THE CARTER - FORD - DEBATES
PRESIDENTIAL GAFFES (SCREWUPS)
FLIGHT 800 - IT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN THERE
|The morning of 2-2-2008, I was reminded in a dream that I
had written a great deal on the internet in 1976 about the Carter-Ford
debates and problems of the era. I pulled up the pages on my computer which had a
screen about 22 inches across and looked at this long - long page, which
had large pictures of Carter and Truman and it ended with diagrams of many
layouts. A black-coated blonde older woman came in and tried to
erase with her hand a bright red statement I had posted about an 800
number near an airport. The woman said, "That shouldn't be
Interestingly, the first public use of the word
internet occurred in 1974, but the protocols were developed by the
Pentagon as early as 1969 - called ARPANET.
A very odd dream - but below you'll see even stranger
things and everything in the dream was true as far as I can tell.
NOTE: President Ford never was able to solve the airport problem
either as you will see at the end of the page.
I found an
article about Flight 800 which crashed off of Long Island, NY in 1996 -
and the lack of security on planes.
"The premise for security," Mr. Ray Garza,
president of Counter Technology Inc. an aviation security
consulting company in Maryland said, "is
based on the fact that nobody's going to blow himself up."
First Debate - 1976
|CARTER AND FORD REFLECT
BACK ON THE DEBATE WITH JIM LEHRER|
PRESIDENT CARTER: It was a
very disturbing concept for me to be on stage with the President of the
United States. I've never even met a Democratic president in my life, so
there was an aura about the presidency that was quite overwhelming.
|JIM LEHRER: But that
first debate in Philadelphia is remembered not so much for what was
said, but for what wasn't said. With only minutes left in the hour and a
half debate, the audio failed.
CARTER: Well, one of the very serious things that's happened in our
government in recent years and has continued up until now is a breakdown
in the trust among our people in the - [audio failure]
CARTER: I watched that tape afterwards and it was embarrassing to me
that both President Ford and I stood there almost like robots. We didn't
move around, we didn't walk over and shake hands with each other. We
just stood there.
PRESIDENT FORD: I suspect both of us would have
liked to sit down and relax while the technicians were fixing the
system, but I think both of us were hesitant to make any gesture that
might look like we weren't physically or mentally able to handle a
problem like this.
|JIM LEHRER: However each
candidate experienced his own individual moment of distress during the
course of the debates.
Jimmy Carter's occurred during the third debate
in Williamsburg, Virginia. Playboy Magazine had just published an
interview with the Democratic nominee. Carter knew there would be
questions about some of the comments he had made.
PRESIDENT CARTER: As you know, that Playboy interview could have cost
me the election.
JIM LEHRER: During the Playboy interview, Carter said: "I've looked
on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many
times. This is something that God recognizes I will do - and I have done
it - and God forgives me for it."
PRESIDENT CARTER: It was a devastating blow to our campaign when this
Playboy interview was published. The news reporters and the general
public just forgot about all the issues.
CARTER: The Playboy thing has been of great-- of very great concern to
me. I don't know how to deal with it exactly. I agreed to give the
interview to Playboy. Other people have done it who are notable -
Governor Jerry Brown, Walter Cronkite, Albert Schweitzer, Mr. Ford's own
Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Simon, William Buckley, many other
people. But they weren't running for president. And in retrospect, from
hindsight, I would not have given that interview if I had to do it over
again. If I should ever decide in the future to discuss my deep
Christian beliefs and condemnation and sinfulness, I'll use another
forum besides Playboy.
PRESIDENT CARTER: And I thought the best
way to handle it was to say, well, I'm sorry that the interview came
out, but I couldn't deny that the answers in Playboy were my own
JIM LEHRER: For President Ford, the moment he most would like to
forget had more serious implications. It came during the second debate
in San Francisco. The focus was on foreign policy. Max Frankel of the
New York Times asked the question.
MAX FRANKEL, New York Times: Mr. President, I'd like to explore a
little more deeply our relationship with the Russians… Our allies in
France and Italy are now flirting with Communism. We've recognized the
permanent Communist regime in East Germany. We've virtually signed, in
Helsinki, an agreement that the Russians have dominance in Eastern
FORD: I'm glad you raised it, Mr. - Frankel. In the case of Helsinki, 35
nations signed an agreement, including the secretary of state for the
Vatican - I can't under any circumstances believe that the - His
Holiness, the Pope would agree by signing that agreement that the
thirty-five nations have turned over to the Warsaw Pact nations the
domination of the - Eastern Europe. It just isn't true… There is no
Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford
MR. FRANKEL: I'm sorry, I - could I just follow - did I understand
you to say, sir, that the Russians are not using Eastern Europe as their
own sphere of influence in occupying most of the countries there and
making sure with their troops that it's a Communist zone?
PRESIDENT FORD: I don't believe, - Mr. Frankel that - the
Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't
believe that the Rumanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet
Union. I don't believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by
the Soviet Union.
JIM LEHRER: Why did you say that?
FORD: There is no question I did not adequately explain what I was
thinking. I felt very strongly that regardless of the number of Soviet
armored divisions in Poland, the Russians would never dominate the
Polish spirit. That's what I should have said. I simply left out the
fact that, at that time in 1976, the Russians had about 10 to 15
divisions in Poland.
JIM LEHRER: Did you realize there on the stage that night that
President Ford had made a serious mistake?
PRESIDENT CARTER: Yes, I did. And I was prepared to jump in, you
know, and take advantage of it. But just on the spur of the moment, I
realized that it would serve me better to let the news reporters
question President Ford's analysis and judgment.
JIM LEHRER: Did you have any idea that you had said something wrong?
PRESIDENT FORD: Not at the time. Not at the time. In retrospect,
obviously, the inclusion of a sentence or maybe a phrase would have made
all the difference in the world.
PRESIDENT CARTER: This was a very serious mistake that he made, and I
don't know if the election turned on it.
JIM LEHRER: I was going to ask you that. Do you think it did?
CARTER: I don't know if it did or not, because there are so many factors
that can enter a campaign, but certainly it cost him some votes, and as
you know, the election was quite close.
PRESIDENT FORD: We ended up losing by only a point and a half, or
maybe two points. So any one of a number of problems in the campaign
could have made the difference.
JIM LEHRER: If there was any question that a debate between vice
presidential candidates could impact an election, Senators Walter
Mondale on Minnesota and Bob Dole of Kansas provided some answers in
SENATOR DOLE: I assume the audience will be smaller, but I said
before I think we can put them asleep quicker than the presidents -
presidential candidates did.
Excerpted from: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/debatingourdestiny/dod/1976-broadcast.html
||This paper provides an overview of the general types of evidence used by
Ford and Carter in the first presidential campaign debate of 1976. This
evidence is analyzed in relation to the key debate subtopics, and some
standard tests of evidence are employed regarding accuracy and reliability.
The types of evidence considered are statistics, illustration, authority,
and analogy (or comparison). Analysis revealed that (1) Carter used 961 more
words than did Ford in the first debate;
(2) Ford employed statistical
evidence in 41 instances compared to 24 statistical citations made by
(3) Carter used illustrative evidence 59 times compared to Ford's 28
(4) Carter made 10 references to authority, while Ford made 5;
Carter used comparison 6 times, and Ford used it only twice.
tested and considered by operational definition, and tests of substance,
consistency, sufficiency, recency, and relevancy were also applied to the
evidence. It is suggested that Carter may have been more "effective" and
"accurate" than Ford was in the first debate although, according to national
surveys and opinion polls, Ford won the debate. (LL)
Presidential Campaign Debate Between Gerald R. Ford and
Jimmy Carter, September 23, 1976
THE MODERATOR. I am Edwin Newman, moderator of this first debate of the
1976 campaign between Gerald R. Ford of Michigan, Republican candidate for
President, and Jimmy Carter of Georgia, Democratic candidate for President.
We thank you, President Ford, and we thank you, Governor Carter, for being
with us tonight.
There are to be three debates between the Presidential candidates and one
between the Vice-Presidential candidates. All are being arranged by the League
of Women Voters Education Fund.
Tonight's debate, the first between Presidential candidates in 16 years
and the first ever in which an incumbent President has participated, is taking
place before an audience in the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, just 3
blocks from Independence Hall. The television audience may reach 100 million in
the United States and many millions overseas.
Tonight's debate focuses on domestic and economic policy. Questions will
be put by Frank Reynolds of ABC News, James Gannon of the Wall Street Journal,
and Elizabeth Drew of the New Yorker magazine.
Under the agreed rules the first question will go to Governor Carter. That
was decided by the toss of a coin. He will have up to 3 minutes to answer. One
followup question will be permitted with up to 2 minutes to reply. President
Ford will then have 2 minutes to respond.
The next question will go to President Ford, with the same time
arrangements, and questions will continue to be alternated between the
candidates. Each man will make a 3-minute statement at the end, Governor Carter
to go first.
President Ford and Governor Carter do not have any notes or prepared
remarks with them this evening.
Mr. Reynolds, your question for Governor Carter.
MR. REYNOLDS. Mr. President, Governor Carter.
Governor, in an interview with the Associated Press last week, you said
you believed these debates would alleviate a lot of concern that some voters
have about you. Well, one of those concerns--not an uncommon one about
candidates in any year--is that many voters say they don't really know where you
Now, you have made jobs your number one priority, and you have said you
are committed to a drastic reduction in unemployment. Can you say now, Governor,
in specific terms what your first step would be next January, if you are
elected, to achieve that?
MR. CARTER. Yes. First of all it's to recognize the tremendous economic
strength of this country and to set the putting back to work of our people as a
top priority. This is an effort that ought to be done primarily by strong
leadership in the White House, the inspiration of our people, the tapping of
business, agriculture, industry, labor, and government at all levels to work on
this project. We will never have an end to the inflationary spiral, and we will
never have a balanced budget until we get our people back to work.
There are several things that can be done specifically that are not now
being done: first of all, to channel research and development funds into areas
that will provide large numbers of jobs; secondly, we need to have a commitment
in the private sector to cooperate with government in matters like housing.
Here, a very small investment of taxpayers' money in the housing field can bring
large numbers of extra jobs, in the guarantee of mortgage loans, in the putting
forward of 202 programs for housing for older people and so forth, to cut down
the roughly 20-percent unemployment that now exists in the construction
Another thing is to deal with our needs in the central cities where the
unemployment rate is extremely high--sometimes among minority groups, those who
don't speak English or who are black or young people--a 40-percent unemployment.
Here, a CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps]-type program would be appropriate, to
channel money into the sharing with private sector and also local and State
governments to employ young people who are now out of work.
Another very important aspect of our economy would be to increase
production in every way possible, to hold down taxes on individuals, and to
shift the tax burdens on to those who have avoided paying taxes in the past.
These kinds of specific things, none of which are being done now, would be
a great help in reducing unemployment.
There is an additional factor that needs to be done and covered very
succinctly, and that is to make sure that we have a good relationship between
management, business on the one hand and labor on the other.
In a lot of places where unemployment is very high, we might channel
specific, targeted job opportunities by paying part of the salary of unemployed
people and also sharing with local governments the payment of salaries, which
would let us cut down the unemployment rate much lower before we hit the
But I believe that by the end of the first 4 years of the next term, we
could have the unemployment rate down to 3 percent--adult unemployment--which is
about 4 to 4 percent overall, a controlled inflation rate, and have a balanced
growth of about 4 to 6 percent, around 5 percent, which would give us a balanced
MR. REYNOLDS. Governor, in the event you are successful and you do achieve
a drastic drop in unemployment, that is likely to create additional pressure on
prices. How willing are you to consider an incomes policy; in other words, wage
and price controls?
MR. CARTER. Well, we now have such a low utilization of our productive
capacity, about 73 percent--I think it's about the lowest since the Great
Depression years--and such a high unemployment rate now--7.9 percent--that we
have a long way to go in getting people to work before we have the inflationary
pressures. And I think this would be easy to accomplish, to get jobs now without
having the strong inflationary pressures that would be necessary.
I would not favor the payment of a given fixed income to people unless
they are not able to work. But with tax incentives for the low-income groups, we
could build up their income levels above the poverty level and not make welfare
more profitable than work.
THE MODERATOR. Mr. President, your response?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't believe that Mr. Carter has been any more specific
in this case than he has been on many other instances. I notice particularly
that he didn't endorse the Humpbrey-Hawkins bill, which he has on occasions and
which is included as a part of the Democratic platform. That legislation
allegedly would help our unemployment, but we all know that it would have
controlled our economy. It would have added $10 to $30 billion each year in
additional expenditures by the Federal Government. It would have called for
export controls on agricultural products.
In my judgment the best way to get jobs is to expand the private sector,
where five out of six jobs today exist in our economy. We can do that by
reducing Federal taxes, as I proposed about a year ago when I called for a tax
reduction of $28 billion, three-quarters of it to go to private taxpayers and
one-quarter to the business sector. We could add to jobs in the major
metropolitan areas by a proposal that I recommended that would give tax
incentives to business to move into the inner city and to expand or to build new
plants so that they would take a plant or expand a plant where people are and
people are currently unemployed.
We could also help our youth with some of the proposals that would give to
young people an opportunity to work and learn at the same time, just like we
give money to young people who are going to college.
Those are the kind of specifics that I think we have to discuss on these
debates, and these are the kind of programs that I will talk about on my time.
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Gannon, your question to President Ford.
MR. GANNON. Mr. President, I would like to continue for a moment on this
question of taxes which you have just raised. You have said that you favor more
tax cuts for middle-income Americans, even those earning up to $30,000 a year.
That presumably would cost the Treasury quite a bit of money in lost revenue.
In view of the very large budget deficits that you have accumulated and
that are still in prospect, how is it possible to promise further tax cuts and
to reach your goal of balancing the budget?
THE PRESIDENT. At the time, Mr. Gannon, that I made the recommendation for
a $28 billion tax cut--three-quarters of it to go to individual taxpayers and 25
percent to American business--I said at the same time that we had to hold the
lid on Federal spending--that for every dollar of a tax reduction, we had to
have an equal reduction in Federal expenditures--a one-for-one proposition. And
I recommended that to the Congress with a budget ceiling of $395 billion, and
that would have permitted us to have a $28 billion tax reduction.
In my tax reduction program for middle-income taxpayers, I recommended
that the Congress increase personal exemptions from $750 per person to $1,000
per person. That would mean, of course, that for a family of four that that
family would have $1,000 more personal exemption, money that they could spend
for their own purposes, money that the Government wouldn't have to spend. But if
we keep the lid on Federal spending, which I think we can with the help of the
Congress, we can justify fully a $28 billion tax reduction.
In the budget that I submitted to the Congress in January of this year, I
recommended a 50-percent cutback in the rate of growth of Federal spending. For
the last 10 years the budget of the United States has grown from about 11
percent per year. We can't afford that kind of growth in Federal spending. And
in the budget that I recommended, we cut it in half--a growth rate of 5 to 5
percent. With that kind of limitation on Federal spending, we can fully justify
the tax reductions that I have proposed. And it seems to me, with the stimulant
of more money in the hands of the taxpayer and with more money in the hands of
business to expand, to modernize, to provide more jobs, our economy will be
stimulated so that we will get more revenue, and we will have a more prosperous
MR. GANNON. Mr. President, to follow up a moment, the Congress has passed
a tax bill which is before you now which did not meet exactly the sort of
outline that you requested. What is your intention on that bill since it doesn't
meet your requirements? Do you plan to sign that bill?
THE PRESIDENT. That tax bill does not entirely meet the criteria that I
established. I think the Congress should have added another $10 billion
reduction in personal income taxes, including the increase of personal
exemptions from $750 to $1,000. And Congress could have done that if the budget
committees of the Congress and the Congress as a whole had not increased the
spending that I recommended in the budget. I am sure you know that in the
resolutions passed by the Congress, they have added about $17 billion in more
spending by the Congress over the budget that I recommended. So, I would prefer
in that tax bill to have an additional tax cut and a further limitation on
Now, this tax bill that hasn't reached the White House yet--but is
expected in a day or two--it's about 1,500 pages. It has some good provisions in
it; it has left out some that I have recommended, unfortunately. On the other
hand, when you have a bill of that magnitude, with those many provisions, a
President has to sit and decide if there is more good than bad. And from the
analysis that I have made so far, it seems to me that that tax bill does justify
my signature and my approval.
THE MODERATOR. Governor Carter, your response.
MR. CARTER. Well, Mr. Ford is changing considerably his previous
philosophy. The present tax structure is a disgrace to this country. It's just a
welfare program for the rich. As a matter of fact, 25 percent of the total tax
deductions go for only 1 percent of the richest people in this country, and over
50 percent of the tax credits go for the 14 percent of the richest people in
When Mr. Ford first became President in August of 1974, the first thing he
did in October was to ask for a $4.7 billion increase in taxes on our people in
the midst of the heaviest recession since the Great Depression of the 1940's. In
January of 1975, he asked for a tax change, a $5.6 billion increase on low and
middle-income private individuals, a $6 billion decrease on the corporations and
the special interests. In December of 1975, he vetoed the roughly $18 to $20
billion tax reduction bill that had been passed by the Congress. And then he
came back later on in January of this year, and he did advocate a $10 billion
tax reduction, but it would be offset by a $6 billion increase this coming
January in deductions for social security payments and for unemployment
The whole philosophy of the Republican Party, including my opponent, has
been to pile on taxes on low-income people, to take them off on the
corporations. As a matter of fact, since the late sixties when Mr. Nixon took
office, we've had a reduction in the percentage of taxes paid by corporations
from 30 percent down to about 20 percent. We've had an increase in taxes paid by
individuals, payroll taxes, from 14 percent up to 20 percent. This is what the
Republicans have done to us. This is why tax reform is so important.
THE MODERATOR. Mrs. Drew, your question to Governor Carter.
Ms. DREW. Governor Carter, you've proposed a number of new or enlarged
programs, including jobs and health, welfare reform, child care, aid to
education, aid to cities, changes in social security and housing subsidies.
You've also said that you want to balance the budget by the end of your first
term. Now, you haven't put a price tag on those programs, but even if we priced
them conservatively, and we count for full employment by the end of your first
term, and we count for the economic growth that would occur during that period,
there still isn't enough money to pay for those programs and balance the budget
by any estimates that I've been able to see.
So, in that case, what would give?
MR. CARTER. Well, as a matter of fact, there is. If we assume a rate of
growth of our economy equivalent to what it was during President Johnson and
President Kennedy, even before the Vietnamese war, and if we assume that, at the
end of the 4-year period we can cut our unemployment rate down to 4 to 4
percent. Under those circumstances, even assuming no elimination of unnecessary
programs and assuming an increase in the allotment of money to finance programs
increasing as the inflation rate does, my economic projects, I think confirmed
by the House and the Senate committees, have been, with a $60 billion extra
amount of money that can be spent in fiscal year '81--which would be the last
year of this next term--within that $60 billion increase, there would be fit the
programs that I promised the American people. I might say, too, that if we see
that these goals cannot be reached--and I believe they are reasonable
goals--then I would cut back on the rate of implementation of new programs in
order to accommodate a balanced budget by fiscal year '81, which is the last
year of the next term.
I believe that we ought to have a balanced budget during normal economic
circumstances. And these projections have been very carefully made. I stand
behind them. And if they should be in error slightly on the down side, then I
will phase in the programs that we've advocated more slowly.
Ms. DREW. Governor, according to the budget committees of the Congress
that you referred to, if we get to full employment, what they project at a
4-percent unemployment and, as you say, even allowing for the inflation in the
programs, there would not be anything more than a surplus of $5 billion by 1981.
Conservative estimates of your programs would be that they'd be about $85 to
$100 billion. So, how do you say that you are going to be able to do these
things and balance the budget?
MR. CARTER. Well, the assumption that you have described that's different
is in the rate of growth of our economy.
Ms. DREW. No, they took that into account in those figures.
MR. CARTER. I believe that it's accurate to say that the committees to
whom you refer, with the employment rate that you state and with the 5 to 5
percent growth rate in our economy, that the projections would be a S60 billion
increase in the amount of money that we have to spend in 1981 compared to now.
And in that framework would be fit any improvements in the programs. Now,
this does not include any extra control over unnecessary spending, the weeding
out of obsolete or obsolescent programs. We will have a safety version built in
with complete reorganization of the executive branch of Government, which I am
pledged to do.
The present bureaucratic structure of the Federal Government is a mess.
And if I am elected President, that's going to be a top priority of mine--to
completely revise the structure of the Federal Government to make it economical,
efficient, purposeful, and manageable for a change. And also, I am going to
institute zero-base budgeting, which I used 4 years in Georgia, which assesses
every program every year and eliminates those programs that are obsolete or
But with these projections we will have a balanced budget by fiscal year
1981 if I am elected President, keep my promises to the American people. And
it's just predicated on very modest, but I think accurate, projections of
employment increases and a growth in our national economy equal to what was
experienced under Kennedy, Johnson, before the Vietnam war.
THE MODERATOR. President Ford.
THE PRESIDENT. If it is true that there will be a $60 billion surplus by
fiscal year 1981, rather than spend that money for all the new programs that
Governor Carter recommends and endorses and which are included in the Democratic
platform, I think the American taxpayer ought to get an additional tax break, a
tax reduction of that magnitude. I feel that the taxpayers are the ones that
need the relief. I don't think we should add additional programs of the
magnitude that Governor Carter talks about.
It seems to me that our tax structure today has rates that are too high.
But I am very glad to point out has since 1969, during a Republican
administration, we have had 10 million people taken off of the tax rolls at the
lower end of the taxpayer area. And at the same time, assuming that I sign the
tax bill that was mentioned by Mr. Gannon, we will, in the last two tax bills,
have increased the minimum tax on all wealthy taxpayers.
And I believe that by eliminating 10 million taxpayers in the last 8 years
and by putting a heavier tax burden on those in the higher tax brackets, plus
the other actions that have been taken, we can give taxpayers adequate tax
Now, it seems to me that as we look at the recommendations of the budget
committees and our own projections, there isn't going to be any S60 billion
dividend. I've heard of those dividends in the past. It always happens. We
expected one at the time of the Vietnam war, but it was used up before we ever
ended the war, and taxpayers never got the adequate relief they deserved.
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Reynolds.
MR. REYNOLDS. Mr. President, when you came into office, you spoke very
eloquently of the need for a time for healing. And very early in your
administration you went out to Chicago and you announced, you proposed a program
of case-by-case pardons for draft resisters to restore them to full citizenship.
Some 14,000 young men took advantage of your offer, but another 90,000 did not.
In granting the pardon to former President Nixon, sir, part of your rationale
was to put Watergate behind us, to, if I may quote you again, truly end "our
long national nightmare."
Why does not the same rationale apply now, today, in our Bicentennial Year
to the young men who resisted in Vietnam and many of them still in exile abroad?
THE PRESIDENT. The amnesty program that I recommended in Chicago in
September of 1974 would give to all draft evaders and military deserters the
opportunity to earn their good record back. About 14 to 15,000 did take
advantage of that program. We gave them ample time. I am against an
across-the-board pardon of draft evaders or military deserters.
Now, in the case of Mr. Nixon, the reason the pardon was given was that
when I took office this country was in a very, very divided condition. There was
hatred; there was divisiveness; people had lost faith in their government in
many, many respects. Mr. Nixon resigned, and I became President. It seemed to me
that if I was to adequately and effectively handle the problems of high
inflation a growing recession, the involvement of the United States still in
Vietnam, that I had to give 100 percent of my time to those two major problems.
Mr. Nixon resigned; that is disgrace--the first President out of 38 that
ever resigned from public office under pressure. So, when you look at the
penalty that he paid, and when you analyze the requirements that I had to spend
all of my time working on the economy, which was in trouble, that I inherited,
working on our problems in Southeast Asia, which were still plaguing us, it
seemed to me that Mr. Nixon had been penalized enough by his resignation in
disgrace. And the need and necessity for me to concentrate on the problems of
the country fully justified the action that I took.
MR. REYNOLDS. I take it, then, sir, that you do not believe that you are
going to reconsider and think about those 90,000 who are still abroad? Have they
not been penalized enough? Many of them have been there for years.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, Mr. Carter has indicated that he would give a blanket
pardon to all draft evaders. I do not agree with that point of view. I gave in
September of 1974 an opportunity for all draft evaders, all deserters, to come
in voluntarily, clear their records by earning an opportunity to restore their
good citizenship. I think we gave them a good opportunity. I don't think we
should go any further.
THE MODERATOR. Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER. Well, I think it's very difficult for President Ford to
explain the difference between the pardon of President Nixon and his attitude
toward those who violated the draft laws. As a matter of fact now, I don't
advocate amnesty; I advocate pardon. There is a difference, in my opinion, and
in accordance with the ruling of the Supreme Court and in accordance with the
definition in the dictionary.
Amnesty means that what you did was right. Pardon means that what you did,
whether it's right or wrong, you are forgiven for it. And I do advocate a pardon
for draft evaders. I think it's accurate to say that 2 years ago, when Mr. Ford
put in this amnesty, that three times as many deserters were excused as were the
ones who evaded the draft.
But I think that now is the time to heal our country after the Vietnam
war. And I think that what the people are concerned about is not the pardon or
the amnesty of those who evaded the draft, but whether or not our crime system
We have got a sharp distinction drawn between white collar crime. The
bigshots who are rich, who are influential, very seldom go to jail. Those who
are poor and who have no influence quite often are the ones who are punished.
And the whole subject of crime is one that concerns our people very much. And I
believe that the fairness of it is what is the major problem that addresses our
leader, and this is something that hasn't been addressed adequately by this
But I hope to have a complete responsibility on my shoulders to help bring
about a fair criminal justice system and also to bring about an end to the
divisiveness that has occurred in our country as a result of the Vietnam war.
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Gannon.
MR. GANNON. Governor Carter, you have promised a sweeping overhaul of the
Federal Government including a reduction in the number of Government agencies
you say would go down to about 200 from some 1,900. That sounds indeed like a
very deep cut in the Federal Government. But isn't it a fact that you are not
really talking about fewer Federal employees or less Government spending, but
rather that you are talking about reshaping the Federal Government, not making
MR. CARTER. Well, I've been through this before, Mr. Gannon, as the
Governor of Georgia. When I took over we had a bureaucratic mess like we have in
Washington now. And we had 300 agencies, departments, bureaus, commissions--some
fully budgeted, some not--but all having responsibility to carry out that was in
conflict. And we cut those 300 agencies and so forth down substantially; we
eliminated 278 of them. We set up a simple structure of government that could be
administered fairly, and it was a tremendous success. It hasn't been undone
since I was there.
