Sunday, September 25, 2016

90 Minutes On Two COMMISSION's on PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES. 1.) The Third Carter-Ford Presidential Debate 2.) The Carter-Reagan Presidential Debate

OCTOBER 22, 1976 
Williamsburg, Virginia

October 22, 1976 Debate Transcript

October 22, 1976
The Third Carter-Ford Presidential Debate
MS. WALTERS: Good evening, I'm 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 two and one-half minutes to answer the question. The other candidate has up to two 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 two 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 three 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 debate. 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 Ford.
MR. KRAFT: Mr. President, uh - I assume that the Americans all know that these are difficult times and that there's no "pie in the sky" and that they don't expect something for nothing. Uh - so, I'd like to ask you as a first question as you look ahead in the next four years, what sacrifices are you going to call on the American people to make, what price are you going to ask them to pay uh - to realize your objectives? Uh - let me add, uh - Governor Carter, that if - if you felt uh - that it was appropriate to answer that question in - in your comments uh - as to what price it would be appropriate for the American pay - people to pay uh - for a Carter administration, I think that would be proper too. Mr. President?
MR. FORD: Mr. Kraft, I believe that the American people, in the next four 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 uh - we will have to maintain an adequate military capability - which means, of course, that we will have to add a uh - I think uh - a few billion dollars to our defense appropriations to make certain that we have adequate uh -strategic forces - adequate conventional forces. I think the American people will be called upon to uh - uh - 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 Pacific. 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 uh - America can go on a big spending spree with a whole lot of new programs uh - 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 uh 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 uh - four years.
MR. KRAFT: Could I be a little bit more specific, Mr. President?
MR. FORD: Surely, surely, overlapping. Doesn't your policy really imply that we're going to have a fairly high rate of unemployment over a fairly long time, that growth is gonna be fairly slow, and that we're not gonna be able to do much - very much in the next four or five years to meet the basic agenda of our national needs in the cities, in health, uh in transit and a whole lot of things like that.
MR. FORD: Not at all. overlapping, aren't those the real costs?
MR. FORD: 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 uh - by the federal government at the present time for human needs. Now we will probably need to increase that to same extent. But we don't have to have - growth in spending that will blow the lid off and add to the problems of inflation. I believe we can meet the problems within the cities of this country and still uh - give a tax reduction. I proposed, as you know, a reduction to increase the personal exemption from seven hundred and fifty to a thousand dollars. 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. Uh - a job, a home for all those that'll work and save for it, uh - safety in the streets, uh - health that is a - health care that is affordable. These things can be done if we have the right vision and the right restraint and the right leadership.
MS. WALTERS: 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 uh - environmental agency has projected a 10 percent unemployment rate by 1978 if he's uh - 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 uh - is one example where uh - a lot of people have selfish, grasping ideas now. I remember 1973 in the depth of the uh - energy crisis when President Nixon called on the American people to make a sacrifice, to cut down on the waste of uh - gasoline, to cut down on the uh - speed of automobiles. It was a - a tremendous surge of patriotism, that "I want to make a sacrifice for my country." I think we uh - 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 inflation. We can also have a- 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 uh - Medicaid uh - laws, and the uh - food stamp laws, make over $10 thousand a year and uh - they don't have to pay any taxes on it. At the other extreme, uh - 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's 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 uh - uh - 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.
MS. WALTERS: 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 blunder and brainwashing and fixations on lust and Playboy. What responsibility do you accept for the low level of this campaign for the nation's highest office?
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 seven and a half, eight million people out of work, and you've got three times as much inflation as you had during the last eight-year Democratic administration, when you have the highest deficits in history; when you have it uh - 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 uh - Watergate and uh - the CIA revelations, people have feel - have felt that they've uh been betrayed by public officials, I have to admit that in the uh - heat of the campaign - I've been in thirty primaries during the springtime, I've been campaigning for twenty-two months - I've made some mistakes. And I think this is uh - uh - part of uh - of just being a human being. I - I have to say that my campaign has been an open one. And uh - the Playboy thing has been of great - very great concern to me. I don't know how to deal with it exactly. Uh - I uh - agreed to give the interview uh - to Playboy Other people have done it who are notable - uh - Governor Jerry Brown, uh - Walter Cronkite, uh - Albert Schweitzer, Mr. Ford's own secretary of the treasury, Mr. Simon, uh - William Buckley - many other people. But they weren't running for president, and in retrospect, from hindsight, I would not have given that uh - interview had I do it - had it - I to do it over again. If I should ever decide in the future to discuss my - my deep Christian beliefs and uh - condemnation and sinfulness, I'll use another forum besides Playboy. But I can say this, uh - I'm doing the best I can to get away from that, and during the next ten days, the American people will not see the Carter campaign running uh - 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 uh - I hope that we can leave those issues in this next ten 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 ten days.
MS. WALTERS: Thank you, Governor Carter. President Ford, your response.
MR. FORD: I believe that the uh - American people have been turned off in this election, uh - Mr. Maynard, for a variety of reasons. We have seen on Capitol Hill, in the Congress, uh - a great many uh - allegations of wrong-doing, of uh - alleged immorality, uh - those are very disturbing to the American people. They wonder how an elected representative uh - can serve them and participate in such activities uh - 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 uh - bad period of time in American political history. Yes, and thousands, maybe millions of Americans were turned off because of the uh - problems that came out of our involvement in Vietnam. But on the other hand, I found on July fourth of this year, a new spirit born in America. We were celebrating our Bicentennial; and I find that uh - there is a - a movement as I travel around the country of greater interest in this campaign. Now, like uh - any hardworking uh - person seeking public office uh - in the campaign, inevitably sometimes you will use uh - 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 ten days when we're asking the American people to make one of the most important decisions in their lifetime, because I think this election is one of the mast vital in the history of America, that uh - we do together what we can to stimulate voter participation.
MS. WALTERS: Thank you, President Ford. Mr. Nelson, your question to President Ford.
MR. NELSON: Uh - 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 uh - during that period?
MR. FORD: Well, Mr. uh - Nelson, uh - 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 liaison people. 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 uh - there was criminal prosecution, but whether - 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 examination.
MR. FORD: That's for the uh - proper authorities who have control over those tapes to make that decision. I have given every bit of evidence, answered every question that's as- 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.
MS. WALTERS: Governor Carter, your response.
MR. CARTER: I don't have a response.
MS. WALTERS: Thank you. Then we'll have the next question from Mr. Kraft to Governor Carter.
MR. KRAFT: Uh - Governor Carter, the next big crisis spot in the world may be Yugoslavia. Uh - President Tito is old and sick and there are divisions in his country. Uh - it's pretty certain that the Russians are gonna 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? Ah - doesn't it discourage Yugoslavs who might be tempted to resist? And wouldn't it have been wiser on your part uh - to say nothing and to keep the Russians in the dark as President Ford did, and as I think every president has done since - since President Truman?
MR. CARTER: In the last uh - two weeks, I've had a chance to talk to uh - two men who have visited uh - the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and China. One is Governor Avell- Averell Harriman, who visited the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and the other is James Schlesinger, whom I think you accompanied to uh - China. I got a- a complete report back from those countries from these two distinguished - uh - gentlemen. Mr. Harriman talked to the leaders in Yugoslavia, and I think it's accurate to say that there is no uh - prospect in their opinion, of the Soviet Union invading uh - Yugoslavia should uh - Mr. Tito pass away. The present leadership uh - there is uh - is fairly uniform in - in their purpose, and I think it's a close-knit group, uh - and uh - I think it would be unwise for us to say that we will go to war uh - in Yugoslavia uh - 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 uh - go to war or become militarily involved, in the internal affairs of another country unless our own security was direc- rectly threatened. And uh - I don't believe that our security would be directly threatened if the Soviet Union went uh - into Yugoslavia. I don't believe it will happen. I certainly hope it won't. I would take eh - the strongest possible measures short of uh - actual military uh - action there by our own troops, but I doubt that that would be an eventuality.
MR. KRAFT: One quick follow-up question. (GOVERNOR CARTER: Yes.) Did you clear the response you made with Secretary Schlesinger and Governor Harriman?
MR. CARTER: No, I did not.
MS. WALTERS: President Ford, your response.
MR. FORD: I firmly believe, uh - Mr. Kraft, that it's unwise for a president to signal in advance what uh - options he might exercise if any uhh - international problem arose. I think we all recall with some sadness that at uh - the period of the nin- late nineteen forties, early nineteen fifties, there were some indications that the United States would not include uh - South Korea in an area of defense. There are some who allege, I can't prove it true or untrue, that uh - such a statement uh - 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 uhh - decision might be or what option he might exercise. It's far better for a person sitting in the White House uh - who has a number of options to make certain that the uh - 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 uh - identify any particular course of action uh - when I responded to a question a week or so ago.
MS. WALTERS: 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're no longer a world power. All they have are generals, admirals, and bands," end quote. Since General Brown's comments have caused this country embarrassment in the past, why is he still this nation's leading military officer?
MR. FORD: I have indicated to General Brown that uh - 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 uh - his apology, his regrets, and I think that will, uh - in this situation, settle the matter. It is tragic that uh - 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 exemply [sic] record of military performance. He served this nation with great, great skill and courage and bravery for thirty-five 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 uh - ill-advised words, but I think in the fact that he apologized, that he was reprimanded, uh - does permit him to stay on and continue that kind of leadership that's we so badly need as we enter into uh - negotiations uh - under the SALT II agreement, or if we have operations that might be developing uh in the Middle East or southern Africa, in the Pacific, uh - we need a man with that experience, that knowledge, that know-how, and I think, in light of the fact that he has uh - apologized, uh - would not have justified my asking for his resignation.
MS. WALTERS: Thank you. Governor Carter, your response.
MR. CARTER: Well, just briefly, I - I think this is uh - the second time that General Brown has made a statement that - for which he did have to apologize. And I know that everybody uh - makes mistakes. I think the first one was related to uh - the unwarranted influence of American Jews on the media and uh - in the Congress. This one concerned uh - Great Britain. I think he said that Israel was a - a military burden on us and that Iran hoped to reestablish the Persian Empire. Ah - I'm not uh - sure that I remembered earlier that President Ford had - had expressed uh - his concern about the statement or apologized for it. This is uh - something, though, that I think uh - is indicative of the need among the American people to know how its commander-in-chief, the president, feels and - and - and I think the only criticism that I would have uh - on - of Mr. Ford is that uh - immediately when the statement was re - re - revealed, uh - perhaps a - a statement from the president would have been a clarifying and a very beneficial thing.
MS. WALTERS: Mr. Nelson, your question now to Governor Carter.
MR. NELSON: Governor, despite the fact that uh - you've been running for president a long time now, uh - many Americans uh - still seem to be uneasy about you. Uh - they don't feel that uh - 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 kno- known in Georgia. Many of them are young and relatively inexperienced in national affairs. And uh - doesn't this raise a serious question as to uh - whether you would bring into a Carter administration uh people with the necessary background to run the federal government?
MR. CARTER: I don't believe it does. Uh - I began campaigning uh - twenty-two months ago. At that time, nobody thought I had a chance to win. Uh - 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. And we built up uh - an awareness among the uh - voters of this country, particularly those in whose primaries I entered - thirty 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 prim- 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 pres- vice presidential uh - nominees, uh - incumbents, three of them have become president. But I think this is indicative of what I would do.
MS. WALTERS: President Ford, your response, please.
MR. FORD: The Governor may not have heard my uh - established criteria for the selection of a vice president, but uh - 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: sixteen years in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, uhh - very high responsibilities on important committees. I don't mean to be critical of uh - Senator Mondale, but uh - I was uh - very, very surprised when I read that uh - Senator Mondale made a very derogatory, very personal comment about General Brown uh - after the news story that uh - broke about General Brown. If my recollection is correct he indicated that uh - General Brown was not qualified to be a sewer commissioner. I don't think that's a proper way to describe aayuh- chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who has fought for his country for thirty-five years, and I'm sure the governor would agree with me on that. Uh - I think Senator Dole would show more good judgment and discretion than to so describe uh - a heroic and brave and very outstanding leader of the military. So I think our selection uh - of Bob Dole as vice president uh - is based on merit. And if he should ever become uh - 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 States.
MS. WALTERS: Mr. Kraft, your question to President Ford.
