Gerald R. Ford photo

Telephone Conversation With Warren P. Knowles, Wisconsin President Ford Committee Chairman, on the Wisconsin Primary Election Results.

April 06, 1976

WARREN, Betty and I are sitting here. We just heard the very, very good news of 56-43, a very fine lead not only in numbers but very encouraging news on the delegates. And we wanted to call and thank you and thank all of the wonderful workers who helped and assisted and express our deepest personal appreciation.

WARREN P. KNOWLES. Mr. President, we are here with about 300 of the volunteers in the Marc Plaza awaiting the final returns, and while there is a good showing at the present time, I have never counted my chickens before they are hatched.

We do want to say to you and to Mrs. Ford that we are so appreciative of the fact that you did come to Wisconsin and give such a lift to all of us during the final stages of the campaign. It was a tremendous boost, and both you and Betty did just super jobs. We also want to say that your brothers, Jack and Tom, were just wonderful when they were here with your friends from Grand Rapids, Michigan. And Jack's1 efforts, too, were very much in evidence on the college campuses.

1Jack Ford, the President's son.

All in all, it was a real team effort and, Mr. President, we want to pledge to you, regardless of how this comes out, we are going to be in Kansas City, and we are going to see you through to victory in November.

THE PRESIDENT. Warren, that wonderful applause kind of gives me goose bumps because you know Betty and the kids and my brothers and others from home helped, but it was your leadership and all of those great people all across the State of Wisconsin that put in time on phone banks, that did all of the other hard chores that put it all together. And I don't know of any group that we have worked with who have done a better job. They have all, from the beginning to end, under the kind of leadership you have given and the kind of support they have given to our family--well, it just gave us the inspiration to come out there and work like the devil, which we did.

But it was a great privilege and pleasure for us to work with all of you. Those meetings we had in La Crosse and West Bank (Bend) and Green Bay and Milwaukee, and I guess Betty had a great time in Madison, it was just a great experience for us, and we are very, very thankful. And we will see you in Kansas City, and we are going to win.

MR. KNOWLES. You bet we are, Mr. President. As an old football player, you will be interested in a columnist who was very famous in Wisconsin whose name was Roundy Coughlin, and he used to say, "Don't believe all those clippings that you read in the papers. It is the touchdowns that count between 2 and 4 on Saturday afternoon."

THE PRESIDENT. That is right.

MR. KNOWLES. So let's carry that ball over the goal line, and as Bart Starr 2 says, "We have a great quarterback and we are not switching the winning team."

THE PRESIDENT. Warren, Betty and I can't be there in person, but believe me, we are there in spirit, and the spirit of all of you just makes us feel great. Again, thank you all. We appreciate it to no end because we knew we had some problems, but we were right, and we had all the kind of teamwork that made the difference. So, give them all our very best from Betty and from me.

2 General manager and head coach of the Green Bay Packers professional football team.

MR. KNOWLES. Thank you very much for calling, Mr. President, and good luck in New York and throughout the remainder of the campaign.

THE PRESIDENT. Okay, Warren. Give my best to everybody.

Note: The President spoke at 11:15 p.m. from the White House.

Gerald R. Ford, Telephone Conversation With Warren P. Knowles, Wisconsin President Ford Committee Chairman, on the Wisconsin Primary Election Results. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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