It resulted also in an ability to reshape our court system, our prison
system, our education system, our mental health programs, and a clear assignment
of responsibility and authority, and also to have our people once again
understand and control our Government.
I intend to do the same thing if I am elected President. When I get to
Washington, coming in as an outsider, one of the major responsibilities that I
will have on my shoulder is a complete reorganization of the executive branch of
We now have a greatly expanded White House staff. When Mr. Nixon went in
office, for instance, we had S3 million spent on the White House and its staff.
That has escalated now to $16 million in the last Republican administration.
This needs to be changed. We need to put the responsibilities back on the
Cabinet members. We also need to have a great reduction in agencies and
programs. For instance, we now have in the health area 302 different programs
administered by 11 major departments and agencies. Sixty other advisory
commissions are responsible for this. Medicaid is in one agency; Medicare is in
a different one; the check on the quality of health care is in a different one.
None of them are responsible for health care itself. This makes it almost
impossible for us to have a good health program.
We have just advocated this past week a consolidation of the
responsibilities for energy. Our country now has no comprehensive energy program
or policy. We have 20 different agencies in the Federal Government responsible
for the production, the regulation, the information about energy, the
conservation energy spread all over Government. This is a gross waste of money.
So, tough, competent management of Government, giving us a simple, efficient,
purposeful, and manageable Government will be a great step forward. And if I am
elected--and I intend to be--then it's going to be done.
MR. GANNON. Well, I'd like to press my question on the number of Federal
employees--whether you would really plan to reduce the overall number or merely
put them in different departments and relabel them? In your energy plan, you
consolidate a number of agencies into one, or you would, but does that really
change the overall?
MR. CARTER. I can't say for sure that we would have fewer Federal
employees when I go out of office than when I come in. It took me about 3 years
to completely reorganize the Georgia government. The last year I was in office
our budget was actually less than it was a year before, which showed a great
Also, we had a 2-percent increase in the number of employees the last
year, but it was a tremendous shift from administrative jobs into the delivery
of services. For instance, we completely revised our prison system. We
established 84 new mental health treatment centers, and we shifted people out of
administrative jobs into the field to deliver better services. The same thing
will be done at the Federal Government level.
I accomplished this with substantial reductions in employees in some
departments. For instance, in the Transportation Department we cut back about 25
percent of the total number of employees. In giving our people better mental
health care, we increased the number of employees. But the efficiency of it, the
simplicity of it, the ability of people to understand their own government and
control it was a substantial benefit derived from complete reorganization.
We have got to do this at the Federal Government level. If we don't, the
bureaucratic mess is going to continue. There is no way for our people now to
understand what their Government is, there is no way to get the answer to
a question. When you come to Washington to try to--as a Governor--to try to
begin a new program for your people, like the treatment of drug addicts, I found
there were 13 different Federal agencies that I had to go to to manage the drug
treatment program. In the Georgia government we only had one agency responsible
for drug treatment.
This is the kind of change that would be made. And it would be of
tremendous benefit in long-range planning, in tight budgeting, saving the
taxpayers' money, making the Government more efficient, cutting down on
bureaucratic waste, having a clear delineation of authority and responsibility
of employees, and giving our people a better chance to understand and control
THE MODERATOR. President Ford.
THE PRESIDENT. I think the record should show, Mr. Newman, that the Bureau
of Census--we checked it just yesterday--indicates that in the 4 years that
Governor Carter was Governor of the State of Georgia, expenditures by the
government went up over 50 percent. Employees of the government in Georgia
during his term of office went up over 25 percent. And the figures also show
that the bonded indebtedness of the State of Georgia during his Governorship
went up over 20 percent.
And there was some very interesting testimony given by Governor Carter's
successor, Governor Busbee, before a Senate committee a few months ago, on how
he found the Medicaid program when he came into office following Governor
Carter. He testified, and these are his words, the present Governor of Georgia,
he says he found the Medicaid program in Georgia in shambles.
Now, let me talk about what we've done in the White House as far as
Federal employees are concerned. The first order that I issued after I became
President was to cut or eliminate the prospective 40,000 increase in Federal
employees that had been scheduled by my predecessor. And in the term that I have
been President--some 2 years--we have reduced Federal employment by 11,000.
In the White House staff itself, when I became President we had roughly
540 employees. We now have about 485 employees. So, we've made a rather
significant reduction in the number of employees on the White House staff
working for the President.
So, I think our record of cutting back employees, plus the failure on the
part of the Governor's program to actually save employment in Georgia, shows
which is the better plan.
THE MODERATOR. Mrs. Drew.
Ms. DREW. Mr. President, at Vail, after the Republican convention, you
announced that you would now emphasize five new areas. Among those were jobs and
housing and health, improved recreational facilities for Americans, and you also
added crime. You also mentioned education.
For 2 years you've been telling us that we couldn't do very much in these
areas because we couldn't afford it, and in fact, we do have a $50 billion
deficit now. In rebuttal to Governor Carter a little bit earlier, you said that
if there were to be any surplus in the next few years, you thought it should be
turned back to the people in the form of tax relief. So, how are you going to
pay for any new initiatives in these areas you announced at Vail you were going
to now stress?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, in the last 2 years, as I indicated before, we had a
very tough time. We were faced with heavy inflation--over 12 percent; we were
faced with substantial unemployment. But in the last 24 months we've turned the
economy around, and we've brought inflation down to under 6 percent. And we have
added employment of about 4 million in the last 17 months to the point where we
have 88 million people working in America today, the most in the history of the
country. The net result is we are going to have some improvement in our
receipts, and I think we will have some decrease in our disbursements. We expect
to have a lower deficit in fiscal year 1978.
We feel that with this improvement in the economy, we feel with more
receipts and fewer disbursements, we can, in a moderate increase, as
recommended, over the next 10 years a new parks program that would cost a
billion and a half dollars, doubling our national park system.
We have recommended that in the housing program we can reduce down
payments and moderate monthly payments. But that doesn't cost any more as far as
the Federal Treasury is concerned.
We believe that we can do a better Job in the area of crime, but that
requires tougher sentencing--mandatory, certain prison sentences for those who
violate our criminal laws. We believe that you can revise the Federal Criminal
Code, which has not been revised in a good many years. That doesn't cost any
more money. We believe that you can do something more effectively with a
moderate increase in money in the drug abuse program.
We feel that in education we can have a slight increase, not a major
increase. It's my understanding that Governor Carter has indicated that he
approves of a $30 billion expenditure by the Federal Government, as far as
education is concerned. At the present time we are spending roughly $3,500
million. I don't know where that money would come from.
But, as we look at the quality of life programs--jobs, health, education,
crime, recreation--we feel that as we move forward with a healthier economy, we
can absorb the small, necessary costs that will be required.
Ms. DREW. But, sir, in the next few years would you try to reduce the
deficit, would you spend money for these programs that you have just outlined,
or would you, as you said earlier, return whatever surplus you got to the people
in the form of tax relief?
THE PRESIDENT. We feel that with the programs that I have recommended, the
additional $10 billion tax cut, with the moderate increases in the quality of
life area, we can still have a balanced budget, which I will submit to the
Congress in January of 1978. We won't wait 1 year or 2 years longer, as Governor
As the economy improves, and it is improving--our gross national product
this year will average about 6-percent increase over last year--we will have a
lower rate of inflation for the calendar year this year, something slightly
under 6 percent; employment will be up; revenues will be up. We will keep the
lid on some of these programs that we can hold down, as we have a little extra
money to spend for those quality of life programs, which I think are needed and
Now, I cannot and would not endorse the kind of programs that Governor
Carter recommends. He endorses the Democratic platform which, as I read it,
calls for approximately 60 additional programs. We estimate that those programs
would add $100 billion minimum and probably $200 billion maximum each year to
the Federal budget. Those programs you cannot afford and give tax relief.
We feel that you can hold the line and restrain Federal spending, give a
tax reduction, and still have a balanced budget by 1978.
THE MODERATOR. Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER. Well, Mr. Ford takes the same attitude that the Republicans
always take. In the last 3 months before an election, they are always for the
programs that they fight the other 3 years. I remember when Herbert Hoover was
against jobs for people. I remember when Alf Landon was against social security.
And later President Nixon--16 years ago--was telling the public that John
Kennedy's proposals would bankrupt the country and would double the cost.
The best thing to do is to look at the record of Mr. Ford's administration
and Mr. Nixon's before his.
We had last year a $65 billion deficit, the largest deficit in the history
of our country, more of a deficit spending than we had in the entire 8-year
period under President Johnson and President Kennedy. We've got 500,000 more
Americans out of jobs today than were out of work 3 months ago. And since Mr.
Ford has been in office, in 2 years we've had a 50-percent increase in
unemployment, from 5 million people out of work to 2 million more people out of
work, or a total of 7 million. We've also got a comparison between himself and
Mr. Nixon. He's got four times the size of the deficits that Mr. Nixon even had
This talking about more people at work is distorted because with the
14-percent increase in the cost of living in the last 2 years, it means that
women and young people have had to go to work when they didn't want to because
their fathers couldn't make enough to pay the increased cost of food and housing
We have, in this last 2 years alone, $120 billion total deficits under
President Ford, and at the same time we've had in the last 8 years a doubling in
the number of bankruptcies for small business. We've had a negative growth in
our national economy, measured in real dollars. The take-home pay of a worker in
this country is actually less now than it was in 1968, measured in real dollars.
This is the kind of record that is there, and talk about the future and a
drastic change or conversion on the part of Mr. Ford at the last minute is one
that just doesn't go.
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Reynolds.
MR. REYNOLDS. Governor Carter, I'd like to turn to what we used to call
the energy crisis.
Yesterday a British Government commission on air pollution, but one headed
by a nuclear physicist, recommended that any further expansion of nuclear energy
be delayed in Britain as long as possible. Now, this is a subject that is quite
controversial among our own people, and there seems to be a clear difference
between you and the President on the use of nuclear powerplants, which you say
you would use as a last priority. Why, Sir? Are they unsafe?
MR. CARTER. Well, among my other experiences in the past I've been a
nuclear engineer, and I did graduate work in this field. I think I know the
capabilities and limitations of atomic power.
But the energy policy of our Nation is one that has not yet been
established under this administration. I think almost every other developed
nation in the world has an energy policy except us.
We have seen the Federal Energy Agency [Administration] established, for
instance, in the crisis of 1973. It was supposed to be a temporary agency; now
it's permanent. It's enormous; it's growing every day. And I think the Wall
Street Journal reported not too long ago they have 112 public relations experts
working for the Federal Energy Agency [Administration] to try to justify to the
American people its own existence.
We've got to have a firm way to handle the energy question. The
reorganization proposal that I've put forward is one first step. In addition to
that, we need to have a realization that we've got about 35 years worth of oil
left in the whole world. We are going to run out of oil. When Mr. Nixon made his
famous speech on operation independence, we were importing about 35 percent of
our oil. Now we've increased that amount 25 percent. We now import about 44
percent of our oil.
We need a shift from oil to coal. We need to concentrate our research and
development effort on coalburning and extraction that's safe for miners, that
also is clean burning. We need to shift very strongly toward solar energy and
have strict conservation measures and then, as a last resort only, continue to
use atomic power.
I would certainly not cut out atomic power altogether. We can't afford to
give up that opportunity until later. But to the extent that we continue to use
atomic power, I would be responsible as President to make sure that the safety
precautions were initiated and maintained. For instance, some that have been
forgotten: We need to have the reactor core below ground level, the entire power
plant that uses atomic power tightly sealed, and a heavy vacuum maintained.
There ought to be a standardized design. There ought to be a full-time atomic
energy specialist, independent of the power company, in the control room
full-time, 24 hours a day, to shut down a plant if an abnormality develops.
These kinds of procedures, along with evacuation procedures, adequate insurance,
ought to be initiated.
So, shift from oil to coal; emphasize research and development on coal use
and also on solar power; strict conservation measures--not yield every time the
special interest groups put pressure on the President, like this administration
has done; and use atomic energy only as a last resort with the strictest
possible safety precautions. That's the best overall energy policy in the brief
time we have to discuss it.
MR. REYNOLDS. Well, Governor, on the same subject, would you require
mandatory conservation efforts to try to conserve fuel?
MR. CARTER. Yes, I would. Some of the things that can be done about this
is a change in the rate structure of electric power companies. We now encourage
people to waste electricity by giving the lowest rates to the biggest users. We
don't do anything to cut down on peak load requirements. We don't have an
adequate requirement for the insulation of homes, for the efficiency of
automobiles. And whenever the automobile manufacturers come forward and say they
can't meet the limits that the Congress has put forward, this Republican
administration has delayed the implementation dates.
In addition to that, we ought to have a shift to the use of coal,
particularly in the Appalachian regions where the coal is located--a lot of very
high-quality, low-carbon coal--I mean low-sulfur coal is there--it's where our
employment is needed. This would help a great deal.
So, mandatory conservation measures, yes. Encouragement by the President
for people to voluntarily conserve, yes. And also the private sector ought to be
encouraged to bring forward to the public the benefits from efficiency. One bank
in Washington, for instance, gives lower interest loans for people who
adequately insulate their homes or who buy efficient automobiles. And some major
manufacturing companies, like Dow Chemical, have, through very effective
efficiency mechanisms, cut down the use of energy by as much as 40 percent with
the same out-product.
These kind of things ought to be done; they ought to be encouraged and
supported and even required by the Government, yes.
THE MODERATOR. President Ford.
THE PRESIDENT. Governor Carter skims over a very serious and a very broad
subject. In January of 1975, I submitted to the Congress and to the American
people the first comprehensive energy program recommended by any President. It
called for an increase in the production of energy in the United States. It
called for conservation measures so that we would save the energy that we have.
If you are going to increase domestic oil and gas production--and we have
to--you have to give to those producers an opportunity to develop their land or
their wells. I recommended to the Congress that we should increase coal
production in this country from 600 million tons a year to 1,200 million tons by
1985. In order to do that, we have to improve our extraction of coal from the
ground; we have to improve our utilization of coal, make it more efficient, make
In addition, we have to expand our research and development. In my program
for energy independence, we have increased, for example, solar energy research
from about $84 million a year to about $120 million a year. We are going as fast
as the experts say we should. In nuclear power we have increased the research
and development under the Energy Research and Development Agency
[Administration] very substantially to ensure that our nuclear powerplants are
safer, that they are more efficient, and that we have adequate safeguards.
I think you have to have greater oil and gas production, more coal
production, more nuclear production, and in addition, you have to have energy
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Gannon.
MR. GANNON. Mr. President, I'd like to return for a moment to this problem
of unemployment. You have vetoed or threatened to veto a number of jobs bills
passed or in development in the Democratic-controlled Congress. Yet, at the same
time, the Government is paying out, I think it is, $17 billion, perhaps $2O
billion, a year in unemployment compensation caused by the high unemployment.
Why do you think it is better to pay out unemployment compensation to idle
people than to put them to work in public service jobs?
THE PRESIDENT. The bills that I've vetoed, the one for an additional $6
billion was not a bill that would have solved our unemployment problems. Even
the proponents of it admitted that no more than 400,000 jobs would be made
available. Our analysis indicates that something in the magnitude of about 150
to 200,000 jobs would be made available. Each one of those jobs would have cost
the taxpayer $25,000. In addition, the jobs would not be available right now;
they would not have materialized for about 9 to 18 months.
The immediate problem we have is to stimulate our economy now so that we
can get rid of unemployment. What we have done is to hold the lid on spending in
an effort to reduce the rate of inflation. And we have proven, I think very
conclusively, that you can reduce the rate of inflation and increase jobs.
For example, as I have said, we have added some 4 million jobs in the last
17 months. We have now employed 88 million people in America--the largest number
in the history of the United States. We've added 500,000 jobs in the last 2
Inflation is the quickest way to destroy jobs. And by holding the lid on
Federal spending, we have been able to do a good job, an affirmative job in
inflation and, as a result, have added to the jobs in this country.
I think it's also appropriate to point out that through our tax policies
we have stimulated added employment throughout the country--the investment tax
credit, the tax incentives for expansion and modernization of our industrial
capacity. It's my opinion that the private sector, where five out of the six
jobs are, where you have permanent jobs with the opportunity for advancement, is
a better place than make-work jobs under the program recommended by the
MR. GANNON. Just to follow up, Mr. President, the Congress has just passed
a $3.7 billion appropriation bill which would provide money for the public works
jobs program that you earlier tried to kill by your veto of the authorization
In light of the fact that unemployment again is rising or has in the past
3 months, I wonder if you have rethought that question at all, whether you would
consider allowing this program to be funded, or will you veto that money bill?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, that bill has not yet come down to the Oval Office so
I am not in a position to make any judgment on it tonight. But that is an extra
$4 billion that would add to the deficit, which would add to the inflationary I
pressures, which would help to destroy jobs in the private sector, not make jobs
where the jobs really are. These make-work, temporary jobs, dead end as they
are, are not the kind of jobs that we want for our people.
I think it's interesting to point out that in the 2 years that I've been
President, I've vetoed 56 bills. Congress has sustained 42 vetoes. As a result
we have saved over $9 billion in Federal expenditures. And the Congress--by
overriding the bills that I did veto--the Congress has added some $13 billion to
the Federal expenditures and to the Federal deficit.
Now, Governor Carter complains about the deficits that this administration
has had, and yet he condemns the vetoes that I have made that have saved the
taxpayer $9 billion and could have saved an additional $13 billion. Now, he
can't have it both ways. And, therefore, it seems to me that we should hold the
lid as we have to the best of our ability so we can stimulate the private
economy and get the jobs where the jobs are--five out of six--in this economy.
THE MODERATOR. Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER. Well, Mr. Ford doesn't seem to put into perspective the fact
that when 500,000 more people are out of work then there were 3 months ago,
where we have 2 million more people out of work than were when he took office,
that this touches human beings.
I was in a city in Pennsylvania not too long ago near here, and there were
about 4,000 or 5,000 people in the audience--it was on a train trip--and I said,
"How many adults here are out of work?" About a thousand raised their hands.
Mr. Ford actually has fewer people now in the private sector in nonfarm
jobs than when he took office, and still he talks about a success; 7.9 percent
unemployment is a terrible tragedy in this country.
He says he has learned how to match unemployment with inflation. That's
right. We've got the highest inflation we've had in 25 years right now--except
under this administration--and that was 50 years ago-and we've got the highest
unemployment we've had under Mr. Ford's administration since the Great
Depression. This affects human beings. And his insensitivity in providing those
people a chance to work has made this a welfare administration and not a work
He hasn't saved $9 billion with his vetoes. It has only been a net saving
of $4 billion. And the cost in unemployment compensation, welfare compensation,
and lost revenues has increased $23 billion in the last 2 years. This is a
typical attitude that really causes havoc in people's lives. And then it's
covered over by saying that our country has naturally got a 6-percent
unemployment rate or 7-percent unemployment rate and a 6-percent inflation. It's
a travesty. It shows a lack of leadership. And we've never had a President since
the War Between the States that vetoed more bills. Mr. Ford has vetoed four
times as many bills as Mr. Nixon, per year, and 11 of them have been overridden.
One of his bills that was overridden--he only got one vote in the Senate and
seven votes in the House from Republicans. So, this shows a breakdown in
THE MODERATOR. Governor Carter, under the rules I must stop you. Mrs.
Ms. DREW. Governor Carter, I'd like to come back to the subject of taxes.
You have said that you want to cut taxes for the middle- and lower-income
MR. CARTER. Right.
Ms. DREW. But unless you are Willing to do such things as reduce the
itemized deductions for charitable contributions or home mortgage payments or
interest or taxes or capital gains, you can't really raise sufficient revenue to
provide an overall tax cut of any size. So, how are you going to provide that
tax relief that you are talking about?
MR. CARTER. Now we have such a grossly unbalanced tax system, as I said
earlier, that it is a disgrace. Of all the tax benefits now, 25 percent of them
go to the 1 percent of the richest people in this country. Over 50 percent--53
to be exact--percent of the tax benefits go to the 14 percent richest people in
We've had a 50-percent increase in payroll deductions since Mr. Nixon went
in office 8 years ago. Mr. Ford has advocated, since he has been in office, over
$5 billion in reductions for corporations, special interest groups, and the
very, very wealthy, who derive their income not from labor, but from
That has got to be changed. A few things that can be done: We have now a
deferral system so that the multinational corporations, who invest overseas, if
they make $1 million in profits overseas, they don't have to pay any of their
taxes unless they bring their money back into this country. Where they don't pay
their taxes, the average American pays their taxes for them. Not only that but
it robs this country of jobs because instead of coming back with that million
dollars and creating a shoe factory, say, in New Hampshire or Vermont, if the
company takes the money down to Italy and builds a shoe factory, they don't have
to pay any taxes on the money.
Another thing is a system called DISC [Domestic International Sales
Corporation], which was originally designed and proposed by Mr. Nixon, to
encourage exports. This permits a company to create a dummy corporation to
export their products and then not to pay the full amount of taxes on them. This
costs our Government about $1.4 billion a year, and when those rich corporations
don't pay that tax, the average American taxpayer pays it for them.
Another one that is very important is the business deductions. Jet
airplanes, first-class travel, the $50 martini lunch--the average working person
can't take advantage of that, but the wealthier people can.
Another system is where a dentist can invest money in, say, raising cattle
and can put in $100,000 of his own money, borrow $900,000--$900,000, that makes
a million--and mark off a great amount of loss through that procedure. There was
one example, for instance, where somebody produced pornographic movies. They put
in $30,000 of their own money and got $120,000 in tax savings.
These special kinds of programs have robbed the average taxpayer and have
benefited those who are powerful and who can employ lobbyists and who can have
their C.P.A.'s and their lawyers to help them benefit from the roughly 8,000
pages of the tax code. The average American person can't do it. You can't hire a
lobbyist out of unemployment compensation checks.
Ms. DREW. Governor, to follow up on your answer, in order for any kind of
tax relief to really be felt by the middle- and lower-income people, according
to congressional committees on this, you need about $10 billion. Now, you listed
some things. The deferral on foreign income is estimated it would save about
$500 million. DISC, you said, was $1.4 billion. The estimate of the outside, if
you eliminated all tax shelters, is $5 billion.
So, where else would you raise the revenue to provide this tax relief?
Would you, in fact, do away with all business deductions, and what other kinds
of preferences would you do away with?
MR. CARTER. No, I wouldn't do away with all business deductions. I think
that would be a very serious mistake. But if you could just do away with the
ones that are unfair, you could lower taxes for everyone. I would never do
anything that would increase the taxes for those who work for a living or who
are presently required to list all their income.
What I want to do is not to raise taxes, but to eliminate loopholes. And
this is the point of my first statistic that I gave you, that the present tax
benefits that have been carved out over a long period of years--50 years--by
sharp tax lawyers and by lobbyists, have benefited just the rich. These programs
that I described to you earlier--the tax deferrals for overseas, the DISC, and
the tax shelters--they only apply to people in the $50,000-a-year bracket or up.
And I think this is the best way to approach it, is to make sure that everybody
pays taxes on the income that they earn and make sure that you take whatever
savings there is from the higher income levels and give it to the lower- and
THE MODERATOR. President Ford.
THE PRESIDENT. Governor Carter's answer tonight does not coincide with the
answer that he gave in an interview to the Associated Press a week or so ago. In
that interview Governor Carter indicated that he would raise the taxes on those
in the medium- or middle-income brackets or higher. Now, if you take the medium-
or middle-income taxpayer--that's about $14,000 per person--Governor Carter has
indicated, publicly, in an interview, that he would increase the taxes on about
50 percent of the working people of this country.
I think the way to get tax equity in this country is to give tax relief to
the middle-income people who have an income from roughly $8,000 up to $25 or
$30,000. They have been shortchanged as we have taken 10 million taxpayers off
the tax rolls in the last 8 years and as we have added to the minimum tax
provision to make all people pay more taxes.
I believe in tax equity for the middle-income taxpayer--increasing the
personal exemption. Mr. Carter wants to increase taxes for roughly half of the
taxpayers of this country.
Now, the Governor has also played a little fast and loose with the facts
about vetoes. The records show that President Roosevelt vetoed on an average of
55 bills a year. President Truman vetoed on the average, while he was President,
about 38 bills a year. I understand that Governor Carter, when he was Governor
of Georgia, vetoed between 35 and 40 bills a year. My average in 2 years is 26,
but in the process of that, we have saved $9 billion.
And one final comment. Governor Carter talks about the tax bills and all
of the inequities that exist in the present law. I must remind him the Democrats
have controlled the Congress for the last 22 years, and they wrote all the tax
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Reynolds.
MR. REYNOLDS. I suspect that we could continue on this tax argument for
some time, but I'd like to move on to another area.
Mr. President, everybody seems to be running against Washington this year,
and I'd like to raise two coincidental events, then ask you whether you think
perhaps this may have a bearing on the attitude throughout the country.
The House Ethics Committee has just now ended its investigation of Daniel
Schorr, after several months and many thousands of dollars, trying to find out
how he obtained and caused to be published a report of the Congress that
probably is the property of the American people. At the same time the Senate
Select Committee on Standards and Conduct has voted not really to begin an
investigation of a United States Senator because of allegations against him that
he may have been receiving corporate funds illegally over a period of years.
Do you suppose, Sir, that events like this contribute to the feeling in
the country that maybe there is something wrong in Washington, and I don't mean
just in the executive branch, but throughout the whole Government?
THE PRESIDENT. There is a considerable anti-Washington feeling throughout
the country but I think the feeling is misplaced. In the 2 years we have
restored integrity in the White House and we have set high standards in the
executive branch of the Government.
The anti-Washington feeling, in my opinion, ought to be focused on the
Congress of the United States. For example, this Congress very shortly will
spend a billion dollars a year for its housekeeping, its salaries, its expenses,
and the like. The next Congress will probably be the first billion dollar
Congress in the history of the United States. I don't think the American people
are getting their money's worth from the majority party that runs this Congress.
We, in addition, see that in the last 4 years the number of employees
hired by the Congress has gone up substantially, much more than the gross
national product, much more than any other increase throughout our society.
Congress is hiring people by the droves, and the cost, as a result, has gone up.
And I don't see any improvement in the performance of the Congress under
the present leadership. So, it seems to me, instead of the anti-Washington
feeling being aimed at everybody in Washington, it seems to me that the focus
should be where the problem is, which is the Congress of the United States, and
particularly the majority in the Congress.
They spend too much money on themselves. They have too many employees.
