Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at the Hamilton County Republican Club Breakfast in Cincinnati

June 07, 1976

My old and very dear friend, Bob Taft, Governor Rhodes, distinguished Members of the House of Representatives, Willis Gradison, Don Clancy, Bill Harsha, Clarence Miller, Bud Brown, Tom Kindness, Keith McNamara, and all of the organization people, Earl Barnes, Gil DeCourcy, Steve Bollinger, and all of you some 1,200 who make up, as Bob Taft said, the finest Republican organization in any part of the country:

I thank you for coming here this morning. June 8, tomorrow, is the Super Bowl of the 33 primaries. The State of California has 167 delegates being elected tomorrow; Ohio, 97; New Jersey, 67.

Our campaign has 105 committed delegates. We want to maximize our efforts in New Jersey and Ohio, and we want to make a good fight and maybe win in California. But you know traditionally, in the last few years, at least, Ohio has on a certain date in November given Michigan a bad time. [Laughter] A few weeks ago the State of Michigan gave me a 65-percent majority, This is one time--tomorrow--I would like to see Ohio beat the Michigan record.

Coming from Michigan, of course, I am very, very much in favor of a strong and prosperous automobile industry. I think it's important, and you in Ohio have a very crucial impact on the automobile industry. But in 1976 I don't want to see a reliable Ford turned in for a flashier model. [Laughter]

Let me relate the circumstance that existed when I became President in August of 1974. As Bob Taft said, the country had gone through a very traumatic experience. There had been a loss of confidence and trust in the White House. We were suffering inflation of 12 percent or more. The workingman was losing money almost every day because his wages weren't as high as the inflation that was affecting him. We were on the brink of the worst economic recession in 40 years. In foreign policy, our allies were uncertain as to the will, as to the resolution of the American people. Our adversaries, because of our uncertainty, could have been tempted to take advantage of a very difficult time in this country.

But in the last 22 months, I think we can point to success and progress in every one of those fields. There is no doubt that because of the candor and frankness and forthrightness of the Ford administration, we have restored public confidence, public trust in the White House, in the Oval Office -itself.

As my good friends in the Congress know, I have never promised more than I can produce, and I have produced everything that I have promised.

But let us turn to the circumstances involving our economy. A year ago we had employment going down and unemployment going up. In the last 12 months we have totally reversed that. We have gained 3,600,000 jobs in the last 12 months, and that's a good record. In the last month alone we gained an additional 300,000 jobs, and for the fourth month in a row, the Department of Labor has been able to indicate that we have reached an all-time high in employment, 87,700,000 people with jobs in America. The record is good, and we ought to be proud of it and talk about it.

But how did we get those jobs? We didn't get those jobs by loading up the Federal payroll. We didn't get those jobs by budget-busting bills that some of the Democrats in Congress were trying to stuff down our throat. We got those jobs because we relied on the private sector, where five out of the six jobs in this country are today.

As we look down the road, we are going to emphasize the private sector. We are not going to give them temporary, nonadvancement employment. If we get the kind of economy that we have today and can continue to it for tomorrow, we are going to be able to say to people: You have got jobs that have opportunities for advancement and permanency.

How did we get that? We got that by the kind of policies where we offer tax reductions to the American people. In 1975 I recommended a very substantial Federal tax cut; the Congress went along. Twenty-five percent of that reduction went to the benefit of industry so they could have incentives to expand, to modernize. We gave 75 percent of that tax reduction to the people of this country so they could spend their money and not have the Federal Government spend it for them.

In addition, in January of this year, in order to keep the momentum of our economy on the right track,. I recommended a 50-percent reduction in the growth of Federal spending. I recommended an additional $10 billion tax cut to begin on July 1, with an increase in the personal exemption from $750 to $1,000 for the American taxpayer. That's the kind of a benefit that the Ford administration is seeking so that you can spend your money, and the Federal Government won't decide it for you.

Now, what kind of a problem do we have as far as the Congress is concerned? I recommended a 50-percent cut in the rate of growth of Federal spending. The Congress so far--the Democratic majority taking the leadership--instead of holding the line, has set a ceiling $17 billion more than I recommended, and that means they are going to be sending some additional budget-busting bills down to the Congress.