MR. KRAFT: Uh - Mr. President, uh - uh - let me assure you then maybe some of the uh viewing audience that being on this panel hasn't been as it may seem, all torture and agony. Uh - one of the heartening things is that uh - I and my colleagues have received uh - literally hundreds and maybe even thousands of suggested questions from ordinary citizens all across the country who want answers.
MR. FORD: That's a tribute to their interest in this election.
MR. KRAFT: I'll give you that. Ahh - but, uh - let me go on, because one main subject on the minds of all of them has been the environment. Uh - they're particularly curious about your record. People - people really wanna know why you vetoed the strip-mining bill. They wanna know why you worked against strong controls on auto emissions. They wanna know why you aren't doing anything about pollution uh - of the Atlantic Ocean. Uh - they wanna know a-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."
MR. FORD: Well, first, uh - 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 uh - thousands of jobs, something around a hundred and forty thousand jabs. Number two, that strip-mining bill would've 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 uh - Arab oil supply. So, I vetoed it because of a loss of jobs and because it would've interfered with our energy independence program. The auto emissions - uh - it was agreed by Leonard Woodcock, the head of the UAW, and by the uh - heads of all of the automobile industry, we had labor and management together saying that those auto emission standards had to be modified. 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 program. Uh - I have uh - added in the current year budget the funds for the National Park Service. For example, we uh - proposed about $12 million to add between four and five hundred more employees for the National Park Service. And a month or so ago I did uh - likewise say over the next ten years we should expand - double - this national parks, the wild wilderness areas, the scenic river areas. And then, of course, the - 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.
MS. WALTERS: Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER: Well, I might say that I think the League of Conservation Voters is absolutely right. This uh - administration's record on environment is very bad. Uh - I think it's accurate to say that the uh - strip-mining law which was passed twice by the Congress - uh - and was only like two votes I believe of being overridden - would have been good for the country. The claim that it would have put hundred and forty thousand miners out of work is uh - hard to believe, when at the time Mr. Ford vetoed it, the United Mine Workers was uh - supporting the bill. And I don't think they would have supported the uh - bill had they known that they would lose a hundred and forty thousand 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 President Nixon and Ford, monies have been impounded that would've gone to uh - cities and others to control uh - 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 uh - energy uh - 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 primary to make the coal burning uh - be clean. We need a heritage trust program, similar to the one we had in Georgia, to set aside additional lands that have uh - geological and archeological importance, uh natural areas for enjoyment. Uh - the lands that Mr. Ford uh - brags about having approved are in Alaska and they are enormous in uh - in size. But as far as the accessibility of them by the American people, it's very uh - far in the future. We've taken no strong position in the uh - control of pollution of our oceans, and I would say the worst uh - threat to the environment of all is nuclear proliferation. And this administration, having been in office now for two 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.
MS. WALTERS: 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, uh - as is the case with the environmental policy and the energy policy that I just described, and the policy for nonproliferation of uh - of nuclear waste, this administration has no urban policy. It's impossible for mayors or governors to cooperate with the resident, because they can't anticipate what's gonna happen next. A mayor of a city like New York, for instance, needs to know uh - eighteen months or two years ahead of time what responsibility the city will have in administration and in financing - in things like housing, uh - pollution control, uh - 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 uh - the ownership of homes and with the control of crime and with adequate health care and education programs and so forth. Uh - those uh 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 uh - great -ly- greatly uh - advantaged uh - tho- per - 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 uh - for instance only 7 percent of the total education cost being financed by the federal government. When uh - 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 eight years. And as you know, the education cost has gone up uh - tremendously. The last point is that the major - uh thrust has gotta be to put people back to work. We've got an extraordinarily high unemployment rate among downtown urban ghetto areas, uh - 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 cost. One of the major responsibilities on the shoulders of uh - New York City is to - 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 governments. Those things would help a great deal with the cities, but we still have a - a very serious problem there.
MS. WALTERS: President Ford.
MR. FORD: Let me uh - speak out very strongly. The Ford administration does have a very comprehensive program to help uh - our major metropolitan areas. I fought for, and the Congress finally went along with a general revenue sharing program, whereby cities and uh - states, uh - the cities two-thirds and the states one-third, get over six billion dollars a year in cash through which they can uh - provide many, many services, whatever they really want. In addition we uh - in the federal government make available to uh - cities about uh - three billion three hundred million dollars in what we call community development. In adesh- in addition, uh - uh - as a result of my pressure an the Congress, we got a major mass transit program uh - over a four-year period, eleven billion eight-hundred million dollars. We have a good housing program, uh - that uh - will result in cutting uh - the down payments by 50 percent and uh - having mortgage payments uh lower at the beginning of any mortgage period. We're expanding our homestead uh - housing program. The net result is uh - we think under Carla Hills, who's the chairman of my uh - urban development and uh - neighborhood revitalization program, we will really do a first-class job in helping uh - the communities throughout the country. As a matter of fact, that committee under Secretary Hills released about a seventy-five-page report with specific recommendations so we can do a better job uh - the weeks ahead. And in addition, the tax program of the Ford administration, which provides an incentive for industry to move into our major uh - metropolitan areas, into the inner cities, will bring jobs where people are, and help to revitalize those cities as they can be.
MS. WALTERS: Mr. Nelson, your question next to President Ford.
MR. NELSON: Uh - Mr. President, your campaign has uh - 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 Northeast. Now, civil rights groups have complained repeatedly that there's been lack of progress and commitment to an integrated society uh - 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.
MR. FORD: Let me say at the outset, uh - I'm 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're familiar, I'm sure, with the recognition given in the Air Force to uh - General James, and there was just uh - approved a three-star admiral, the first in the history of the United States Navy, so uh - we are giving full recognition to individuals of quality in the Ford administration in positions of great responsibility. In addition, uh - 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. Uh - the Department of uh - uh - HUD is enforcing the new legislation that uhh - outlaws, that takes care of redlining. Uh - what we're doing is saying that there are opportunities, business opportunities, educational opportunities, responsibilities uh - 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 uh - 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.
MS. WALTERS: Governor Carter, your response, please.
MR. CARTER: The uh - description just made of this administration's record is hard to uh - recognize. I think it's accurate to say that Mr. Ford voted against the uh - Voting Rights Acts and the uh - Civil Rights Acts in their uh - debative stage I think once it was assured they were going to pass he finally voted for it. This country uh - changed drastically in 1969 when the uh - terms of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were over and Richard Nixon and - and Gerald Ford became the presidents. There was a time when there was hope for those who uh - were poor and downtrodden and who were - uh elderly or who were - uh ill or who were in minority groups, but that time has been gone. I think the greatest thing that ever happened to the South was the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the opening up of opportunities - uh to black people - 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 - uh black people but it also liberated the whites. We've seen uh - in many instances in recent years a minority affairs uh - section of uh Small Loan Administration, uh - Small Business Administration lend uh - a black entrepreneur just enough money to get started, and then to go bankrupt. The bankruptcies have gone up - uh in an extraordinary degree. Uh - FHA, which used to be a very responsible agency, uh - that everyone looked to to help own a home, lost six million dollars last year. There've been over thirteen hundred indictments in HUD, over eight hundred 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 uh - young people. And there's 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 uh generation of despair, and ill health, and the lack of education, lack of purposefulness, and the lack of hope for the future. But it doesn't take just a quiet uh - dormant uh 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 eight years.
MS. WALTERS: Mr. Kraft, to Governor Carter.
MR. KRAFT: Ah - Governor Carter, ah - in the nearly two-hundred-year history of the Constitution, there've been only uh - I think it's twenty-five amendments, most of them on issues of the very broadest principle. Uh - now we have proposed amendments in many highly specialized causes, like gun control, school busing, balanced budgets, 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, uh - balanced budgets, school busing, school prayer, abortion, gun con- 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. Uh - we've always had, I think, a lot of constitutional amendments proposed, but the passage of them has been uh - fairly slow, and uh - few and far between. In the two-hundred-year history there's been a very uh - cautious approach to this. We - quite often we have a transient problem. I - I'm strongly against a- abortion. I think abortion's wrong. I don't think the government oughta do anything to encourage abortion. But I don't favor a constitutional amendment on the subject. But short of the constitutional amendment, and within the confines of the Supreme Court rulings, I'll 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 oughta finance abortions, but I - 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 uh - prayer in the schools and an abortion. But among those you named, I won't actively work for the passage of any of them.
MS. WALTERS: President Ford, your response, please.
MR.FORD: support the uh - Republican uh - platform, which calls for the constitutional amendment that would uh - outlaw abortions. I favor the particular constitutional amendment that would turn over to the states the uh - individual right to the voters in those states uh - the chance to make a decision by public referendum. Uh I call that the people 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 uh - we ought to have a federal constitutional amendment that would permit each one of the fifty states to make the choice. Uh - I think this is a responsible and a proper way to proceed. Uhh - I believe also that uh - there is some merit to a - an amendment that uh - uh - Senator Everett Dirksen uh - proposed very frequently, an amendment that would uh - change the court decision as far as voluntary prayer in public schools. Uh - it seems to me that there should have - be an opportunity, uh - as long as it's voluntary, as long as there is no uh - compulsion whatsoever, that uh - an individual ought to have that right. So in those two cases I think uh - such uh - a constitutional amendment would be proper, and I really don't think in either case they're trivial matters. I think they're 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're matters that are ah - important. And in those two cases, I would favor them.
MS. WALTERS: 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 forty million handguns in this country, going up at the rate of two point five 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?
MR. FORD: Uh - Mr. Maynard, uh - 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 uh - 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 crime.
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 gu- the handgun proliferation problem?
MR. FORD: Yes, I have. And uh - the individuals that uh - with whom I've consulted have not uh - convinced me that uh - a national registration of handguns or handgun owners will solve the problem you're 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.
MS. WALTERS: Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER: I - I think it's accurate to say that Mr. Ford's position on gun control has changed. Uh - earlier, uh - Mr. Levi, his uh - attorney general, put forward a gun control proposal, which Mr. Ford later, I believe, espoused, that called for the prohibition against the uh sale aw- of the uh - so-called Saturday Night Specials. And it would've put uh - very strict uh - uh - 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 uh - the only purpose that I would see in registering uh - handguns and not long guns of any kind would be to prohibit the uh - ownership of those guns by those who've used them in the commission of a crime, or who uh - have been proven to be mentally incompetent to own a gun. I believe that limited approach to the - to the question would be uh - advisable, and - and I think, adequate. But that's as far as I would go with it.
MS. WALTERS: Mr. Nelson to Governor Carter.
MR. NELSON: Uh Governor, you've said the uh - Supreme Court of today is, uh - as you put it, moving back in a proper direction uh - 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'm not a lawyer, we had complete reform of the Georgia court system. We uh - streamlined the structure of the court, put in administrative officers, put a unified court system in, required that all uh - 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 of selection of - for 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 one 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 appointments. Secondly, I think that the Burger Court has fairly well confirmed the major and - and most far-reaching and most controversial decisions of the Warren Court. Civil rights - uh has been confirmed by the Burger Court, hasn't been uh - reversed, and I don't think there's any inclination to reverse those basic decisions. The one-man, one-vote rule, which is a very important one that uh - s- struck down the unwarranted influence in the legislature of parsley - uh populated areas of - of the states. The uh - right of indigent or very poor accused persons to uh - legal counsel. Uh - I think the Burger Court has confirmed that basic and very controversial decision of the Warren Court. Also the - the protection of an arrested person against unwarranted persecution in trying to get a false uh - 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 uh - some of the more liberal uh - members of the uh - so-called Warren Court agreed with those decisions. But the only uh - thing I uh - 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 - of a small technicality in the law. And - and that's a reversal of position uh by the Burger Court with which I do agree.
MR. NELSON: Governor, I don't believe you ans- you answered my question though about the kinds of uh people you would be looking for the court, the type of philosophy uh - 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 uh - search and analysis procedure had been completed, and once I'm given a list of the five or seven or ten uh - best qualified persons in the country, I would make a selection from among those uh - persons. If the uh - list was, uh - 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 politi- political philosophy as best I could determine it. Which would be uh - to continue the progress that has been made under the last two uh - courts - the Warren Court and the Burger Court. I would also like to uh - completely revise our criminal justice system - to do some of the things at the federal level in 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 uh Chief Justice Burger is. He hasn't had help from the administration, from the Congress, to carry this out. The uh - emphasis, I think, of the - of the court system uh - should be to interpret the uh - the Constitution and the laws uh - equally between property protection and personal protection. But when there's uh - a very narrow decision - which quite often there's one that reaches the Supreme Court - I think the choice should be with human rights. And uh - that would be another factor that I would follow.