There is some question about their morality. It seems to me that in this
election the focus should not be on the executive branch, but the correction
should come as the voters for their Members of the House of Representatives or
for their United States Senator. That's where the problem is. And I hope there
will be some corrective action taken, so we can get some new leadership in the
Congress of the United States.
MR. REYNOLDS. Mr. President, if I may follow up, I think you have made it
plain that you take a dim view of the majority in the Congress. Isn't it quite
likely, sir, that you will have a Democratic Congress in the next session if you
are elected President, and hasn't the country a right to ask whether you can get
along with that Congress or whether we will have continued confrontation?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, it seems to me that we have a chance, the
Republicans, to get a majority in the House of Representatives. We will make
some gains in the United States Senate. So there will be different ratios in the
House as well as in the Senate, and as President I will be able to work with
But let me take the other side of the coin, if I might. Supposing we had
had a Democratic Congress for the last 2 years and we had had Governor Carter as
President. He has, in effect, said that he would agree with all of--he would
disapprove of the vetoes that I have made and would have added significantly to
expenditures and the deficit in the Federal Government. I think it would be
contrary to one of the basic concepts in our system of government, a system of
checks and balances.
We have a Democratic Congress today, and fortunately, we've had a
Republican President to check their excesses with my vetoes. If we have a
Democratic Congress next year and a President who wants to spend an additional
$100 billion a year or maybe $200 billion a year, with more programs, we will
have, in my judgment, greater deficits with more spending, more dangers of
I think the American people want a Republican President to check on any
excesses that come out of the next Congress if it is a Democratic Congress.
THE MODERATOR. Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER. Well, it's not a matter of Republican and Democrat; it's a
matter of leadership or no leadership. President Elsenhower worked with a
Democratic Congress very well. Even President Nixon, because he was a strong
leader, at least, worked with a Democratic Congress very well.
Mr. Ford has vetoed, as I said earlier, four times as many bills per year
as Mr. Nixon. Mr. Ford quite often puts forward a program just as a public
relations stunt and never tries to put it through the Congress by working with
the Congress. I think under President Nixon and Eisenhower--they passed about 60
to 75 percent of their legislation. This year Mr. Ford will not pass more than
26 percent of all the legislative proposals he puts forward.
This is government by stalemate. And we've seen almost a complete
breakdown in the proper relationship between the President, who represents this
country, and the Congress, who, collectively, also represent this country.
We've had Republican Presidents before who have tried to run against a
Democratic Congress. And I don't think it's--the Congress is Mr. Ford's
opponent. But if he insists that I be responsible for the Democratic Congress,
of which I have not been a part, then I think it's only fair that he be
responsible for the Nixon administration in its entirety, of which he was a
part. That, I think, is a good balance.
But the point is that a President ought to lead this country. Mr. Ford, so
far as I know, except for avoiding another Watergate, has not accomplished one
single major program for his country. And there has been a constant squabbling
between the President and the Congress, and that's not the way this country
ought to be run.
I might go back to one other thing. Mr. Ford has misquoted an AP news
story that was in error to begin with. That story reported several times that I
would lower taxes for lower- and middle-income families, and that correction was
delivered to the White House. And I am sure that the President knows about this
correction, but he still insists on repeating an erroneous statement.
THE MODERATOR. President Ford, Governor Carter, we no longer have enough
time for two complete sequences of questions. We have only about 6 minutes left
for questions and answers. For that reason we will drop the follow-up questions
at this point, but each candidate will still be able to respond to the other's
To the extent that you can, gentlemen, please keep your remarks brief.
MR. GANNON. Governor Carter, one important part of the Government's
economic policy apparatus we haven't talked about is the Federal Reserve Board.
I would like to ask you something about what you have said, and that is that you
believe that a President ought to have a Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board
whose views arc compatible with his own.
Based on the record of the last few years, would you say that your views
are compatible with those of Chairman Arthur Burns, and if not, would you seek
his resignation if you are elected?
MR. CARTER. What I have said is that the President ought to have a chance
to appoint the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board to have a coterminus term;
in other words, both of them serve the same 4 years.
The Congress can modify the supply of money by modifying the income tax
laws. The President can modify the economic structure of the country by public
statements and general attitudes and the budget that he proposes. The Federal
Reserve has an independent status that ought to be preserved.
I think that Mr. Burns did take a typical erroneous Republican attitude in
the 1973 year when inflation was so high. He assumed that the inflation rate was
because of excessive demand and, therefore, put into effect tight constraint on
the economy, very high interest rates--which is typical, also, of a Republican
administration--tried to increase the tax payments by individuals, cut the tax
payments by corporations. I would have done it opposite. I think the problem
should have been addressed by increasing productivity, by having put people back
to work so they could purchase more goods, lower income taxes on individuals,
perhaps raise them if necessary on corporations in comparison. But Mr. Burns in
that respect made a very serious mistake.
I would not want to destroy the independence of the Federal Reserve Board.
But I do think we ought to have a cohesive economic policy with at least the
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and the President's terms being the same
and letting the Congress of course be the third entity with independence,
subject only to the President's veto.
THE MODERATOR. President Ford, your response.
THE PRESIDENT. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board should be
independent. Fortunately, he has been during Democratic as well as Republican
administrations. As a result, in the last 2 years we have had a responsible
The Federal Reserve Board indicated that the supply of money would be held
between 4 to 4 1/2, and 7 and 7 1/2. They have done a good Job in integrating
the money supply with the fiscal policy of the executive and legislative
branches of the Government.
It would be catastrophic if the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board
became the tool of the political party that was in power. It's important for our
future economic security that that job be nonpolitical and separate from the
executive and the legislative branches.
THE MODERATOR. Mrs. Drew.
Ms. DREW. Mr. President, the real problem with the FBI--in fact, all of
the intelligence agencies--is there are no real laws governing them. Such laws
as there are tend to be vague and open-ended. Now, you have issued some
Executive orders, but we have learned that leaving these agencies to executive
discretion and direction can get them and in fact the country in a great deal of
trouble. One President may be a decent man, the next one might not be.
So, what do you think about trying to write in some more protection by
getting some laws governing these agencies?
THE PRESIDENT. You are familiar, of course, with the fact that I am the
first President in 30 years who has reorganized the intelligence agencies in the
Federal Government--the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National
Security Agency, and the others. We've done that by Executive order. And I think
we've tightened it up; we've straightened out their problems that developed over
the last few years. It doesn't seem to me that it's needed or necessary to have
legislation in this particular regard.
I have recommended to the Congress, however--I'm sure you are familiar
with this--legislation that would make it very proper and in the right way that
the Attorney General could go in and get the right for wiretapping under
security cases. This was an effort that was made by the Attorney General and
myself working with the Congress. But even in this area where I think new
legislation would be justified, the Congress has not responded.
So, I feel in that case as well as in the reorganization of the
intelligence agencies--as I've done--we have to do it by Executive order. And
I'm glad that we have a good Director in George Bush; we have good Executive
And the CIA and the DIA and NSA are now doing a good job under proper
THE MODERATOR. Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER. Well, one of the very serious things that's happened in our
Government in recent years and has continued up until now is a breakdown in the
trust among our people in the . . .
[At this point, there was an audio failure which caused a delay in the
debate until 11:18 p.m.]
THE MODERATOR. Ladies and gentlemen, probably it is not necessary for me
to say that we had a technical failure during the debates. It was not a failure
in the debate; it was a failure in the broadcasting of the debate. It occurred
27 minutes ago. The fault has been dealt with, and we want to thank President
Ford and Governor Carter for being so patient and understanding while this delay
We very much regret the technical failure that lost the sound as it was
leaving the theatre. It occurred during Governor Carter's response to what would
have been and what was the last question put to the candidates. That question
went to President Ford. It dealt with the control of Government intelligence
agencies. Governor Carter was making his response and had very nearly finished
it. He will conclude that response now, after which President Ford and Governor
Carter will make their closing statements.
MR. CARTER. There has been too much Government secrecy and not enough
respect for the personal privacy of American citizens.
THE MODERATOR. It is now time for the closing statements which are to be
up to 4 minutes long.
Governor Carter, by the same toss of the coin that directed the first
question to you, you are to go first now.
MR. CARTER. Well, tonight, we've had a chance to talk a lot about the
past, but I think it is time to talk about the future. Our Nation in the last 8
years has been divided as never before. It's a time for unity. It is time to
draw ourselves together, to have a President and a Congress that can work
together with mutual respect for a change, cooperating for a change, in the open
for a change, so the people can understand their own Government. It is time for
Government, industry and labor, manufacturing, agriculture, education, other
entities in our society to cooperate. And it's a time for Government to
understand and to cooperate with our people.
For a long time our American citizens have been excluded, sometimes
misled, sometimes have been lied to. This is not compatible with the purpose of
our Nation. I believe in our country. It needs to be competent, the Government
needs to be well managed, efficient, economical. We need to have a Government
that's sensitive to our people's need's, to those who are poor, who don't have
adequate health care, who have been cheated too long by our tax programs, who've
been out of jobs, whose families have been torn apart. We need to restore the
faith and the trust of the American people in their own Government.
In addition to that, we've suffered because we haven't bad leadership in
this administration. We have got a Government of stalemate. We've lost the
vision of what our country can and ought to be. This is not the America that
we've known in the past. It's not the America that we have to have in the
I don't claim to know all the answers, but I've got confidence in my
country. Our economic strength is still there. Our system of government, in
spite of Vietnam, Cambodia, CIA, Watergate, is still the best system of
government on Earth. And the greatest resource of all are the 215 million
Americans who still have within us the strength, the character, the
intelligence, the experience, the patriotism, the idealism, the compassion, the
sense of brotherhood on which we can rely in the future to restore the greatness
to our country.
We ought not to be excluded from our Government anymore. We need a
President that can go in who derives his strength from the people. I owe the
special interests nothing. I owe everything to you, the people of this country.
And I believe that we can bind our wounds. I believe that we can work together.
And I believe that if we can tap the tremendous untapped reservoir of innate
strength in this country, that we can once again have a Government as good as
our people and let the world know what we still know and hope for--that we still
1ive in the greatest and the strongest and the best country on Earth.
THE MODERATOR. President Ford.
THE PRESIDENT. On November 2 all of you will make a very, very important
decision. One of the major issues in this campaign is trust. A President should
never promise more than he can deliver, and a President should always deliver
everything that he has promised. A President can't be all things to all people.
A President should be the same thing to all people.
Another issue in this campaign: Governor Carter has endorsed the
Democratic platform, which calls for more spending, bigger deficits, more
inflation, or more taxes. Governor Carter has embraced the record of the present
Congress, dominated by his political party. It calls for more of the same.
Governor Carter in his acceptance speech called for more and more programs,
which means more and more Government. I think the real issue in this
campaign--and that which you must decide on November 2--is whether you should
vote for his promises or my performance in 2 years in the White House.
On the Fourth of July, we had a wonderful 200th birthday for our great
country. It was a superb occasion. It was a glorious day.
In the first century of our Nation's history, our forefathers gave us the
finest form of government in the history of mankind. In the second century of
our Nation's history, our forefathers developed the most productive industrial
nation in the history of the globe. Our third century should be the century of
individual freedom for all our 215 million Americans today and all that join us.
In the last few years government has gotten bigger and bigger; industry
has gotten larger and larger; labor unions have gotten bigger and bigger; and
our children have been the victims of mass education.
We must make this next century, the century of the individual. We should
never forget that a government big enough to give us everything we want is a
government big enough to take from us everything we have.
The individual worker in the plants throughout the United States should
not be a small cog in a big machine. The member of a labor union must have his
rights strengthened and broadened, and our children in their education should
have an opportunity to improve themselves based on their talents and their
My mother and father, during the Depression, worked very hard to give me
an opportunity to do better in our great country. Your mothers and fathers did
the same thing for you and others. Betty and I have worked very hard to give our
children a brighter future in the United States, our beloved country. You and
others in this great country have worked hard and done a great deal to give your
children and your grandchildren the blessings of a better America.
I believe we can all work together to make the individuals in the future
have more, and all of us working together can build a better America.
THE MODERATOR. Thank you, President Ford. Thank you, Governor Carter. Our
thanks also to the questioners and to the audience in this theatre. We much
regret the technical failure that caused a 28-minute delay in the broadcast of
the debate. We believe, however, that everyone will agree that it did not
detract from the effectiveness of the debate or from its fairness.
The next Presidential debate is to take place on Wednesday, October 6, in
San Francisco, at 9:30 p.m., eastern daylight time. The topics are to be foreign
and defense issues. As with all three debates between the Presidential
candidates and the one between the Vice-Presidential candidates, it is being
arranged by the League of Women Voters Education Fund in the hope of promoting a
wider and better informed participation by the American people in the election
Now, from the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, good night.
Note: The debate began at 9:31 p.m. at the Walnut Street Theatre in
Philadelphia, Pa. It was broadcast live on radio and television.
Last Updated: Thursday, August 3, 2000
Second Debate - 1976
Presidential Campaign Debate Between Gerald R. Ford and
Jimmy Carter, October 6, 1976
THE MODERATOR: Good evening. I'm Pauline Frederick of NPR [National Public
Radio], moderator of this second of the historic debates of the 1976 campaign
between Gerald R. Ford of Michigan, Republican candidate for President, and
Jimmy Carter of Georgia, Democratic candidate for President.
Thank you, President Ford and thank you, Governor Carter, for being with
This debate takes place before an audience in the Palace of Fine Arts
Theatre in San Francisco. An estimated 100 million Americans are watching on
television as well. San Francisco was the site of the signing of the United
Nations Charter 31 years ago. Thus, it is an appropriate place to hold this
debate, the subject of which is foreign and defense issues.
The questioners tonight are Max Frankel, associate editor of the New York
Times, Henry L. Trewhitt, diplomatic correspondent of the Baltimore Sun, and
Richard Valeriani, diplomatic correspondent of NBC News.
The ground rules are basically the same as they were for the first debate
2 weeks ago. The questions will be alternated between candidates. By the toss of
a coin, Governor Carter will take the first question.
Each question sequence will be as follows: The question will be asked and
the candidate will have up to 3 minutes to answer. His opponent will have up to
2 minutes to respond. And prior to the response, the questioner may ask a
follow-up question to clarify the candidate's answer when necessary with up to 2
minutes to reply. Each candidate will have 3 minutes for a closing statement at
President Ford and Governor Carter do not have notes or prepared remarks
with them this evening, but they may take notes during the debate and refer to
Mr. Frankel, you have the first question for Governor Carter.
MR. FRANKEL: Governor, since the Democrats last ran our foreign policy,
including many of the men who are advising you, the country has been relieved of
the Vietnam agony and the military draft; we've started arms control
negotiations with the Russians; we've opened relations with China; we've
arranged the disengagement in the Middle East; we've regained influence with the
Arabs without deserting Israel; now, maybe we've even begun a process of
peaceful change in Africa.
Now you've objected in this campaign to the style with which much of this
was done, and you've mentioned some other things that you think ought to have
been done. But do you really have a quarrel with this Republican record? Would
you not have done any of those things?
MR. CARTER: Well I think this Republican administration has been almost
all style and spectacular, and not substance. We've got a chance tonight to talk
about, first of all, leadership, the character of our country, and a vision of
the future. In every one of these instances, the Ford administration has failed,
and I hope tonight that I and Mr. Ford will have a chance to discuss the reasons
for those failures.
Our country is not strong anymore; we're not respected anymore. We can
only be strong overseas if we're strong at home; and when I became President
we'll not only be strong in those areas but also in defense -- a defense
capability second to none.
We've lost, in our foreign policy, the character of the American people.
We've ignored or excluded the American people and the Congress from
participation in the shaping of our foreign policy. It's been one of secrecy and
In addition to that, we've had a chance to become now, contrary to our
long-standing beliefs and principles, the arms merchant of the whole world.
We've tried to buy success from our enemies, and at the same time we've excluded
from the process the normal friendship of our allies.
In addition to that, we've become fearful to compete with the Soviet Union
on an equal basis. We talk about detente. The Soviet Union knows what they want
in detente, and they've been getting it. We have not known what we've wanted,
and we've been out-traded in almost every instance.
The other point I want to make is about our defense. We've got to be a
nation blessed with a defense capability that's efficient, tough, capable, well
organized, narrowly focused fighting capability. The ability to fight if
necessary is the best way to avoid the chance for or the requirement to fight.
And the last point I want to make is this: Mr. Ford, Mr. Kissinger have
continued on with the policies and failures of Richard Nixon. Even the
Republican platform has criticized the lack of leadership in Mr. Ford, and
they've criticized the foreign policy of this administration. This is one
instance where I agree with the Republican platform.
I might say this in closing, and that is, that as far as foreign policy
goes, Mr. Kissinger has been the President of this country. Mr. Ford has shown
an absence of leadership and an absence of a grasp of what this country is and
what it ought to be. That's got to be changed, and that is one of the major
issues in this campaign of 1976.
THE MODERATOR: President Ford, would you like to respond?
THE PRESIDENT: Governor Carter again is talking in broad generalities. Let
me take just one question that he raises -- the military strength and capability
of the United States. Governor Carter, in November of 1975, indicated that he
wanted to cut the defense budget by $15 billion. A few months later he said he
wanted to cut the defense budget by $8 billion or $9 billion. And more recently
he talks about cutting the defense budget by $5 billion to $7 billion. There is
no way you can be strong militarily and have those kind of reductions in our
Now let me just tell you a little story. About late October of 1975, I
asked the then Secretary of Defense, Mr. Schlesinger, to tell me what had to be
done if we were going to reduce the defense budget by $3 to $5 billion. A few
days later, Mr. Schlesinger came back and said if we cut the defense budget by
$3 to $5 billion, we will have to cut military personnel by 250,000, civilian
personnel by 100,000, jobs in America by 100,000. We would have to stretch out
our aircraft procurement, we would have to reduce our naval construction
program. We would have to reduce the research and development for the Army, the
Navy, the Air Force and Marines by 8 percent. We would have to close twenty
military bases in the United States immediately. That's the kind of defense
program that Mr. Carter wants.
Let me tell you this straight from the shoulder. You don't negotiate with
Mr. Brezhnev from weakness. And the kind of defense program that Mr. Carter
wants will mean a weaker defense and a poorer negotiating position.
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Trewhitt, a question for President Ford.
MR. TREWHITT: Mr. President, my question really is the other side of the
coin from Mr. Frankel's. For a generation the United States has had a foreign
policy based on containment of Communism; yet we have lost the first war in
Vietnam; we lost a shoving match in Angola, Communists threaten to come to power
by peaceful means in Italy and relations generally have cooled with the Soviet
Union in the last few months. So, let me ask you first, what do you do about
such cases as Italy, and, secondly, does this general drift mean that we're
moving back toward something like an old cold - cold-war relationship with the
THE PRESIDENT: I don't believe we should move to a cold war relationship.
I think it's in the best interest of the United States and the world as a whole
that the United States negotiate rather than go back to the cold war
relationship with the Soviet Union.
I don't look at the picture as bleakly as you have indicated in your
question, Mr. Trewhitt. I believe that the United States has had many successes
in recent years, in recent months, as far as the Communist movement is
concerned. We have been successful in Portugal where, a year ago, it looked like
there was a very great possibility that the Communists would take over in
Portugal. It didn't happen. We have a democracy in Portugal today.
A few months ago -- or I should say maybe two years ago -- the Soviet
Union looked like they had continued strength in the Middle East. Today,
according to Prime Minister Rabin, the Soviet Union is weaker in the Middle East
than they have been in many, many years. The facts are the Soviet Union
relationship with Egypt is at a low level; the Soviet Union relationship with
Syria is at a very low point. The United States today, according to Prime
Minister Rabin of Israel, is at a peak in its influence and power in the Middle
But let's turn for a minute to the southern African operations that are
now going on. The United States of America took the initiative in southern
Africa. We wanted to end the bloodshed in southern Africa. We wanted to have the
right of self-determination in southern Africa. We wanted to have majority rule
with the full protection of the rights of the minority. We wanted to preserve
human dignity in southern Africa. We have taken initiative, and in southern
Africa today the United States is trusted by the black frontline nations and
black Africa. The United States is trusted by other elements in southern Africa.
The United States foreign policy under this administration has been one of
progress and success. And I believe that instead of talking about Soviet
progress, we can talk about American successes.
And may I make an observation -- part of the question you asked, Mr.
Trewhitt -- I don't believe that it's in the best interest of the United States
and the NATO nations to have a Communist government in NATO. Mr. Carter has
indicated he would look with sympathy to a Communist government in NATO. I think
that would destroy the integrity and the strength of NATO, and I am totally
opposed to it.
MR. CARTER: Well, Mr. Ford, unfortunately, has just made a statement
that's not true. I have never advocated a Communist government for Italy. That
would, obviously, be a ridiculous thing for anyone to do who wanted to be
President of the country. I think that this is an instance of deliberate
distortion, and this has occurred also in the question about defense. As a
matter of fact, I've never advocated any cut of $15 billion in our defense
budget. As a matter of fact, Mr. Ford has made a political football out of the
About a year ago he cut the Pentagon budget $6.8 billion. After he fired
James Schlesinger the political heat got so great that he added back about $3
billion. When Ronald Reagan won the Texas primary election, Mr. Ford added back
another $1 billion. Immediately before the Kansas City convention, he added back
another $1.8 billion in the defense budget. And his own Office of Management and
Budget testified that he had a $3 billion cut insurance added to the defense
budget under the pressure from the Pentagon. Obviously, this is another
indication of trying to use the defense budget for political purposes, which
he's trying to do tonight.
Now, we went into south Africa late, after Great Britain, Rhodesia, the
black nations had been trying to solve this problem for many, many years. We
didn't go in until right before the election, similar to what was taking place
in 1972, when Mr. Kissinger announced peace is at hand just before the election
at that time.
And we have weakened our position in NATO, because the other countries in
Europe supported the democratic forces in Portugal long before we did. We stuck
to the Portugal dictatorships much longer than other democracies did in this
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Valeriani, a question for Governor Carter.
MR. VALERIANI: Governor Carter, much of what the United States does abroad
is done in the name of the national interest. What is your concept of the
national interest? What should the role of the United States in the world be?
And in that connection, considering your limited experience in foreign affairs
and the fact that you take same pride in being a Washington outsider, don't you
think it would be appropriate for you to tell the American voters before the
election, the people that you would like to have in key positions, such as
Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, national security affairs advisor at
the White House?
MR. CARTER: Well, I'm not going to name my cabinet before I get elected;
I've got a little ways to go before I start doing that. But I have an adequate
background, I believe. I am a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, the first
military graduate since Eisenhower. I've served as Governor of Georgia and have
traveled extensively in foreign countries -- in South America, Central America,
Europe, the Middle East and in Japan.
I've traveled the last 21 months among the people of this country. I've
talked to them, and I've listened. And I've seen at first hand, in a very vivid
way, the deep hurt that's come to this country in the aftermath of Vietnam and
Cambodia and Chile and Pakistan, and Angola and Watergate, CIA revelations.
What we were formerly so proud of -- the strength of our country, its
moral integrity, the representation in foreign affairs of what our people are,
what our Constitution stands for -- has been gone. And in the secrecy that has
surrounded our foreign policy in the last few years, the American people and the
Congress have been excluded.
I believe I know what this country ought to be. I've been one who's loved
my Nation as many Americans do. And I believe that there's no limit placed on
what we can be in the future if we can harness the tremendous resources --
militarily, economically -- and the stature of our people, the meaning of the
Constitution, in the future.
Every time we've made a serious mistake in foreign affairs, it's been
because the American people have been excluded from the process. If we can just
tap the intelligence and ability, the sound common sense, and the good judgment
of the American people, we can once again have a foreign policy to make us proud
instead of ashamed. And I'm not going to exclude the American people from that
process in the future, as Mr. Ford and Kissinger have done.
This is what it takes to have a sound foreign policy: strong at home,
strong defense, permanent commitments, not betray the principles of our country,
and involve the American people and the Congress in the shaping of our foreign
Every time Mr. Ford speaks from a position of secrecy -- in negotiations
and secret treaties that have been pursued and achieved, in supporting
dictatorships, in ignoring human rights -- we are weak and the rest of the world
So these are the ways that we can restore the strength of our country. And
they don't require long experience in foreign policy -- nobody has that except a
President who has served a long time or a Secretary of State. But my background,
my experience, my knowledge of the people of this country, my commitment to our
principles that don't change -- those are the best bases to correct the horrible
mistakes of this administration and restore our own country to a position of
leadership in the world.
MR. VALERIANI: How specifically, Governor, are you going to bring the
American people into the decisionmaking process in foreign policy? What does
MR. CARTER: First of all, I would quit conducting the decisionmaking
process in secret, as has been a characteristic of Mr. Kissinger and Mr. Ford.
In many instances we've made agreements, like in Vietnam, that have been
revealed later on to our embarrassment.
Recently Ian Smith, the President of Rhodesia, announced that he had
unequivocal commitments from Mr. Kissinger that he could not reveal. The
American people don't know what those commitments are. We've seen in the past
the destruction of elected governments, like in Chile, and the strong support of
military dictatorship there. These kinds of things have hurt us very much.
I would restore the concept of the fireside chat, which was an integral
part of the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. And I would also restore the
involvement of the Congress. When Harry Truman was President he was not afraid
to have a strong Secretary of Defense -- Dean Acheson, George Marshall were
strong Secretaries of State. But he also made sure that there was a bipartisan
support. The members of Congress, Arthur Vandenberg, Walter George, were part of
the process. And before our nation made a secret agreement, or before we made a
bluffing statement, we were sure that we had the backing not only of the
President and the Secretary of State, but also of the Congress and the people.
This is a responsibility of the President. And I think it's very damaging to our
country for Mr. Ford to have turned over this responsibility to the Secretary of
THE MODERATOR: President Ford, do you have a response?
THE PRESIDENT: Governor Carter again contradicts himself. He complains
about secrecy, and yet he is quoted as saying that in the attempt to find a
solution in the Middle East that he would hold unpublicized meetings with the
Soviet Union -- I presume for the purpose of imposing a settlement on Israel and
the Arab nations.
But let me talk just a minute about what we've done to avoid secrecy in
the Ford administration. After the United States took the initiative in working
with Israel and with Egypt and achieving the Sinai II agreement -- and I'm proud
to say that not a single Egyptian or Israeli soldier has lost his life since the
signing of the Sinai agreement -- but at the time that I submitted the Sinai
agreement to the Congress of the United States, I submitted every single
document that was applicable to the Sinai II agreement. It was the most complete
documentation by any President of any agreement signed by a President on behalf
of the United States.
