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Wichita, Kansas Remarks at a Reception for Bill Roy and John Carlin.

October 21, 1978

Since I couldn't get anybody to introduce me, I decided to introduce myself. [Laughter] I'm Amy's father and Billy's brother— [laughter] —Rosalynn' s husband and Lillian's son. [Laughter]

I'm not going to make another speech, because you've already heard me tell you what I think our party stands for and the great qualities of Bill Roy and John Carlin and your great Congressman, Dan Clickman. And I know that you agree with me.

What I would like to do is to emphasize to you the last thing I said in my talk. It is never an easy thing for a Democrat to be elected in Kansas. And I think we have a history of political elections to prove that what I've said is true. Things are looking good for the Democrats all around the country. But it's because we've been underdogs. It's because we have worked harder. It's because we've recognized that we were not and will not be as well financed, and it's because we had fervent, committed, enthusiastic, sacrificial supporters to give us political strength when we couldn't buy it.

And I know that all of you have already contributed to the campaigns of those with me on the stage. But you haven't given as much as you can, and you haven't given as much as you ought to.

There is no greater investment that you could possibly make than to have a better government—a State government and a Federal Government. And I hope that every one of you will consider how you can even sacrifice to make the political campaigns of these good men more successful.

Some of you may have already given a thousand dollars to Bill Roy's campaign, and maybe your wife or husband has also given a thousand dollars. That's all you can give legally. And I don't want you to do anything illegally. [Laughter] But there's no reason that you can't contact your friends, your neighbors, other members of your family, and help them raise additional money.

The last 2 or 3 weeks of a campaign is when Republicans have been most successful in the past, when they have upset Democrats who are favored in the polls, because they can have a massive blanketing of the news media, radio, television, newspapers. And we need to protect ourselves from that. All we want is the Kansas people to know the truth. And this can be done by word of mouth.

It's extremely important that you concentrate on election day as well.

In 1960, two-thirds of the American people voted on election day. In recent elections, two-thirds of the American people did not vote on election day. And sometimes, as you know, a campaign turns on very, very few votes. In Ohio, recently, almost every major campaign has been decided on less than one vote per precinct.

And I hope that all of you will remember this and organize in your own way an effective "Get Out the Vote" campaign on election day. So, organize ahead of time additional recruits to campaign actively. Give financially as much as you can and make sure that on election day you, your family, your neighbors, your whole community is reminded that if you don't vote, you are the loser.

We're going to make an effort all over the Nation to remind people to vote, but there is absolutely no substitute for direct contact from a citizen who is known by someone who says, "I believe we ought to vote today."

Now, I know what can be done. When I was campaigning for President, my first test was in Iowa. In the entire State of Iowa, less than 30,000 people went to the Democratic caucuses to choose the delegates to the national convention. It was in January of 1975. In those last few days from my bedroom in Plains, Georgia, with the telephone, I called an average of 125 or 130 people long-distance every day to ask them to give me their support for President. And I consider those telephone calls to have been the difference, perhaps, between my having been elected President and losing.

And there's no reason that any of you, whether you've got a secretary to place the calls or whether you do it on your own, can't go down a portion of a telephone book and call those that you know and say, "Tomorrow or today is election day. Let's all go out and support John Carlin, support Bill Roy, support Dan Glickman, and have a good strong team in whom we can have confidence to lead our State and to lead our Nation." I'm very serious about this, and I want you to be serious as well.

That's my speech. I'm going to leave in a few minutes to go to Minnesota. But as I do leave, I hope that you will not take lightly what I've asked you to do. It's a tremendous investment in a better life for you and a better life for the people that you love. And I hope that you won't overlook this opportunity to make our Nation one of which you can be proud and feel that you are part of a team.

Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to take the rest of my time—I'm going to go through the crowd, and I'll have to keep moving, but I'd like to shake hands with as many people as I can reach in a few minutes.

Note: The President spoke at 1:43 p.m. in the Service Club Room at the Century II Convention Center.

Jimmy Carter, Wichita, Kansas Remarks at a Reception for Bill Roy and John Carlin. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243438

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