Here are excerpts from President Carter's talk:
Tomorrow will be two weeks since I became President . . .
When I was running for President, I made a number of commitments.
I take them very seriously. I believe they were the reason I was elected.
I want you to know that I intend to carry them out.
As you probably know, I have already acted on several of my promises . . .
One of our most urgent projects is to develop a national energy policy . . .
The extremely cold weather this winter has dangerously depleted our supplies of natural gas and fuel oil and forced hundreds of thousands of workers off the job. I congratulate the Congress for its quick action on the Emergency Natural Gas Act, which was passed today and signed this evening.
But the real problem - our failure to plan for the future or to take energy conservation seriously - started long before this winter and will take much longer to solve.
I realize that many of you have not believed that we really have an energy problem. But this winter has made us all realize that we have to act.
Congress has already made many of the preparations for energy legislation. Presidential assistant Dr. James Schlesinger is beginning to direct an effort to develop a national energy policy. Many groups of Americans will be involved. On April 20, we will have completed the planning for our energy program and will then ask the Congress for its help in enacting responsible legislation.
Our program will emphasize conservation. The amount of energy now being wasted which could be saved is greater than the total energy we are importing from foreign countries. We will also stress development of our rich coal reserves in an environmentally sound way; emphasize research on solar energy and other renewable energy sources; and maintain strict safeguards on necessary atomic energy production.
The responsibility for setting energy policy is now split among more than 50 different agencies, departments, and bureaus. Later this month, I will ask the Congress for its help in combining these agencies in a new energy department to bring order out of this chaos.Congressional leaders have already been working on this for quite awhile.
We must face the fact that the energy shortage is permanent. There is no way we can solve it quickly . . .
All of us must learn to waste less energy. Simply by keeping our thermostats at 65 degrees in the daytime and 55 degrees at night we could save half the current shortage of natural gas.
There is no way that I, or anyone else in the government, can solve our energy problems if you are not willing to help . . .
I also stated during my campaign that our administration would do everything possible to restore a healthy American economy.
As soon as I was elected, the leaders of the Congress and my own advisers began to work with me to develop a proposal for economic recovery. We were guided by the principle that everyone who is able to work ought to work; that our economic strength is based on a healthy, productive private business sector; that we must provide the greatest help to those with the greatest need; and that there must be a predictable and steady growth in our economy.
Two days ago I presented this plan to the Congress. It is a balanced plan, with many elements, to meet the many causes of our economic problems.
One element is reducing taxes. The one-time tax benefits to the average family of four with $10,000 in income will be $200 - a 30 per cent reduction in this year's taxes.
My primary concern is jobs, and these tax, rebates are the only quick, effective way to get money into the economy and create those jobs . . .
We will also provide tax incentives to business firms, to encourage them to fight inflation by expanding output and to hire more of our people who are eager for work. I think it makes more sense for the government to help workers stay on the payroll than to force them onto unemployment benefits or welfare payments . . .
The top priority in our job training programs will go to young veterans of the Vietnam war. Unemployment is much higher among veterans than among others of the same age who did not serve in the military. I hope that putting many thousands of veterans back to work will be one more step toward binding up the wounds of the war years, and toward helping those who have helped our country in the past . . .
I also said many times during the campaign that we must reform and reorganize the federal government . . .
The place to start is at the top - in the White House.
I am reducing the size of the White House staff by nearly one third, and have asked the members of the Cabinet to do the same at the top staff level. Soon I will put a ceiling on the number of people employed by federal government agencies, so we can bring the growth of government under control . . .
We have eliminated expensive and unnecessary luxuries, such as door-to-door limousine service for many top officials, including all members of the White House staff. Government officials can't be sensitive to your problems if we are living like royalty here in Washington. While I am deeply grateful for the many good wishes that lie behind them, I ask that people not send gifts to me or my family.
We will cut down on government regulations and make sure that those that are written are in plain English. Whenever a regulation is issued, it will carry its author's name. I will also request the Cabinet members to read all regulations personally before they are released.
This week I will ask the Congress for enabling legislation to let me reorganize the government. The passage of this legislation, which will give me the same authority extended to every president from Franklin Roosevelt to Richard Nixon and used by many governors across the country, is crucial to a successful reorganization effort. Then, with the close consultation and cooperation of the Congress, we can begin the difficult process of reorganization . . .
Reforming the government also means making the government as open and honest as it can be . . .
My Cabinet members and I will conduct an open administration, with frequent press conferences and reports to the people and with "town hall" meetings across the nation, where you can criticize, make suggestions and ask questions.
We are also planning, with some of the radio networks, live call-in sessions during which I can accept your phone calls and answer the questions that are on your mind. I have asked the members of the Cabinet to travel regularly around the country to stay in close touch with you out in communities where government services are delivered . . .
I would like to tell you now about one of the things I have already learned in my brief time in office. I have learned that there are many things that a President cannot do.
There is no energy policy that will do as much as shared faith in hard work, efficiency; and the future of our system.
I know that both the Congress and the administration, as partners in leadership, have limited powers . . .
But I remember another difficult time in our nation's history when we felt a different spirit.
During World War II, we faced a terrible crisis - but the challenge of fighting against fascism drew us together . . .
I believe we are ready for that same spirit again - to plan ahead, work together, and use common sense. Not because of war, but because we realize that we must act together to solve our problems, and because we are ready to trust one another.
As President, I will not be able to provide everything that every one of you might like. I am sure to make mistakes.
But I can promise you that you will never have the feeling that your needs are being ignored, or that we have forgotten who put us in office.
We will always be a nation of differences - business and labor, blacks and whites, men and women, people of different regions and religious and different ethnic backgrounds - but with faith and confidence in each other our differences can be a source of personal fullness and national strength, rather than a cause of weakness and division.
If we are a united nation, then I can be a good President. But I will needed your help to do it. I will do my best. I know you will do yours.
Thank you and good night.