Now as far as meeting with the Congress is concerned, during the 24 months
that I've been the President of the United States, I have averaged better than
one meeting a month with responsible groups or committees of the Congress - both
House and Senate.
The Secretary of State has appeared, in the several years that he's been
the Secretary, before 80 different committee hearings in the House and in the
Senate. The Secretary of State has made better than 50 speeches all over the
United States explaining American foreign policy. I have made myself at least 10
speeches in various parts of the country where I have discussed with the
American people defense and foreign policy.
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Frankel, a question for President Ford.
MR. FRANKEL: Mr. President, I'd like to explore a little more deeply our
relationship with the Russians. They used to brag, back in Khrushchev's day,
that because of their greater patience and because of our greed for business
deals, that they would sooner or later get the better of us. Is it possible that
despite some setbacks in the Middle East, they've proved their point? Our allies
in France and Italy are now flirting with communism. We've recognized the
permanent Communist regime in East Germany. We've virtually signed, in Helsinki,
an agreement that the Russians have dominance in Eastern Europe; we've bailed
out Soviet agriculture with our huge grain sales, we've given them large loans,
access to our best technology, and if the Senate hadn't interfered with the
Jackson Amendment, maybe you would've given them even larger loans. Is that what
you call a two-way street of traffic in Europe?
THE PRESIDENT: I believe that we have negotiated with the Soviet Union
since I've been President from a position of strength. And let me cite several
examples. Shortly after I became President in December of 1974, I met with
General Secretary Brezhnev in Vladivostok. And we agreed to a mutual cap on the
ballistic missile launchers at a ceiling of 2,400, which means that the Soviet
Union, if that becomes a permanent agreement, will have to make a reduction in
their launchers that they now have or plan to have. I've negotiated at
Vladivostok with Mr. Brezhnev a limitation on the MIRVing of their ballistic
missiles at a figure of 1,320, which is the first time that any President has
achieved a cap either on launchers or on MIRVs.
It seems to me that we can go from there to the grain sales. The grain
sales have been a benefit to American agriculture. We have achieved a 5 3/4-year
sale of a minimum 6 million metric tons, which means that they have already
bought about 4 million metric tons this year and are bound to buy another 2
million metric tons to take the grain and corn and wheat that the American
farmers have produced in order to have full production. And these grain sales to
the Soviet Union have helped us tremendously in meeting the costs of the
additional oil and the oil that we have bought from overseas.
If we turn to Helsinki -- I'm glad you raised it, Mr. Frankel -- in the
case of Helsinki, 35 nations signed an agreement, including the Secretary of
State for the Vatican - I can't under any circumstances believe that His
Holiness, the Pope would agree by signing that agreement that the thirty-five
nations have turned over to the Warsaw Pact nations the domination of Eastern
Europe. It just isn't true. And if Mr. Carter alleges that His Holiness by
signing that, has done it, he is totally inaccurate.
Now, what has been accomplished by the Helsinki agreement? Number one, we
have an agreement where they notify us and we notify them of any military
maneuvers that are to be undertaken. They have done it in both cases where
they've done so. There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never
will be under a Ford administration.
MR. FRANKEL: I'm sorry, could I just follow -- did I understand you to
say, sir, that the Russians are not using Eastern Europe as their own sphere of
influence in occupying most of the countries there and making sure with their
troops that it's a Communist zone, whereas on our side of the line the Italians
and the French are still flirting with the possibility of Communism?
THE PRESIDENT: I don't believe, Mr. Frankel that the Yugoslavians consider
themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Rumanians
consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the
Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. Each of those countries
is independent, autonomous; it has its own territorial integrity. And the United
States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the
Soviet Union. As a matter of fact, I visited Poland, Yugoslavia and Rumania to
make certain that the people of those countries understood that the President of
the United States and the people of the United States are dedicated to their
independence, their autonomy and their freedom.
THE MODERATOR: Governor Carter, have you a response?
MR. CARTER: Well, in the first place, I'm not criticizing His Holiness the
Pope. I was talking about Mr. Ford.
The fact is that secrecy has surrounded the decisions made by the Ford
administration. In the case of the Helsinki agreement, it may have been a good
agreement at the beginning, but we have failed to enforce the so-called Basket 3
part, which insures the right of people to migrate, to join their families, to
be free to speak out. The Soviet Union is still jamming Radio Free Europe -
Radio Free Europe is being jammed.
We've also seen a very serious problem with the so-called Sonnenfeldt
document which, apparently, Mr. Ford has just endorsed, which said that there's
an organic linkage between the Eastern European countries and the Soviet Union.
And I would like to see Mr. Ford convince the Polish-Americans and the
Czech-Americans and the Hungarian-Americans in this country that those countries
don't live under the domination and supervision of the Soviet Union behind the
We also have seen Mr. Ford exclude himself from access to the public. He
hasn't had a tough cross-examination-type press conference in over 30 days. One
press conference he had without sound.
He's also shown a weakness in yielding to pressure. The Soviet Union, for
instance, put pressure on Mr. Ford, and he refused to see a symbol of human
freedom recognized around the world -- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
The Arabs have put pressure on Mr. Ford, and he's yielded, and has
permitted a boycott by the Arab countries of American businesses who trade with
Israel, who have American Jews owning or taking part in the management of
American companies. His own Secretary of Commerce had to be subpoenaed by the
Congress to reveal the names of businesses who were subject to this boycott.
They didn't volunteer the information; he had to be subpoenaed.
And the last thing I'd like to say is this: This grain deal with the
Soviet Union in '72 was terrible, and Mr. Ford made up for it with three
embargoes -- one against our own ally in Japan. That's not the way to run our
foreign policy, including international trade.
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Trewhitt, a question for Governor Carter.
MR. TREWHITT: Governor, I'd like to pick up on that point, actually, and
on your appeal for a greater measure of American idealism in foreign affairs.
Foreign affairs come home to the American public pretty much in such issues as
oil embargoes and grain sales, that sort of thing. Would you be willing to risk
an oil embargo in order to promote human rights in Iran and Saudi Arabia --
withhold arms from Saudi Arabia for the same purpose? As a matter of fact, I
think you have perhaps answered this final part, but would you withhold grain
from the Soviet Union in order to promote civil rights in the Soviet Union?
MR. CARTER: I would never single out food as a trade embargo item. If I
ever decided to impose an embargo because of a crisis in international
relationships, it would include all shipments of all equipment. For instance, if
the Arab countries ever again declare an embargo against our nation on oil I
would consider that not a military but an economic declaration of war. And I
would respond instantly and in kind. I would not ship that Arab country anything
-- no weapons, no spare parts for weapons, no oil-drilling rigs, no oil pipe, no
nothing. I wouldn't single out just food.
Another thing that I'd like to say is this: In our international trade, as
I said in my opening statement, we have become the arms merchant of the world.
When this Republican administration came into office we were shipping about $1
billion worth of arms overseas, now $10 to $12 billion worth of arms overseas to
countries that quite often use these weapons to fight each other.
The shift in emphasis has been very disturbing to me, speaking about the
Middle East. Under the last Democratic administration 60 percent of all weapons
that went into the Middle East were for Israel. Nowadays -- 75 percent were for
Israel before -- now 60 percent go to the Arab countries, and this does not
include Iran. If you include Iran, our present shipment of weapons to the Middle
East -- only 20 percent goes to Israel. This is a deviation from idealism; it's
a deviation from a commitment to our major ally in the Middle East, which is
Israel; it's a yielding to economic pressure on the part of the Arabs on the oil
issue; and it's also a tremendous indication that under the Ford administration
we have not addressed the energy policy adequately.
We still have no comprehensive energy policy in this country. And it's an
overall sign of weakness. When we are weak at home economically -- high
unemployment, high inflation, a confused government, a wasteful defense
establishment -- this encourages the kind of pressure that's been put on us
successfully. It would've been inconceivable 10, 15 years ago, for us to be
brought to our knees with an Arab oil embargo. But it was done three years ago
and they're still putting pressure on us from the Arab countries to our
discredit around the world.
These are the weaknesses that I see, and I believe it's not just a matter
of idealism. It's a matter of being tough. It's a matter of being strong. It's a
matter of being consistent. Our priorities ought to be, first of all, to meet
our own military needs; secondly, to meet the needs of our allies and friends,
and only then should we ship military equipment to foreign countries. As a
matter of fact, Iran is going to get 80 F-14s before we even meet our own Air
Force orders for F-l4s, and the shipment of Spruance-Class Destroyers to Iran
are much more highly sophisticated than the Spruance-Class Destroyers that are
presently being delivered to our own Navy. This is ridiculous and it ought to be
MR. TREWHITT: Governor, let me pursue that if I may. If I understand you
correctly you would, in fact, to use my examples, withhold arms from Iran and
Saudi Arabia even if the risk was an oil embargo and if they should be securing
those arms from somewhere else. And then if the embargo came, then you'd respond
in kind. Do I have it correctly?
MR. CARTER: If -- Iran is not an Arab country, as you know, it is a Moslem
country. But if Saudi Arabia should declare an oil embargo against us, then I
would consider that an economic declaration of war. And I would make sure that
the Saudis understood this ahead of time, so there would be no doubt in their
mind. I think under those circumstances, they would refrain from pushing us to
our knees as they did in 1973 with the previous oil embargo.
THE MODERATOR: President Ford?
THE PRESIDENT: Governor Carter apparently doesn't realize that since I've
been President we have sold to the Israelis over $4 billion in military
hardware. We have made available to the Israelis over 45 percent of the total
economic and military aid since the establishment of Israel twenty-seven years
ago. So the Ford administration has done a good job in helping our good ally,
Israel, and we're dedicated to the survival and security of Israel.
I believe that Governor Carter doesn't realize the need and necessity for
arms sales to Iran. He indicates he would not make those. Iran is bordered very
extensively by the Soviet Union. Iran has Iraq as one of its neighbors. The
Soviet Union and the Communist-dominated government of Iraq are neighbors of
Iran, and Iran is an ally of the United States. It's my strong feeling that we
ought to sell arms to Iran for its own national security, and as an ally, a
strong ally of the United States.
The history of our relationship with Iran goes back to the days of
President Truman when he decided that it was vitally necessary for our own
security, as well as that of Iran, that we should help that country. And Iran
has been a good ally. In 1973 when there was an oil embargo, Iran did not
participate; Iran continued to sell oil to the United States. I believe that
it's in our interest and in the interest of Israel and Iran, and Saudi Arabia,
for the United States to sell arms to those countries. It's for their security
as well as ours.
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Valeriani, a question for President Ford.
MR. VALERIANI: Mr. President, the policy of your administration is to
normalize relations with mainland China. And that means establishing at some
point full diplomatic relations and, obviously, doing something about the mutual
defense treaty with Taiwan. If you are elected, will you move to establish full
diplomatic relations with Peking, and will you abrogate the mutual defense
treaty with Taiwan? And, as a corollary, would you provide mainland China with
military equipment if the Chinese were to ask for it?
THE PRESIDENT: Our relationship with the People's Republic of China is
based upon the Shanghai Communique of 1972, and that communique calls for the
normalization of relations between the United States and the People's Republic.
It doesn't set a time schedule. It doesn't make a determination as to how that
relationship should be achieved in relationship to our current diplomatic
recognition and obligations to the Taiwanese Government. The Shanghai Communique,
does say that the differences between the People's Republic on the one hand and
Taiwan on the other shall be settled by peaceful means.
The net result is this administration -- and during my time as the
President for the next 4 years -- we will continue to move for normalization of
relations in the traditional sense. And we will insist that the disputes between
Taiwan and the People's Republic be settled peacefully, as was agreed in the
Shanghai Communique of 1972.
The Ford administration will not let down, will not eliminate or forget
our obligation to the people of Taiwan. We feel that there must be a continued
obligation to the people, the some 19 or 20 million people in Taiwan. And as we
move during the next 4 years, those will be the policies of this administration.
MR. VALERIANI: Sir, the military equipment for the mainland Chinese?
THE PRESIDENT: There is no policy of this government to give to the
People's Republic, or to sell to the People's Republic of China, military
equipment. I do not believe that we, the United States, should sell, give, or
otherwise transfer military hardware to the People's Republic of China or any
other Communist nations, such as the Soviet Union and the like.
THE MODERATOR: Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER: Well, I'd like to go back just one moment to the previous
question, where Mr. Ford, I think, confused the issue by trying to say that we
are shipping Israel 40 percent of our aid. As a matter of fact, during this
current year we are shipping Iran -- or have contracted to ship to Iran -- about
$7 billion worth of arms and also to Saudi Arabia about $7 billion worth of
Also, in 1975 we almost brought Israel to their knees after the Yom Kippur
War by the so-called reassessment of our relationship to Israel. We in effect
tried to make Israel the scapegoat for the problems in the Middle East. And this
weakened our relationship with Israel a great deal and put a cloud on the total
commitment that our people feel toward the Israelis. There ought to be a clear,
unequivocal commitment without change to Israel.
In the Far East I think we need to continue to be strong and I would
certainly pursue the normalization of relationships with the People's Republic
of China. We opened a great opportunity in l972 -- which has pretty well been
frittered away under Mr. Ford--that ought to be a constant inclination toward
friendship. But I would never let that friendship with the People's Republic of
China stand in the way of the preservation of the independence and freedom of
the people on Taiwan.
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Frankel, a question for Governor Carter.
MR. FRANKEL: Governor, we always seem, in our elections, and maybe in
between, too, to argue about who can be tougher in the world. Give or take a few
billion dollars, give or take one weapons systems, our leading politicians, and
I think you two gentlemen, seem to settle roughly on the same strategy in the
world at roughly the same Pentagon budget cost.
How bad do things have to get in our own economy, or how much backwardness
and hunger would it take in the world to persuade you that our national security
and our survival required very drastic cutbacks in arms spending and dramatic
new efforts in other directions?
MR. CARTER: Well, always in the past we've had an ability to have a strong
defense and also to have a strong domestic economy and also to be strong in our
reputation and influence within the community of nations. These characteristics
of our country have been endangered under Mr. Ford. We're no longer respected in
a showdown vote in the United Nations or in any other international council
we're lucky to get 20 percent of the other nations to vote with us. Our allies
feel that we've neglected them. The so-called Nixon shocks against Japan have
weakened our relationships there. Under this administration we've also had an
inclination to keep separate the European countries, thinking that if they are
separate, then we can dominate them and proceed with our secret Lone Ranger-type
I would also like to point out that we in this country have let our
economy go down the drain -- the worst inflation since the Great Depression, the
highest unemployment of any developed nation of the world. We have a higher
unemployment rate in this country than Great Britain, than West Germany; our
unemployment rate is twice as high as it is in Italy; it's three or four times
as high as it is in Japan. And that terrible circumstance in this country is
exported overseas. We comprise about 30 percent of the world's economic trade
power influence. And when we're weak at home, weaker than all our allies, that
weakness weakens the whole free world. So strong economy is very important.
Another thing that we need to do is to reestablish the good relationships
that we ought to have between the United States and our natural allies and
friends -- they have felt neglected. And using that base of strength, and using
the idealism, the honesty, the predictability, the commitment, the integrity of
our own country -- that's where our strength lies. And that would permit us to
deal with the developing nations in a position of strength.
Under this administration we've had a continuation of the so-called
"balance of power politics" where everything is looked on as a struggle between
us on the one side and the Soviet Union on the other. Our allies, the smaller
countries get trampled in the rush.
What we need is to try to seek individualized bilateral relationships with
countries, regardless of their size and to establish world-order politics, which
means that we want to preserve peace through strength. We also want to revert
back to the stature and the respect that our country had in previous
administrations. Now, I can't say when this can come, but I can guarantee it
will not come if Gerald Ford is reelected and this present policy is continued.
It will come if I'm elected.
MR. FRANKEL: If I hear you right, sir, you are saying guns and butter
both, but President Johnson also had trouble keeping up both Vietnam and his
domestic programs. I was really asking, when do the needs of the cities and our
own needs and those of other backward and even more needy countries and
societies around the world take precedence over some of our military spending?
MR. CARTER: Let me say very quickly that under President Johnson, in spite
of the massive investment in the Vietnam War, he turned over a balanced budget
to Mr. Nixon. The unemployment rate was less than 4 percent. The inflation rate
under Kennedy and Johnson was about 2 percent - one-third what it is under this
administration. So, we did have at that time, with good management, the ability
to do both. I don't think that anybody can say that Johnson and Kennedy
neglected the poor and the destitute people in this country or around the world.
But I can say this: The number one responsibility of any President, above
all else, is to guarantee the security of our Nation, an ability to be free of
the threat of attack, or blackmail and to carry out our obligations to our
allies and friends and to carry out a legitimate foreign policy. They must go
hand in hand. But the security of this nation has got to come first.
THE MODERATOR: President Ford.
THE PRESIDENT: Let me say very categorically, you cannot maintain the
security of the United States with the kind of defense budget cuts that Governor
Carter has indicated. In 1975 he wanted to cut the budget $15 billion. He is now
down to a figure of $5 to $7 billion. Reductions of that kind will not permit
the United States to be strong enough to deter aggression and maintain the
Governor Carter apparently doesn't know the facts. As soon as I became
President, I initiated a meeting with the NATO heads of state and met with them
in Brussels to discuss how we could improve the defense relationship in Western
Europe. In November of 1975, I met with the leaders of the five industrial
nations in France for the purpose of seeing what we could do, acting together to
meet the problems of the coming recession. In Puerto Rico this year, I met with
six of the leading industrial nations' heads of state to meet the problem of
inflation so we would be able to solve it before it got out of hand.
I have met with the heads of government bilaterally as well as
multilaterally. Our relations with Japan have never been better. I was the first
United States President to visit Japan. And we had the Emperor of Japan here
this past year. And the net result is Japan and the United States are working
more closely together now than at any time in the history of our relationship.
You can go around the world - and let me take Israel for example. Just recently,
President [Prime Minister] Rabin said that our relations were never better.
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Trewhitt, a question for President Ford.
MR. TREWHITT: Mr. President, you referred earlier to your meeting with Mr.
Brezhnev at Vladivostok in 1974. At - you agreed on that occasion to try to
achieve another strategic arms limitation -- SALT -- agreement within the year.
Nothing happened in l975 or not very much publicly, at least, and those talks
are still dragging, and things got quieter as the current season approached. Is
there a bit of politics involved there, perhaps on both sides? Or perhaps more
important are interim weapons developments -- and I'm thinking of such things as
the cruise missile and the Soviet SS-20, an intermediate-range rocket -- making
SALT irrelevant, bypassing the SALT negotiations?
THE PRESIDENT: First, we have to understand that SALT I expires October 3,
1977. Mr. Brezhnev and I met in Vladivostok in December of 1974 for the purpose
of trying to take the initial step so we could have a SALT II agreement that
would go to l985. As I indicated earlier, we did agree on a 2,400 limitation on
launchers of ballistic missiles. That would mean a cutback in the Soviet
program. It would not interfere with our own program. At the same time, we put a
limitation of 1,320 on MIRVs.
Our technicians have been working since that time in Geneva, trying to put
into technical language an agreement that can be verified by both parties. In
the meantime, there has developed the problem of the Soviet Backfire, their
high-performance aircraft, which they say is not a long-range aircraft and which
some of our people say is an intercontinental aircraft. In the interim there has
been the development on our part primarily, the cruise missiles -- cruise
missiles that could be launched from land-based mobile installations; cruise
missiles that could be launched from high-performance aircraft like the B-52s or
the B-1s, which I hope we proceed with; cruise missiles which could be launched
from either surface or submarine naval vessels. Those gray-area weapons systems
are creating some problems in the agreement for a SALT II negotiation.
But I can say that I am dedicated to proceeding. And I met just last week
with the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, and he indicated to me that the
Soviet Union was interested in narrowing the differences and making a realistic
and a sound compromise.
I hope and trust, in the best interest of both countries and in the best
interests of all people throughout this globe that the Soviet Union and the
United States can make a mutually beneficial agreement. Because if we do not and
SALT I expires on October 3, 1977, you will unleash again an all-out nuclear
arms race with the potential of a nuclear holocaust of unbelievable dimensions.
So it's the obligation of the President to do just that, and I intend to do so.
MR. TREWHITT: Mr. President, let me follow that up. I'll submit that the
cruise missile adds a whole new dimension to the arms competition, and then cite
a statement by your office to the arms control association a few days ago in
which you said the cruise missile might eventually be included in a
comprehensive arms limitation agreement, but that in the meantime it was an
essential part of the American strategic arsenal. Now, may I assume from that
that you're tending to exclude the cruise missile from the next SALT agreement,
or is it still negotiable in that context?
THE PRESIDENT: I believe that the cruise missiles which we are now
developing in research and development across the spectrum -- from air, from the
sea, or from the land -- can be included within a SALT II agreement. They are a
new weapons system that has a great potential, both conventional and nuclear
armed. At the same time, we have to make certain that the Soviet Union's
Backfire, which they claim is not an intercontinental aircraft and which some of
our people contend is, must also be included if we are to get the kind of
agreement which is in the best interests of both countries.
And I really believe that it's far better for us and for the Soviet Union
and, more importantly, for the people around the world that these two
superpowers find an answer for a SALT II agreement before October 3, 1977. I
think good will on both parts, hard bargaining by both parties, and a reasonable
compromise will be in the best interests of all parties.
THE MODERATOR: Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER: Well, Mr. Ford acts like he is running for President for the
first time. He has been in office 2 years, and there has been absolutely no
progress made toward a new SALT agreement. He has learned the date of the
expiration of SALT I, apparently.
We have seen, in this world, a development of a tremendous threat to us.
As a nuclear engineer myself, I know the limitations and capabilities of atomic
power. I also know that as far as the human beings on this Earth are concerned
that the nonproliferation of atomic weapons is number one. Only in the last few
days, with the election approaching, has Mr. Ford taken any interest in a
I advocated last May, in a speech at the United Nations, that we move
immediately as a nation to declare a complete moratorium on the testing of all
nuclear devices, both weapons and peaceful devices; that we not ship any more
atomic fuel to a country that refuses to comply with strict controls over the
waste which can be reprocessed into explosives. I've also advocated that we stop
the sale by Germany and France of reprocessing plants for Pakistan and Brazil.
Mr. Ford hasn't moved on this. We also need to provide an adequate supply of
enriched uranium. Mr. Ford again, under pressure from the atomic energy lobby,
has insisted that this reprocessing or rather reenrichment be done by private
industry and not by the existing government plants.
This kind of confusion and absence of leadership has let us drift now for
two years with a constantly increasing threat of atomic weapons throughout the
world. We now have five nations that have atomic bombs that we know about. If we
continue under Mr. Ford's policy by 1985 or '90 we'll have 20 nations that have
the capability of exploding atomic weapons. This has got to be stopped. That is
one of the major challenges and major undertakings that I will assume as the
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Valeriani, a question for Governor Carter.
MR. VALERIANI: Governor Carter, earlier tonight you said America is not
strong any more, America is not respected any more. And I feel that I must ask
you, do you really believe that the United States is not the strongest country
in the world? Do you really believe that the United States is not the most
respected country in the world, or is that just campaign rhetoric?
MR. CARTER: No, it's not just campaign rhetoric. I think that militarily
we are as strong as any nation on Earth. I think we've got to stay that way and
continue to increase our capabilities to meet any potential threat. But as far
as strength derived from commitment to principles; as far as strength derived
from the unity within our country; as far as strength derived from the people,
the Congress, the Secretary of state, the President -- sharing in the evolution
and carrying out of a foreign policy; as far as strength derived from the
respect of our own allies and friends, their assurance that we will be staunch
in our commitment, that we will not deviate and that we'll give them adequate
attention; as far as strength derived from doing what is right, caring for the
poor, providing food, becoming the breadbasket of the world instead of the arms
merchant of the world -- in those respects, we are not strong. Also, we will
never be strong again overseas, unless we're strong at home. And with our
economy in such terrible disarray and getting worse by the month -- we have got
500,000 more Americans unemployed today than we had 3 months ago. We've got 2
million more Americans out of work now than we had when Mr. Ford took office --
this kind of deterioration in our economic strength is bound to weaken us around
And we not only have problems at home but we export those problems
overseas. So, as far as the respect of our own people toward our own Government,
as far as participating in the shaping of concepts and commitments, as far as
the trust of our country among the nations of the world, as far as dependence of
our country in meeting the needs and obligations that we've expressed to our
allies, as far as the respect of our country, even among our potential
adversaries, we are weak. Potentially, we are strong. Under this administration
that strength has not been realized.
THE MODERATOR: President Ford.
THE PRESIDENT: Governor Carter brags about the unemployment during
Democratic administrations and condemns the unemployment at the present time. I
must remind him that we are at peace and during the period that he brags about
unemployment being low, the United States was at war.
Now let me correct one other comment that Governor Carter has made. I have
recommended to the Congress that we develop the uranium enrichment plant at
Portsmouth, Ohio, which is a publicly owned U.S. Government facility and have
indicated that the private program which would follow on in Alabama is one that
may or may not be constructed, but I am committed to the one at Portsmouth,
The governor also talks about morality in foreign policy. The foreign
policy of the United States meets the highest standards of morality. What is
more moral than peace? And the United States is at peace today. What is more
moral in foreign policy than for the administration to take the lead in the
World Food Conference in Rome in 1974, when the United States committed 6
million metric tons of food, over 60 percent of the food committed for the
disadvantaged and underdeveloped nations of the world? The Ford administration
wants to eradicate hunger and disease in our underdeveloped countries throughout
the world. What is more moral than for the United States under the Ford
administration to take the lead in southern Africa, in the Middle East? Those
are initiatives in foreign policy which are of the highest moral standards. And
that is indicative of the foreign policy of this country.
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Frankel, a question for President Ford.
MR. FRANKEL: Mr. President, can we stick with morality? For a lot of
people it seems to cover a bunch of sins.
Mr. Nixon and Mr. Kissinger used to tell us that instead of morality we
had to worry in the world about living and letting live all kinds of governments
that we really didn't like -- North and South Korean dictators, Chilean
fascists, Chinese Communists, Iranian emperors, and so on. They said the only
way to get by in a wicked world was to treat others on the basis of how they
treated us and not how they treated their own people.
But more recently we seemed to have taken a different tack. We seem to
have decided that it is part of our business to tell the Rhodesians, for
instance, that the way they are treating their own black people is wrong and
they've got to change their government and we've put pressure on them. We were
rather liberal in our advice to the Italians as to how to vote.
