Jimmy Carter photo

Statement Announcing Intention to Compete in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Election

February 13, 1975

I am pleased to be in New Hampshire again. I intend to enter the New Hampshire primary and to make a major effort here. I intend to enter all primaries and to seek delegates in all states because I believe it is important for those in each state who participate in the delegate selection process to have a chance to consider all candidates who seek the Presidency.

I consider this office the most important political position in the world and deserving of total commitment and full-time effort I will spend 250 days on the campaign trail outside my home state this year. Since January 20, I have campaigned in 13 states and 23 cities. The pace for the remainder of this year will be similar to the past 3 weeks.

I have been and will be meeting and talking to interested citizens of New Hampshire. With this and other visits, I intend to earn the support of a large number of effective and hard-working people. The new spending ceiling will mean all major candidates will have the same amount of money to spend and the effectiveness of glib media campaigns will be severely limited. As a result, the importance of concerned and committed citizens who care enough about the future of our country to become involved in politics will be greater than ever before. I will seek their support in an open and personal manner, not in return for any personal reward, but for the promise of a government of openness, integrity, competence, and compassion.

I would like to deal with one political question immediately: Can a Presidential candidate from the South attract support from people in other parts of the nation?

The answer is, "Yes."

Again and again the experts have underestimated the people. Those who say Americans will refuse to give a fair hearing to a candidate from the South are making the same mistake again.

Fifteen years ago, the political prophets said Protestants and particularly Southern Protestants would never support an Irish Catholic from Boston. In November of 1960, my home State of Georgia gave John Kennedy the second largest majority of any state in the nation.

Two years ago, the same "experts" said a young, Black preacher and civil rights leader could never be elected to Congress from an almost 60 percent white district around Atlanta. But Andrew Young was elected in 1972 and reelected last year without serious opposition.

I have visited over 30 states in the past year. The people are looking for integrity and for ability to manage the nation's affairs. They are not interested in where a candidate happened to be born.

Place of birth in this country should not, and I believe will not, be a qualification for election to the Presidency in 1976.

Four years and one month ago, I stated in my Inaugural Address that the time for racial discrimination was past

The time has arrived when regional prejudice can be laid to rest alongside discrimination based on race and sex.

I am deeply concerned about the continued stalemate and lack of action to deal with increasing oil imports. Neither the American nor the world economy can withstand a continuation of present circumstances and trends.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has levied the equivalent of a $65 billion annual sales tax against the rest of the world, and this situation is not likely to change. By 1980 their surplus liquid capital will be at least $400 billion, or about 70 percent of the world's monetary reserves.

All major importing nations are in effect, operating on credit. Escalating charges and interest costs will begin to pyramid.

The alleviation of this unacceptable situation must be a major and continuing goal of the domestic and foreign policy of this nation.

I do not believe we need the massive, government-imposed price increases suggested by the President, which would raise the Consumer Price Index by as much as 48 percent and increase fuel costs by $50 billion in this year alone. Nor do I believe we need the more than $2 billion annual cost, the tens of thousands of new federal, state, and local employees, and the nationwide frustration of consumer level rationing.

There is a simpler, more effective, and less costly approach. I suggested last fall and still support the imposition of import quotas to reduce the importation of oil by 1 million barrels per day.

The resulting 5 to 6 percent reduction in consumption can be accommodated by largely voluntary restrictions on unnecessary driving, weekend purchases, and other wasteful uses of petroleum products. Equitable allocation of available fuel can be insured through the use of existing state fuel allocation offices. These offices performed well in most states last year when a total embargo forced a much more severe 15 percent reduction in consumption.

There is no workable plan that does not require some sacrifice and selfrestraint from the American people. But the American people are ready to make those sacrifices if they understand clearly the reasons, if the proposal is simple and direct, and if the burden is equitably distributed. This proposal does require sacrifice, but also has these characteristics. Its advantages include:

• Greater flexibility to insure that the various regions of our country and sectors of the economy are treated equitably. The recreation industry which is so vital to parts of this state would not suffer the devastating blow that would result from either the President's proposal or rationing. Nor would regions of the country, such as New England, which depend heavily upon imported oil, be forced to bear a disproportionate share of the burden.

• A reduction in balance of payments deficits of almost $4 billion per year.

• A substantial reduction in demand for worldwide oil supplies and thus increased pressure for reduced prices.

France has already successfully implemented a similar plan, and other consuming countries may be induced to emulate our action.

• Working men and women who are already squeezed by inflation and justifiably frightened by recession would not be forced to bear the additional burden of greatly increased costs to get to and from their jobs and heat their homes, or the harassment and uncertainty of rationing.

This proposal is not a threat or belligerent action against the OPEC which would be likely to produce retaliation. As a matter of fact, it complies with their repeated suggestions of reduced consumption in this country.

The most important consideration is not that the specific proposal of any individual or party be adopted. Our greatest need is to get this country to move forward together, quickly. Both the President and the congressional leadership agree that we must reduce imports by at least 1 million barrels per day. I see no reason why they cannot sit down together, work out their differences, and come up with a program that has broad, bipartisan support. The American people have proven time and again that they will respond to such leadership. The time has come for those who hold positions of national leadership to get together and lead.

NOTE: Statement issued at Concord, New Hampshire.

Jimmy Carter, Statement Announcing Intention to Compete in the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Election Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347743

Simple Search of Our Archives