Gerald R. Ford photo

Telephone Conversation With Senator Robert Dole Following the Vice-Presidential Campaign Debate.

October 15, 1976


SENATOR DOLE. Yes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. You did great. And Betty and I, on our anniversary, are very, very grateful for the anniversary present, because your performance was superb. And we are all applauding and very, very proud of your accomplishments.

SENATOR DOLE. I am very proud of you, Mr. President, and I hope I did a good job. I had a bad cold, but I guess my voice held out long enough.

THE PRESIDENT. You were confident. You hit hard but hit fairly. And you differentiated the issues, I think, very effectively between their platform and ours,

between our promises and theirs, where we have consistently said that taxes ought to be reduced, and they have, as we all know, played both sides of the street. You have done a fine job in showing that they are the big spenders, and we are the ones that think we should spend responsibly and effectively.

And I think the most telling point you made--there was no answer by Senator Mondale--we are at peace, and our foreign policy has achieved it and will maintain it. And the comment you made to the effect that not a single American is fighting or dying on foreign soil tonight ought to give great reassurance to the American people that our policy of peace through strength is the highest policy of morality in foreign policy.

SENATOR DOLE. Mr. President, I meant that, and I tried to say it as best I could. And I think a great deal of that credit goes to you. We are at peace for the first time in a long time. We are having the election at peace. And I think it means a great deal to Americans, mothers and fathers and young people, and it is due to your leadership, Mr. President.

I wish I had thought of some of the other things you mentioned, but you always think of things--[laughter]-

THE PRESIDENT. Let me say, Bob, you thought of a lot of very effective points. And you have some great friends here from the State of Illinois--we are in Joliet--Chuck Percy, Bob Michel-

SENATOR DOLE. I can hear Chuck laughing. Hi, Chuck, how are you doing?

THE PRESIDENT. John Anderson is here, and you have the Illinois delegation standing tall and strong with you, and we are all very proud. And the best to Elizabeth.

SENATOR DOLE. I have Governor Connally--he is standing upstairs talking to Fred. And Mrs. Connally and Elizabeth went upstairs to proclaim victory.

THE PRESIDENT. I think you did.

SENATOR DOLE. If they didn't do it, I was going to do it. [Laughter] Thank you very much, Mr. President. Goodby.

THE PRESIDENT. You were great, Bob. Goodby.

Note: The President spoke at 9:50 p.m. from the Sheraton Joliet Inn in Joliet, Ill., to Senator Dole, who was in the stage manager's office at the Alley Theater in Houston, Tex.

Gerald R. Ford, Telephone Conversation With Senator Robert Dole Following the Vice-Presidential Campaign Debate. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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