Is this a new Ford foreign policy in the making? Can we expect that you
are now going to turn to South Africa and force them to change their government,
to intervene in similar ways to end the bloodshed, as you called it, say, in
Chile or Chilean prisons, and throw our weight around for the values that we
hold dear in the world?
THE PRESIDENT: I believe that our foreign policy must express the highest
standards of morality, and the initiatives that we took in southern Africa are
the best examples of what this administration is doing and will continue to do
in the next 4 years.
If the United States had not moved when we did in southern Africa, there
is no doubt there would have been an acceleration of bloodshed in that tragic
part of the world. If we had not taken our initiative, it's very, very possible
that the government of Rhodesia would have been overrun and that the Soviet
Union and the Cubans would have dominated southern Africa.
So the United States, seeking to preserve the principle of
self-determination, to eliminate the possibility of bloodshed, to protect the
rights of the minority as we insisted upon the rights of the majority, I believe
followed the good conscience of the American people in foreign policy, and I
believe that we have used our skill. Secretary of State Kissinger has done a
superb job in working with the black African nations, the so-called front-line
nations. He has done a superb job in getting the Prime Minister of South Africa,
Mr. Vorster, to agree that the time had come for a solution to the problem of
Rhodesia. Secretary Kissinger, in his meeting with Prime Minister Smith of
Rhodesia, was able to convince him that it was in the best interests of whites
as well as blacks in Rhodesia to find an answer for a transitional government
and then a majority government.
This is a perfect example of the kind of leadership that the United
States, under this administration, has taken. And I can assure you that this
administration will follow that high moral principle in our future efforts in
foreign policy, including our efforts in the Middle East, where it is vitally
important because the Middle East is the crossroads of the world. There have
been more disputes, and it's an area where there's more volatility than any
other place in the world. But because Arab nations and the Israelis trust the
United States, we were able to take the lead in the Sinai II Agreement.
And I can assure you that the United States will have the leadership role
in moving toward a comprehensive settlement of the Middle Eastern problems -- I
hope and trust as soon as possible -- And we will do it with the highest moral
MR. FRANKEL: Mr. President, just clarify one point: There are lots of
majorities in the world that feel they're being pushed around by minority
governments. And are you saying they can now expect to look to us for not just
good cheer but throwing our weight on their side in South Africa or on Taiwan or
in Chile, to help change their governments, as in Rhodesia?
THE PRESIDENT: I would hope that as we move to one area of the world from
another -- and the United States must not spread itself too thinly; that was one
of the problems that helped to create the circumstances in Vietnam -- but as we
as a nation find that we are asked by the various parties, either one nation
against another or individuals within a nation, that the United States will take
the leadership and try to resolve the differences.
Let me take South Korea as an example. I have personally told President
Park that the United States does not condone the kind of repressive measures
that he has taken in that country. But I think in all fairness and equity we
have to recognize the problem that South Korea has. On the north they have North
Korea with 500,000 well-trained, well-equipped troops. They are supported by the
People's Republic of China. They are supported by the Soviet Union. South Korea
faces a very delicate situation. Now, the United States in this case, this
administration, has recommended a year ago -- and we have reiterated it again
this year -- that the United States, South Korea, North Korea and the People's
Republic of China sit down at a conference table to resolve the problems of the
Korean peninsula. This is a leadership role that the United States, under this
administration, is carrying out. And if we do it -- and I think the
opportunities and the possibilities are getting better -- we will have solved
many of the internal domestic problems that exist in South Korea at the present
THE MODERATOR: Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER: I notice that Mr. Ford didn't comment on the prisons in Chile.
This is a typical example, maybe of many others, where this administration
overthrew an elected government and helped to establish a military dictatorship.
This has not been an ancient history story. Last year, under Mr. Ford, of all
the Food for Peace that went to South America, 85 percent went to the military
dictatorship in Chile.
Another point I want to make is this: He says we have to move from one
area of the world to another. That's one of the problems with this
administration's so-called shuttle diplomacy. While the Secretary of State is in
one country, there are almost 150 others that are wondering what we are going to
do next, what will be the next secret agreement. We don't have a comprehensive,
understandable foreign policy that deals with world problems or even regional
problems. Another thing that concerned me was what Mr. Ford said about
unemployment, that insinuating that under Johnson and Kennedy that unemployment
could only be held down when this country is at war. Karl Marx said that the
free enterprise system in a democracy can only continue to exist when they are
at war or preparing far war. Karl Marx was the grandfather of communism. I don't
agree with that statement. I hope Mr. Ford doesn't, either.
He has put pressure on the Congress -- and I don't believe Mr. Ford would
even deny this -- to hold up on nonproliferation legislation until the Congress
agreed for an $8 billion program for private industry to start producing
And the last thing I want to make is this: He talks about peace and I am
thankful for peace. We were peaceful when Mr. Ford went into office, but he and
Mr. Kissinger and others tried to start a new Vietnam in Angola. And it was only
the outcry of the American people and the Congress when their secret deal was
discovered that prevented our involvement in that conflagration which was taking
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, I am sorry to say we do not have time enough for
two complete sequences of questions. We now have only 12 minutes left.
Therefore, I would like to ask for shorter questions and shorter answers. And we
also will drop the follow-up question. Each candidate may still respond, of
course, to the other's answer.
Mr. Trewhitt, a question for Governor Carter.
MR. TREWHITT: Governor Carter, before this event the most communication I
received concerned Panama. Would you, as President, be prepared to sign a treaty
which at a fixed date yielded administrative and economic control of the Canal
Zone and shared defense which, as I understand it, is the position the United
States took in 1974?
MR. CARTER: Well, here again, the Panamanian question is one that's been
confused by Mr. Ford. He had directed his diplomatic representative to yield to
the Panamanians full sovereignty over the Panama Canal Zone at the end of a
certain period of time. When Mr. Reagan raised this question in Florida, Mr.
Ford not only disavowed his instructions, but he also even dropped,
parenthetically, the use of the word "detente."
I would never give up complete control or practical control of the Panama
Canal Zone, but I would continue to negotiate with the Panamanians. When the
original treaty was signed back in the early 1900s, when Theodore Roosevelt was
President, Panama retained sovereignty over the Panama Canal Zone. We retained
control as though we had sovereignty.
Now I would be willing to go ahead with negotiations. I believe that we
could share more fully responsibilities for the Panama Canal Zone with Panama. I
would be willing to continue to raise the payment for shipment of goods through
the Panama Canal Zone. I might even be willing to reduce to some degree our
military emplacements in the Panama Canal Zane, but I would not relinquish
practical control of the Panama Canal Zane any time in the foreseeable future.
THE MODERATOR: President Ford.
THE PRESIDENT: The United States must and will maintain complete access to
the Panama Canal. The United States must maintain a defense capability of the
Panama Canal, and the United States will maintain our national security interest
in the Panama Canal.
The negotiations for the Panama Canal started under President Johnson and
have continued up to the present time. I believe those negotiations should
continue. But there are certain guidelines that must be followed, and I've just
Let me take just a minute to comment on something that Governor Carter
said on nonproliferation. In May of l975, I called for a conference of nuclear
suppliers. That conference has met six times. In May of this year, Governor
Carter took the first initiative, approximately twelve months after I had taken
my initiative a year ago.
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Valeriani, a question for President Ford.
MR. VALERIANI: Mr. President, the Government [General] Accounting Office
has just put out a report suggesting that you shot from the hip in the
Mayaguez rescue mission and that you ignored diplomatic messages saying that
a peaceful solution was in prospect. Why didn't you do more diplomatically at
the time? And a related question: Did the White House try to prevent the release
of that report?
THE PRESIDENT: The White House did not prevent the release of that report.
On July twelfth of this year, we gave full permission for the release of that
report. I was very disappointed in the fact that the GAO released that report
because I think it interjected political, partisan politics at the present time.
But let me comment on the report. Somebody who sits in Washington, D.C.,
18 months after the Mayaguez incident, can be a very good grandstand
quarterback. And let me make another observation. This morning, I got a call
from the skipper of the Mayaguez. He was furious because he told me that
it was the action of me, President Ford, that saved the lives of the crew of the
Mayaguez. And I can assure you that if we had not taken the strong and
forceful action that we did, we would have been criticized very, very severely
for sitting back and not moving.
Captain Miller is thankful. The crew is thankful. We did the right thing.
It seems to me that those who sit in Washington 18 months after the incident are
not the best judges of the decisionmaking process that had to be made by the
National Security Council and by myself at the time the incident was developing
in the Pacific.
Let me assure you that we made every possible overture to the People's
Republic of China and through them to the Cambodian Government; we made
diplomatic protests to the Cambodian government through the United Nations.
Every possible diplomatic means was utilized. But at the same time I had a
responsibility, and so did the National Security Council, to meet the problem at
hand, and we handled it responsibly. And I think Captain Miller's testimony to
that effect is the best evidence.
THE MODERATOR: Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER: Well, I'm reluctant to comment on the recent report - I
haven't read it. I think the American people have only one requirement -- that
the facts about Mayaguez be given to them accurately and completely.
Mr. Ford has been there for 18 months. He had the facts that were released
today immediately after the Mayaguez incident. I understand that the
report today is accurate. Mr. Ford has said, I believe, that it was accurate and
that the White House made no attempt to block the issuing of that report. I
don't know if that's exactly accurate or not.
I understand that both the Department of State and the Defense Department
have approved the accuracy of today's report, or yesterday's report, and also
the National Security Agency. I don't know what was right, or what was wrong, or
what was done. The only thing I believe is that whatever the knowledge was that
Mr. Ford had should have been given to the American people 18 months ago,
immediately after the Mayaguez incident occurred.
This is what the American people want. When something happens that
endangers our security, or when something happens that threatens our stature in
the world, or when American people are endangered by the actions of a foreign
country, just 40 sailors on the Mayaguez, we obviously have to move
aggressively and quickly to rescue them. But then after the immediate action is
taken, I believe the President has an obligation to tell the American people the
truth and not wait 18 months later for the report to be issued.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, at this time we have time for only two very
short questions. Mr. Frankel, a question for Governor Carter.
MR. FRANKEL: Governor Carter, if the price of gaining influence among the
Arabs is closing our eyes a little bit to their boycott against Israel, how
would you handle that?
MR. CARTER: I believe that the boycott of American businesses by the Arab
countries, because those businesses trade with Israel or because they have
American Jews who are owners or directors in the company is an absolute
disgrace. This is the first time that I remember in the history of our country
when we've let a foreign country circumvent or change our Bill of Rights. I'll
do everything I can as President to stop the boycott of American businesses by
the Arab countries.
It's not a matter of diplomacy or trade with me; it's a matter of
morality. And I don't believe that Arab countries will pursue it when we have a
strong President who will protect the integrity of our country, the commitment
of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and protect people in this country who
happen to be Jews -- it may later be Catholics; it may later be Baptists -- who
are threatened by some foreign country. But we ought to stand staunch. And I
think it's a disgrace that so far Mr. Ford's administration has blocked the
passage of legislation that would have revealed by law every instance of the
boycott, and it would've prevented the boycott from continuing.
THE MODERATOR: President Ford.
THE PRESIDENT: Again, Governor Carter is inaccurate. The Arab boycott
action was first taken in 1952. And in November of 1975, I was the first
President to order the executive branch to take action -- affirmative action
through the Department of Commerce and other Cabinet Departments, to make
certain that no American businessman or business organization should
discriminate against Jews because of an Arab boycott.
And I might add that my administration -- and I'm very proud of it -- is
the first administration that has taken an antitrust action against companies in
this country that have allegedly cooperated with the Arab boycott. Just on
Monday of this week, I signed a tax bill that included an amendment that would
prevent companies in the United States from taking a tax deduction if they have,
in any way whatsoever, cooperated with the Arab boycott.
And last week when we were trying to get the Export Administration Act
through the Congress -- necessary legislation -- my administration went to
Capitol Hill and tried to convince the House and the Senate that we should have
an amendment on that legislation which would take strong and effective action
against those who participate or cooperate with the Arab boycott.
One other point. Because the Congress failed to act I am going to announce
tomorrow that the Department of Commerce will disclose those companies that have
participated in the Arab boycott. This is something that we can do. The Congress
failed to do it, and we intend to do it.
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Trewhitt, a very brief question for President Ford.
MR. TREWHITT: Mr. President, if you get the accounting of missing in
action you want from North Vietnam -- or from Vietnam, I'm sorry, now -- would
you then be prepared to reopen negotiations for restoration of relations with
THE PRESIDENT: Let me restate our policy. As long as Vietnam, North
Vietnam, does not give us a full and complete accounting of our missing in
action, I will never go along with the admission of Vietnam to the United
Nations. If they do give us a bona fide, complete accounting of the 800 MIA's,
then I believe that the United States should begin negotiations for the
admission of Vietnam to the United Nations, but not until they have given us the
full accounting of our MIA's.
THE MODERATOR: Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER: One of the most embarrassing failures of the Ford
administration, and one that touches specifically on human rights, is his
refusal to appoint a Presidential commission to go to Vietnam, to go to Laos, to
go to Cambodia and try to trade for the release of information about those who
are missing in action in those wars. This is what the families of MIA's want. So
far, Mr. Ford has not done it. We've had several fragmentary efforts by members
of the Congress and by private citizens.
Several months ago the Vietnam government said we are ready to sit down
and negotiate for release of information on MIA's. So far, Mr. Ford has not
I would never normalize relationships with Vietnam nor permit them to join
the United Nations until they have taken this action. But that is not enough. We
need to have an active and aggressive action on the part of the President, the
leader of his country, to seek out every possible way to get that information
which has kept the MIA families in despair and doubt, and Mr. Ford has just not
THE MODERATOR: Thank you Governor Carter. That completes the questioning
for this evening. Each candidate now has up to 3 minutes for a closing
statement. It was determined by the toss of a coin that Governor Carter would
take the first question, and he now goes first with his closing remarks.
MR. CARTER: The purpose of this debate and the outcome of the election
will determine three basic things -- leadership, upholding the principles of our
country, and proper priorities and commitments for the future.
This election will also determine what kind of world we leave our
children. Will it be a nightmare world, threatened with the proliferation of
atomic bombs, not just in five major countries, but dozens of smaller countries
that have been permitted to develop atomic weapons because of a failure of our
top leadership to stop proliferation? Will we have a world of hunger and hatred,
and will we be living in an armed camp, stripped of our friendship and allies,
hiding behind a tight defense that's been drawn in around us because we are
fearful of the outside world? Will we have a government of secrecy that excludes
the American people from participation in making basic decisions and therefore
covers up mistakes and makes it possible for our Government -- our Government --
to depart from the principles of our Constitution and Bill of Rights? Or will we
have a world of peace with the threat of atomic weapons eliminated, with full
trade, with our people at work, inflation controlled, openness in government,
our people proud once again; Congress, citizens, President, Secretary of State
working in harmony and unity toward a common future, a world where people have
enough to eat and a world where we care about those who don't? Can we become a
breadbasket of the world instead of the arms merchant of the world? I believe we
can and we ought to.
Now we have been hurt in recent years in this country, in the aftermath of
Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile, Pakistan, Angola, Watergate, CIA. We have been hurt.
Our people feel that we've lost something precious. That's not necessary. I want
to see our nation return to a posture and an image and a standard to make us
proud once again. I remember the world of NATO and the world of point four and
the world of the Marshall Plan and the world of the Peace Corps. Why can't we
have that once again?
We ought to be a beacon for nations who search for peace and who search
for freedom, who search for individual liberty, who search for basic human
rights. We haven't been lately. We can be once again.
We will never have that world leadership until we are strong at home, and
we can have that strength if we return to the basic principles. It ought not to
be a strength of bombast and threats. It ought to be a quiet strength based on
the integrity of our people, the vision of the Constitution, and an innate
strong will and purpose that God's given us in the greatest nation on Earth, the
THE MODERATOR: President Ford.
THE PRESIDENT: As we have seen tonight, foreign policy and defense policy
are difficult and complex issues. We can debate methods; we can debate one
decision or another. But there are two things which cannot be debated --
experience and results.
In the last 2 years, I have made policy decisions involving long-range
difficulties and policies and made day-to-day judgments not only as President of
the United States but as the leader of the free world.
What is the result of that leadership? America is strong, America is free,
America is respected. Not a single young American today is fighting or dying on
any foreign battlefield. America is at peace and with freedom.
Thank you, and good night.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, President Ford. Thank you, Governor Carter. I
also want to thank our questioners and the audience here this evening.
The third and final debate between President Ford and Governor Carter will
take place on October the 22d at 9:30 p.m., eastern daylight time, on the campus
of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The subject matter
will cover all issues.
These debates are sponsored by the League of Women Voters Education Fund
to help voters become better informed on the issues and to generate greater
voter turnout in the November election.
Now, from the Palace of Fine Arts Theater in San Francisco, good night.
Note: The debate began at 6:30 p.m. at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater
in San Francisco, Calif. It was broadcast live on radio and television.
Last Updated: Thursday, August 3, 2000
Third Debate - 1976
Presidential Campaign Debate Between Gerald R. Ford
and Jimmy Carter, October 22, 1976
THE MODERATOR. Good evening, I am Barbara Walters, moderator of the last
of the debates of 1976 between Gerald R. Ford, Republican candidate for
President, and Jimmy Carter, Democratic candidate for President.
Welcome, President Ford, welcome, Governor Carter, and thank you for
joining us this evening.
This debate takes place before an audience in Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall
on the campus of the College of William and Mary in historic Williamsburg,
Virginia. It is particularly appropriate that in this Bicentennial year we meet
on these grounds to hear this debate. Two hundred years ago, five William and
Mary students met at nearby Raleigh Tavern to form Phi Beta Kappa, a fraternity
designed, they wrote, "to search out and dispel the clouds of falsehood by
debating without reserve the issues of the day."
In that spirit of debate -- "without reserve," "to dispel the clouds of
falsehood" -- gentlemen, let us proceed.
The subject matter of this debate is open, covering all issues and topics.
Our questioners tonight are Joseph Kraft, syndicated columnist; Robert Maynard,
editorial writer for the Washington Post; and Jack Nelson, Washington bureau
chief of the Los Angeles Times.
The ground rules tonight are as follows: Questioners will alternate
questions between the candidates. The candidate has up to 2 1/2 minutes to
answer the question. The other candidate has up to 2 minutes to respond. If
necessary, a questioner may ask a follow-up question for further clarification,
and in that case the candidate has up to 2 minutes to respond. As was initially
agreed to by both candidates, the answers should be responsive to the particular
questions. Finally, each candidate has up to 3 minutes for a closing statement.
President Ford and Governor Carter do not have prepared notes or comments
with them this evening, but they may make notes and refer to them during the
It has been determined that President Ford would take the first question
in this last debate, and Mr. Kraft, you have that first question for President
MR. KRAFT. Mr. President, I assume that the Americans all know that these
are difficult times and that there is no pie in the sky and that they don't
expect something for nothing. So, I'd like to ask you, as a first question, as
you look ahead in the next 4 years, what sacrifices are you going to call on the
American people to make? What price are you going to ask them to pay to realize
Let me add, Governor Carter, that if you felt that it was appropriate to
answer that question in your comments, as to what price it would be appropriate
for the American people to pay for a Carter administration, I think that would
be proper too.
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Kraft, I believe that the American people, in the next
4 years under a Ford administration, will be called upon to make those necessary
sacrifices to preserve the peace -- which we have -- which means, of course,
that we will have to maintain an adequate military capability; which means, of
course, that we will have to add, I think, a few billion dollars to our defense
appropriations to make certain that we have adequate strategic forces, adequate
I think the American people will be called upon to be in the forefront in
giving leadership to the solution of those problems that must be solved in the
Middle East, in southern Africa, and any problems that might arise in the
The American people will be called upon to tighten their belts a bit in
meeting some of the problems that we face domestically. I don't think that
America can go on a big spending spree with a whole lot of new programs that
would add significantly to the federal budget.
I believe that the American people, if given the leadership that I would
expect to give, would be willing to give this thrust to preserve the peace and
the necessary restraint at home to hold the lid on spending so that we could, I
think, have a long overdue and totally justified tax decrease for the
middle-income people. And then -- with the economy that would be generated from
a restraint on spending and a tax reduction primarily for the middle-income
people -- then I think the American people would be willing to make those
sacrifices for peace and prosperity in the next 4 years.
MR. KRAFT. Could I be a little bit more specific, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT. Sure, sure.
MR. KRAFT. Doesn't your policy really imply that we're going to have a
pretty high rate of unemployment over a fairly long time, that growth is going
to be fairly slow, and that we're not going to be able to do very much in the
next 4 or 5 years to meet the basic agenda of our national needs in the cities,
in health, in transit and a whole lot of things like that?
THE PRESIDENT. Not at all.
MR. KRAFT. Aren't those the real costs?
THE PRESIDENT. No, Mr. Kraft. We're spending very significant amounts of
money now, some $200 billion a year, almost 50 percent of our total federal
expenditure by the Federal government at the present time, for human needs. Now,
we will probably have to increase that to some extent, but we don't have to have
growth in spending that will blow the lid off and add to the problems of
I believe we can meet the problems within the cities of this country and
still give a tax reduction. I proposed, as you know, a reduction to increase the
personal exemption from $750 to $1,000, with the fiscal program that I have. And
if you look at the projections, it shows that we will reduce unemployment, that
we will continue to win the battle against inflation, and, at the same time,
give the kind of quality of life that I believe is possible in America: a job, a
home for all those that will work and save for it, safety in the streets, health
care that is affordable. These things can be done if we have the right vision
and the right restraint and the right leadership.
THE MODERATOR. Thank you. Governor Carter, your response, please.
MR. CARTER. Well, I might say first of all that I think in case of the
Carter administration, the sacrifices would be much less. Mr. Ford's own
environmental agency has projected a 10 percent unemployment rate by 1978 if he
is President. The American people are ready to make sacrifices if they are part
of the process, if they know that they will be helping to make decisions and
won't be excluded from being an involved party to the national purpose.
The major effort we must put forward is to put our people back to work.
And I think that this is one example where a lot of people have selfish,
grasping ideas now. I remember 1973 in the depth of the energy crisis when
President Nixon called on the American people to make a sacrifice to cut down on
the waste of gasoline, to cut down on the speed of automobiles. It was a
tremendous surge of patriotism. "I want to make a sacrifice for my country."
I think we could call together -- with strong leadership in the White
House -- business, industry and labor, and say, let's have voluntary price
restraints, let's lay down some guidelines so we don't have continuing
We can also have an end to the extremes. We now have one extreme, for
instance, of some welfare recipients who, by taking advantage of the welfare
laws, the housing laws, the Medicaid laws, and the food stamp laws, make over
$10,000 a year, and they don't have to pay any taxes on it. At the other
extreme, just 1 percent of the richest people in our country derive 25 percent
of all the tax benefits. So both those extremes grasp for advantage and the
person who has to pay that expense is the middle-income family who is still
working for a living and they have to pay for the rich who have privilege and
for the poor who are not working.
But I think that a balanced approach, with everybody being part of it and
a striving for unselfishness could help, as it did in 1973, to let people
sacrifice for their own country. I know I'm ready for it. I think the American
people are, too.
THE MODERATOR. Thank you. Mr. Maynard, your question for Governor Carter.
MR. MAYNARD. Governor, by all indications, the voters are so turned off by
this election campaign so far that only half intend to vote. One major reason
for this apathetic electorate appears to be the low level at which this campaign
has been conducted. It has digressed frequently from important issues into
allegations of blunders and brainwashing and fixations on lust in Playboy. What
responsibility do you accept for the low level of this campaign for the Nation's
MR. CARTER. I think the major reason for a decrease in participation that
we have experienced ever since 1960 has been the deep discouragement of the
American people about the performance of public officials. When you've got 7
1/2, 8 million people out of work, when you've got three times as much inflation
as you had during the last 8-year Democratic administration, when you have the
highest deficits in history; when you have it becoming increasingly difficult
far a family to put a child through college or to own a home, there's a natural
inclination to be turned off. Also, in the aftermath of Vietnam and Cambodia and
Watergate and the CIA revelations, people have felt that they've been betrayed
by public officials.
I have to admit that in the heat of the campaign -- I've been in thirty
primaries during the springtime; I've been campaigning for 22 months -- I've
made some mistakes. And I think this is part of just being a human being. I have
to say that my campaign has been an open one. The Playboy thing has been of very
great concern to me. I don't know how to deal with it exactly. I agreed to give
the interview to Playboy. Other people have done it who are notable -- Governor
Jerry Brown, Walter Cronkite, Albert Schweitzer, Mr. Ford's own Secretary of the
Treasury, Mr. Simon, William Buckley, many other people. But they weren't
running for President. And in retrospect, from hindsight, I would not have given
that interview had I to do it over again. If I should ever decide in the future
to discuss my deep Christian beliefs and condemnation and sinfulness, I'll use
another forum besides Playboy.
But I can say this: I'm doing the best I can to get away from that, and
during the next 10 days, the American people will not see the Carter campaign
running television advertisements and newspaper advertisements based on a
personal attack on President Ford's character. I believe that the opposite is
true with President Ford's campaign. And I hope that we can leave those issues,
in this next 10 days, about personalities and mistakes of the past -- we've both
made some mistakes -- and talk about unemployment, inflation, housing,
education, taxation, government organization, stripping away of secrecy, and the
things that are crucial to the American people.
I regret the things in my own long campaign that have been mistaken, but
I'm trying to do away with those the last 10 days.
THE MODERATOR. Thank you, Governor Carter. President Ford, your response.
THE PRESIDENT. I believe that the American people have been turned off in
this election, Mr. Maynard, for a variety of reasons. We have seen on Capitol
Hill, in the Congress, a great many allegations of wrongdoing, of alleged
immorality. Those are very disturbing to the American people. They wonder how an
elected representative can serve them and participate in such activities,
serving in the Congress of the United States. Yes, and I'm certain many, many
Americans were turned off by the revelations of Watergate, a very, very bad
period of time in American political history. Yes, and thousands, maybe millions
of Americans were turned off because of the problems that came out of our
involvement in Vietnam.
But on the other hand, I found on July 4 of this year a new spirit born in
America. We were celebrating our Bicentennial. And I find that there is a
movement -- as I travel around the country -- of greater interest in this
campaign. Now, like any hardworking person seeking public office, in the
campaign, inevitably, sometimes you will use rather graphic language. And I'm
guilty of that just like, I think, most others in the political arena. But I do
make a pledge that in the next 10 days when we are asking the American people to
make one of the most important decisions in their lifetime, because I think this
election is one of the most vital in the history of America, that we do together
what we can to stimulate voter participation.