Let's talk about what we have done about that legislation that has come from Capitol Hill down to the Oval Office in the White House. In 22 months, I vetoed 49 bills, 42 of them have been sustained by the responsible Members of the House of Representatives or the United States Senate. In the process of vetoing and getting 42 of them sustained, we have saved the taxpayers $13 billion. That is a good record, and we're proud of it.

Let me say not to the people here who represent you from the Congress, but the irresponsible Members of the House and the Senate, if they send us any more deficit-increasing, budget-busting bills, I will veto them again and again and again and again.

Let's turn for just a minute to where we stand in foreign policy. Our allies believe in us. Our adversaries understand that we are strong and we are going to negotiate with strength. We have achieved the peace. We have the military capability to maintain the peace and the diplomatic skill to avoid a confrontation.

I remind you--which I think is critical and crucial in deciding whether we have been successful or not--not a single American boy is fighting and dying on foreign soil under this administration.

I might add, parenthetically, the Ford administration is not going to send any troops to southern Africa or to Rhodesia, and I should add, in addition to that, we've been able to keep our military manpower for the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and Marines at full strength without resorting to the draft. For the first time in 40 years, we can meet our military commitments, and the young men of this country can volunteer and can serve as a career rather than to be sent by Selective Service.

What we're doing in foreign policy is negotiating rather than confronting Our allies believe in the will and the resolution of the American people. They know that our strength is fully capable to carry out any mission they have in our defense to deter aggression, to maintain the peace. Our adversaries know that we have the strength and the will to meet any challenge, and therefore, they're willing to negotiate rather than to confront on the battlefield.

So, when you look at the Ford administration, you say without any hesitation or equivocation we have a record of restoration of trust and confidence. We have turned the economy around, and we're on the road to jobs. We are on the road to cutting inflation from 12 percent to 3 percent or less. And that means that when the wife of a worker goes to the supermarket, instead of an increase in the cost of food at 12 to 15 percent, which it was when I took office. In 1976, the cost of food is going to increase no more than 4 percent and mainly at a rate of 2 to 3 percent.

So, we have had progress in meeting inflation, getting more jobs. Everything that is supposed to be going up is going up, and everything that is supposed to go down is going down. We're on the road to permanent, healthy progress in our economy under the Ford administration.

Now let's talk about the bottom line. As Bob Taft indicated, he, as well as I, remember the tragedy of 1964. I can talk about it in a broader sense, because until that election of 1964 in the House of Representatives, we had about 185 Republican Members. After the election of 1964, we had 140.

We lost almost 50 Members in the tragedy of 1964. I don't recall how many Senators we lost, but we went from almost even down to the Democrats having a 2 to 1 margin. We don't want to repeat that tragedy in 1976.

We want, instead of losing Members, to add to the outstanding delegation that you have in the State of Ohio. We want Bob Taft reelected, and we want every one of the Members of your Ohio congressional delegation reelected, and we want to add a few to that.

I have been talking to Governor Rhodes about some of his problems up there with the State legislature. I think it would be helpful, and it can be done with the right leader at the head of the ticket, to give Jim Rhodes some more help in the State legislature.

What I'm saying is if we have the right Republican candidate for the Presidency, we can have a total Republican victory from the White House down to the courthouse. That's the way we make our philosophy work in this political arena. I pledge my best efforts, not only to win--which I believe deeply that I can--but to work with the State organizations and build the party from the ground up, so that this philosophy which we hold so dear, this philosophy which is so good for this country, can prevail for the next 4 years and for the rest of this century and beyond. Let me say there is no question in my mind whatsoever that I can be elected, and I have grave reservations, very serious doubts, that any other Republican candidate can be elected. So, I say to you that if we want our philosophy of strength abroad, prosperity at home, confidence and trust in the White House, and to have that kind of victory across the board, then we have to do a massive job on June 8 in Ohio, in New Jersey, in California, in Kansas City.

With our victory in Kansas City, we can go on to a victory in November of 1976.

I thank you for your support, and I promise you in the next 4 years Jerry Ford won't let you down.
Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 8:25 a.m. at the Cincinnati Convention Center. In his opening remarks, he referred to Senator Robert Taft, Jr., Gov. James A. Rhodes of Ohio, Keith McNamara, chairman of the Ohio President Ford Committee, Earl Barnes, Hamilton County Republican chairman, Giles DeCourcy, president of the Hamilton County Republican Club, and Steve Bollinger, chairman of the Hamilton County President Ford Committee.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks at the Hamilton County Republican Club Breakfast in Cincinnati Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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