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.
(2:21) MR. KRAFT: Mr. President, 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. 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 to realize your objectives? let me add, Governor Carter, that if - if you felt that it was appropriate to answer that question in - in your comments as to what price it would be appropriate for the American pay - people to pay 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 we will have to maintain an adequate military capability - which means, of course, that we will have to add a I think a few billion dollars to our defense appropriations to make certain that we have adequate strategic forces - adequate conventional forces. I think the American people will be called upon to be in the forefront in giving leadership to the solution of those problems that must be solved in the Middle East, in southern Africa, and any problems that might arise in the 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 America can go on a big spending spree with a whole lot of new programs that would add significantly to the federal budget. I believe that the American people, if given the leadership that I would expect to give, would be willing to give this thrust to preserve the peace and the necessary restraint at home to hold the lid on spending so that we could, I think, have a long overdue and totally justified tax decrease for the middle-income people. And then, with the economy that would be generated from a restraint on spending, and a tax 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 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. KRAFT: 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 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 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. a job, a home for all those that'll work and save for it, safety in the streets, 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.
(6:66) 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 environmental agency has projected a 10 percent unemployment rate by 1978 if he's president. The American people are ready to make sacrifices if they are part of the process. If they know that they will be helping to make decisions and won't be excluded from being an involved party to the national purpose. The major effort we must put forward is to put our people back to work. And I think that this is one example where a lot of people have selfish, grasping ideas now. I remember 1973 in the depth of the energy crisis when President Nixon called on the American people to make a sacrifice, to cut down on the waste of gasoline, to cut down on the speed of automobiles. It was a - a tremendous surge of patriotism, that "I want to make a sacrifice for my country." I think we could call together, with strong leadership in the White House, business, industry and labor, and say let's have voluntary price restraints. Let's lay down some guidelines so we don't have continuing 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 Medicaid laws, and the food stamp laws, make over $10 thousand a year and they don't have to pay any taxes on it. At the other extreme, just 1 percent of the richest people in our country derive 25 percent of all the tax benefits. So both those extremes grasp for advantage and the person who has to pay that expense is the middle-income family who'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 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.
(9:14) 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 becoming increasingly difficult far a family to put a child through college or to own a home, there's a natural inclination to be turned off. Also, in the aftermath of Vietnam and Cambodia and Watergate and the CIA revelations, people have feel - have felt that they've uh been betrayed by public officials, I have to admit that in the heat of the campaign - I've been in thirty primaries during the springtime, I've been campaigning for twenty-two months - I've made some mistakes. And I think this is part of of just being a human being. I - I have to say that my campaign has been an open one. And the Playboy thing has been of great - very great concern to me. I don't know how to deal with it exactly. I agreed to give the interview to Playboy Other people have done it who are notable - Governor Jerry Brown, Walter Cronkite, Albert Schweitzer, Mr. Ford's own secretary of the treasury, Mr. Simon, William Buckley - many other people. But they weren't running for president, and in retrospect, from hindsight, I would not have given that interview had I 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 condemnation and sinfulness, I'll use another forum besides Playboy. But I can say this, I'm doing the best I can to get away from that, and during the next ten days, the American people will not see the Carter campaign running television advertisements and newspaper advertisements based on a personal attack on President Ford's character. I believe that the opposite is true with President Ford's campaign, and I hope that we can leave those issues in this next 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.
