What exactly do these presidential candidates talk about, as they hopscotch across America from one campaign rally to another? Each of them has basic themes that repeat themselves from speech to speech. Today we present an edited version of President Carter's standard campaign oratory. Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.
Four weeks from now, the American people will make a very profound choice -- a choice not just between two men or two parties, but between two futures for our country. What you decide on that day will determine what kind of life you and your families will have, whether the nation will make progress or go backward. It will determine to some extent whether or not we live at peace. It will be a choice between two very different futures.
In keeping commitments during the last 3 1/2 years, we've faced some of the most difficult problems that this nation has seen. We have stayed at peace through strength. We have faced up to the first time I can remember when an outside force, OPEC, could exert economic pressure on our great country. The energy problem is profound. We have taken action and now oil exports are and down 24 percent.
This steady progress in recent months can profoundly affect the quality of your life because in the late 1970s we have been successful in meeting this challenge on energy, which is crucial, and now we're ready to rebuild the industrial complex of this country.
The American worker is the most productive worker on earth. But the American worker for too long has been saddled with obsolescent tools and factories. We will revitalize America and look to the future with confidence and commitment. We will add a million new jobs in the next two years -- jobs in growing and competitive industry.
For the eight years before I became president, seven of those years we had a decrease in the commitment of American funds for defense. Since I've been in office, every year we've had an increase in commitment in real dollars, above and beyond inflation, to American defense. And as long as I am in the White House, this country will be strong and second to none in military power.
And that's the reason we stay at peace -- because we're strong. We're developing advanced weapons, but I think it's good for us to remember that the best weapon is the one that is never fired in combat and the best soldier is one that never sheds blood on the battlefield. I thank God that I have never had to order a soldier into combat since I have been in the White House. We have had peace. No other president for the last 50 years can say that, and my prayer is that I will go out of office, hopefully at the end of eight years, with that record intact, with our nation at peace.
In these last 3 1/2 years we've laid a good foundation for a future of an expanding economy, a just society, and a secure nation at peace. In contrast to that we face a Republican candidate and a Republican Party that offers this country a counterfeit future. The Republicans promise the same Republican formulas that long ago failed the majority of Americans -- and the majority of Americans, when reminded, remember.
And as the election approaches, you need to remember what the consequences might be if the wrong decision is made, because I think the Republican candidate is formidable in his political strength and the financing of his campaign. He offers us an uncertain kind of future based in improbable promises and ill-considered proposals that affect us at home and affect us abroad.
He's against full rights for American workers. He opposes the minimum wage. It's hard for me to believe that working people would vote for someone who said, not a long time ago but this year, and I quote, "The minimum wage has caused more misery and unemployment than anything since the Great Depression". He once called unemployment compensation little more than paid vacation for freeloaders. He opposed Medicaid and was a nationwide leader in the campaign against Medicare.
To solve our energy problem, Gov. Reagan has a very simple answer.Just turn it over to the oil companies. "Trust them," he says. "Let's do away with the windfall profits tax. Let the oil companies keep that money and make a decision on how it should be spent." The Republicans deny the need for energy conservation and they deny any notion that oil is a scarce resource and ought to be conserved. They still fight against the windfall profits tax.
Solving our economic problems is just as simple to Gov. Reagan: Just pass a massive election-year tax cut, known as Reagan-Kemp-Roth, that would be a windfall for the rich and an inflationary disaster for the working people. It's been condemned even by "Business Week" as inflationary. George Bush, who is Gov. Reagan's running mate, said it would create inflation in excess of 30 percent and he called it "voodoo economics." Even President Ford, who supports Gov. Reagan, says it's too inflationary for him to support.
We have the problem of controlling nuclear weapons. Every president since Harry Truman, including all the Republicans and the Democrats, has worked to carve out with the Soviet Union an agreement whereby we could limit and balance and then reduce the dependence on atomic weapons. Gov. Reagan has thrown that out. He has said that he would withdraw the SALT II treaty from the Senate and that he would start a nuclear arms race as a card to be played against the Soviet Union. That is a very dangerous proposal and it shows Gov. Reagan's lack of understanding of how important this is.
If you look at Mr. Reagan's record the last eight or 10 years, including recently, many times when there was a trouble spot in the world, when diplomacy was obviously the best approach and my predecessors in office, Democrats and Republicans, resolved those issues peacefully, Gov. Reagan has advocated the sending in of American military forces. What he would do in the Oval Office I don't know, but it's a serious question about the attitude of a president, who is a lonely man in many ways while he's in the Oval Office.
We can't deal with our problems offering something for nothing just in the last few weeks or months of a political campaign. We have to face the facts and sometimes these facts are very difficult. Sometimes, almost always, they are very complicated, and the facts are that you can't give giant tax cuts, giant increases in spending for a nuclear arms race, balance the budget and stop inflation all at the same time.
As you know, Gov. Reagan has refused to debate with me. What I think we ought to have for the benefit of the American people is a man-to-man debate so that I can ask him about this and we can discuss these very serious issues.
This is a year of crucial decision for our country and as we approach November 4 it is important for us to remember the character of the presidency itself. It's the most important elective office in the world. It's the kind of position that can arose the hopes and aspirations and confidence of our nation -- or have the opposite effect, as we've seen in recent years under previous administrations. There are no easy answers to questions that arise in the Oval Office. And the president and no on else has to make that tough decision, deal with that crisis, hopefully so that the crisis is never known by you. A crisis that is well managed is not catastrophic to our nation. A crisis that is not handled well can become as a crisis for the entire world.
The future of our nation is at stake. I doubt that if there's ever been a sharper difference between two major candidates than between two major candidates than between myself and the Republican nominee. The only possible exception was when Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson.
We Americans come from a lot of different countries and we've all come with the same dream -- dream of freedom, a dream of opportunity, a dream of a better future for our families and I'm determined to make this dream of America a living and breathing reality.
Our nation has faced much more serious challenges and much more serious problems in years gone by. We've got problems now. I don't want to underestimate them. There are no easy answers. But our country, when we were united and when we understood the problem or the challenge or the obstacle, has never failed. I don't have any doubt in my mind as president of this country that the United States of America, a united people as we face the future together, that we will not fail and that the greatest nation on earth will be even greater in the future.