MS. WALTERS: President Ford.
MR. FORD: Well, I think the answer uh - as to the kind of person that I would select uh - is obvious. I had one opportunity to nominate uh - an individual to the Supreme Court and I selected the Circuit Court of Appeals judge from Illinois, uh - John Paul Stevens. I selected him because of his outstanding record as a Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, and I was very pleased that uh - an overwhelming Democratic United States Senate, after going into his background, came to the conclusion that he was uh - fit and should serve, and the vote in his behalf was overwhelming. So, I would say somebody in the format of uh - Justice Stevens would be the kind of an individual that I would uh - select in the future, as I did him in the past. I uh - believe, however, a comment ought to be made about the direction of the uh - Burger Court, vis-a-vis the uh - court uh - that preceded it. It seems to me that the Miranda case was a case that really made it very, very difficult for the - uh police, the law enforcement people in this country to uh - do what they could to make certain that the victim of a crime was protected and that those that commit crimes uh - were properly handled and uh - sent to jail. The Miranda case, uh - the Burger Court uh - is gradually changing, and I'm pleased to see that there are some steps being made by the uh - Burger Court to modify the so-called Miranda decision. Uh - I might make a correction uh - of what uh - Governor Carter said, uh speaking of uh - uh - gun control, uh - yes, it is true, I believe that the sale of uh - Saturday Night S- Specials should be cut out, but he wants the registration of handguns.
MS. WALTERS: Mr. Kraft.
MR. KRAFT: Uh - Mr. President, uh - the country is now uh - in uh - in something that your uh - advisors call an economic pause. I think to most Americans that sounds like a - a antiseptic term for uh - low growth, uh - unemployment standstill at a high, high level, uhh - decline in take-home pay, uh - lower factory earnings, more layoffs. Uh, isn't that a really rotten record and doesn't your administration bear most of the blame for it?
MR. FORD: Well, Mr. Kraft, uh - I violently disagree with your assessment. And I don't think the record justifies the conclusion that you come to. Uh - let me uh - talk about uh - the economic announcements that were made just this past week. Yes, it was announced that the uh - GNP real growth in the third quarter was at 4 percent. But do you realize that over the last ten years that's a higher figure than the average growth during that ten-year period? Now it's lower than the nine-point-point-two percent growth in the first quarter, and it's lower than the uh 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 fifth quar- uh - 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 of a million, eight hundred and 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 a very - 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 uh - 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. Uh - 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 layoff, uh - that increase in layoffs? Didn't that take you by surprise? Hasn't the gov- hasn't your administration been surprised by this pause? Uh - in fact, haven't you not - haven't you been so obsessed with saving money uh - that you didn't even push the government to spend funds that were allocated?
MR. FORD; Uh Mr. Kraft, uh - I think the record can be put in this uh - in this way, which uh - is the way that I think satisfies most Americans. Since the depths of the recession, we have added four million jobs. Im- 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 uhh - 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, uh - 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, uh - 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're ahead of all of the Western European country. We're ahead of Japan. The United States is leading the free world out of the recession that was serious a year, year and a half ago. We're going to see unemployment going down, more jobs available, and the rate of inflation going down. And I think this is a record that uh - the American people understand and will appreciate.
MS. WALTERS: Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER: With all due respect to President Ford, I think he ought to be ashamed of mentioning 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've got seven and a half million people out of jobs. Since he's been in office, two and a half million more American people have lost their jobs. In the last four months alone, five hundred thousand Americans have gone on the unemployment roll. In the last month, we've had a net loss of one hundred and sixty-three thousand 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've 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 administration - Nixon's and Ford's - we've 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 thirty-five 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 two million Americans. We'll never have a balanced budget, we'll never meet the needs of our people, we'll never control the inflationary spiral, as long as we have seven and a half or eight million people out of work, who are looking for jobs. And we've probably got two and a half 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.
MS. WALTERS: Mr. Maynard.
MR. MAYNARD: Governor Carter, you entered this race against President Ford with a twenty-point lead or better in the polls. And now it appears that this campaign is headed for a photo finish. You've 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 twenty 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, uh - 25 or 30 percent of the Reagan supporters said that they would not support President Ford. But as occurred at the end of the con- Democratic Convention, the Republican Party unified itself. And I think immediately following the Republican Convention, there was about a ten-point spread. I believe that to be accurate, I had 49 percent; President Ford, 39 percent. Uh - the polls uh - are good indications of fluctuations, but they vary widely one from another. And the only poll I've ever followed is the one that uh - you know, is taken on election day. I was in uh - thirty primaries in the spring, and uh - at first it was obvious that I didn't have any standing in the poll. As a matter of fact, I think when Gallup ran their first poll in December of 1975 they didn't put my name on the list. They had thirty-five 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, you know, my hopes or - or my despair. I campaign among people. I've never depended on powerful political figures to put me in office. I have a direct relationship with hundreds of people around - hundreds of thousands 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 fourteen people uh - 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 five hundred Georgians at their own expense - just working people who believe in me - spread around the country uh - involved in the political campaign. So, the polls are interesting, but uh - I don't know how to explain the fluctuation. I think a lot of it uh - depends on current events - uh - sometimes foreign affairs, sometimes domestic affairs. But I think our hold uh - of support among those who uh - 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 from outside Washington, who - who never has been a part of the Washington establishment. And I think that we'll have good results uh - on November the second for myself and I hope for the country.
MS. WALTERS: President Ford, your response.
MR. FORD: I think uh - the uh - increase and the uh - prospects as far as I'm concerned and the I - less favorable prospects for Governor Carter, reflect that Governor Carter uh - is inconsistent in many of the positions that he takes. He tends to distort on a number of occasions. Uh - just a moment ago, for example, uh - he uh - was indicating that uh - uh - in the 1950s, for example, uh - unemployment was very low. He fails to point out that uh - in the 1950s we were engaged in the war in Vietnam. We - I mean in Korea - we had uh - three million five hundred thousand young men uh - 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're at peace. We have reduced the number of people in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines from three million, one hundred - three million, five hundred thousand to two mil- lion one hundred thousand. We are not at war. We have reduced the military manpower by a million four hundred thousand. 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, uh - with 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 a million four hundred thousand. They're in the civilian labor market and they're not fighting anywhere around the world today.
MS. WALTERS: Thank you, gentlemen. This will complete our questioning for this debate. We don't have uh - time for more questions and uh - full answers. So now each candidate will be allowed up to four 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 statement tonight. President Ford.
MR. FORD: For twenty-five 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 two 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 forty 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 uh - 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 uh - 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 right direction. We have cut inflation by better than half. We have came out of the recession and we're 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.
MS. WALTERS: Thank you President Ford. Governor Carter.
MR. CARTER: Thank you Barbara (barely audible). 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 difficult questions, 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 and sometimes we've been ashamed. Our people are out of work, and there's a sense of withdrawal. But our country is innately very strong. Mr. Ford is a good and decent man, but he's in - been in office now more than eight hundred days approaching almost as long as John Kennedy was in office. I'd like to ask the American people what, what's 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 an a hospital authority. And I was in the state senate and I was governor and I'm an engineer, a Naval officer, a farmer, a businessman. And 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 four years. We never increased sales taxes or income tax or property tax. 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 six hundred dollars per person in this country - every man, woman and child - for health care. We still rank fifteenth among all the nations of the world in infant mortality. And our cancer rate is uh - 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've become almost a welfare state. We spend now 700 percent more on unemployment compensation than we did eight years ago when the Republicans took over the White House. Our people wanna 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 uh - gone bad. It used to be that the average - uh 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 uh - just a horrible mess. This doesn't have to be. Now 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, then we can achieve great things. We might have to do it slowly. There are no magic answers to do 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've been drifting too long. We've been dormant too long. We've 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.
MS. WALTERS: 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 one hundred and thirteen nations throughout the world. This concludes the 1976 presidential debates, a truly remarkable exercise in democracy, for this is the first time in sixteen 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 vice presidential candidates. 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 American people. 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 eleven days off. The candidates have participated in presenting their views in three ninety-minute debates, and now it's up to the voters, now it is up to you, to participate. The League urges all registered voters to vote on November second for the candidate of your choice. And now, from Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall an the campus of the College of William and Mary, this is Barbara Walters wishing you all a good evening.

Presidential Candidates Debate President Jimmy Carter and Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan met in Cleveland, Ohio, for the last of two presidential debates prior to the 1980 presidential election. This was only presidential candidates debate with both major party candidates during the 1980 campaign. They responded to questions from a panel of journalists on issues including defense preparedness and the economy. The debate included remarks by President Jimmy Carter concerning the views of his daughter Amy on arms control, which were widely criticized following the debate. The two candidates stood at separate podia to respond to the panel’s questions. The debate was moderated by Howard K. Smith. Other panelists were Marvin Stone, Harry Ellis, William Hilliard, and Barbara Walters. 
For Film/Video/Streaming coverage please go to C-SPAN Created by Cable Site at

October 28, 1980 Debate Transcript

October 28, 1980
The Carter-Reagan Presidential Debate
RUTH HINERFELD, LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS, EDUCATION FUND: Good evening. I'm Ruth Hinerfeld of the League of Women Voters Education Fund. Next Tuesday is Election Day. Before going to the polls, voters want to understand the issues and know the candidates' positions. Tonight, voters will have an opportunity to see and hear the major party candidates for the Presidency state their views on issues that affect us all. The League of Women Voters is proud to present this Presidential Debate. Our moderator is Howard K. Smith.
MR. SMITH, ABC NEWS: Thank you, Mrs. Hinerfeld. The League of Women Voters is pleased to welcome to the Cleveland, Ohio, Convention Center Music Hall President Jimmy Carter. the Democratic Party's candidate for reelection to the Presidency. and Governor Ronald Reagan of California, the Republican Party's candidate for the Presidency. The candidates will debate questions on domestic, economic, foreign policy, and national security issues. The questions are going to be posed by a panel of distinguished journalists who are here with me. They are: Marvin Stone, the editor of U.S. News & World Report; Harry Ellis, national correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor; William Hilliard, assistant managing editor of the Portland Oregonian; Barbara Walters, correspondent, ABC News. The ground rules for this, as agreed by you gentlemen, are these: Each panelist down here will ask a question, the same question, to each of the two candidates. After the two candidates have answered, a panelist will ask follow-up questions to try to sharpen the answers. The candidates will then have an opportunity each to make a rebuttal. That will constitute the first half of the debate, and I will state the rules for the second half later on. Some other rules: The candidates are not permitted to bring prepared notes to the podium, but are permitted to make notes during the debate. If the candidates exceed the allotted time agreed on, I will reluctantly but certainly interrupt. We ask the Convention Center audience here to abide by one ground rule. Please do not applaud or express approval or disapproval during the debate. Now, based on the toss of the coin, Governor Reagan will respond to the first question from Marvin Stone.
MARVIN STONE, U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT: Governor, as you're well aware, the question of war and peace has emerged as a central issue in this campaign in the give and take of recent weeks. President Carter has been criticized for responding late to aggressive Soviet impulses, for insufficient build-up of our armed forces. and a paralysis in dealing with Afghanistan and Iran. You have been criticized for being all too quick to advocate the use of lots of muscle - military action - to deal with foreign crises. Specifically, what are the differences between the two of you on the uses of American military power?
MR. REAGAN: I don't know what the differences might be, because I don't know what Mr. Carter's policies are. I do know what he has said about mine. And I'm only here to tell you that I believe with all my heart that our first priority must be world peace, and that use of force is always and only a last resort, when everything else has failed, and then only with regard to our national security. Now, I believe, also, that this meeting this mission, this responsibility for preserving the peace, which I believe is a responsibility peculiar to our country, and that we cannot shirk our responsibility as a leader of the free world because we're the only ones that can do it. Therefore, the burden of maintaining the peace falls on us. And to maintain that peace requires strength. America has never gotten in a war because we were too strong. We can get into a war by letting events get out of hand, as they have in the last three and a half years under the foreign policies of this Administration of Mr. Carter's, until we're faced each time with a crisis. And good management in preserving the peace requires that we control the events and try to intercept before they become a crisis. I have seen four wars in my lifetime. I'm a father of sons; I have a grandson. I don't ever want to see another generation of young Americans bleed their lives into sandy beachheads in the Pacific, or rice paddies and jungles in the in Asia or the muddy battlefields of Europe.
