Remarks at the Railroad Depot in Plains, Georgia Following Return from Campaign Headquarters in Atlanta
I came all the way through 22 months [of campaigning] and I didn't get choked up until I turned the comer and saw you standing here. And I said, "People who are that foolish, they can't get beat!"
The others, all the others who ran for President, didn't have people helping them who would stay up all night in Plains, Georgia, just to welcome me back.
I want to thank the band first of all; you've been up all night. And the choir. It was a long night but I guarantee you it's going to be worth it to all of us.
It's been a good 2 years for us. I've learned a lot about our country, as you know. I've learned a lot about you and you've learned a lot about me.
This campaign has drawn my family closer together, and now I hope that I can be the kind of President that will make this country proud of me as I am of you.
We've got a lot to learn still about one another. But there is a need in this country for each individual person to look deep within us and say, "What can we do to make our country great? What can we do to make our future " brighter? What can we do to return laughter to the United States and hope?" And I believe that we are ready to do it.
This next couple of months I'll be doing the best I can to prepare myself to be a President of whom all of you will be proud. I believe that I can make the kind of leadership in the White House that can tap the greatness that's in all of you.
If we can just have a government—as I've said a thousand times—as good as our people are, that's all we could hope for and that's all we could expect and that's enough.
We're going to have a great government, a great nation, and it's because of you.
I just want to say one more thing. I had the best organization any candidate ever had. Had the best family any candidate ever had. Had the best home community any candidate ever had. Had the best supporters in my home state any candidate ever had. And the only reason we were close last night was because the candidate wasn't quite good enough as a campaigner. I'll make up for that when I'm President.
I guess you all know we're in it together. We'll just have to form a partnership with one another. I think it's going to be an enjoyable next 4 years.
It's been an enjoyable last 2 years. And I believe that all of us will be proud that we were up all night, last night, and we meet here with the sun rising in the East.
I think the sun's rising on a beautiful new day. A beautiful new spirit in this country. A beautiful new commitment to the future. I feel good about it. And I love every one of you and I thank you for it.
[Mr. Carter turned to his wife, Rosalynn and she said:]
I just want to say thank you. You don't know how it is to be campaigning in the country—anywhere—and know that the people back home love you, care for you, are pulling for you, and it's just a good feeling. I'm glad to be home. Thanks to every one of you.
[Mr. Carter added:]
Now I think it's time for all of us to take one day off. Okay? Thank you. God bless you everyone.
NOTE: Remarks at 7 am.
Jimmy Carter, Remarks at the Railroad Depot in Plains, Georgia Following Return from Campaign Headquarters in Atlanta Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347598