(12:27) MS. WALTERS: Thank you, Governor Carter. President Ford, your response. MR. FORD: I believe that the American people have been turned off in this election, Mr. Maynard, for a variety of reasons. We have seen on Capitol Hill, in the Congress, a great many allegations of wrong-doing, of alleged immorality, those are very disturbing to the American people. They wonder how an elected representative can serve them and participate in such activities serving in the Congress of the United States. Yes, and I'm certain many, many Americans were turned off by the revelations of Watergate, a very, very bad period of time in American political history. Yes, and thousands, maybe millions of Americans were turned off because of the problems that came out of our involvement in Vietnam. But on the other hand, I found on July fourth of this year, a new spirit born in America. We were celebrating our Bicentennial; and I find that there is a - a movement as I travel around the country of greater interest in this campaign. Now, like any hardworking person seeking public office in the campaign, inevitably sometimes you will use rather graphic language and I'm guilty of that just like I think most others in the political arena. But I do make a pledge that in the next 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 we do together what we can to stimulate voter participation. MS. WALTERS: Thank you, President Ford. Mr. Nelson, your question to President Ford.
(14:41) MR. NELSON: Mr. President, you mentioned Watergate, and you became president because of Watergate, so don't you owe the American people a special obligation to explain in detail your role of limiting one of the original investigations of Watergate, that was the one by the House Banking Committee? And, I know you've answered questions on this before, but there are questions that still remain and I think people want to know what your role was. Will you name the persons you talked to in connection with that investigation, and since you say you have no recollection of talking to anyone from the White House, would you be willing to open for examination the White House tapes of conversations during that period? MR. FORD: Well, Mr. Nelson, I testified before two committees, House and Senate, on precisely the questions that you have asked. And the testimony under oath was to the effect that I did not talk to Mr. Nixon, to Mr. Haldeman, to Mr. Ehrlichman, or to any of the people at the White House. I said I had no recollection whatsoever of talking with any of the White House legislative 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 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 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.
(18:27) MR. KRAFT: Governor Carter, the next big crisis spot in the world may be Yugoslavia. President Tito is old and sick and there are divisions in his country. it's pretty certain that the Russians are 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 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 two weeks, I've had a chance to talk to two men who have visited 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 China. I got a- a complete report back from those countries from these two distinguished - gentlemen. Mr. Harriman talked to the leaders in Yugoslavia, and I think it's accurate to say that there is no prospect in their opinion, of the Soviet Union invading Yugoslavia should Mr. Tito pass away. The present leadership there is is fairly uniform in - in their purpose, and I think it's a close-knit group, and I think it would be unwise for us to say that we will go to war in Yugoslavia if the Soviets should invade, which I think would be an extremely unlikely thing. I have maintained from the very beginning of my campaign, and this was a standard answer that I made in response to the Yugoslavian question, that I would never go to war or become militarily involved, in the internal affairs of another country unless our own security was direc- rectly threatened. And I don't believe that our security would be directly threatened if the Soviet Union went into Yugoslavia. I don't believe it will happen. I certainly hope it won't. I would take eh - the strongest possible measures short of actual military action there by our own troops, but I doubt that that would be an eventuality. MR. KRAFT: One quick follow-up question. (GOVERNOR CARTER: Yes.) Did you clear the response you made with Secretary Schlesinger and Governor Harriman? MR. CARTER: No, I did not.
(21:03) MS. WALTERS: President Ford, your response. MR. FORD: I firmly believe, Mr. Kraft, that it's unwise for a president to signal in advance what options he might exercise if any uhh - international problem arose. I think we all recall with some sadness that at the period of the nin- late nineteen forties, early nineteen fifties, there were some indications that the United States would not include South Korea in an area of defense. There are some who allege, I can't prove it true or untrue, that such a statement in effect invited the North Koreans to invade South Korea. It's a fact they did. But no president of the United States, in my opinion, should signal in advance to a prospective enemy, what his uhh - decision might be or what option he might exercise. It's far better for a person sitting in the White House who has a number of options to make certain that the other side, so to speak, doesn't know precisely what you're going to do. And therefore, that was the reason that I would not identify any particular course of action when I responded to a question a week or so ago. MS. WALTERS: Thank you, Mr. Maynard, your question to President Ford, please.