MR. SMITH: Mr. Stone, do you have a follow-up question for the Governor?
MR. STONE: Yes. Governor, we've been hearing that the defense build-up that you would associate yourself with would cost tens of billions of dollars more than is now contemplated. Assuming that the American people are ready to bear this cost, they nevertheless keep asking the following question: How do you reconcile huge increases in military outlays with your promise of substantial tax cuts and of balancing the budget, which in this fiscal year, the one that just ended, ran more than $60 billion in the red?
MR. REAGAN: Mr. Stone, I have submitted an economic plan that I have worked out in concert with a number of fine economists in this country, all of whom approve it, and believe that over a five year projection, this plan can permit the extra spending for needed refurbishing of our defensive posture, that it can provide for a balanced budget by 1983 if not earlier, and that we can afford - along with the cuts that I have proposed in Government. spending - we can afford the tax cuts I have proposed and probably mainly because Mr. Carter's economic policy has built into the next five years, and on beyond that, a tax increase that will be taking $86 billion more out of the people's pockets than was taken this year. And my tax cut does not come close to eliminating that $86 billion increase. I'm only reducing the amount of the increase. In other words, what I'm talking about is not putting government back to getting less money than government's been getting, but simply cutting the increase in in spending.
MR. SMITH: The same question now goes to President Carter. President Carter, would you like to have the question repeated?
MR. STONE: Yes, President Carter, the question of war and peace, a central issue in this campaign. You've been criticized for, in the give and take, for responding late to aggressive Soviet impulses, for an insufficient build-up of our armed forces, and a paralysis in dealing with Afghanistan and Iran. Governor Reagan, on the other hand, has been criticized for being all too quick to advocate the use of lots of muscle - military action - to deal with foreign crises such as I have mentioned. Specifically, what are the differences between the two of you on the uses of American military power?
MR. CARTER: Mr. Stone, I've had to make thousands of decisions since I've been President, serving in the Oval Office. And with each one of those decisions that affect the future of my country, I have learned in the process. I think I'm a much wiser and more experienced man than I was when I debated four years ago against President Ford. I've also learned that there are no simple answers to complicated questions. H. L. Mencken said that for every problem there's a simple answer. It would be neat and plausible and wrong. The fact is that this nation, in the eight years before I became President, had its own military strength decreased. Seven out of eight years, the budget commitments for defense went down, 37% in all. Since I've been in office, we've had a steady, carefully planned, methodical but, very effective increase in our commitment for defense. But what we've done is use that enormous power and prestige and military strength of the United States to preserve the peace. We've not only kept peace for our own country, but we've been able to extend the benefits of peace to others. In the Middle East, we've worked for a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, successfully, and have tied ourselves together with Israel and Egypt in a common defense capability. This is a very good step forward for our nation's security, and we'll continue to do as we have done in the past. I might also add that there are decisions that are made in the Oval Office by every President which are profound in nature. There are always trouble spots in the world, and how those troubled areas are addressed by a President alone in that Oval Office affects our nation directly, the involvement of the United States and also our American interests. That is a basic decision that has to be made so frequently, by every President who serves. That is what I have tried to do successfully by keeping our country at peace.
MR. SMITH: Mr. Stone, do you have a follow-up for?
MR. STONE: Yes. I would like to be a little more specific on the use of military power and let's talk about one area for a moment. Under what circumstances would you use military forces to deal with, for example, a shut-off of the Persian Oil Gulf [sic] if that should occur, or to counter Russian expansion beyond Afghanistan into either Iran or Pakistan? I ask this question in view of charges that we are woefully unprepared to project sustained - and I emphasize the word sustained - power in that part of the world.
MR. CARTER: Mr. Stone, in my State of the Union address earlier this year, I pointed out that any threat to the stability or security of the Persian Gulf would be a threat to the security of our own country. In the past, we have not had an adequate military presence in that region. Now we have two major carrier task forces. We have access to facilities in five different areas of that region. And we've made it clear that working with our allies and others, that we are prepared to address any foreseeable eventuality which might interrupt commerce with that crucial area of the world. But in doing this, we have made sure that we address this question peacefully, not injecting American military forces into combat, but letting the strength of our nation be felt in a beneficial way. This, I believe, has assured that our interests will be protected in the Persian Gulf region, as we have done in the Middle East and throughout the world.
MR. SMITH: Governor Reagan, you have a minute to comment or rebut.
MR. REAGAN: Well yes, I question the figure about the decline in defense spending under the two previous Administrations in the preceding eight years to this Administration. I would call to your attention that we were in a war that wound down during those eight years, which of course made a change in military spending because of turning from war to peace. I also would like to point out that Republican presidents in those years, faced with a Democratic majority in both houses of the Congress, found that their requests for defense budgets were very often cut. Now, Gerald Ford left a five-year projected plan for a military build-up to restore our defenses, and President Carter's administration reduced that by 38%, cut 60 ships out of the Navy building program that had been proposed, and stopped the the B-l, delayed the cruise missile, stopped the production line for the Minuteman missile, stopped the Trident or delayed the Trident submarine, and now is planning a mobile military force that can be delivered to various spots in the world which does make me question his assaults on whether I am the one who is quick to look for use of force.
MR. SMITH: President Carter, you have the last word on this question.
MR. CARTER: Well, there are various elements of defense. One is to control nuclear weapons, which I hope we'll get to later on because that is the most important single issue in this campaign. Another one is how to address troubled areas of the world. I think, habitually, Governor Reagan has advocated the injection of military forces into troubled areas, when I and my predecessors - both Democrats and Republicans - have advocated resolving those troubles in those difficult areas of the world peacefully, diplomatically, and through negotiation. In addition to that, the build-up of military forces is good for our country because we've got to have military strength to preserve the peace. But I'll always remember that the best weapons are the ones that are never fired in combat, and the best soldier is one who never has to lay his life down on the field of battle. Strength is imperative for peace, but the two must go hand in hand.
MR. SMITH: Thank you gentlemen. The next question is from Harry Ellis to President Carter.
MR. ELLIS, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Mr. President, when you were elected in 1976, the Consumer Price Index stood at 4.8%. It now stands at more than 12%. Perhaps more significantly, the nation's broader, underlying inflation rate has gone up from 7% to 9%. Now, a part of that was due to external factors beyond U.S. control, notably the more than doubling. of oil prices by OPEC last year. Because the United States remains vulnerable to such external shocks, can inflation in fact be controlled? If so, what measures would you pursue in a second term?
MR. CARTER: Again it's important to put the situation in perspective. In 1974, we had a so-called oil shock, wherein the price of OPEC oil was raised to an extraordinary degree. We had an even worse oil shock in 1979. In 1974, we had the worst recession, the deepest and most penetrating recession since the Second World War. The recession that resulted this time was the briefest since the Second World War. In addition, we've brought down inflation. Earlier this year, in the first quarter, we did have a very severe inflation pressure brought about by the OPEC price increase. It averaged about 18% in the first quarter of this year. In the second quarter, we had dropped it down to about 13%. The most recent figures, the last three months, on the third quarter of this year, the inflation rate is 7% - still too high, but it illustrates very vividly that in addition to providing an enormous number of jobs - nine million new jobs in the last three and a half years - that the inflationary threat is still urgent on us. I notice that Governor Reagan recently mentioned the Reagan-Kemp-Roth proposal. which his own running mate, George Bush, described as voodoo economics, and said that it would result in a 30% inflation rate. And Business Week, which is not a Democratic publication, said that this Reagan-Kemp-Roth proposal - and I quote them, I think - was completely irresponsible and would result in inflationary pressures which would destroy this nation. So our proposals are very sound and very carefully considered to stimulate jobs, to improve the industrial complex of this country, to create tools for American workers, and at the same time would be anti-inflationary in nature. So to add nine million new jobs, to control inflation, and to plan for the future with an energy policy now intact as a foundation is our plan for the years ahead.
MR. SMITH: Mr. Ellis, do you have a follow-up question for Mr. Carter?
MR. ELLIS: Yes. Mr. President, you have mentioned the creation of nine million new jobs. At the same time, the unemployment rate still hangs high, as does the inflation rate. Now, I wonder, can you tell us what additional policies you would pursue in a second administration in order to try to bring down that inflation rate? And would it be an act of leadership to tell the American people they are going to have to sacrifice to adopt a leaner lifestyle for some time to come?
MR. CARTER: Yes. We have demanded that the American people sacrifice, and they have done very well. As a matter of fact, we're importing today about one-third less oil from overseas than we did just a year ago. We've had a 25% reduction since the first year I was in office. At the same time, as I have said earlier, we have added about nine million net new jobs in that period of time - a record never before achieved. Also, the new energy policy has been predicated on two factors: One is conservation, which requires sacrifice, and the other one, increase in production of American energy, which is going along very well - more coal this year than ever before in American history, more oil and gas wells drilled this year than ever before in history. The new economic revitalization program that we have in mind, which will be implemented next year, would result in tax credits which would let business invest in new tools and new factories to create even more new jobs - about one million in the next two years. And we also have planned a youth employment program which would encompass 600,000 jobs for young people. This has already passed the House, and it has an excellent prospect to pass the Senate.
MR. SMITH: Now, the same question goes to Governor Reagan. Governor Reagan, would you like to have the question repeated?
MR. ELLIS: Governor Reagan, during the past four years, the Consumer Price Index has risen from 4.8% to currently over 12%. And perhaps more significantly, the nation's broader, underlying rate of inflation has gone up from 7% to 9%. Now, a part of that has been due to external factors beyond U.S. control, notably the more than doubling of OPEC oil prices last year, which leads me to ask you whether, since the United States remains vulnerable to such external shocks, can inflation in fact be controlled? If so, specifically what measures would you pursue`?
MR. REAGAN: Mr. Ellis, I think this idea that has been spawned here in our country that inflation somehow came upon us like a plague and therefore it's uncontrollable and no one can do anything about it, is entirely spurious and it's dangerous to say this to the people. When Mr. Carter became President, inflation was 4.8%, as you said. It had been cut in two by President Gerald Ford. It is now running at 12.7%. President Carter also has spoken of the new jobs created. Well, we always, with the normal growth in our country and increase in population, increase the number of jobs. But that can't hide the fact that there are eight million men and women out of work in America today, and two million of those lost their jobs in just the last few months. Mr. Carter had also promised that he would not use unemployment as a tool to fight against inflation. And yet, his 1980 economic message stated that we would reduce productivity and gross national product and increase unemployment in order to get a handle on inflation, because in January, at the beginning of the year, it was more than 18%. Since then, he has blamed the people for inflation, OPEC, he has blamed the Federal Reserve system, he has blamed the lack of productivity of the American people, he has then accused the people of living too well and that we must share in scarcity, we must sacrifice and get used to doing with less. We don't have inflation because the people are living too well. We have inflation because the Government is living too well. And the last statement, just a few days ago, was a speech to the effect that we have inflation because Government revenues have not kept pace with Government spending. I see my time is running out here. I'll have to get this out very fast. Yes, you can lick inflation by increasing productivity and by decreasing the cost of government to the place that we have balanced budgets, and are no longer grinding out printing press money, flooding the market with it because the Government is spending more than it takes in. And my economic plan calls for that. The President's economic plan calls for increasing the taxes to the point that we finally take so much money away from the people that we can balance the budget in that way. But we will have a very poor nation and a very unsound economy if we follow that path.
MR. SMITH: A follow-up, Mr. Ellis?
MR. ELLIS: Yes. You have centered on cutting Government spending in what you have just said about your own policies. You have also said that you would increase defense spending. Specifically, where would you cut Government spending if you were to increase defense spending and also cut taxes, so that, presumably. Federal revenues would shrink?