THE MODERATOR. Thank you, President Ford. Mr. Nelson, your question to
MR. NELSON. Mr. President, you mentioned Watergate, and you became
President because of Watergate, so don't you owe the American people a special
obligation to explain in detail your role of limiting one of the original
investigations of Watergate -- that was the one by the House Banking Committee?
And I know you've answered questions on this before, but there are questions
that still remain and I think people want to know what your role was.
Will you name the persons you talked to in connection with that
investigation, and since you say you have no recollection of talking to anyone
from the White House, would you be willing to open for examination the White
House tapes of conversations during that period?
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Nelson, I testified before two committees, House and
Senate, on precisely the questions that you have asked. And the testimony under
oath was to the effect that I did not talk to Mr. Nixon, to Mr. Haldeman, to Mr.
Ehrlichman, or to any of the people at the White House. I said I had no
recollection whatsoever of talking with any of the White House legislative
I indicated under oath that the initiative that I took was at the request
of the ranking members of the House Banking and Currency Committee on the
Republican side, which was a legitimate request and a proper response by me.
Now that was gone into by two congressional committees, and following that
investigation, both committees overwhelmingly approved me, and the House and the
Senate did likewise.
Now, in the meantime the Special Prosecutor -- within the last few days
after an investigation himself -- said there was no reason for him to get
involved because he found nothing that would justify it. And then, just a day or
two ago, the Attorney General of the United States made a further investigation
and came to precisely the same conclusion.
Now, after all of those investigations by objective, responsible people, I
think the matter is closed once and for all. But to add one other feature: I
don't control any of the tapes. Those tapes are in the jurisdiction of the
courts, and I have no right to say yes or no. But all the committees, the
Attorney General, the Special Prosecutor, all of them have given me a clean bill
of health. I think the matter is settled once and for all.
MR. NELSON. Well, Mr. President, if I do say so, though, the question is
that I think that you still have not gone into details about what your role in
it was. And I don't think there is any question about whether or not there was
criminal prosecution, but whether you have told the American people your entire
involvement in it and whether you would be willing -- even if you don't control
the tapes -- whether you would be willing to ask that the tapes be released for
THE PRESIDENT. That's for the proper authorities who have control over
those tapes to make that decision. I have given every bit of evidence, answered
every question that's been asked me by any Senator or any Member of the House.
Plus the fact, that the Special Prosecutor, on his own initiation, and the
Attorney General on his initiation -- the highest law enforcement official in
this country -- all of them have given me a clean bill of health. And I've told
everything I know about it. I think the matter is settled once and for all.
THE MODERATOR. Governor Carter, your response.
MR. CARTER. I don't have a response.
THE MODERATOR. Thank you.
Then we'll have the next question from Mr. Kraft to Governor Carter.
MR. KRAFT. Governor Carter, the next big crisis spot in the world may be
Yugoslavia. President Tito is old and sick and there are divisions in his
country. It's pretty certain that the Russians are going to do everything they
possibly can after Tito dies to force Yugoslavia back into the Soviet camp.
But last Saturday you said -- and this is a quote -- "I would not go to
war in Yugoslavia, even if the Soviet Union sent in troops." Doesn't that
statement practically invite the Russians to intervene in Yugoslavia? Doesn't it
discourage Yugoslavs who might be tempted to resist? And wouldn't it have been
wiser on your part to say nothing and to keep the Russians in the dark as
President Ford did, and as I think every President has done since President
MR. CARTER. In the last two weeks, I've had a chance to talk to two men
who have visited the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and China. One is Governor
Averell Harriman [Governor of New York 1954-58 and Ambassador at Large 1961,
1965-68], who visited the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and the other is James
Schlesinger [Secretary of Defense 1973-75], whom I think you accompanied to
China. I got a complete report back from those countries from these two
Mr. Harriman talked to the leaders in Yugoslavia, and I think it's
accurate to say that there is no prospect, in their opinion, of the Soviet Union
invading Yugoslavia should Mr. Tito pass away. The present leadership there is
fairly uniform in their purpose. I think it's a close-knit group, and I think it
would be unwise for us to say that we will go to war in Yugoslavia if the
Soviets should invade, which I think would be an extremely unlikely thing.
I have maintained from the very beginning of my campaign -- and this was a
standard answer that I made in response to the Yugoslavian question -- that I
would never go to war, become militarily involved in the internal affairs of
another country unless our own security was directly threatened. And I don't
believe that our security would be directly threatened if the Soviet Union went
into Yugoslavia. I don't believe it will happen. I certainly hope it won't. I
would take the strongest possible measures short of actual military action there
by our own troops, but I doubt that that would be an eventuality.
MR. KRAFT. One quick follow-up. Did you clear the response you made with
Secretary Schlesinger and Governor Harriman?
MR. CARTER. No, I did not.
THE MODERATOR. President Ford, your response.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I firmly believe, Mr. Kraft, that it's unwise for a
President to signal in advance what options he might exercise if any
international problem arose.
I think we all recall with some sadness that at the period of the late
1940's, early 1950's, there were some indications that the United States would
not include South Korea in an area of defense. There are some who allege -- I
can't prove it true or untrue -- that such a statement, in effect, invited the
North Koreans to invade South Korea. It's a fact they did.
But no President of the United States, in my opinion, should signal in
advance to a prospective enemy what his decision might be or what option he
might exercise. It's far better for a person sitting in the White House, who has
a number of options, to make certain that the other side, so to speak, doesn't
know precisely what you're going to do. And therefore, that was the reason that
I would not identify any particular course of action when I responded to a
question a week or so ago.
THE MODERATOR. Thank you.
Mr. Maynard, your question to President Ford, please.
MR. MAYNARD. Sir, this question concerns your administrative performance
as President. The other day, General George Brown, the chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff, delivered his views on several sensitive subjects, among them
Great Britain, one of this country's oldest allies. He said, and I quote him
now, "Great Britain, it's a pathetic thing. It just makes you cry. They are no
longer a world power. All they have are generals, admirals, and bands." Since
General Brown's comments have caused this country embarrassment in the past, why
is he still this Nation's leading military officer?
THE PRESIDENT. I have indicated to General Brown that the words that he
used in that interview, in that particular case, and in several others, were
very ill-advised. And General Brown has indicated his apology, his regrets, and
I think that will, in this situation, settle the matter.
It is tragic that the full transcript of that interview was not released,
and that there were excerpts, some of the excerpts, taken out of context -- not
this one, however, that you bring up.
General Brown has an exemplary record of military performance. He served
this Nation with great, great skill and courage and bravery for 35 years. And I
think it's the consensus of the people who are knowledgeable in the military
field that he is probably the outstanding military leader and strategist that we
have in America today.
Now he did use ill-advised words. But I think in the fact that he
apologized, that he was reprimanded, does permit him to stay on and continue
that kind of leadership that we so badly need as we enter into negotiations
under the SALT II agreement or if we have operations that might be developing in
the Middle East or southern Africa or in the Pacific -- we need a man with that
experience, that knowledge, that know-how. And I think in light of the fact that
he has apologized, would not have justified my asking for his resignation.
THE MODERATOR. Thank you.
Governor Carter, your response.
MR. CARTER. Well, just briefly, I think this is the second time that
General Brown has made a statement for which he did have to apologize -- and I
know that everybody makes mistakes. I think the first one was related to the
unwarranted influence of American Jews on the media and in the Congress. This
one concerned Great Britain. I think he said that Israel was a military burden
on us and that Iran hoped to reestablish the Persian Empire.
I am not sure that I remembered earlier that President Ford had expressed
his concern about the statement or apologized for it. This is something, though,
that I think is indicative of the need among the American people to know how the
commander-in-chief, the President, feels. And I think the only criticism that I
would have of Mr. Ford is that immediately when the statement was revealed,
perhaps a statement from the President would have been a clarifying and a very
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Nelson, your question now to Governor Carter.
MR. NELSON. Governor, despite the fact that you've been running for
President a long time now, many Americans still seem to be uneasy about you.
They don't feel that they know you or the people around you. And one problem
seems to be that you haven't reached out to bring people of broad background or
national experience into your campaign or your Presidential plans. Most of the
people around you on a day-to-day basis are the people you've known in Georgia.
Many of them are young and relatively inexperienced in national affairs. Doesn't
this raise a serious question as to whether you would bring into a Carter
administration people with the necessary background to run the Federal
MR. CARTER. I don't believe it does. I began campaigning 22 months ago. At
that time, nobody thought I had a chance to win. Very few people knew who I was.
I came from a tiny town, as you know -- Plains -- and didn't hold public office,
didn't have very much money. And my first organization was just four or five
people plus my wife and my children, my three sons and their wives.
And we won the nomination by going out into the streets, barbershops,
beauty parlors, restaurants, stores, in factory shift lines, also in farmers'
markets and livestock sale barns, and we talked a lot and we listened a lot and
we learned from the American people. We built up an awareness among the voters
of this country, particularly those in whose primaries I entered -- 30 of them,
nobody's ever done that before -- about who I was and what I stood for.
Now we have a very, very wide-ranging group of advisers who help me
prepare for these debates and who teach me about international economics and
foreign affairs, defense matters, health, education, welfare, government
reorganization -- I'd say, several hundred of them, and they're very fine and
very highly qualified.
The one major decision that I have made since acquiring the nomination --
and I share this with President Ford -- is the choice of a Vice President. I
think this should be indicative of the kind of leaders I would choose to help me
if I am elected.
I chose Senator Walter Mondale. And the only criterion I ever put forward
in my own mind was who among the several million people in this country would be
the best person qualified to be President, if something should happen to me and
to join me in being Vice President if I should serve out my term. And I'm
convinced now, more than I was when I got the nomination, that Walter Mondale
was the right choice. And I believe this is a good indication of the kind of
people I would choose in the future.
Mr. Ford has had that same choice to make. I don't want to say anything
critical of Senator Dole, but I've never heard Mr. Ford say that that was his
primary consideration -- who is the best person I could choose in this country
to be President of the United States?
I feel completely at ease knowing that someday Senator Mondale might very
well be President. In the last five Vice-Presidential nominees, incumbents,
three of them have become President. But I think this is indicative of what I
THE MODERATOR. President Ford, your response please.
THE PRESIDENT. The Governor may not have heard my established criteria for
the selection of a Vice President, but it was a well-established criteria that
the person I selected would be fully qualified to be President of the United
States. And Senator Bob Dole is so qualified -- 16 years in the House of
Representatives and in the Senate, very high responsibilities on important
I don't mean to be critical of Senator Mondale, but I was very, very
surprised when I read that Senator Mondale made a very derogatory, very personal
comment about General Brown after the news story that broke about General Brown.
If my recollection is correct he indicated that General Brown was not qualified
to be a sewer commissioner. I don't think that's a proper way to describe a
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who has fought for his country for 35
years. And I'm sure the Governor would agree with me on that. I think Senator
Dole would show more good judgment and discretion than to so describe a heroic
and brave and very outstanding leader of the military.
So I think our selection of Bob Dole as Vice President is based on merit.
And if he should ever become the President of the United States, with his vast
experience as Member the House and a Member of the Senate, as well as a Vice
President, I think he would do an outstanding job as President of the United
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Kraft, your question to President Ford.
MR. KRAFT. Mr. President, let me assure you and maybe some of the viewing
audience that being on this panel hasn't been, as it may seem, all torture and
agony. One of the heartening things is that I and my colleagues have received
literally hundreds and maybe even thousands of suggested questions from ordinary
citizens all across the country who want answers.
THE PRESIDENT. That's a tribute to their interest in this election.
MR. KRAFT. I'll give you that. But let me go on, because one main subject
on the minds of all of them has been the environment, particularly curious about
your record. People really want to know why you vetoed the strip mining bill.
They want to know why you worked against strong controls on auto emissions. They
want to know why you aren't doing anything about pollution of the Atlantic
Ocean. They want to know why a bipartisan organization such as the National
League of Conservation Voters says that when it comes to environmental issues,
you are -- and I'm quoting -- "hopeless."
THE PRESIDENT. First, let me set the record straight. I vetoed the strip
mining bill, Mr. Kraft, because it was the overwhelming consensus of
knowledgeable people that that strip mining bill would have meant the loss of
literally thousands of jobs, something around 140,000 jobs. Number two, that
strip mining bill would have severely set back our need for more coal, and
Governor Carter has said repeatedly that coal is the resource that we need to
use more in the effort to become independent of the Arab oil supplies. So, I
vetoed it because of a loss of jobs and because it would have interfered with
our energy independence program.
The auto emissions -- it was agreed by Leonard Woodcock, the head of the
UAW, and by the heads of all of the automobile industry, we had labor and
management together saying that those auto emission standards had to be
But let's talk about what the Ford administration has done in the field of
environment. I have increased, as President, by over 60 percent, the funding for
water treatment plants in the United States, the Federal contribution. I have
fully funded the land and water conservation program; in fact, have recommended,
and the Congress approved, a substantially increased land and water conservation
I have added in the current year budget, the funds for the National Park
Service. For example, we proposed about $12 million to add between 400 and 500
more employees for the National Park Service.
And a month or so ago, I did likewise say over the next ten years we
should expand -- double -- the national parks, the wild wilderness areas, the
scenic river areas. And then, of course, the final thing is that I have signed
and approved of more scenic rivers, more wilderness areas since I've been
President than any other President in the history of the United States.
THE MODERATOR. Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER. Well, I might say that I think the League of Conservation
Voters is absolutely right. This administration's record on environment is very
I think it's accurate to say that the strip mining law which was passed
twice by the Congress and only lacked two votes, I believe, of being overridden,
would have been good for the country. The claim that it would have put 140,000
miners out of work is hard to believe when at the time Mr. Ford vetoed it, the
United Mine Workers was supporting the bill. And I don't think they would have
supported the bill had they known that they would lose 140,000 jobs.
There's been a consistent policy on the part of this administration to
lower or delay enforcement of air pollution standards and water pollution
standards. And under both Presidents Nixon and Ford, moneys have been impounded
that would have gone to cities and others to control water pollution.
We have no energy policy. We, I think, are the only developed nation in
the world that has no comprehensive energy policy, to permit us to plan in an
orderly way how to shift from increasing the scarce energy forms -- oil -- and
have research and development concentrated on the increased use of coal, which I
strongly favor -- the research and development to be used primarily to make the
coal burning be clean.
We need a heritage trust program, similar to the one we had in Georgia, to
set aside additional lands that have geological and archeological importance,
natural areas for enjoyment. The lands that Mr. Ford brags about having approved
are in Alaska, and they are enormous in size, but as far as the accessibility of
them by the American people, is very far in the future.
We have taken no strong position in the control of pollution of our
oceans. And I would say the worst threat to the environment of all is nuclear
proliferation. And this administration, having been in office now for 2 years or
more, has still not taken strong and bold action to stop the proliferation of
nuclear waste around the world, particularly plutonium.
Those are some brief remarks about the failures of this administration. I
would do the opposite in every respect.
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Maynard to Governor Carter.
MR. MAYNARD. Governor, federal policy in this country since World War II
has tended to favor the development of suburbs at the great expense of central
cities. Does not the federal government now have an affirmative obligation to
revitalize the American city? We have heard little in this campaign suggesting
that you have an urban reconstruction program. Could you please outline your
urban intentions for us tonight?
MR. CARTER. Yes, I'd be glad to. In the first place, as is the case with
the environmental policy and the energy policy that I just described, and the
policy for nonproliferation of nuclear waste, this administration has no urban
policy. It's impossible for mayors or governors to cooperate with the President,
because they can't anticipate what is going to happen next.
A mayor of a city like New York, for example, needs to know 18 months or 2
years ahead of time what responsibility the city will have in administration and
in financing, in things like housing, pollution control, crime control,
education, welfare and health. This has not been done, unfortunately. I remember
the headline in the Daily News that said, "Ford to New York -- Drop Dead."
I think it's very important that our cities know that they have a partner
in the Federal Government. Quite often, Congress has passed laws in the past
designed to help people with the ownership of homes and with the control of
crime and with adequate health care and better education programs and so forth.
Those programs were designed to help those who need it most, and quite often
this has been in the very poor people and neighborhoods in the downtown urban
centers. Because of the greatly advantaged persons who live in the suburbs --
better education, better organization, more articulate, more aware of what the
laws are -- quite often this money has been channeled out of the downtown
centers where it's needed.
Also, I favor all revenue sharing money being used for local governments
and also to remove prohibitions in the use of revenue sharing money, so that it
can be used to improve education and health care. We have now, for instance only
7 percent of the total education cost being financed by the Federal Government.
When the Nixon-Ford Administration started, this was 10 percent. That's a
30-percent reduction in the portion that the federal government contributes to
education in just 8 years and, as you know, the education costs have gone up
The last point is that the major thrust has got to be to put people back
to work. We've got an extraordinarily high unemployment rate among downtown
urban ghetto areas; particularly among the very poor and particularly among
minority groups, sometimes 50 or 60 percent.
And the concentration of employment opportunities in those areas would
help greatly not only to reestablish the tax base, but also to help reduce the
extraordinary welfare costs. One of the major responsibilities on the shoulders
of New York City is to finance welfare. And I favor a shifting of the welfare
cost away from the local governments altogether and, over a longer period of
time, let the Federal Government begin to absorb part of it that's now paid by
the State government. Those things would help a great deal with the cities, but
we still have a very serious problem there.
THE MODERATOR. President Ford.
THE PRESIDENT. Let me speak out very strongly. The Ford administration
does have a very comprehensive program to help our major metropolitan areas. I
fought for, and the Congress finally went along with, a general revenue sharing
program whereby cities and states -- the cities, two-thirds, and the States,
one-third -- get over $6 billion a year, in cash, with which they can provide
many, many services, whatever they really want.
In addition, we in the Federal Government make available to cities about
$3,300 million in what we call community developments. In addition, as a result
of my pressure on the Congress, we got a major mass transit program over a
4-year period -- $11,800 million. We have a good housing program that will
result in cutting the downpayments by 50 percent and having mortgage payments
lower at the beginning of any mortgage period. We are expanding our homestead
The net result is, we think, under Carla Hills, who is the Chairman of my
Urban Development and Neighborhood Revitalization program, we will really do a
first-class job in helping the communities throughout the country. As a matter
of fact, that committee, under Secretary Hills, released about a 75-page report
with specific recommendations, so we can do a better job in the weeks ahead.
And in addition, the tax program of the Ford administration, which
provides an incentive for industry to move into our major metropolitan areas,
into the inner cities, will bring jobs where people are, and help to revitalize
those cities as they can be.
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Nelson, your question next to President Ford.
MR. NELSON. Mr. President, your campaign has run ads in black newspapers
saying that quote, "for black Americans, President Ford is quietly getting the
job done." Yet, study after study has shown little progress in desegregation
and, in fact, actual increases in segregated schools and housing in the
Now, civil rights groups have complained repeatedly that there has been
lack of progress and commitment to an integrated society during your
administration. So how are you getting the job done for blacks and other
minorities, and what programs do you have in mind for the next four years?
THE PRESIDENT. Let me say at the outset, I am very proud of the record of
this administration. In the Cabinet I have one of the outstanding, I think,
administrators as the Secretary of Transportation, Bill Coleman. You are
familiar, I am sure, with the recognition given in the Air Force to General
James. And there was just approved a three-star admiral, the first in the
history of the United States Navy. So, we are giving full recognition to
individuals, of quality in the Ford administration in positions of great
In addition, the Department of Justice is fully enforcing, and enforcing
effectively, the Voting Rights Act -- the legislation that involves jobs,
housing for minorities, not only blacks but all others.
The Department of HUD is enforcing the new legislation that takes care of
redlining. What we are doing is saying that there are opportunities -- business
opportunities, educational opportunities, responsibilities -- where people with
talent, black or any other minority, can fully qualify.
The Office of Minority Business in the Department of Commerce has made
available more money in trying to help black businessmen, or other minority
businessmen, than any other administration since the office was established.
The office of small business, under Mr. Kobelinski, has a very massive
program trying to help the black community. The individual who wants to start a
business or expand his business as a black businessman is able to borrow, either
directly or with guaranteed loans.
I believe on the record that this administration has been more responsive
and we have carried out the law to the letter, and I'm proud of the record.
THE MODERATOR. Governor Carter, your response, please.
MR. CARTER. The description just made of this administration's record is
hard to recognize. I think it's accurate to say that Mr. Ford voted against the
voting rights acts and against the civil rights acts in their debative stage. I
think once it was assured they were going to pass, he finally voted for it.
This country changed drastically in 1969 when the terms of John Kennedy
and Lyndon Johnson were over, and Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford became the
Presidents. There was a time when there was hope for those who were poor and
downtrodden and who were elderly or who were ill or who were in minority groups.
That time has been gone.
I think the greatest thing that ever happened to the South was the passage
of the civil rights acts and the opening up of opportunities to black people, to
have the chance to vote, to hold a job, to buy a house, to go to school, and to
participate in public affairs. It not only liberated black people but it also
liberated the whites.
We have seen in many instances in recent years a minority affairs section
of a small loan administration, Small Business Administration, lend a black
entrepreneur just enough money to get started, and then to go bankrupt. The
bankruptcies have gone up an extraordinary degree.
The FHA [Federal Housing Administration], which used to be a very
responsible agency that everyone looked to to help own a home, lost $600 million
last year. There have been over 1300 indictments in HUD, over 800 convictions
relating just to home loans. And now the federal government has become the
world's greatest slum landlord.
We've got a 30-percent or 40-percent unemployment rate among minority
young people. And there has been no concerted effort given to the needs of those
who are both poor and black, or poor and who speak a foreign language. And
that's where there's been a great generation of despair and ill health and lack
of education and lack of purposefulness and the lack of hope for the future.
But it doesn't take just a quiet, dormant, minimum enforcement of the law.
It requires an aggressive searching out and reaching out to help people who
especially need it. And that's been lacking in the last 8 years.
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Kraft, to Governor Carter.
MR. KRAFT. Governor Carter, in the nearly 200-year history of the
Constitution, there have been only, I think it is, 25 amendments, most of them
on issues of the very broadest principle. Now we have proposed amendments in
many highly specialized causes like gun control, school busing, balanced budget,
school prayer, abortion, things like that. Do you think it's appropriate to the
dignity of the Constitution to tack on amendments in wholesale fashion, and
which of the ones that I listed -- that is, balanced budget, school busing,
school prayer, abortion, gun control -- which of those would you really work
hard to support if you were President?
MR. CARTER. I would not work hard to support any of those. We have always
had, I think, a lot of constitutional amendments proposed, but the passage of
them has been fairly slow, and few and far between. In the 200-year history
there's been a very cautious approach to this. Quite often we have a transient
problem. I am strongly against abortion. I think abortion is wrong. I don't
think the government ought to do anything to encourage abortion, but I don't
favor a constitutional amendment on the subject. But short of a constitutional
amendment, and within the confines of a Supreme Court ruling, I will do
everything I can to minimize the need for abortions with better sex education,
family planning, with better adoptive procedures. I personally don't believe
that the Federal Government ought to finance abortions, but I draw the line and
don't support a constitutional amendment. However, I honor the right of people
who seek the constitutional amendments on school busing, on prayer in the
schools, and on abortion, but among those you named, I won't actively work for
the passage of any of them.
THE MODERATOR. President Ford, your response, please.
THE PRESIDENT. I support the Republican platform, which calls for the
constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortions. I favor the particular
constitutional amendment that would turn over to the States the individual right
of the voters in those States the chance to make a decision by public
referendum. I call that the peoples' amendment. I think if you really believe
that the people of a State ought to make a decision on a matter of this kind,
that we ought to have a federal constitutional amendment that would permit each
one of the 50 States to make the choice.
I think this is a responsible and a proper way to proceed. I believe also
that there is some merit to an amendment that Senator Everett Dirksen proposed
very frequently, an amendment that would change the Court decision as far as
voluntary prayer in public schools. It seems to me that there should be an
opportunity, as long as it's voluntary, as long as there is no compulsion
whatsoever, that an individual ought to have that right.
So in those two cases I think such a constitutional amendment would be
proper. And I really don't think in either case they are trivial matters. I
think they are matters of very deep conviction as far as many, many people in
this country believe, and therefore they shouldn't be treated lightly, but they
are matters that are important. And in those two cases, I would favor them.
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Maynard, to President Ford.
MR. MAYNARD. Mr. President, twice you have been the intended victim of
would-be assassins using handguns, yet you remain a steadfast opponent of
substantive handgun control. There are now some 40 million handguns in this
country, going up at the rate of 2.5 million a year, and tragically those
handguns are frequently purchased for self-protection and wind up being used
against a relative or a friend. In light of that, why do you remain so adamant
in your opposition to substantive gun control in this country?
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Maynard, the record of gun control, whether it's one
city or another or in some States does not show that the registration of a gun,
handgun, or the registration of the gun owner, has in any way whatsoever
decreased the crime rate or the use of that gun in the committing of a crime.
The record just doesn't prove that such legislation or action by a local city
council is effective.
What we have to do -- and this is the crux of the matter -- is to make it
very, very difficult for a person who uses a gun in the commission of a crime to
stay out of jail. If we make the use of a gun in the commission of a crime a
serious criminal offense, and that person is prosecuted, then in my opinion we
are going after the person who uses the gun for the wrong reason. I don't
believe in the registration of handguns or the registration of the handgun
owner. That has not proven to be effective. And therefore, I think the better
way is to go after the criminal, the individual who commits a crime in the
possession of a gun and uses that gun for a part of his criminal activity.
Those are the people who ought to be in jail. And the only way to do it is
to pass strong legislation so that once apprehended, indicted, convicted,
they'll be in jail and off the streets and not using guns in the commission of a
MR. MAYNARD. But Mr. President, don't you think that the proliferation of
the availability of handguns contributes to the possibility of those crimes
being committed? And, there's a second part to my follow-up. Very quickly, there
are, as you know and as you've said, jurisdictions around the country with
strong gun control laws. The police officials in those cities contend that if
there were a national law to prevent other jurisdictions from providing the
weapons that then came into places like New York, that they might have a better
handle on the problem. Have you considered that in your analysis of the handgun
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I have, and the individuals with whom I have consulted
have not convinced me that a national registration of handguns or handgun owners
will solve the problem you are talking about. The person who wants to use a gun
for an illegal purpose can get it whether it's registered or outlawed -- they
will be obtained -- and they are the people who ought to go behind bars. You
should not, in the process, penalize the legitimate handgun owner. And when you
go through the process of registration, you, in effect, are penalizing that
individual who uses his gun for a very legitimate purpose.