(22:41) 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 the words that he used in that interview, in that particular case and in several others, were very ill advised. And General Brown has indicated his apology, his regrets, and I think that will, in this situation, settle the matter. It is tragic that the full transcript of that interview was not released and that there were excerpts, some of the excerpts, taken out of context. Not this one, however, that you bring up. General Brown has an 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 ill-advised words, but I think in the fact that he apologized, that he was reprimanded, does permit him to stay on and continue that kind of leadership that's we so badly need as we enter into negotiations 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, we need a man with that experience, that knowledge, that know-how, and I think, in light of the fact that he has apologized, would not have justified my asking for his resignation.
(25:28) MS. WALTERS: Thank you. Governor Carter, your response. MR. CARTER: Well, just briefly, I - I think this is the second time that General Brown has made a statement that - for which he did have to apologize. And I know that everybody makes mistakes. I think the first one was related to the unwarranted influence of American Jews on the media and in the Congress. This one concerned Great Britain. I think he said that Israel was a - a military burden on us and that Iran hoped to reestablish the Persian Empire. Ah - I'm not sure that I remembered earlier that President Ford had - had expressed his concern about the statement or apologized for it. This is something, though, that I think is indicative of the need among the American people to know how its commander-in-chief, the president, feels and - and - and I think the only criticism that I would have on - of Mr. Ford is that immediately when the statement was re - re - revealed, 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.
(26:37) MR. NELSON: Governor, despite the fact that you've been running for president a long time now, many Americans still seem to be uneasy about you. they don't feel that they know you or the people around you. And one problem seems to be that you haven't reached out to bring people of broad background or national experience into your campaign or your presidential plans. Most of the people around you on a day-to-day basis are the people you've kno- known in Georgia. Many of them are young and relatively inexperienced in national affairs. And doesn't this raise a serious question as to 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. I began campaigning twenty-two months ago. At that time, nobody thought I had a chance to win. very few people knew who I was. I came from a tiny town, as you know, Plains, and didn't hold public office, didn't have very much money. And my first organization was just four or five people plus my wife and my children, my three sons and their wives. And we won the nomination by going out into the streets - barbershops, beauty parlors, restaurants, stores, in factory shift lines also in farmers' markets and livestock sale barns - and we talked a lot and we listened a lot and we learned from the American people. And we built up an awareness among the 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 nominees, incumbents, three of them have become president. But I think this is indicative of what I would do.
(29:53) MS. WALTERS: President Ford, your response, please. MR. FORD: The Governor may not have heard my established criteria for the selection of a vice president, but it was a well-established criteria that the person I selected would be fully qualified to be president of the United States. And Senator Bob Dole is so qualified: 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 Senator Mondale, but I was very, very surprised when I read that Senator Mondale made a very derogatory, very personal comment about General Brown after the news story that broke about General Brown. If my recollection is correct he indicated that General Brown was not qualified to be a sewer commissioner. I don't think that's a proper way to describe 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. I think Senator Dole would show more good judgment and discretion than to so describe a heroic and brave and very outstanding leader of the military. So I think our selection of Bob Dole as vice president is based on merit. And if he should ever become the president of the United States, with his vast experience as member the House and a member of the Senate, as well as a vice president, I think he would do an outstanding job as president of the United States. MS. WALTERS: Mr. Kraft, your question to President Ford.
(31:56) MR. KRAFT: Mr. President, 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. one of the heartening things is that I and my colleagues have received literally hundreds and maybe even thousands of suggested questions from ordinary citizens all across the country who want answers. MR. FORD: That's a tribute to their interest in this election. MR. KRAFT: I'll give you that. Ahh - but, let me go on, because one main subject on the minds of all of them has been the environment. 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 of the Atlantic Ocean. 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, let me set the record straight. I vetoed the strip-mining bill, Mr. Kraft, because it was the overwhelming consensus of knowledgeable people that that strip-mining bill would have meant the loss of literally thousands of jobs, something around 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 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 - it was agreed by Leonard Woodcock, the head of the UAW, and by the heads of all of the automobile industry, we had labor and management together saying that those auto emission standards had to be 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. I have added in the current year budget the funds for the National Park Service. For example, we proposed about $12 million to add between four and five hundred more employees for the National Park Service. And a month or so ago I did likewise say over the next ten years we should expand - double - 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.