MR. REAGAN: Well. most people, when they think about cutting Government spending, they think in terms of eliminating necessary programs or wiping out something, some service that Government is supposed to perform. I believe that there is enough extravagance and fat in government. As a matter of fact, one of the secretaries of HEW under Mr. Carter testified that he thought there was $7 billion worth of fraud and waste in welfare and in the medical programs associated with it. We've had the Central Accounting. Office estimate that there is probably tens of billions of dollars that is lost in fraud alone, and they have added that waste adds even more to that. We have a program for a gradual reduction of Government spending based on these theories, and I have a task force now that has been working on where those cuts could be made. I'm confident that it can be done and that it will reduce inflation because I did it in California. And inflation went down below the national average in California when we returned the money to the people and reduced Government spending.
MR. SMITH: President Carter.
MR. CARTER: Governor Reagan's proposal, the Reagan-Kemp-Roth proposal, is one of the most highly inflationary ideas that ever has been presented to the American public. He would actually have to cut Government spending by at least $130 billion in order to balance the budget under this ridiculous proposal. I notice that his task force that is working for his future plans had some of their ideas revealed in The Wall Street Journal this week. One of those ideas was to repeal the minimum wage, and several times this year, Governor Reagan has said that the major cause of unemployment is the minimum wage. This is a heartless kind of approach to the working families of our country, which is typical of many Republican leaders of the past, but, I think, has been accentuated under Governor Reagan. In California - I'm surprised Governor Reagan brought this up - he had the three largest tax increases in the history of that state under his administration. He more than doubled state spending while he was Governor - 122% increase - and had between a 20% and 30% increase in the number of employees
MR. SMITH: Sorry to interrupt, Mr. Carter.
MR. CARTER: in California. Thank you, sir.
MR. SMITH: Governor Reagan has the last word on this question.
MR. REAGAN: Yes. The figures that the President has just used about California is a distortion of the situation there, because while I was Governor of California, our spending in California increased less per capita than the spending in Georgia while Mr. Carter was Governor of Georgia in the same four years. The size of government increased only one-sixth in California of what it increased in proportion to the population in Georgia. And the idea that my tax-cut proposal is inflationary: I would like to ask the President why is it inflationary to let the people keep more of their money and spend it the way that they like, and it isn't inflationary to let him take that money and spend it the way he wants?
MR. SMITH: I wish that question need not be rhetorical, but it must be because we've run out of time on that. Now, the third question to Governor Reagan from William Hilliard.
WILLIAM HILLIARD, PORTLAND OREGONIAN: Yes. Governor Reagan, the decline of our cities has been hastened by the continual rise in crime, strained race relations, the fall in the quality of public education, persistence of abnormal poverty in a rich nation, and a decline in the services to the public. The signs seem to point toward a deterioration that could lead to the establishment of a permanent underclass in the cities. What, specifically, would you do in the next four years to reverse this trend?
MR. REAGAN: I have been talking to a number of Congressmen who have much the same idea that I have, and that is that in the inner city areas, that in cooperation with the local government and the national Government, and using tax incentives and with cooperating with the private sector, that we have development zones. Let the local entity, the city, declare this particular area, based on the standards of the percentage of people on welfare, unemployed, and so forth, in that area. And then, through tax incentives, induce the creation of businesses providing jobs and so forth in those areas. The elements of government through these tax incentives For example, a business that would not have, for a period of time, an increase in the property tax reflecting its development of the unused property that it was making wouldn't be any loss to the city because the city isn't getting any tax from that now. And there would simply be a delay, and on the other hand, many of the people who would then be given jobs are presently wards of the Government and it wouldn't hurt to give them a tax incentive, because they... that wouldn't be costing Government anything either. I think there are things to do in this regard. I stood in the South Bronx on the exact spot that President Carter stood on in 1977. You have to see it to believe it. It looks like a bombed-out city - great, gaunt skeletons of buildings. Windows smashed out, painted on one of them "Unkept promises;" on another, "Despair." And this was the spot at which President Carter had promised that he was going to bring in a vast program to rebuild this department. There are whole or this area there are whole blocks of land that are left bare, just bulldozed down flat. And nothing has been done, and they are now charging to take tourists there to see this terrible desolation. I talked to a man just briefly there who asked me one simple question: "Do I have reason to hope that I can someday take care of my family again? Nothing has been done."
MR. SMITH: Follow-up. Mr. Hilliard:
MR. HILLIARD: Yes. Governor Reagan. Blacks and other non-whites are increasing. in numbers in our cities. Many of them feel that they are facing a hostility from whites that prevents them from joining the economic mainstream of our society. There is racial confrontation in the schools, on jobs, and in housing, as non-whites seek to reap the benefits of a free society. What do you think is the nation's future as a multi-racial society?
MR. REAGAN: I believe in it. I am eternally optimistic, and I happen to believe that we've made great progress from the days when I was young and when this country didn't even know it had a racial problem. I know those things can grow out of despair in an inner city, when there's hopelessness at home, lack of work, and so forth. But I believe that all of us together, and I believe the Presidency is what Teddy Roosevelt said it was. It's a bully pulpit. And I think that something can be done from there, because a goal for all of us should be that one day, things will be done neither because of nor in spite of any of the differences between us - ethnic differences or racial differences, whatever they may be - that we will have total equal opportunity for all people. And I would do everything I could in my power to bring that about.
MR. SMITH: Mr. Hilliard, would you repeat your question for President Carter?
MR. HILLIARD: President Carter. the decline of our cities has been hastened by the continual rise in crime, strained race relations, the fall in the quality of public education, persistence of abnormal poverty in a rich nation, and a decline in services to the public. The signs seem to point toward deterioration that could lead to the establishment of a permanent underclass in the cities. What, specifically, would you do in the next four years to reverse this trend.
MR. CARTER: Thank you, Mr. Hilliard. When I was campaigning in 1976, everywhere I went, the mayors and local officials were in despair about the rapidly deteriorating central cities of our nation. We initiated a very fine urban renewal program, working with the mayors, the governors, and other interested officials. This has been a very successful effort. That's one of the main reasons that we've had such an increase in the number of people employed. Of the nine million people put to work in new jobs since I've been in office, 1.3 million of those has been among black Americans, and another million among those who speak Spanish. We now are planning to continue the revitalization program with increased commitments of rapid transit, mass transit. Under the windfall profits tax, we expect to spend about $43 billion in the next 10 years to rebuild the transportation systems of our country. We also are pursuing housing programs. We've had a 73% increase in the allotment of Federal funds for improved education. These are the kinds of efforts worked on a joint basis with community leaders, particularly in the minority areas of the central cities that have been deteriorating so rapidly in the past. It's very important to us that this be done with the full involvement of minority citizens. I have brought into the top level, top levels of government, into the White House, into administrative offices of the Executive branch, into the judicial system, highly qualified black and Spanish citizens and women who in the past had been excluded. I noticed that Governor Reagan said that when he was a young man that there was no knowledge of a racial problem in this country. Those who suffered from discrimination because of race or sex certainly knew we had a racial problem. We have gone a long way toward correcting these problems, but we still have a long way to go.
MR. SMITH: Follow-up question?
MR. HILLIARD: Yes. President Carter, I would like to repeat the same follow-up to you. Blacks and other non-whites are increasing in numbers in our cities. Many of them feel that they are facing a hostility from whites that prevents them from joining the economic mainstream of our society. There is racial confrontation in the schools, on jobs, and in housing, as non-whites seek to reap the benefits of a free society. What is your assessment of the nation's future as a multi-racial society?
MR. CARTER: Ours is a nation of refugees, a nation of immigrants. Almost all of our citizens came here from other lands and now have hopes, which are being realized, for a better life, preserving their ethnic commitments, their family structures, their religious beliefs, preserving their relationships with their relatives in foreign countries, but still holding themselves together in a very coherent society, which gives our nation its strength. In the past, those minority groups have often been excluded from participation in the affairs of government. Since I've been President, I've appointed, for instance, more than twice as many black Federal judges as all previous presidents in the history of this country. I've done the same thing in the appointment of women, and also Spanish-speaking Americans. To involve them in the administration of government and the feeling that they belong to the societal structure that makes decisions in the judiciary and in the executive branch is a very important commitment which I am trying to realize and will continue to do so in the future.
MR. SMITH: Governor Reagan, you have a minute for rebuttal.
MR. REAGAN: Yes. The President talks of Government programs, and they have their place. But as governor, when I was at that end of the line and receiving some of these grants for Government programs, I saw that so many of them were dead-end. They were public employment that these people who really want to get out into the private job market where there are jobs with a future. Now, the President spoke a moment ago about that I was against the minimum wage. I wish he could have been with me when I sat with a group of teenagers who were black, and who were telling me about their unemployment problems, and that it was the minimum wage that had done away with the jobs that they once could get. And indeed, every time it has increased you will find there is an increase in minority unemployment among young people. And therefore, I have been in favor of a separate minimum for them. With regard to the great progress that has been made with this Government spending, the rate of black unemployment in Detroit, Michigan, is 56%.
MR. SMITH: President Carter, you have the last word on this question.
MR. CARTER: It's obvious that we still have a long way to go in fully incorporating the minority groups into the mainstream of American life. We have made good progress, and there is no doubt in my mind that the commitment to unemployment compensation, the minimum wage, welfare, national health insurance, those kinds of commitments that have typified the Democratic party since ancient history in this country's political life are a very important element of the future. In all those elements, Governor Reagan has repeatedly spoken out against them, which, to me, shows a very great insensitivity to giving deprived families a better chance in life. This, to me, is a very important difference between him and me in this election, and I believe the American people will judge accordingly. There is no doubt in my mind that in the downtown central cities, with the, with the new commitment on an energy policy, with a chance to revitalize homes and to make them more fuel efficient, with a chance for our synthetic fuels program, solar power, this will give us an additional opportunity for jobs which will pay rich dividends.
MR. SMITH: Now, a question from Barbara Walters.
BARBARA WALTERS: Mr. President, the eyes of the country tonight are on the hostages in Iran. I realize this is a sensitive area, but the question of how we respond to acts of terrorism goes beyond this current crisis. Other countries have policies that determine how they will respond. Israel, for example, considers hostages like soldiers and will not negotiate with terrorists. For the future, Mr. President, the country has a right to know, do you have a policy for dealing with terrorism wherever it might happen, and, what have we learned from this experience in Iran that might cause us to do things differently if this, or something similar, happens again?
MR. CARTER: Barbara, one of the blights on this world is the threat and the activities of terrorists. At one of the recent economic summit conferences between myself and the other leaders of the western world, we committed ourselves to take strong action against terrorism. Airplane hijacking was one of the elements of that commitment. There is no doubt that we have seen in recent years - in recent months - additional acts of violence against Jews in France and, of course, against those who live in Israel, by the PLO and other terrorist organizations. Ultimately, the most serious terrorist threat is if one of those radical nations, who believe in terrorism as a policy, should have atomic weapons. Both I and all my predecessors have had a deep commitment to controlling the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In countries like Libya or Iraq, we have even alienated some of our closest trade partners because we have insisted upon the control of the spread of nuclear weapons to those potentially terrorist countries. When Governor Reagan has been asked about that, he makes the very disturbing comment that non-proliferation, or the control of the spread of nuclear weapons, is none of our business. And recently when he was asked specifically about Iraq, he said there is nothing we can do about it. This ultimate terrorist threat is the most fearsome of all, and it's part of a pattern where our country must stand firm to control terrorism of all kinds.
MR. SMITH: Ms. Walters, a follow up?
MS. WALTERS: While we are discussing policy, had Iran not taken American hostages. I assume that, in order to preserve our neutrality, we would have stopped the flow of spare parts and vital war materials once war broke out between Iraq and Iran. Now we're offering to lift the ban on such goods if they let our people come home. Doesn't this reward terrorism, compromise our neutrality, and possibly antagonize nations now friendly to us in the Middle East?
MR. CARTER: We will maintain our position of neutrality in the Iran and Iraq war. We have no plans to sell additional materiel or goods to Iran, that might be of a warlike nature. When I made my decision to stop all trade with Iran as a result of the taking of our hostages, I announced then, and have consistently maintained since then, that if the hostages are released safely, we would make delivery on those items which Iran owns - which they have bought and paid for - also, that the frozen Iranian assets would be released. That's been a consistent policy, one I intend to carry out.
MR. SMITH: Would you repeat the question now for Governor Reagan, please, Ms. Walters?