THE MODERATOR. Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER. I think it's accurate to say that Mr. Ford's position on gun
control has changed. Earlier, Mr. Levi, his Attorney General, put forward a gun
control proposal which Mr. Ford later, I believe, espoused that called for the
prohibition against the sale of the so-called Saturday Night Specials. It would
have put very strict control over who owned a handgun.
I have been a hunter all my life and happen to own both shotguns, rifles,
and a handgun. And the only purpose that I would see in registering handguns and
not long guns of any kind would be to prohibit the ownership of those guns by
those who have used them in the commission of a crime or who have been proven to
be mentally incompetent to own a gun. I believe that limited approach to the
question would be advisable, and I think adequate, but that's as far as I would
go with it.
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Nelson, to Governor Carter.
MR. NELSON. Governor, you've said the Supreme Court of today is, as you
put it, moving back in a proper direction in rulings that have limited the
rights of criminal defendants, and you've compared the present Supreme Court
under Chief Justice Burger very favorably with the more liberal Court that we
had under Chief Justice Warren. So, exactly what are you getting at, and can you
elaborate on the kind of court you think this country should have? And can you
tell us the kind of qualifications and philosophy you would look for as
President in making Supreme Court appointments?
MR. CARTER. While I was Governor of Georgia, although I am not a lawyer,
we had complete reform of the Georgia court system. We streamlined the structure
of the court, put in administrative offices, put a unified court system in, and
required that all severe sentences be reviewed far uniformity; and, in addition
to that, put forward a proposal that was adopted and used throughout my own term
of office -- selection of all judges and district attorneys or prosecuting
attorneys, on the basis of merit.
Every time I had a vacancy on the Georgia Supreme Court -- and I filled
five of those vacancies out of seven total, and about half the Court of Appeals
judges, about 35 percent of the trial judges -- I was given from an objective
panel the five most highly qualified persons in Georgia, and from those five I
always chose the first or second one. So, merit selection of judges is the most
important single criterion. And I would institute the same kind of procedure as
President, not only in judicial appointments but also in diplomatic
Secondly, I think that the Burger Court has fairly well confirmed the
major and most far-reaching and most controversial decisions of the Warren
Court. Civil rights has been confirmed by the Burger Court. It hasn't been
reversed. And I don't think there is any inclination to reverse those basic
decisions -- of one man-one vote rule, which is a very important one that struck
down the unwarranted influence in the legislature of sparsely populated areas of
the States. The right of indigent or very poor accused persons to legal counsel
-- I think the Burger Court has confirmed that basic and very controversial
decision of the Warren Court. Also, the protection of an arrested person against
unwarranted persecution in trying to get a false confession.
But now, I think there have been a couple of instances where the Burger
Court has made technical rulings where an obviously guilty person was later
found to be guilty. And I think that in that case some of the more liberal
members of the so-called Warren Court agreed with those decisions.
But the only thing I have pointed out was what I've just said, and that
there was a need to clarify the technicalities so that you couldn't be forced to
release a person who was obviously guilty just because of a small technicality
in the law. And that's a reversal of position by the Burger Court with which I
MR. NELSON. Governor, I don't believe you answered my question, though,
about the kinds of people you would be looking for the Court, the type of
philosophy you would be looking for if you were making appointments to the
Supreme Court as President.
MR. CARTER. Okay, I thought I answered it by saying that it would be on
the basis of merit. Once the search and analysis procedure had been completed,
and once I'm given a list of the 5 or 7 or 10 best qualified persons in the
country, I would make a selection from among those persons. If the list was in
my opinion fairly uniform, if there was no outstanding person, then I would
undoubtedly choose someone who would most accurately reflect my own basic
political philosophy, as best I could determine it, which would be to continue
the progress that has been made under the last two Courts -- the Warren Court
and the Burger Court.
I would also like to completely revise our criminal justice system to do
some of the things at the Federal level and court reform that I've just
described, as has been done in Georgia and other States. And then I would like
to appoint people who would be interested in helping with that. I know that
Chief Justice Burger is. He hasn't had help from the administration and from the
Congress to carry this out.
The emphasis, I think, of the court system should be to interpret the
Constitution and the laws equally between property protection and personal
protection. But when there's a very narrow decision -- which quite often is one
that reaches the Supreme Court -- I think the choice should be with human
rights, and that would be another factor that I would follow.
THE MODERATOR. President Ford.
THE PRESIDENT. I think the answer as to the kind of person that I would
select is obvious. I had one opportunity to nominate an individual to the
Supreme Court, and I selected the Circuit Court of Appeals judge from Illinois,
John Paul Stevens. I selected him because of his outstanding record as a Circuit
Court of Appeals judge. And I was very pleased that an overwhelming Democratic
United States Senate, after going into his background, came to the conclusion
that he was fit and should serve, and the vote in his behalf was overwhelming.
So, I would say somebody in the format of Justice Stevens would be the
kind of an individual that I would select in the future, as I did him in the
I believe, however, a comment ought to be made about the direction of the
Burger Court, vis-a-vis the Court that preceded it. It seems to me that the
Miranda case was a case that really made it very, very difficult for the
police, the law enforcement people in this country to do what they could to make
certain that the victim of a crime was protected and that those that commit
crimes were properly handled and sent to jail. The Miranda case, the
Burger Court is gradually changing. And I'm pleased to see that there are some
steps being made by the Burger Court to modify the so-called Miranda
I might make a correction of what Governor Carter said, speaking of gun
control. Yes, it is true, I believe that the sale of Saturday night specials
should be cut out, but he wants the registration of handguns.
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Kraft.
MR. KRAFT. Mr. President, the country is now in something that your
advisors call an economic pause. I think to most Americans that sounds like an
antiseptic term for low growth, unemployment, standstill at a high, high level,
decline in take-home pay, lower factory earnings, more layoffs. Isn't that a
really rotten record and doesn't your administration bear most of the blame for
THE PRESIDENT. Well, Mr. Kraft, I violently disagree with your assessment,
and I don't think the record justifies the conclusion that you come to. Let me
talk about the economic announcements that were made just this past week.
Yes, it was announced that the GNP real growth in the third quarter was at
4 percent. But do you realize that over the last 10 years that's a higher figure
than the average growth during that 10-year period? Now it's lower than the
9.2-percent growth in the first quarter, and it's lower than the 5-percent
growth in the second quarter. But every economist -- liberal, conservative --
that I'm familiar with recognizes that in the fourth quarter of this year and in
the first quarter of next year that we'll have an increase in real GNP.
But now let's talk about the pluses that came out this week. We had an
18-percent increase in housing starts. We had a substantial increase in new
permits for housing. As a matter of fact, based on the announcement this week,
there will be at an annual rate, 1 million 800-some thousand new houses built,
which is a tremendous increase over last year and a substantial increase over
the earlier part of this year.
Now in addition, we had some very good news in the reduction in the rate
of inflation. And inflation hits everybody -- those who are working and those
who are on welfare. The rate of inflation, as announced just the other day, is
under 5 percent; and the 4.4 percent that was indicated at the time of the 4
percent GNP was less than the 5.4 percent. It means that the American buyer is
getting a better bargain today because inflation is less.
MR. KRAFT. Mr. President, let me ask you this. There has been an increase
in layoffs and that's something that bothers everybody because even people that
have a job are afraid that they're going to be fired. Did you predict that
increase in layoffs? Didn't that take you by surprise? Hasn't your
administration been surprised by this pause? In fact, haven't you been so
obsessed with saving money that you didn't even push the government to spend
funds that were allocated?
THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Kraft, I think the record can be put in this way, which
is the way that I think satisfies most Americans: Since the depths of the
recession, we have added 4 million jobs. Most importantly, consumer confidence
as surveyed by the reputable organization at the University of Michigan is at
the highest since 1972.
In other words, there is a growing public confidence in the strength of
this economy. And that means that there will be more industrial activity; it
means that there will be a reduction in the unemployment; it means that there
will be increased hires; it means that there will be increased employment. Now
we've had this pause, but most economists, regardless of their political
philosophy, indicate that this pause for a month or two was healthy, because we
could not have honestly sustained a 9.2 percent rate of growth which we had in
the first quarter of this year.
Now, I'd like to point out as well that the United States' economic
recovery from the recession of a year ago, is well ahead of the economic
recovery of any major free industrial nation in the world today. We are ahead of
all of the Western European countries. We are ahead of Japan. The United States
is leading the free world out of the recession that was serious a year and a
We are going to see unemployment going down, more jobs available, and the
rate of inflation going down. And I think this is a record that the American
people understand and will appreciate.
THE MODERATOR. Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER. With all due respect to President Ford, I think he ought to be
ashamed of making that statement, because we have the highest unemployment rate
now than we had at any time between the Great Depression, caused by Herbert
Hoover, and the time President Ford took office.
We have got 7 1/2 million people out of jobs. Since he's been in office, 2
1/2 million more American people have lost their jobs. In the last four months
alone, 500,000 Americans have gone on the unemployment roll. In the last month,
we've had a net loss of 163,000 jobs.
Anybody who says that the inflation rate is in good shape now ought to
talk to the housewives. One of the overwhelming results that I have seen in the
polls is that people feel that you can't plan anymore, there's no way to make a
prediction that my family might be able to own a home or to put my kid through
college. Savings accounts are losing money instead of gaining money. Inflation
is robbing us.
Under the present administrations -- Nixon's and Ford's -- we have had
three times the inflation rate that we experienced under President Johnson and
President Kennedy. The economic growth is less than half today what it was at
the beginning of this year. And housing starts -- he compares the housing starts
with last year, I don't blame him, because in 1975 we had fewer housing starts
in this country, fewer homes built than any year since 1940. That's 35 years.
And we've got a 35-percent unemployment rate in many areas of this country among
construction workers. And Mr. Ford hasn't done anything about it. And I think
this shows a callous indifference to the families that have suffered so much. He
has vetoed bills passed by Congress within the congressional budget guidelines
-- job opportunities for 2 million Americans. We will never have a balanced
budget, we will never meet the needs of our people, we will never control the
inflationary spiral as long as we have 7 1/2 or 8 million people out of work who
are looking for jobs. And we have probably got 2 1/2 more million people who are
not looking for jobs any more because they've given up hope. That is a very
serious indictment of this administration. It's probably the worst one of all.
THE MODERATOR. Mr. Maynard.
MR. MAYNARD. Governor Carter, you entered this race against President Ford
with a 20-point lead or better in the polls. And now it appears that this
campaign is headed for a photo finish. You have said how difficult it is to run
against a sitting President. But Mr. Ford was just as much an incumbent in July
when you were 20 points ahead as he is now. Can you tell us what caused the
evaporation of that lead, in your opinion?
MR. CARTER. Well, that's not exactly an accurate description of what
happened. When I was that far ahead, it was immediately following the Democratic
Convention and before the Republican Convention. At that time 25 or 30 percent
of the Reagan supporters said that they would not support President Ford, but as
occurred at the end of the Democratic Convention, the Republican Party unified
itself, and I think immediately following the Republican Convention there was
about a 10-point spread. I believe that to be accurate. I had 49 percent;
President Ford had 39 percent.
The polls are good indications of fluctuations, but they vary widely one
from another, and the only poll I've ever followed is the one that, you know, is
taken on Election Day. I was in 30 primaries in the spring and at first it was
obvious that I didn't have any standing in the polls. As a matter of fact, I
think when Gallup ran their first poll in December 1975, they didn't even put my
name on the list. They had 35 people on the list -- my name wasn't even there.
And at the beginning of the year I had about 2 percent. So the polls, to me, are
interesting, but they don't determine my hopes or my despair.
I campaign among people. I have never depended on powerful political
figures to put me in office. I have a direct relationship with hundreds of
thousands of people around the country who actively campaign for me. In Georgia
alone, for instance, I got 84 percent of the vote, and I think there were 14
people in addition to myself on the ballot, and Governor Wallace had been very
strong in Georgia. That's an overwhelming support from my own people who know me
best. And today, we have about 500 hundred Georgians at their own expense, just
working people who believe in me, spread around the country involved in the
So the polls are interesting, but I don't know how to explain the
fluctuations. I think a lot of it depends on current events -- sometimes foreign
affairs, sometimes domestic affairs. But I think our core of support among those
who are crucial to the election has been fairly steady. And my success in the
primary season was, I think, notable for a newcomer, from someone who's outside
of Washington, who never has been a part of the Washington establishment. And I
think that we will have a good result on November 2 for myself and I hope for
THE MODERATOR. President Ford, your response.
THE PRESIDENT. I think the increase in the prospects as far as I'm
concerned and the less favorable prospects for Governor Carter, reflect that
Governor Carter is inconsistent in many of the positions that he takes. He tends
to distort on a number of occasions. Just a moment ago, for example, he was
indicating that in the 1950's, for example, unemployment was very low. He fails
to point out that in the 1950's we were engaged in the war in Vietnam -- I mean
in Korea. We had 3,500,000 young men in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
That's not the way to end unemployment or to reduce unemployment.
At the present time, we are at peace. We have reduced the number of people
in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines from 3,500,000 to 2,100,000. We are not
at war. We have reduced the military manpower by 1,400,000. If we had that many
more people in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and Marines, our unemployment
figure would be considerably less.
But this administration doesn't believe the way to reduce unemployment is
to go to war, or to increase the number of people in the military. So you cannot
compare unemployment, as you sought to, at the present time, with the 1950s,
because the then administration had people in the military. They were at war,
they were fighting overseas. And this administration has reduced the size of the
military by 1,400,000. They are in the civilian labor market, and they are not
fighting anywhere around the world today.
THE MODERATOR. Thank you, gentlemen.
This will complete our questioning for this debate. We don't have time for
more questions and full answers. So now each candidate will be allowed up to 4
minutes for a closing statement. And, at the original coin toss in Philadelphia
a month ago it was determined that President Ford would make the first closing
THE PRESIDENT. For 25 years, I served in the Congress under five
Presidents. I saw them work, I saw them make very hard decisions. I didn't
always agree with their decisions, whether they were Democratic or Republican
Presidents. For the last 2 years, I've been the President, and I have found from
experience that it's much more difficult to make those decisions than it is to
second guess them.
I became President at the time that the United States was in a very
troubled time. We had inflation of over 12 percent; we were on the brink of the
worst recession in the last 40 years; we were still deeply involved in the
problems of Vietnam; the American people had lost faith and trust and confidence
in the Presidency itself. That situation called for me to first put the United
States on a steady course and to keep our keel well-balanced, because we had to
face the difficult problems that had all of a sudden hit America.
I think most people know that I did not seek the Presidency. But I am
asking for your help and assistance to be President for the next four years.
During this campaign we've seen a lot of television shows, a lot of bumper
stickers, and a great many slogans of one kind or another. But those are not the
things that count. What counts is that the United States celebrated its 200th
birthday on July fourth. As a result of that wonderful experience all over the
United States, there is a new spirit in America. The American people are healed,
are working together. The American people are moving again and moving in the
We have cut inflation by better than half. We have come out of the
recession and we are well on the road to real prosperity in this country again.
There has been a restoration of faith and confidence and trust in the Presidency
because I've been open, candid and forthright. I have never promised more than I
could produce and I have produced everything that I promised. We are at peace --
not a single young American is fighting or dying on any foreign soil tonight. We
have peace with freedom.
I've been proud to be President of the United States during these very
troubled times. I love America just as all of you love America. It would be the
highest honor for me to have your support on November second and for you to say,
"Jerry Ford, you've done a good job, keep on doing it."
Thank you, and good night.
THE MODERATOR. Thank you, President Ford.
MR. CARTER. The major purpose of an election for President is to choose a
leader, someone who can analyze the depths of feeling in our country, to set a
standard for our people to follow, to inspire our people to reach for greatness,
to correct our defects, to answer difficulties, to bind ourselves together in a
spirit of unity.
I don't believe the present administration has done that. We have been
discouraged and we've been alienated. Sometimes we've been embarrassed,
sometimes we've been ashamed. Our people are out of work, and there is a sense
But our country is innately very strong. Mr. Ford is a good and decent
man, but he's been in office now more than 800 days, approaching almost as long
as John Kennedy was in office. I would like to ask the American people what has
been accomplished. A lot remains to be done.
My own background is different from his. I was a school board member and a
library board member, I served on a hospital authority, and I was in the State
senate, and I was Governor and I am an engineer, a Naval officer, a farmer, a
businessman. I believe we require someone who can work harmoniously with the
Congress, who can work closely with the people of this country, and who can
bring a new image and a new spirit to Washington.
Our tax structure is a disgrace, it needs to be reformed. I was Governor
of Georgia for 4 years. We never increased sales taxes or income tax or property
taxes. As a matter of fact, the year before I went out of office we gave a $50
million refund to the property taxpayers of Georgia.
We spend $600 per person in this country -- every man, woman and child --
for health care. We still rank 15th among all the nations of the world in infant
mortality, and our cancer rate is higher than any country in the world. We don't
have good health care. We could have it.
Employment ought to be restored to our people. We have become almost a
welfare state. We spend now 700 percent more on unemployment compensation than
we did 8 years ago when the Republicans took over the White House. Our people
want to go back to work. Our education system can be improved. Secrecy ought to
be stripped away from government, and a maximum of personal privacy ought to be
maintained. Our housing programs have gone bad. It used to be that the average
family could own a house, but now less than a third of our people can afford to
buy their own homes.
The budget was more grossly out of balance last year than ever before in
the history of our country -- $65 billion -- primarily because our people are
not at work. Inflation is robbing us, as we've already discussed, and the
government bureaucracy is just a horrible mess.
This doesn't have to be. I don't know all the answers. Nobody could. But I
do know that if the President of the United States and the Congress of the
United States and the people of the United States said, "I believe our nation is
greater than what we are now," I believe that if we are inspired, if we can
achieve a degree of unity, if we can set our goals high enough and work toward
recognized goals with industry and labor and agriculture along with government
at all levels, we can achieve great things.
We might have to do it slowly. There are no magic answers to it, but I
believe together we can make great progress, we can correct our difficult
mistakes and answer those very tough questions.
I believe in the greatness of our country, and I believe the American
people are ready for a change in Washington. We have been drifting too long. We
have been dormant too long. We have been discouraged too long. And we have not
set an example for our own people, but I believe that we can now establish in
the White House a good relationship with Congress, a good relationship with our
people, set very high goals for our country, and with inspiration and hard work
we can achieve great things and let the world know -- that's very important --
but more importantly, let the people in our own country realize -- that we still
live in the greatest Nation on earth.
Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR. Thank you, Governor Carter, and thank you, President Ford.
I also would like to thank the audience and my three colleagues -- Mr. Kraft,
Mr. Maynard and Mr. Nelson, who have been our questioners.
This debate has, of course, been seen by millions of Americans, and in
addition tonight is being broadcast to 113 nations throughout the world.
This concludes the 1976 Presidential debates, a truly remarkable exercise
in democracy, for this is the first time in 16 years that the Presidential
candidates have debated. It is the first time ever that an incumbent President
has debated his challenger, and the debate included the first between the two
President Ford and Governor Carter, we not only want to thank you but we
commend you for agreeing to come together to discuss the issues before the
And our special thanks to the League of Women Voters for making these
events possible. In sponsoring these events, the League of Women Voters
Education Fund has tried to provide you with the information that you will need
to choose wisely.
The election is now only 11 days off. The candidates have participated in
presenting their views in three 90-minute debates, and now it's up to the
voters, and now it is up to you to participate. The League urges all registered
voters to vote on November 2 for the candidate of your choice.
And now, from Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall on the campus of the College of
William and Mary, this is Barbara Walters wishing you all a good evening.
Note: The debate began at 9:30 p.m. at the Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall
on the Campus of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. It
was broadcast live on radio and television.
Last Updated: Thursday, August 3, 2000
Return to the
Selected Gerald R. Ford Presidential Speeches Page
List of U.S. presidential faux-pas, gaffes, and
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The following is a list of
pas (a violation of accepted, although unwritten, social rules),
(unintentional things said or done that proved embarrassing or
humiliating) and unfortunate incidents (those things that were not
gaffes or faux pas yet were nonetheless considered to be
regrettable or embarrassing to the party or parties involved) involving
U.S. Presidents. Some were by Presidents themselves while others
were made by those either associated with or who reported about the U.S.
President of the day.
President Harding's poor use of English became notorious during his
Harding's poor grasp of the English language, coupled with his
insistence on writing his own speeches, produced notorious linguistic
errors. He once commented:
"I would like the government to do all it can to mitigate, then,
in understanding, in mutuality of interest, in concern for the common
good, our tasks will be solved."
Following Harding's death,
E. E. Cummings said "The only man, woman or child who wrote a simple
declarative sentence with seven grammatical errors is dead."
Truman had unexpectedly become President due to the sudden death
of longterm President
Franklin D. Roosevelt. Few expected him to secure election as the
Democratic candidate for the presidency in 1948. In an effort to boost
his ratings, during the
Democratic National Convention the party released dozens of doves
into the convention hall. The action backfired spectacularly when some
of the doves died in the intense heat and others, made dizzy by the
heat, desperately tried to escape and
divebombed the delegates.(Christian
Johnson was well known for his coarse language and occasionally
unrefined behavior. While not a gaffe in office, an embarrassingly
personal tape of LBJ ordering pants from Joe Haggar on
was later released to the public. In it Johnson belches, complains about
the pants riding up and cutting him "where your nuts hang" when he gains
a little weight, like "riding a wire fence," and asks for more material
"around under my
bunghole" that he can let out if need be.
Gerald Ford, who succeeded Richard Nixon in
numerous gaffes and faux-pas, many of which, while making people see him
as human and less
imperial than his predecessor, made others vote against him for
election in 1976.
Among his more famous examples are:
1976, during a televised Presidential debate in the
1976 Presidential election with rival
Jimmy Carter, President Ford became confused and stated that
Eastern Europe were not under the domination of the
Soviet Union. When challenged over his comments, he repeated "There
is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under
a Ford administration."
In the words of Professor
Alan Schroeder, author of Presidential Debates: Forty Years of
High Risk TV: "That was a gaffe that took him some time to recover
from—mostly because he did not back away from the statement".
President Carter in his fight with a "killer rabbit".
While campaigning for president, Jimmy Carter candidly noted
during an interview with
magazine, "I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed
adultery in my heart many times. This is something that God recognizes I
will do—and I have done it—and God forgives me for it."
While on a visit to
President Carter delivered a speech which was notoriously mistranslated.
When Carter told the Poles he "understood their anxiety” about
democracy, the translator stated that Carter “desired them sexually”.
A further innocent comment by Carter was translated as indicating
that the President of the United States had "left America never to
fishing trip to
Plains, Georgia, Carter encountered a
swamp rabbit that attempted to board the President's fishing boat,
which he shooed away with a paddle. The story found its way to the
national press a few months later. It was covered for over a week, and
Carter was widely portrayed as having acted in a "cowardly" fashion on
his encounter with what the press nicknamed the "Killer
In 1984, before his weekly radio address, President Reagan was
asked to say something to do a soundcheck. He remained quiet for a few
moments, then not realizing that the microphone was now on and recording
joked. Information about the recording (though the recording itself
was not aired) was later released, causing an alert to be triggered in
In a slip of the tongue, where he meant to say "employment",
President Reagan told Americans "We are trying to get unemployment to go
up, and I think we're going to succeed"
At a gala dinner in the Washington President Reagan called
princess Diana princess David. "Permit me to add our congratulations to
Prince Charles on his birthday just five days away," he said, "and
express also our great happiness that .. . er ... Princess David -
Princess Diane (sic) here on her first trip to the United States."
In January 1992, while on a state visit to Japan, President George
H. W. Bush became ill and was shown on television vomiting into the lap
Prime Minister of Japan,
Kiichi Miyazawa, who was sitting beside him, during a state dinner.
1992, Bush attended a National Grocers Association photo-op in
Orlando, Florida. It was widely reported that he had expressed "wonder"
and "amazement" at supermarket scanner technology that had been widely
used since 1980. The story gave the impression that Bush was detached
from the lives of ordinary Americans. However, it was soon revealed that
Bush had previously seen this technology in use and was most likely
making polite conversation.
During a town hall debate with rivals
Bill Clinton and
Ross Perot, while his opponents were answering, cameras caught a
shot of Bush glancing at his watch and looking bored. The action was
picked up by the media and reported as a gaffe, in that it showed
he wasn't interested in the debate and didn't want to have to spend his
time taking part, even though the debate was for the electorate's
National Geographic said that "[t]he gesture gave viewers the
distinct impression that Bush would rather have been elsewhere".
Vice-President of the United States, Bush caused widespread offense
when, on being shown the
gas chambers at
Auschwitz, he commented "Boy, they were big on crematoriums, weren't
Bill Clinton's Presidential career was, in the view of many, stymied
by his address to the 1988 Democratic Convention. The up-to-that-point
'future candidate to watch', Governor Clinton delivered an infamous
30-minute speech that bored delegates and viewers alike. When he finally
said the words "in conclusion" the audience broke out in applause.
Clinton however saved his reputation by an appearance on
The Tonight Show where he poked fun at himself for his
longwindedness. Though the speech was widely seen as a major faux-pas
that could have killed off any future Presidential bid, by 1992 he had
overcome it and won the presidency.
Clinton received a haircut aboard
Air Force One by Beverly Hills hairstylist Christophe. It was
reported that during the one-hour haircut the airplane's engines were
running and two of the four runways at
Los Angeles International Airport were shut down, forcing some
scheduled air traffic to circle the airport waiting to land. The
expensive haircut was said to have caused long delays, becoming a source
of ridicule less than 6 months into Clinton's presidency. However, an
analysis of FAA
records by Glenn Kessler of
revealed that, contrary to reports, only one (unscheduled) air taxi
reported an actual delay - of two minutes.
Under attack and under oath during taped grand jury testimony
prior to his impeachment hearing he declared that whether he had told
the truth hinged on the definition of the word "is": "It depends upon
what the meaning of the word 'is' is"
Clinton made the statement "I did not have sexual relations with
Ms Lewinsky." Referring to Lewinsky as "that woman" was widely
regarded as crass and a faux-pas. Tests performed by the
showed Clinton's DNA on a semen-stained navy blue cocktail dress owned
by Ms Lewinsky. Clinton was
impeached for making the false statement under oath in what would
come to be known as the
Adam Clymer, major league asshole from the
New York Times" — at a campaign rally in
Naperville, IL, unaware the microphone in front of him was live.