(35:40) MS. WALTERS: Governor Carter. MR. CARTER: Well, I might say that I think the League of Conservation Voters is absolutely right. This administration's record on environment is very bad. I think it's accurate to say that the strip-mining law which was passed twice by the Congress - 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 hard to believe, when at the time Mr. Ford vetoed it, the United Mine Workers was supporting the bill. And I don't think they would have supported the bill had they known that they would lose 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 cities and others to control water pollution. We have no energy policy. We, I think, are the only developed nation in the world that has no comprehensive energy policy, to permit us to plan in an orderly way how to shift from increasing the scarce energy forms: oil, and have research and development concentrated on the increased use of coal, which I strongly favor. The research and development to be used primary to make the coal burning be clean. We need a heritage trust program, similar to the one we had in Georgia, to set aside additional lands that have geological and archeological importance, uh natural areas for enjoyment. the lands that Mr. Ford brags about having approved are in Alaska and they are enormous in in size. But as far as the accessibility of them by the American people, it's very far in the future. We've taken no strong position in the control of pollution of our oceans, and I would say the worst threat to the environment of all is nuclear proliferation. And this administration, having been in office now for 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.
(37:55) MR. MAYNARD: Governor, federal policy in this country since World War II has tended to favor the development of suburbs at the great expense of central cities. Does not the federal government now have an affirmative obligation to revitalize the American city? We have heard little in this campaign suggesting that you have an urban reconstruction program. Could you please outline your urban intentions for us tonight? MR. CARTER: Yes, I'd be glad to. In the first place, as is the case with the environmental policy and the energy policy that I just described, and the policy for nonproliferation of 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 eighteen months or two years ahead of time what responsibility the city will have in administration and in financing - in things like housing, pollution control, crime control, education, welfare and health. This has not been done, unfortunately. I remember the headline in the Daily News that said, "Ford to New York: Drop Dead." I think it's very important that our cities know that they have a partner in the federal government. Quite often Congress has passed laws in the past designed to help people with the ownership of homes and with the control of crime and with adequate health care and education programs and so forth. 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 great -ly- greatly advantaged 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 for instance only 7 percent of the total education cost being financed by the federal government. When the Nixon-Ford Administration started, this was 10 percent. That's a 30 percent reduction in the portion that the federal government contributes to education in just eight years. And as you know, the education cost has gone up tremendously. The last point is that the major thrust has gotta be to put people back to work. We've got an extraordinarily high unemployment rate among downtown urban ghetto areas, particularly among the very poor and particularly among minority groups, sometimes 50 or 60 percent. And the concentration of employment opportunities in those areas would help greatly not only to reestablish the tax base, but also to help reduce the extraordinary welfare cost. One of the major responsibilities on the shoulders of 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.
(41:10) MS. WALTERS: President Ford. MR. FORD: Let me speak out very strongly. The Ford administration does have a very comprehensive program to help our major metropolitan areas. I fought for, and the Congress finally went along with a general revenue sharing program, whereby cities and states, the cities two-thirds and the states one-third, get over six billion dollars a year in cash through which they can provide many, many services, whatever they really want. In addition we in the federal government make available to cities about three billion three hundred million dollars in what we call community development. In adesh- in addition, as a result of my pressure an the Congress, we got a major mass transit program over a four-year period, eleven billion eight-hundred million dollars. We have a good housing program, that will result in cutting the down payments by 50 percent and having mortgage payments uh lower at the beginning of any mortgage period. We're expanding our homestead housing program. The net result is we think under Carla Hills, who's the chairman of my urban development and neighborhood revitalization program, we will really do a first-class job in helping the communities throughout the country. As a matter of fact, that committee under Secretary Hills released about a seventy-five-page report with specific recommendations so we can do a better job the weeks ahead. And in addition, the tax program of the Ford administration, which provides an incentive for industry to move into our major metropolitan areas, into the inner cities, will bring jobs where people are, and help to revitalize those cities as they can be. MS. WALTERS: Mr. Nelson, your question next to President Ford.