MS. WALTERS: Yes. Governor, the eyes of the country tonight remain on the hostages in Iran, but the question of how we respond to acts of terrorism goes beyond this current crisis. There are other countries that have policies that determine how they will respond. Israel, for example, considers hostages like soldiers and will not negotiate with terrorists. For the future, the country has the right to know, do you have a policy for dealing with terrorism wherever it might happen, and what have we learned from this experience in Iran that might cause us to do things differently if this, or something similar, should happen again?
MR. REAGAN: Barbara, you've asked that question twice. I think you ought to have at least one answer to it. I have been accused lately of having a secret plan with regard to the hostages. Now, this comes from an answer that I've made at least 50 times during this campaign to the press, when I am asked have you any ideas of what you would do if you were there? And I said, well, yes. And I think that anyone that's seeking this position, as well as other people, probably, have thought to themselves, what about this, what about that? These are just ideas of what I would think of if I were in that position and had access to the information, and which I would know all the options that were open to me. I have never answered the question, however; second, the one that says, well, tell me, what are some of those ideas? First of all, I would be fearful that I might say something that was presently under way or in negotiations, and thus expose it and endanger the hostages, and sometimes, I think some of my ideas might require quiet diplomacy where you don't say in advance, or say to anyone, what it is you're thinking of doing. Your question is difficult to answer, because, in the situation right now, no one wants to say anything that would inadvertently delay, in any way, the return of those hostages if there if there is a chance that they're coming home soon, or that might cause them harm. What I do think should be done, once they are safely here with their families, and that tragedy is over - we've endured this humiliation for just lacking one week of a year now - then, I think, it is time for us to have a complete investigation as to the diplomatic efforts that were made in the beginning, why they have been there so long, and when they came home, what did we have to do in order to bring that about - what arrangements were made? And I would suggest that Congress should hold such an investigation. In the meantime, I'm going to continue praying that they'll carne home.
MR. SMITH: Follow up question.
MS. WALTERS: I would like to say that neither candidate answered specifically the question of a specific policy for dealing with terrorism, but I will ask Governor Reagan a different follow-up question. You have suggested that there would be no Iranian crisis had you been President, because we would have given firmer support to the Shah. But Iran is a country of 37 million people who are resisting a government that they regarded as dictatorial. My question is not whether the Shah's regime was preferable to the Ayatollah's, but whether the United States has the power or the right to try to determine what form of government any country will have, and do we back unpopular regimes whose major merit is that they are friendly to the United States?
MR. REAGAN: The degree of unpopularity of a regime when the choice is total authoritarianism totalitarianism, I should say, in the alternative government, makes one wonder whether you are being helpful to the people. And we've been guilty of that. Because someone didn't meet exactly our standards of human rights, even though they were an ally of ours, instead of trying patiently to persuade them to change their ways, we have, in a number of instances, aided a revolutionary overthrow which results in complete totalitarianism, instead, for those people. I think that this is a kind of a hypocritical policy when, at the same time, we're maintaining a detente with the one nation in the world where there are no human rights at all - the Soviet Union. Now, there was a second phase in the Iranian affair in which we had something to do with that. And that was, we had adequate warning that there was a threat to our embassy, and we could have done what other embassies did - either strengthen our security there, or remove our personnel before the kidnap and the takeover took place.
MR. SMITH: Governor, I'm sorry, I must interrupt. President Carter, you have a minute for rebuttal.
MR. CARTER: I didn't hear any comment from Governor Reagan about what he would do to stop or reduce terrorism in the future. What the Western allies did decide to do is to stop all air flights - commercial air flights - to any nation involved in terrorism or the hijacking of air planes, or the harboring of hijackers. Secondly, we all committed ourselves, as have all my predecessors in the Oval Office not to permit the spread of nuclear weapons to a terrorist nation, or to any other nation that does not presently have those weapons or capabilities for explosives. Third, not to make any sales of materiel or weapons to a nation which is involved in terrorist activities. And, lastly, not to deal with the PLO until and unless the PLO recognizes Israel's right to exist and recognizes UN Resolution 242 as a basis for Middle East peace. These are a few of the things to which our nation is committed, and we will continue with these commitments.
MR. SMITH: Governor Reagan, you have the last word on that question.
MR. REAGAN: Yes. I have no quarrel whatsoever with the things that have been done, because I believe it is high time that the civilized countries of the world made it plain that there is no room worldwide for terrorism; there will be no negotiation with terrorists of any kind. And while I have a last word here, I would like to correct a misstatement of fact by the President. I have never made the statement that he suggested about nuclear proliferation and nuclear proliferation, or the trying to halt it, would be a major part of a foreign policy of mine.
MR. SMITH: Thank you gentlemen. That is the first half of the debate. Now, the rules for the second half are quite simple. They're only complicated when I explain them. In the second half, the panelists with me will have no follow-up questions. Instead, after the panelists have asked a question, and the candidates have answered, each of the candidates will have two opportunities to follow up,. to question, to rebut, or just to comment on his opponent's statement. Governor Reagan will respond, in this section, to the first question from Marvin Stone.
MR. STONE: Governor Reagan - arms control: The President said it was the single most important issue. Both of you have expressed the desire to end the nuclear arms race with Russia, but by methods that are vastly different. You suggest that we scrap the SALT II treaty already negotiated, and intensify the build-up of American power to induce the Soviets to sign a new treaty - one more favorable to us. President Carter, on the other hand, says he will again try to convince a reluctant Congress to ratify the present treaty on the grounds it's the best we can hope to get. Now, both of you cannot be right. Will you tell us why you think you are?
MR. REAGAN: Yes. I think I'm right because I believe that we must have a consistent foreign policy, a strong America, and a strong economy. And then, as we build up our national security, to restore our margin of safety, we at the same time try to restrain the Soviet build-up, which has been going forward at a rapid pace, and for quite some time. The SALT II treaty was the result of negotiations that Mr. Carter's team entered into after he had asked the Soviet Union for a discussion of actual reduction of nuclear strategic weapons. And his emissary, I think, came home in 12 hours having heard a very definite nyet. But taking that one no from the Soviet Union, we then went back into negotiations on their terms, because Mr. Carter had canceled the B-I bomber, delayed the MX, delayed the Trident submarine, delayed the cruise missile, shut down the Missile Man - the three - the Minuteman missile production line, and whatever other things that might have been done. The Soviet Union sat at the table knowing that we had gone forward with unilateral concessions without any reciprocation from them whatsoever. Now, I have not blocked the SALT II treaty, as Mr. Carter and Mr. Mondale suggest I have. It has been blocked by a Senate in which there is a Democratic majority. Indeed, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 10 to 0, with seven abstentions, against the SALT II treaty, and declared that it was not in the national security interests of the United States. Besides which, it is illegal, because the law of the land, passed by Congress, says that we cannot accept a treaty in which we are not equal. And we are not equal in this treaty for one reason alone - our B-2 bombers are considered to be strategic weapons; their Backfire bombers are not.
MR. SMITH: Governor, I have to interrupt you at that point. The time is up for that. But the same question now to President Carter.
MR. STONE: Yes. President Carter, both of you have expressed the desire to end the nuclear arms race with Russia, but through vastly different methods. The Governor suggests we scrap the SALT II treaty which you negotiated in Vienna or signed in Vienna, intensify the build-up of American power to induce the Soviets to sign a new treaty, one more favorable to us. You, on the other hand, say you will again try to convince a reluctant Congress to ratify the present treaty on the grounds it is the best we can hope to get from the Russians. You cannot both be right. Will you tell us why you think you are?
MR. CARTER: Yes, I'd be glad to. Inflation. unemployment, the cities are all very important issues, but they pale into insignificance in the life and duties of a President when compared with the control of nuclear weapons. Every President who has served in the Oval Office since Harry Truman has been dedicated to the proposition of controlling nuclear weapons. To negotiate with the Soviet Union a balanced, controlled, observable, and then reducing levels of atomic weaponry, there is a disturbing pattern in the attitude of Governor Reagan. He has never supported any of those arms control agreements - the limited test ban, SALT I, nor the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, nor the Vladivostok Treaty negotiated with the Soviet Union by President Ford - and now he wants to throw into the wastebasket a treaty to control nuclear weapons on a balanced and equal basis between ourselves and the Soviet Union, negotiated over a seven-year period, by myself and my two Republican predecessors. The Senate has not voted yet on the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty. There have been preliminary skirmishing in the committees of the Senate, but the Treaty has never come to the floor of the Senate for either a debate or a vote. It's understandable that a Senator in the preliminary debates can make an irresponsible statement, or, maybe, an ill-advised statement. You've got 99 other senators to correct that mistake, if it is a mistake. But when a man who hopes to be President says, take this treaty, discard it, do not vote, do not debate, do not explore the issues, do not finally capitalize on this long negotiation - that is a very dangerous and disturbing thing.
MR. SMITH: Governor Reagan, you have an opportunity to rebut that. REAGAV: Yes, I'd like to respond very much. First of all, the Soviet Union if I have been critical of some of the previous agreements, it's because we've been out-negotiated for quite a long time. And they have managed, in spite of all of our attempts at arms limitation, to go forward with the biggest military build-up in the history of man. Now, to suggest that because two Republican presidents tried to pass the SALT treaty - that puts them on its side - I would like to say that President Ford, who was within 90% of a treaty that we could be in agreement with when he left office, is emphatically against this SALT treaty. I would like to point out also that senators like Henry Jackson and Hollings of South Carolina - they are taking the lead in the fight against this particular treaty. I am not talking of scrapping. I am talking of taking the treaty back, and going back into negotiations. And I would say to the Soviet Union, we will sit and negotiate with you as long as it takes, to have not only legitimate arms limitation, but to have a reduction of these nuclear weapons to the point that neither one of us represents a threat to the other. That is hardly throwing away a treaty and being opposed to arms limitation.
MR. SMITH: President Carter?
MR. CARTER: Yes. Governor Reagan is making some very misleading and disturbing statements. He not only advocates the scrapping of this treaty - and I don't know that these men that he quotes are against the treaty in its final form - but he also advocates the possibility, he said it's been a missing element, of playing a trump card against the Soviet Union of a nuclear arms race, and is insisting upon nuclear superiority by our own nation, as a predication for negotiation in the future with the Soviet Union. If President Brezhnev said, we will scrap this treaty, negotiated under three American Presidents over a seven-year period of time, we insist upon nuclear superiority as a basis for future negotiations, and we believe that the launching of a nuclear arms race is a good basis for future negotiations, it's obvious that I, as President, and all Americans, would reject such a proposition. This would mean the resumption of a very dangerous nuclear arms race. It would be very disturbing to American people. It would change the basic tone and commitment that our nation has experienced ever since the Second World War, with al Presidents, Democratic and Republican. And it would also be very disturbing to our allies, all of whom support this nuclear arms treaty. In addition to that, the adversarial relationship between ourselves and the Soviet Union would undoubtedly deteriorate very rapidly. This attitude is extremely dangerous and belligerent in its tone, although it's said with a quiet voice.
MR. SMITH: Governor Reagan?
MR. REAGAN: I know the President's supposed to be replying to me, but sometimes, I have a hard time in connecting what he's saying, with what I have said or what my positions are. I sometimes think he's like the witch doctor that gets mad when a good doctor comes along with a cure that'll work. My point I have made already, Mr. President, with regard to negotiating: it does not call for nuclear superiority on the part of the United States. It calls for a mutual reduction of these weapons, as I say, that neither of us can represent a threat to the other. And to suggest that the SALT II treaty that your negotiators negotiated was just a continuation, and based on all of the preceding efforts by two previous Presidents, is just not true. It was a new negotiation because, as I say, President Ford was within about 10% of having a solution that could be acceptable. And I think our allies would be very happy to go along with a fair and verifiable SALT agreement.
MR. SMITH: President Carter, you have the last word on this question.
MR. CARTER: I think, to close out this discussion, it would be better to put into perspective what we're talking about. I had a discussion with my daughter, Amy, the other day, before I came here, to ask her what the most important issue was. She said she thought nuclear weaponry - and the control of nuclear arms. This is a formidable force. Some of these weapons have 10 megatons of explosion. If you put 50 tons of TNT in each one of railroad cars, you would have a carload of TNT - a trainload of TNT stretching across this nation. That's one major war explosion in a warhead. We have thousands, equivalent of megaton, or million tons, of TNT warheads. The control of these weapons is the single major responsibility of a President, and to cast out this commitment of all Presidents, because of some slight technicalities that can be corrected, is a very dangerous approach.