2001 — Bush appeared on Spanish television and said "It is a great
honor to travel to Spain and visit the King and also Prime Minister
Anzar. But I have to practice the very pretty language, and unless I
practice I am going to destroy this language". He had in fact
mispronounced the name of the
José María Aznar. He called him ansar, a Spanish word for
2002 — Bush lost consciousness for a brief time in the White House
while eating a pretzel and watching a professional football game on
television. He fell from his couch and has a scrape and large bruise on
his left cheekbone, plus a bruise on his lower lip, to show for his
troubles. His glasses cut the side of his face.
2004 — Bush told a televised meeting that "Our enemies are
innovative and resourceful — and so are we. They never stop thinking
about new ways to harm our country and our people — and neither do we."
2005 — Bush
attempted to exit a room in China, but it was locked and so he was
unable to leave the room, much to the amusement of the world's press.
(BBC News, with video)
- At a G8 summit,
Bush touched Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel's shoulders, causing
a surprised Merkel to grimace.
While addressing business leaders at the
Economic Cooperation) summit of world leaders in
Australia, Bush opened his address by thanking the host, Australian
John Howard for hosting the "OPEC
summit". Referring of course to the
commonly used for the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. After laughs from the
audience, President Bush corrected his faux pas by saying, "He
invited me to the
next year", and laughed. This correction provides a further gaffe, as
Australia is not a member of
(7News Australia, with video)
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
b Stephen Pile,
The Book of Heroic Failures (Futura, 1980) p.180.
- ^ "Debate
One-Liners, Gaffes of Yesteryear", ABC News,
Handwerk, Brian. "U.S.
Presidential Debate Trivia: Gaffes, Zingers, More", National
- ^ "A Tale of Carter
and the 'Killer Rabbit'; President Orders Photograph", New York
21 September. On This Day. BBC. Retrieved on
Snopes.com: Claim: During a photo opportunity at a 1988 grocers'
convention, President George Bush was "amazed" at encountering
supermarket scanners for the first time
Margaret B. Carlson (29
"Same Substance, Different Style".
Time 131: 38.
Christian Science Monitor
CJR - Darts & Laurels, Sept/Oct 1993
Haircut: a Tale With a Life of Its Own
21 September. On This Day. BBC. Retrieved on
- ^ "Sex,
lies and impeachment", BBC News,
Large photos on this page courtesy of:
THE CRASH OF FLIGHT 800: SECURITY;Airport Sweeps Leave
One Thing Unchecked: The Planes
For almost a year, Kennedy International Airport has
been especially conscious of security.
There was the visit last fall of Pope John Paul II;
the United Nations anniversary celebrations; two major
terrorism trials, and, this month, the visit of Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the Olympics in
Atlanta, which caused heightened security at all the
For all of this time, Kennedy has remained at the
Federal Government's second highest level of security,
taking precautions like removing batteries from tape
recorders and other electronic devices in some carry-on
baggage, deploying extra undercover officers and making
sure that each checked bag's owner had actually boarded
But yesterday, some Federal law enforcement
officials investigating the crash of T.W.A. Flight 800
said that the number of Federal agents in charge of
monitoring security at the airport was lower than usual,
possibly down to only one agent from the normal staff of
three to five. The agents, known as civil aviation
security field officers, inspect and test the security
operations of the airlines and Port Authority police.
"Their guard wasn't completely down, but it wasn't
as strong as it should be," said one Federal official.
An official with the Federal Aviation
Administration, which supervises the agents, said no fixed
number was assigned to Kennedy airport. He would not
disclose the total stationed in New York, but said their
numbers had been slightly lower recently because of
The National Transportation Safety Board said
yesterday that it had formed a team to look at overall
airport security for Flight 800.
Even with the increased security measures during the
last year, experts in aviation safety and a Federal study
indicate, there are loopholes at Kennedy and other United
States airports through which a bomb could be planted on a
Between the time a plane lands at an airport and the
time it takes off again, maintenance inspections are made
and items left on the plane are removed, but no security
sweeps are done. During that time, as many as 50 workers
have access to the plane.
In addition, X-ray machines used to scan luggage are
not designed to find many types of bomb materials.
"As you can imagine, no system's perfect," said
David Plavin, president of the Airports Council
International, a lobbying group in Washington and a former
head of airports for the Port Authority of New York and
New Jersey. "There's bound to be a hole somewhere."
Most of those holes emerge during the "turnaround,"
when the aircraft is being prepared for a flight.
When a plane lands at a United States airport,
"there is no security sweep," said a former airline
executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "When the
plane lands, the first action is to start removing all the
surplus galley equipment."
Ray Garza, president of Counter Technology Inc. an
aviation security consulting company in Maryland, said,
"There is a trade-off between security and efficiency." To
implement "foolproof" security, he said, would require
procedures so lengthy that passengers would protest at the
time between flights and airlines would lose money.
Dozens of employees descend on a plane soon after it
lands. On a 747 like Flight 800, about 50 workers would
have access to it. Those workers recycle the waste from
the bathrooms, restock the supply of blankets and pillows,
refill the drinking water and remove bags and other items
left on board. Crews clean the plane. Baggage handlers
load the cargo hold.
For T.W.A. at Kennedy, most of those workers are
employed by the airline. The food service is provided by a
contractor hired by the airline.
T.W.A. and other airlines try to prevent problems by
screening both their own staff and the contract workers.
Anyone with access to the tarmac must wear a badge at all
times and Port Authority security officers patrol the
But the patrols are not foolproof. In 1993, the
inspector general's office of the Federal Aviation
Administration sent agents to five airports to see if they
could enter restricted areas. They made 20 attempts and
were successful three-quarters of the time, getting into
the cockpits of planes and other high-security areas. A
spokesman for the agency said yesterday he did not know if
Kennedy was one of the five airports.
At Kennedy a couple of years earlier, two reporters
from Conde Nast Traveler magazine managed to get through a
security door in the T.W.A. terminal that was supposed to
set off an alarm. They wandered freely on the tarmac and
were not stopped by security patrols. A Port Authority
official said yesterday that since the Conde Nast
experiment, security had been stepped up.
"You try to get a handle on the problem by not
letting any Tom, Dick and Harry in there," Mr. Garza said.
"You have certain valid assumptions and one of the
assumptions is that the guy who vacuums the plane is not
going to put a bomb on it."
Under the highest Federal security level, anyone
entering the plane to prepare it for takeoff is searched
beforehand, according to Port Authority documents. The
airport was not at that level when Flight 800 took off,
and T.W.A. officials have declined to say whether those
workers were searched.
Passengers who board planes at Kennedy airport may
assume their bags are checked for explosives. But on most
domestic flights, checked luggage is not X-rayed at all.
On international flights, the bags are X-rayed, but the
machines are designed to detect metal weapons for
hijacking, not explosives.
A General Accounting Office report issued in March
said that F.A.A. tests of X-ray machines found a "low
probability of detecting a moderately sophisticated
Airlines could hand-check luggage or use dogs to
sniff for explosives. But these methods are costly and
time-consuming. Instead, since the explosion of Pan Am
Flight 103 over Scotland, the airlines try to insure that
people who have checked luggage are actually on the plane.
T.W.A. officials have said Flight 800 was delayed for an
hour, partly because a passenger who checked his luggage
was late boarding the plane.
"The premise for security," Mr. Garza said, "is
based on the fact that nobody's going to blow himself up."
The Crash of Flight 800
|On the evening of July 17th, 1996, shortly after the sun
had set, but while the sky was still light, a
Boeing 747-131 jetliner, TWA's flight 800, was taking off
from JFK airport on its way to Paris, France. On board were
At approximately 11 minutes into the flight, the 747 was
flying at an altitude of 13,700 MSL, or 13,700 feet above sea
level. Normally higher at 11 minutes, flight 800 had delayed
climbing to make room for another jetliner descending into Rhode
Island. The plane was over the Atlantic ocean south of Long
Island, New York.
|Just as flight 800 received clearance to initiate a climb
cruise altitude, the plane exploded without
any warning. Thousands of pounds of kerosene, dumped from the
center and wing tanks, vaporized and ignited, creating a
fireball seen all along the coastline of Long Island. Under the
orange glow of the fireball, sections of the 747 tumbled into
the ocean. So completely had the plane broken up that
weather radar confused the expanding bubble of debris for a
The First Hints
Almost at once,
eyewitnesses were being interviewed on radio and TV
who reported that something strange had preceded the
explosion of the 747. Witnesses, many on the ground,
reported seeing a bright object "streaking" towards the
747. The object in question turned in midair as it closed
on the jumbo jet. Witnesses reported horizontal travel, as
well as vertical. The broad geographical range covered by
the eyewitnesses eliminates foreground/background
confusion. To be seen as being near the 747 from so many
different directions, the bright object had to actually be
in the immediate vicinity of the 747.
pilots in the air reported seeing a bright light near
the jumbo jet before it exploded.
In the days following the disaster, many
industry executives privately concluded that TWA 800
had been shot down.
What Was The Bright Object Detected On
There was an initial report that something had been
picked up on Air Traffic Control radar, but this report
was quickly withdraw. Associated Press on (07/19/96)
reported " Radar detected a blip merging with the jet
shortly before the explosion, something that could
indicate a missile hit."
It's important to remember that in normal operation,
Air Traffic Control radar does not detect aircraft, but
aircraft transponders. A transponder is a special type of
radio in the aircraft that listens for a radar beam.. When
it detects a radar beam, it immediately sends out a coded
signal with an identifying number (assigned by the Air
Traffic Controller on the ground) as well as the altitude
of the aircraft. The Air Traffic Control radar will then
use this extra data to display useful information to the
Air Traffic Controller.
All air traffic operating inside the Terminal
Control Area is required to have an operating radar
transponder. Unless the Air Traffic Controller displays
the skin paint return, any air traffic without a
transponder will not be seen.
Was The Bright Object A Missile?
descriptions given by the eyewitnesses and by pilots
in the area (including an Air France crew) are not
inconsistent with a missile. No alternative explanation
for the bright object has been forthcoming.
ABC World News Sunday, 07/21/96, interviewed witness
Lou Desyron, who reported, "We saw what appeared to be a
flare going straight up. As a matter of fact, we thought
it was from a boat. It was a bright reddish-orange color.
...once it went into flames, I knew that wasn't a flare."
The Washington Times, on July 24th, 1996, reported.
"Several witnesses...saw a bright, flare-like object
streaking toward the jumbo jet seconds before it blew up.
ABC News said yesterday that the investigators had more
then 100 eyewitness accounts supporting the
[ missile ] theory."
"Sanitizing" The Debris Field.
Almost immediately, information was leaked by the
FBI and the Navy which implied that there was an object of
extreme biological danger aboard Flight 800, one which
posed a serious risk to anyone who picked it up.
Although later retracted, the story, coupled with
reports of bio-suited soldiers along the beaches of Long
Island, created the impression that the FBI and NTSB did
not want anyone looking too closely at any of the
Why did attention focus on a Test
Initially, it was claimed that there was virtually
no explosive residue on the 747 wreckage. In normal
practice, missiles being tested or used for training have
dummy warheads; inert packages which are the same size and
weight of real warheads but which do not explode. In many
cases, such practice munitions are recovered and reused.
This is consistent with a test missile with a dummy warhead.
Of course, it was not known at the time that
evidence of explosive residue was even then being
concealed from the public, but by that time, the claimed
lack of explosive residue had suggested a test missile to
most observers, and attention began to focus on the Navy's
Cooperative Engagement Capability system, which had
been undergoing tests, including live missile firings,
along the Atlantic seaboard all that summer.
When it was finally revealed that there was
explosive residue on the remains of the Boeing 747, the
mainstream media tried to explain it away as contamination
from a bomb sniffing
training exercise that ultimately
turned out to have taken place on a different aircraft
entirely. Had it been true, remnants from a training
exercise did not explain
a swath of residue ten rows long and three seats wide
reaching from an obvious perforation in the forward
section trailing back to where the forward section broke
away from the rest of the 747.
The Very Odd Behavior Of The Navy.
Unique to this crash was the intense participation
of the Navy, which immediately dispatched its best deep
salvage vessels to the area, and kicked out the New York
Police Department divers, who had legal jurisdiction in
While the beaches of Long Island were swept by
soldiers in humvees, the Navy bottom-searched an area of
the Atlantic half the size of Rhode Island.
Most unusually, the Navy searched out 20 miles to
either side of the known debris field, even though the 747
could not have glided that distance from its altitude of
13,700 MSL even if left intact.
The Navy justified this extensive search by claiming
that they could not locate the
aircraft flight recorders, the "black boxes", even
though numerous private boat owners reported hearing the
locator pings on their sonar and fish finders. When the
black boxes finally appeared, it was reported that they
had been found directly under the Navy's deep salvage
|Despite early denials, the Navy finally admitted
that there had been three submarines present in the area
on the night of the crash. The Trepang; a Sturgeon class
attack submarine, the Albuquerque; a type 688 Los Angeles
class fast attack submarine equipped with vertical launch
tubes, and the Wyoming, a nuclear ballistic missile
submarine just out of Groton on sea trials. It has just
surfaced that something went wrong on those trials,
delaying the commissioning of the Wyoming, and her captain
and exec were relieved of command.
Most recently, it has been learned that the Aircraft
Carrier Teddy Roosevelt also participated in the CEC
exercises but was not admitted to be present at the time.
The cover-up begins.
No sooner had the 747 hit the water than dozens of
internet intelligence operatives flooded the internet with
posts claiming that Flight 800 had been the victim of a
terrorist shoot down using a Stinger man portable missile.
It is an historical irony that it was this sudden activity
by intelligence operatives, many of them known for their
work in the Vincent Foster cover-up, that first alerted
many citizens (including this writer) that something was
very wrong indeed with the official story. Up until the
time when the high pressure sell-job for terrorism hit the
net, I was of the opinion TWA 800 was just another tragic
Regardless, the "proof" lay in the reactions of the
intelligence operatives when several knowledgeable people
pointed out that TWA 800, at the point where it exploded,
was too high to be reached by a Stinger, and that the lack
of obvious impact damage to the engines ruled out an IR
guided man portable missile. The spooks, in predictable
fashion, postulated "super Stingers" that had never been
de-classified but were still in the hands of terrorists.
One operative went so far as to suggest that a Stinger's
operational altitude could be doubled just be
re-programming its chips. All in all, the facts in the
case were clearly subordinate to the pursuance of the
agenda of selling the terrorist theory.
Ultimately, I posted an article entitled
"The Dog Didn't Bark". The thesis was simply that none
of the parties present that night reacted the way one
would expect them to react had the missile come from an
24 hours later, the "terrorism" theory had vanished
from the playbooks of the intelligence operatives, and in
its place was the claim that a sparking fuel pump in the
center tank caused an explosion.
|However, the cockpit switch for the fuel pump was
found in the "off" position and the cockpit voice record
did not record the flight crew turning it on. The NTSB
Chairman's report of November 15th, 1996 made it quite
clear that no evidence existed of fault in the fuel probes
and pump system of the center tank.
Never-the-less, the "frayed wire in the center tank"
theory continues to be the cause for the explosion and
crash promoted by the government.
Author James Sander's wife works for TWA. She lost
friends on flight 800, and as rumors of a missile kill of
flight 800 began to circulate within TWA, James was asked
to look into the matter.
In his book,
"The Downing Of TWA Flight 800" James Sanders related
the story of how one of the TWA employees working in the
Calverton hanger became so disgusted with what he saw as a
deliberate cover-up that he provided to James Sanders two
samples of cloth from seats from TWA 800, to be tested by
an outside, NON-government linked laboratory.
On the seat fabric samples was a bright red residue
which had stained three rows of seats in the aircraft,
Tests on the first sample revealed elements which
experts confirmed were consistent with the combustion
byproducts of a military solid fuel rocket motor of the
powdered aluminum and perchlorate type.
James Sanders then gave his second and last sample
to CBS news for them to have tested. CBS promptly turned
around and gave the sample back to the government.
Once the sample had been returned, the government
declared that the red residue was seat glue, choosing to
simply ignore the fact that it has been seen on only three
adjacent rows of seats out of the entire aircraft.
The FBI, showing a double standard, then went after
James Sanders for theft of part of the airplane, even
though the FBI's man in charge, James Kallstrom, had
removed a souvenir from the aircraft himself.
tests conducted on the glue used on the seats and the
Atlantic seawater in the area proved once and for all that
the red residue was not glue, and yet another of the
government's lies stood revealed.
The Official Story
The official explanation for the crash of TWA flight
800 is that the
eyewitnesses who were there are all idiots. It's not
said in those words, but that's been the general tone. The
government is so dismissive (read "afraid of") the
eyewitnesses that James Kallstrom requested that they not
be allowed to speak at the NTSB's "public" hearings into
the disaster. The assumption is that almost 200 people who
were actually there don't know what they saw, but that a
bunch of bureaucrats who were not there do!
It is the government's claim that for a reason still
not clearly understood, the fuel vapors in the nearly
empty center fuel tank of the Boeing 747 suddenly
exploded, and blew the nose off of the 747. The 747 then
continued in stable flight, pulling into a vertical climb.
It is this climb which the government insists the
eyewitnesses all saw and mistook for a missile approaching
the airplane. At the top of this climb, the 747 then
exploded into a fireball and fell into the ocean.
There are, needless to say, many problems with this
First of all, it requires virtually everyone who saw
the event to mistake a climb initiating two miles up in
the air for one initiating from the surface of the ocean.
two videos used to support the government's case did
not even match with each other, damning at last one of
them as a work of fiction.
Thirdly, the claim that the 747 could maintain
stable flight long enough to execute a climb has been
disproved by calculations done by one of the designers of
X-29 and by
Finally, given the condition of the aircraft
following the initiating event, the evidence in the debris
field proved that it would have been
structurally impossible for the wings of the 747 to
support level flight, let alone a climb.
Then and now
Compiled from official statements and records, a list
of military activity around the TWA 800 crash site as
admitted to at the time, and as subsequently revealed in
James Kallstrom admits
possibility of missile
FBI head acknowledges
terrorist missile could have brought TWA jet down
Kallstrom admits three
Navy ships were closer to the TWA explosion than the
Excerpt from a
of James Kallstrom by Reed Irvine of
Accuracy In Media.
|IRVINE: Let's open up
the report, lets open up the record, lets take
out the secrecy. That's the point.
KALLSTROM: Ya, I think it would be good
to do that at this point now that the criminal
case is not open. But it's in the hands of
IRVINE: Hay, the bureau [FBI] just sent
[Congressman] Trafficant a letter saying they
couldn't identify three vessels that were in
the vicinity for privacy reasons - come on.
KALLSTROM: Well, ya. Well, we all know
what those were. In fact, I even spoke about
IRVINE: What were they?
KALLSTROM: They were Navy vessels that
were on classified maneuvers.
IRVINE: What about the one that went
racing out to sea at 30 knots?
KALLSTROM: That was a helicopter.
IRVINE: On the surface?
KALLSTROM: Well, between you and I the
conventional wisdom was, although it's
probably not totally provable, was that it was
US Navy Master Chief on USS Trepang
admits Navy shot down TWA 800.
UPDATE: Latest report is
that the Master Chief has retracted his story, citing
concerns over his Navy pension.
The "Drone Fax"
In 1997 reporter W. Michael
Pitcher of "The Southampton Press" newspaper broke
the story of a Riverhead, Long Island resident who
mistakenly received faxes of official documents
related to the federal TWA Flight 800 investigation.
The resident, Dede Muma, had a telephone line
connected to her own fax machine with a number close
to the number being used to direct
investigation-related faxes to FBI and other
personnel on Long Island. A transposition of the
last two digits in the intended destination's phone
number by the sender connected the sending fax
machine to Ms. Muma's fax machine instead.
The coversheet of the fax Ms.
Muma received indicates it was from a worker at
Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical in San Diego to a
co-worker helping the FBI on Long Island. The fax,
actually multiple faxed pages, concerns rear
structures of a drone aircraft Teledyne Ryan
manufactures for the US military: the "Firebee"
drone. The separate pages of that fax appear at this
The following letter is posted here
with the permission of the author, Jack Cashill.
TWA 800 Controversy Heats Up
On a warm June evening in Kansas City, the historic
home of TWA and the current site of its huge overhaul
base, a group of 75 or so airline pilots watched the
documentary Silenced : Flight 800 and the Subversion of
Justice in stunned horror.
Afterwards, not a one among them, either publicly or
privately, challenged the video's thesis that TWA Flight
800 had indeed been shot down. Offered instead were
corroborating details, particularly from angry TWA pilots,
about the money trail and the inexplicable Pentagon visits
of then TWA CEO, Jeff Erickson. Said one TWA pilot. "90%
of us believe there was a government cover-up."
From the Boeing community in Seattle the response
has been much the same. Writes one Boeing engineer, a man
who had spent countless hours helping analyze TWA 800 on
Boeing's Cray Supercomputers, "I brought it (Silenced) to
work today and showed it during lunch to eight of my
fellow Boeing workers. The room was deathly quiet the
entire time . . . . My impression then was a missile
strike and it is even more so today."
Even more troubling is the response of Mike Wire,
the Philadelphia millwright on whose presumed testimony,
the CIA based its notorious animation of TWA 800 rocketing
upwards like a missile.
"The video "Silenced" presents a factual reenactment
of what I saw that night. My part of the video also is
what I told the FBI a few days after the incident at an
in-depth interview at my residence. As you can see what I
saw originated from behind the houses on the beach that is
why I at first thought it to be a firework. It most
definitely didn't start up in the sky like the FBI/CIA
story says. I don't know how they could (come) up with
that scenario because it doesn't match what I saw and told
the FBI or what other witnesses I have talk to since May
of 2000 had reported."
Writes Dwight Brumley, a 20-year Navy vet who
watched the tragedy unfold from above, after watching
"The CIA animation in no way represents what I saw
that night. Based on the time line, as I understand it,
the "flare" that I reported seeing off the right side of
and below USAir 217 COULD NOT, I repeat, COULD NOT have
been TWA 800 in crippled flight just before and after it
exploded. There are two reasons why. First, TWA 800 would
have been moving in my field of view from left to right,
not from right to left as I clearly observed; and Second,
my understanding of the basic laws of aerodynamics leads
me to conclude there is no way that TWA 800, with the nose
section gone, could have possibly climbed 3000-4000 feet
as the CIA video portrays."
Not all responses to the project, however. Have been
supportive. In the May issue of Kansas City business
magazine, Ingram's, and comparably in a five part
WorldNetDaily series, I wrote of Peter Goelz, the then
managing director of the National Transportation Safety:
"Instructive in Goelz's technique was his handling
of Kelly O'Meara, a reporter for The Washington Times
Insight Magazine. Some time after the crash, O'Meara
interviewed Goelz about some radar data newly released by
the NTSB itself.
"As soon as O'Meara left his office, Goelz called
Howard Kurtz of the rival Washington Post to plant a
story. Kurtz would quote Goelz as saying "She really
believes that the United States Navy shot this thing down
and there was a fleet of warships." As O'Meara's audiotape
revealed, It was the mocking and evasive Goelz who raised
the issue of missiles, not O'Meara.
"Wrote Insight editor Paul Rodriquez, 'In my
experience as a veteran newsman, journalists would never
roll over and allow government bureaucrats to use them to
slime their colleagues. Yet that precisely is what
Peter Goelz was quick to respond. In a letter dated,
June 5, he wrote:
"Your story, like O'Meara's is a mélange of
half-truths, outright falsehoods and sheer stupidity. The
sad thing about your piece and Ms. O'Meara's is the hurt
that they can cause to the 100's of Navy personnel who
worked 24 hour shifts to recover all 230 victims and for
the family members of flight 800 who may read your
In the end there were no missiles, no bombs, no
mystery fleet, no fleeing ships, no terrorists, no U.S.
Navy involvement. It was just a tired old 747 with an
empty, explosive center wing tank.
For all those involved it was a tragedy of
incalculable pain. For "pundits" like you, a topic for
sport and financial gain. Shame on you. Shame on
When Goelz saw the WorldNetDaily series he responded
once more, this time by email under the subject heading,
"Just finished you (sic) five part WND series-it's
really garbage-and to think you're trying to make a buck
off it as well-I fear it's a new low. By the way, I just
checked on Amazon.com and (James) Sander's book (Altered
Evidence) is currently rated as the 92,000th most
purchased book. Don't start the new pool just yet."
For the record, under
Clinton, Peter Goelz ascended from
the ranks of the Missouri River gambling lobbyists to
become chief administrator of the National Transportation
Safety Board (NTSB) in just a brief few years. Ironically,
he uses the same tactics against me that he denies having
used against Kelly O'Meara: ridicule, intimidation, blind
charges of profiteering, and the pious exploitation of the
US Navy and victim families.
In truth, neither in the article nor in the video,
Silenced, do I even infer that the Navy shot down Flight
800. In fact, three of the most compelling witnesses in
the video are Navy people; a fourth is a family member.
For the record, Goelz's NTSB refused to let any of the 736
official eyewitnesses-several of them experienced military
observers--testify at either hearing, and it disallowed
all discussion of explosive residue (found all over the
plane) lest the FBI one day reopen the criminal case. And
yes, as he knows and the FBI acknowledges, there was a
As to the plane, it was not particularly old and
certainly no more explosive than the average 747. If the
NTSB had believed what Goelz has said, they would have
recalled those planes quicker than you could say
"Firestone." Ask the machinist's union. Ask any TWA pilot.
Ask a Boeing engineer. After spending $40 million, the
NTSB was unable to identify a scenario that would allow
the plane to blow up
LOTS MORE DETAILS
Despite Ford's pronouncement in 1977 that he was going to solve
the airport noise problem, in 2008, we still have the problem.
ignites tempers, sparks obscene sign on homeowners' roof
Before the FAA changed Philadelphia's flight plan a
month ago, Michael Hall and his girlfriend, Michaelene
Buddy had no issues sleeping. Their home was quiet. Then
came the flight pattern change, and with it the constant
roaring of commercial jets overhead.
Hall and Buddy have tried contacting the FAA's noise
disturbance hotline, but claim that the voice mailbox is
always full. So the duo took matters into their own
hands: in 7-foot letters the couple spelled out "FU_K U
FAA" on their roof -- in plain sight of any jet flying
The sign might not spark any changes, but I imagine it
felt good for the two to say what they wanted so say and
know that someone will hear (or see) it.
PLANE DISASTER DATABASE
PRESIDENTIAL INFORMATION DATABASE
DREAMS OF THE GREAT EARTHCHANGES
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