tax reduction. I recommended that your personal exemption be increased from $750 to $1,000. Congress didn't do its job, but on January 3, when Congress comes back, I will have the tax reduction proposal on their desks so that they can give the middle-income taxpayer, who has been shortchanged, the kind of tax reduction that that group in our society so badly needs.

But, in addition, we have some other problems. We will do a better job in the next 4 years in making certain that the victims of crime are protected and that the criminal goes to jail. We will do a better job to help our older people, who have earned our respect and our support. We will do a better job in meeting some of the problems of our major metropolitan areas.

We have a lot of things to do, but we are in shape to do it now that we are over the hump of the tough last 2 years.

So, we come to the final round in this election. I want your prayers, as you gave them to me 2 years ago. But I would hope that you would confirm me this time by your ballots. I promise you, I pledge you, that I will not let you down.

Thank you, and good night.

Note: The President's remarks were recorded aboard Air Force One while flying from Houston, Tex. to Philadelphia, Pa. The remarks were broadcast on radio and television.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks on the Eve of the Presidential Election Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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