MR. SMITH: We have to go to another question now, from Harry Ellis to President Carter.
HARRY ELLIS: Mr. President, as you have said, Americans, through conservation, are importing much less oil today than we were even a year ago. Yet U.S. dependence on Arab oil as a percentage of total imports is today much higher than it was at the time of the 1973 Arab oil embargo, and for some time to came, the loss of substantial amounts of Arab oil could plunge the U.S. into depression. This means that a bridge must be built out of this dependence. Can the United States develop synthetic fuels and other alternative energy sources without damage to the environment, and will this process mean steadily higher fuel bills for American families?
MR. CARTER: I don't think there's any doubt that, in the future, the cost of oil is going to go up. What I've had as a basic commitment since I've been President is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It can only be done in two ways: one, to conserve energy - to stop the waste of energy - and, secondly, to produce more American energy. We've been very successful in both cases. We've now reduced the importing of foreign oil in the last year alone by one-third. We imported today 2 million barrels of oil less than we did the same date just a year ago. This commitment has been opening up a very bright vista for our nation in the future, because with the windfall profits tax as a base, we now have an opportunity to use American technology and American ability and American natural resources to expand rapidly the production of synthetic fuels, yes; to expand rapidly the production of solar energy, yes; and also to produce the traditional kinds of American energy. We will drill more oil and gas wells this year than any year in history. We'll produce more coal this year than any year in history. We are exporting more coal this year than any year in history. And we have an opportunity now with improved transportation systems and improved loading facilities in our ports, to see a very good opportunity on a world international market, to replace OPEC oil with American coal as a basic energy source. This exciting future will not only give us more energy security, but will also open up vast opportunities for Americans to live a better life and to have millions of new jobs associated with this new and very dynamic industry now in prospect because of the new energy policy that we've put into effect.
MR. SMITH: Would you repeat the question now for Governor Reagan?
MR. ELLIS: Governor Reagan, Americans, through conservation, are importing much less oil today than we were even a year ago. And yet, U.S. reliance on Arab oil as a percentage of total imports is much higher today than it was during the 1973 Arab oil embargo. And the substantial loss of Arab oil could plunge the United States into depression. The question is whether the development of alternative energy sources, in order to reduce this dependence, can be done without damaging the environment, and will it mean for American families steadily higher fuel bills?
MR. REAGAN: I'm not so sure that it means steadily higher fuel costs, but I do believe that this nation has been portrayed for too long a time to the people as being energy-poor when it is energy-rich. The coal that the President mentioned - yes, we have it - and yet one-eighth of our total coal resources is not being utilized at all right now. The mines are closed down; there are 22000 miners out of work. Most of this is due to regulations which either interfere with the mining of it or prevent the burning of it:. With our modern technology, yes, we can burn our coal within the limits of the Clean Air Act. I think, as technology improves, we'll be able to do even better with that. The other thing is that we have only leased out - begun to explore - 2% of our outer continental shelf for oil, where it is believed, by everyone familiar with that fuel and that source of energy, that there are vast supplies yet to be found. Our Government has, in the last year or so, taken out of multiple use millions of acres of public lands that once were - well, they were public lands subject to multiple use - exploration for minerals and so forth. It is believed that probably 70% of the potential oil in the United States is probably hidden in those lands, and no one is allowed to even go and explore to find out if it is there. This is particularly true of the recent efforts to shut down part of Alaska. Nuclear power: There were 36 power plants planned in this country. And let me add the word safety; it must be done with the utmost of safety. But 32 of those have given up and canceled their plans to build, and again, because Government regulations and permits, and so forth, take - make it take - more than twice as long to build a nuclear plant in the United States as it does to build one in Japan or in Western Europe. We have the sources here. We are energy rich, and coal is one of the great potentials we have.
MR. SMITH: President Carter, your comment?
MR. CARTER: To repeat myself, we have this year the opportunity, which we'll realize, to produce 800 million tons of coal - an unequaled record in the history of our country. Governor Reagan says that this is not a good achievement, and he blames restraints on coal production on regulations - regulations that affect the life and the health and safety of miners, and also regulations that protect the purity of our air and the quality our water and our land. We cannot cast aside these regulations. We have a chance in the next 15 years, insisting upon the health and safety of workers in the mines, and also preserving the same high air and water pollution standards, to triple the amount of coal we produce. Governor Reagan's approach to our energy policy, which has already proven its effectiveness, is to repeal, or to change substantially, the windfall profits tax - to return a major portion of $227 billion back to the oil companies; to do away with the Department of Energy; to short-circuit our synthetic fuels program; to put a minimal emphasis on solar power; to emphasize strongly nuclear power plants as a major source of energy in the future. He wants to put all our eggs in one basket and give that basket to the major oil companies.
MR. SMITH: Governor Reagan.
MR. REAGAN: That is a misstatement, of course, of my position. I just happen to believe that free enterprise can do a better job of producing the things that people need than government can. The Department of Energy has a multi-billion-dollar budget in excess of $10 billion. It hasn't produced a quart of oil or a lump of coal, or anything else in the line of energy. And for Mr. Carter to suggest that I want to do away with the safety laws and with the laws that pertain to clean water and clean air, and so forth. As Governor of California, I took charge of passing the strictest air pollution laws in the United States - the strictest air quality law that has even been adopted in the United States. And we created an OSHA - an Occupational Safety and Health Agency - for the protection of employees before the Federal Government had one in place. And to this day, not one of its decisions or rulings has ever been challenged. So, I think some of those charges are missing the point. I am suggesting that there are literally thousands of unnecessary regulations that invade every facet of business, and indeed, very much of our personal lives, that are unnecessary; that Government can do without; that have added $130 billion to the cost of production in this country; and that are contributing their part to inflation. And I would like to see us a little more free, as we once were.
MR. SMITH: President Carter, another crack at that?
MR. CARTER: Sure. As a matter of fact,. the air pollution standard laws that were passed in California were passed over the objections of Governor Reagan, and this is a very well-known fact. Also, recently, when someone suggested that the Occupational Safety and Health Act should be abolished, Governor Reagan responded, amen. The offshore drilling rights is a question that Governor Reagan raises often. As a matter of fact, in the proposal for the Alaska lands legislation, 100% of all the offshore lands would be open for exploration, and 95% of all the Alaska lands, where it is suspected or believed that minerals might exist. We have, with our five-year plan for the leasing of offshore lands, proposed more land to be drilled than has been opened up for drilling since this program first started in 1954. So we're not putting restraints on American exploration, we're encouraging it in every way we can.
MR. SMITH: Governor Reagan, you have the last word on this question.
MR. REAGAN: Yes. If it is a well-known fact that I opposed air pollution laws in California, the only thing I can possibly think of is that the President must be suggesting the law that the Federal Government tried to impose on the State of California - not a law, but regulations - that would have made it impossible to drive an automobile within the city limits of any California city, or to have a place to put it if you did drive it against their regulations. It would have destroyed the economy of California, and, I must say, we had the support of Congress when we pointed out how ridiculous this attempt was by the Environmental Protection Agency. We still have the strictest air control, or air pollution laws in the country. As for offshore oiling, only 2% now is so leased and is producing oil. The rest, as to whether the lands are going to be opened in the next five years or so - we're already five years behind in what we should be doing. There is more oil now, in the wells that have been drilled, than has been taken out in 121 years that they've been drilled.
MR. SMITH: Thank you Governor. Thank you, Mr. President. The next question goes to Governor Reagan from William Hilliard.
MR. HILLIARD: Governor Reagan, wage earners in this country - especially the young - are supporting a Social Security system that continues to affect their income drastically. The system is fostering a struggle between the young and the old, and is drifting the country toward a polarization of these two groups. How much longer can the young wage earner expect to bear the ever-increasing burden of the Social Security system?
MR. REAGAN: The Social Security system was based on a false premise, with regard to how fast the number of workers would increase and how fast the number of retirees would increase. It is actuarially out of balance, and this first became evident about 16 years ago, and some of us were voicing warnings then. Now, it is trillions of dollars out of balance, and the only answer that has come so far is the biggest single tax increase in our nation's history - the payroll tax increase for Social Security - which will only put a band-aid on this and postpone the day of reckoning by a few years at most. What is needed is a study that I have proposed by a task force of experts to look into this entire problem as to how it can be reformed and made actuarially sound, but with the premise that no one presently dependent on Social Security is going to have the rug pulled out from under them and not get their check. We cannot frighten, as we have with the threats and the campaign rhetoric that has gone on in this campaign, our senior citizens - leave them thinking that in some way, they're endangered and they would have no place to turn. They must continue to get those checks, and I believe that the system can be put on a sound actuarial basis. But it's going to take some study and some work, and not just passing a tax increase to let the load - or the roof - fall in on the next administration.
MR. SMITH: Would you repeat that question for President Carter?
MR. HILLIARD: Yes. President Carter, wage earners in this country, especially the young, are supporting a Social Security System that continues to affect their income drastically. The system is fostering a struggle between young and old and is drifting the country toward a polarization of these two groups. How much longer can the young wage earner expect to bear the ever-increasing burden of the Social Security System?
MR. CARTER: As long as there is a Democratic President in the White House, we will have a strong and viable Social Security System, free of the threat of bankruptcy. Although Governor Reagan has changed his position lately, on four different occasions, he has advocated making Social Security a voluntary system, which would, in effect, very quickly bankrupt it. I noticed also in The Wall Street Journal early this week, that a preliminary report of his task force advocates making Social Security more sound by reducing the adjustment in Social Security for the retired people to compensate for the impact of inflation. These kinds of approaches are very dangerous to the security, the well being and the peace of mind of the retired people of this country and those approaching retirement age. But no matter what it takes in the future to keep Social Security sound, it must be kept that way. And although there was a serious threat to the Social Security System and its integrity during the 1976 campaign and when I became President, the action of the Democratic Congress working with me has been to put Social Security back on a sound financial basis. That is the way it will stay.
MR. SMITH: Governor Reagan?
MR. REAGAN: Well, that just isn't true. It has, as I said, delayed the actuarial imbalance falling on us for just a few years with that increase in taxes, and I don't believe we can go on increasing the tax, because the problem for the young people today is that they are paying in far more than they can ever expect to get out. Now, again this statement that somehow, I wanted to destroy it and I just changed my tune, that I am for voluntary Social Security, which would mean the ruin of it. Mr. President, the voluntary thing that I suggested many years ago was that with a young man orphaned and raised by an aunt who died, his aunt was ineligible for Social Security insurance because she was not his mother. And I suggested that if this is an insurance program, certainly the person who is paying in should be able to name his own beneficiary. That is the closest I have ever come to anything voluntary with Social Security. I, too, am pledged to a Social Security program that will reassure these senior citizens of ours that they are going to continue to get their money. There are some changes that I would like to make. I would like to make a change in the regulation that discriminates against a wife who works and finds that she then is faced with a choice between her father's or her husband's benefits, if he dies first, or what she has paid in; but it does not recognize that she has also been paying in herself, and she is entitled to more than she presently can get. I'd like to change that.
MR. SMITH: President Carter's rebuttal now.
MR. CARTER: These constant suggestions that the basic Social Security System should be changed does call for concern and consternation among the aged of our country. It is obvious that we should have a commitment to them, that Social Security benefits should not be taxed and that there would be no peremptory change in the standards by which Social Security payments are made to retired people. We also need to continue to index Social Security payments, so that if inflation rises, the Social Security payments would rise a commensurate degree to let the buying power of a Social Security check continue intact. In the past, the relationship between Social Security and Medicare has been very important to providing some modicum of aid for senior citizens in the retention of health benefits. Governor Reagan, as a matter of fact, began his political career campaigning around this nation against Medicare. Now, we have an opportunity to move toward national health insurance, with an emphasis on the prevention of disease, an emphasis on out-patient care, not in-patient care; an emphasis on hospital cost containment to hold down the cost of hospital care far those who are ill, an emphasis on catastrophic health insurance, so that if a family is threatened with being wiped out economically because of a very high medical bill, then the insurance would help pay for it. These are the kinds of elements of a national health insurance, important to the American people. Governor Reagan, again, typically is against such a proposal.
MR. SMITH: Governor?
