Public Papers of Jimmy Carter, 1980-1981

Author: Jimmy Carter  | Date: May 29, 1980

Columbus, Ohio
Remarks at a Carter/Mondale Fundraising Luncheon.
May 29, 1980

Both to Dean Jeffers and to John Galbreath, let me say I am deeply grateful to you personally and to all of you who are here.

I’ve been thinking, the last few minutes riding along in the car .with Dean and with Bob Strauss and others, Bob tells me we just lack a few delegates from having a majority to go into the convention and be the nominee. If I had just had Dean Jeffers a few months ago instead of— [laughter] —would have been over the top already, but— [laughter] -

In 1976, as I said a few minutes ago at a wonderful rally, Ohio gave me your expression of confidence. It was a coincidence perhaps, or maybe fate, but at the Democratic convention in New York, it was the Ohio votes that finally gave me a majority. And as you well know, in November of 1976, it was the Ohio votes that were crucial in determining who would be the President. And I believe that Tuesday and again in November, you’re going to continue that long, ancient, good tradition of Ohio politics and do it again.

Let me say that I’m very grateful that Bob would come out here with me. Bob’s done a superb job in managing our campaign and being our campaign chairman. And I’m going to count on him all the way through November, and if any problems arise in the campaign or anything like that, don’t call me, call Bob Strauss. [Laughter]

I’m not going to make another speech to you, because I’ve already made one. And I, however, do want to say just a couple of things.

This last decade was probably the most severe economic test of our Nation since the decade of the 1930’s. We have survived. We’ve survived strong, united, determined, and with confidence. Our country has had to face very difficult problems; we’ve not flinched. We’ve not avoided them. Certainly the last 3 1/2 years, wehave never turned our head away when a difficult problem had to be solved or a difficult question had to be answered or an obstacle had to be overcome.

It’s not always been an easy or a popular thing to do, but we’ve made tremendous progress, and the decade of the 1980’s is going to test our Nation even further. We can meet that test. Our country has never failed when we were united and when we had a clear vision of the challenge to meet that challenge.

We hear a lot these days about temporary inconveniences or difference of opinion among government and other leaders, and perhaps transient disappointments. But if you go back down in history and look at the challenges that have faced our country in years and generations gone by, now we are blessed not with severe discouraged people who are suffering, but we’re blessed with great gifts from God of a wonderful life. The testing of our country, not being anything new to us, is something that can result, as it always has in the past not only with a triumph but a better life.

This country is on the cutting edge of change, the cutting edge of progress. As I said in my speech a few minutes ago, just one segment of our future economic life, the production of more kinds of energy in our Nation—solar energy, all kinds of energy from Ohio and other coal, the new development of energy derived from growing crops, that one industry alone is greater in scope and concept and excitement and challenge than the space program, the Marshall plan, and the Interstate Highway System all put together. And you know which State is going to be particularly blessed in the future with this enormous opportunity to make a better life for Americans.
And what we do here in our country will shape the lives of people all over the world. In World War II we were challenged with a dormant approach to production of weapons and other goods, and Ohio perhaps more than any other State in the Nation, responded and turned the tide of that challenge from Hitler. And we also have become a breadbasket of the world. Well, the 1980’s can hold for us and will hold for us not only an opportunity to meet a severe test but to triumph and give our Nation an even better life in the future.

Let me say in closing this: As we go through a time of rebuilding and revitalizing and necessarily changing our economic structure, our industrial base, we must not forget the human needs that exist among us. The Constitution of the United States spells this out very clearly for us; that we must have stability, public peace, as well as equal opportunity. And what has happened in Miami and what might happen in the future in different places where deprivation has existed is a challenge to all of us. And as we have a better life for those like the ones in this room have been blessed so greatly, we cannot forget those who haven’t yet been blessed as well as we.

That’s part of the challenge; it’s part of the opportunity; it’s part of a democratic life; it’s part of the life of the greatest nation on Earth, which together you and, I believe, I as President will make even greater in the years to come.

Thank you again for helping me out. God bless you all.

NOTE: The President spoke at 1:12 p.m. in the Isabella Ballroom at the Sheraton-Columbus Hotel. In his opening remarks, he referred to Dean Jeffers, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the Nationwide Insurance Company, and luncheon chairman, and John Galbreath, luncheon cochairman.