MR. REAGAN: When I opposed Medicare, there was another piece of legislation meeting the same problem before the Congress. I happened to favor the other piece of legislation and thought that it would be better for the senior citizens and provide better care than the one that was finally passed. I was not opposing the principle of providing care for them. I was opposing one piece of legislation versus another. There is something else about Social Security. Of course, it doesn't come out of the payroll tax. It comes out of a general fund, but something should be done about it. I think it is disgraceful that the Disability Insurance Fund in Social Security finds checks going every month to tens of thousands of people who are locked up in our institutions for crime or for mental illness, and they are receiving disability checks from Social Security every month while a state institution provides for all of their needs and their care.
MR. SMITH: President Carter, you have the last word on this question.
MR. CARTER: I think this debate on Social Security, Medicare, national health insurance typifies, as vividly any other subject tonight, the basic historical differences between the Democratic Party and Republican Party. The allusions to basic changes in the minimum wage is another, and the deleterious comments that Governor Reagan has made about unemployment compensation. These commitments that the Democratic Party has historically made to the working families of this nation have been extremely important to the growth in their stature and in a better quality of life for them. I noticed recently that Governor Reagan frequently quotes Democratic presidents in his acceptance address. I have never heard a candidate for President, who is a Republican, quote a Republican president, but when they get in office, they try to govern like Republicans. So, it is good fo the American people to remember that there is a sharp basic historical difference between Governor Reagan and me on these crucial issues - also, between the two parties that we represent.
MR. SMITH: Thank you Mr. President, Governor Reagan. We now go to another question - a question to President Carter by Barbara Waiters.
MS. WALTERS: Thank you. You have addressed some of the major issues tonight, but the biggest issue in the mind of American voters is yourselves - your ability to lead this country. When many voters go into that booth just a week from today, they will be voting their gut instinct about you men. You have already given us your reasons why people should vote for you, now would you please tell us for this your final question, why they should not vote for your opponent, why his Presidency could be harmful to the nation and, having examined both your opponent's record and the man himself, tell us his greatest weakness.
MR. CARTER: Barbara, reluctant as I am to say anything critical about Governor Reagan, I will try to answer your question. First of all, there is the historical perspective that I just described. This is a contest between a Democrat in the mainstream of my party, as exemplified by the actions that I have taken in the Oval Office the last four years, as contrasted with Governor Reagan, who in most cases does typify his party, but in some cases, there is a radical departure by him from the heritage of Eisenhower and others. The most important crucial difference in this election campaign, in my judgment, is the approach to the control of nuclear weaponry and the inclination to control or not to control the spread of atomic weapons to other nations who don't presently have it, particularly terrorist nations. The inclination that Governor Reagan has exemplified in many troubled times since he has been running for President - I think since 1968 - to inject American military forces in places like North Korea, to put a blockade around Cuba this year, or in some instances, to project American forces into a fishing dispute against the small nation of Ecuador on the west coast of South America. This is typical of his long-standing inclination, on the use of American power, not to resolve disputes diplomatically and peacefully, but to show that the exercise of military power is best proven by the actual use of it. Obviously, no President wants war, and I certainly do not believe that Governor Reagan, if he were President, would want war, but a President in the Oval Office has to make a judgment on almost a daily basis about how to exercise the enormous power of our country for peace, through diplomacy, or in a careless way in a belligerent attitude which has exemplified his attitudes in the past.
MR. SMITH: Barbara, would you repeat the question for Governor Reagan?
MS. WALTERS: Yes, thank you. Realizing that you may be equally reluctant to speak ill of your opponent, may I ask why people should not vote for your opponent, why his Presidency could be harmful to the nation, and having examined both your opponent's record and the man himself, could you tell us his greatest weakness?
MR. REAGAN: Well, Barbara, I believe that there is a fundamental difference - and I think it has been evident in most of the answers that Mr. Carter has given tonight - that he seeks the solution to anything as another opportunity for a Federal Government program. I happen to believe that the Federal Government has usurped powers of autonomy and authority that belong back at the state and local level. It has imposed on the individual freedoms of the people, and there are more of these things that could be solved by the people themselves, if they were given a chance, or by the levels of government that were closer to them. Now, as to why I should be and he shouldn't be, when he was a candidate in 1976, President Carter invented a thing he called the misery index. He added the rate of unemployment and the rate of inflation, and it came, at that time, to 12.5% under President Ford. He said that no man with that size misery index has a right to seek reelection to the Presidency. Today, by his own decision, the misery index is in excess of 20%, and I think this must suggest something. But, when I had quoted a Democratic President, as the President says, I was a Democrat. I said many foolish things back in those days. But the President that I quoted had made a promise, a Democratic promise, and I quoted him because it was never kept. And today, you would find that that promise is at the very heart of what Republicanism represents in this country today. That's why I believe there are going to be millions of Democrats that are going to vote with us this time around, because they too want that promise kept. It was a promise for less government and less taxes and more freedom for the people.
MR. SMITH: President Carter?
MR. CARTER: I mentioned the radical departure of Governor Reagan from the principles or ideals of historical perspective of his own party. I don't think that can be better illustrated than in the case of guaranteeing women equal rights under the Constitution of our nation. For 40 years, the Republican Party platforms called for guaranteeing women equal rights with a constitutional amendment. Six predecessors of mine who served in the Oval Office called for this guarantee of women's rights. Governor Reagan and his new Republican Party have departed from this commitment - a very severe blow to the opportunity for women to finally correct discrimination under which they have suffered. When a man and a women do the same amount of work, a man gets paid $1.00, a women only gets paid 59 cents. And the equal rights amendment only says that equality of rights shall not be abridged for omen b the Federal Government or by he state governments. That is all it says a simple guarantee of equality of opportunity which typifies the Democratic arty, and which is a very important commitment of mine, as contrasted with Governor Reagan's radical departure from the long-standing policy of his own party.
MR. SMITH: Governor Reagan?
MR. REAGAN: Yes. Mr. President, once again, I happen to be against the amendment, because I think the amendment will take this problem out of the hands of elected legislators and put it in the hands f unelected judges. I am for equal rights, and while you have been in office for four ears and not one single state - and most f them have a majority of Democratic legislators - has added to the ratification r voted to ratify the equal rights amendment. While I was Governor, more than eight years ago, I found 14 separate instances where women were discriminated against in the body of California law, and I had passed and signed into law 14 statutes that eliminated those discriminations, including the economic ones that you have just mentioned - equal pay and so forth. I believe that if in all these years that we have spent trying to get the amendment, that we had spent as much time correcting these laws, as we did in California - and we were the first to do it. If I were President, I would also now take a look at the hundreds of Federal regulations which discriminate against women and which go right on while everyone is looking for an amendment. I would have someone ride herd on those regulations, and we would start eliminating those discriminations in the Federal Government against women.
MR. SMITH: President Carter?
MR. CARTER: Howard, I'm a Southerner, and I share the basic beliefs of my region that an excessive government intrusion into the private affairs of American citizens and also into the private affairs of the free enterprise system. One of the commitments that I made was to deregulate the major industries of this country. We've been remarkably successful, with the help of a Democratic Congress. We have deregulated the air industry, the rail industry, the trucking industry, financial institutions. We're now working on the communications industry. In addition to that, I believe that this element of discrimination is something that the South has seen so vividly as a blight on our region of the country which has now been corrected - not only racial discrimination but discrimination against people that have to work for a living - because we have been trying to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps, since the long depression years, and lead a full and useful life in the affairs of this country. We have made remarkable success. It is part of my consciousness and of my commitment to continue this progress. So, my heritage as a Southerner, my experience in the Oval Office, convinces me that what I have just described is a proper course for the future.
MR. SMITH: Governor Reagan, yours is the last word.
MR. REAGAN: Well, my last word is again to say this: We were talking about this very simple amendment and women's rights. And I make it plain again: I am for women's rights. But I would like to call the attention of the people to the fact that that so-called simple amendment would be used by mischievous men to destroy discriminations that properly belong, by law, to women respecting the physical differences between the two sexes, labor laws that protect them against things that would be physically harmful to them. Those would all, could all be challenged by men. And the same would be true with regard to combat service in the military and so forth. I thought that was the subject we were supposed to be on. But, if we're talking about how much we think about the working people and so forth, I'm the only fellow who ever ran for this job who was six times President of his own union and still has a lifetime membership in that union.
MR. SMITH: Gentlemen, each of you now has three minutes for a closing statement. President Carter, you're first.
MR. CARTER: First of all, I'd like to thank the League of Women Voters for making this debate possible. I think it's been a very constructive debate and I hope it's helped to acquaint the American people with the sharp differences between myself and Governor Reagan. Also, I want to thank the people of Cleveland and Ohio for being such hospitable hosts during these last few hours in my life. I've been President now for almost four years. I've had to make thousands of decisions, and each one of those decisions has been a learning process. I've seen the strength of my nation, and I've seen the crises it approached in a tentative way. And I've had to deal with those crises as best I could. As I've studied the record between myself and Governor Reagan, I've been impressed with the stark differences that exist between us. I think the result of this debate indicates that that fact is true. I consider myself in the mainstream of my party. I consider myself in the mainstream even of the bipartisan list of Presidents who served before me. The United States must be a nation strong; the United States must be a nation secure. We must have a society that's just and fair. And we must extend the benefits of our own commitment to peace, to create a peaceful world. I believe that since I've been in office, there have been six or eight areas of combat evolved in other parts of the world. In each case, I alone have had to determine the interests of my country and the degree of involvement of my country. I've done that with moderation, with care, with thoughtfulness; sometimes consulting experts. But, I've learned in this last three and a half years that when an issue is extremely difficult, when the call is very close, the chances are the experts will be divided almost 50-50. And the final judgment about the future of the nation - war, peace, involvement, reticence, thoughtfulness, care, consideration, concern - has to be made by the man in the Oval Office. It's a lonely job, but with the involvement of the American people in the process, with an open Government, the job is a very gratifying one. The American people now are facing, next Tuesday, a lonely decision. Those listening to my voice will have to make a judgment about the future of this country. And I think they ought to remember that one vote can make a lot of difference. If one vote per precinct had changed in 1960, John Kennedy would never have been President of this nation. And if a few more people had gone to the polls and voted in 1968, Hubert Humphrey would have been President; Richard Nixon would not. There is a partnership involved in our nation. To stay strong, to stay at peace, to raise high the banner of human rights, to set an example for the rest of the world, to let our deep beliefs and commitments be felt by others in other nations, is my plan for the future. I ask the American people to join me in this partnership.
MR. SMITH: Governor Reagan?
MR. REAGAN: Yes, I would like to add my words of thanks, too, to the ladies of the League of Women Voters for making these debates possible. I'm sorry that we couldn't persuade the bringing in of the third candidate, so that he could have been seen also in these debates. But still, it's good that at least once, all three of us were heard by the people of this country. Next Tuesday is Election Day. Next Tuesday all of you will go to the polls, will stand there in the polling place and make a decision. I think when you make that decision, it might be well if you would ask yourself, are you better off than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? Do you feel that our security is as safe, that we're as strong as we were four years ago? And if you answer all of those questions yes, why then, I think your choice is very obvious as to whom you will vote for. If you don't agree, if you don't think that this course that we've been on for the last four years is what you would like to see us follow for the next four, then I could suggest another choice that you have. This country doesn't have to be in the shape that it is in. We do not have to go on sharing in scarcity with the country getting worse off, with unemployment growing. We talk about the unemployment lines. If all of the unemployed today were in a single line allowing two feet for each of them, that line would reach from New York City to Los Angeles, California. All of this can be cured and all of it can be solved. I have not had the experience the President has had in holding that office, but I think in being Governor of California, the most populous state in the Union - if it were a nation, it would be the seventh-ranking economic power in the world - I, too, had some lonely moments and decisions to make. I know that the economic program that I have proposed for this nation in the next few years can resolve many of the problems that trouble us today. I know because we did it there. We cut the cost - the increased cost of government - in half over the eight years. We returned $5.7 billion in tax rebates, credits and cuts to our people. We, as I have said earlier, fell below the national average in inflation when we did that. And I know that we did give back authority and autonomy to the people. I would like to have a crusade today, and I would like to lead that crusade with your help. And it would be one to take Government off the backs of the great people of this country, and turn you loose again to do those things that I know you can do so well, because you did them and made this country great. Thank you.

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