(43:22) MR. NELSON: Mr. President, your campaign has run ads in black newspapers saying that quote, "for black Americans, President Ford is quietly getting the job done." Yet, study after study has shown little progress in desegregation and in fact actual increases in segregated schools and housing in the Northeast. Now, civil rights groups have complained repeatedly that there's been lack of progress and commitment to an integrated society during your administration. So how are you getting the job done for blacks and other minorities and what programs do you have in mind for the next four years. MR. FORD: Let me say at the outset, 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 General James, and there was just approved a three-star admiral, the first in the history of the United States Navy, so we are giving full recognition to individuals of quality in the Ford administration in positions of great responsibility. In addition, the Department of Justice is fully enforcing, and enforcing effectively, the Voting Rights Act, the legislation that involves jobs, housing for minorities, not only blacks but all others. the Department of HUD is enforcing the new legislation that uhh - outlaws, that takes care of redlining. what we're doing is saying that there are opportunities, business opportunities, educational opportunities, responsibilities where people with talent, black or any other minority, can fully qualify. The Office of Minority Business in the Department of Commerce has made available more money in trying to help black businessmen or other minority businessmen than any other administration since the office was established. The Office of Small Business, under Mr. Kobelinski, has a very massive program trying to help the black community. The individual who wants to start a business or expand his business as a black businessman is able to borrow, either directly or with guaranteed loans. I believe on the record that this administration has been more responsive and we have carried out the law to the letter, and I'm proud of the record.
(46:11) MS. WALTERS: Governor Carter, your response, please. MR. CARTER: The description just made of this administration's record is hard to recognize. I think it's accurate to say that Mr. Ford voted against the Voting Rights Acts and the Civil Rights Acts in their debative stage I think once it was assured they were going to pass he finally voted for it. This country changed drastically in 1969 when the terms of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were over and Richard Nixon and - and Gerald Ford became the presidents. There was a time when there was hope for those who were poor and downtrodden and who were elderly or who were ill or who were in minority groups, 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 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 black people but it also liberated the whites. We've seen in many instances in recent years a minority affairs section of uh Small Loan Administration, Small Business Administration lend a black entrepreneur just enough money to get started, and then to go bankrupt. The bankruptcies have gone up in an extraordinary degree. FHA, which used to be a very responsible agency, 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 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 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.
(48:26) MR. KRAFT: Ah - Governor Carter, ah - in the nearly two-hundred-year history of the Constitution, there've been only I think it's twenty-five amendments, most of them on issues of the very broadest principle. now we have proposed amendments in many highly specialized causes, like gun control, school busing, balanced 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, 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. we've always had, I think, a lot of constitutional amendments proposed, but the passage of them has been fairly slow, and few and far between. In the two-hundred-year history there's been a very 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 prayer in the schools and an abortion. But among those you named, I won't actively work for the passage of any of them.
(50:18) MS. WALTERS: President Ford, your response, please. MR.FORD: support the Republican platform, which calls for the constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortions. I favor the particular constitutional amendment that would turn over to the states the individual right to the voters in those states 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 we ought to have a federal constitutional amendment that would permit each one of the fifty states to make the choice. I think this is a responsible and a proper way to proceed. Uhh - I believe also that there is some merit to a - an amendment that Senator Everett Dirksen proposed very frequently, an amendment that would change the court decision as far as voluntary prayer in public schools. it seems to me that there should have - be an opportunity, as long as it's voluntary, as long as there is no compulsion whatsoever, that an individual ought to have that right. So in those two cases I think such a constitutional amendment would be proper, and I really don't think in either case they'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.
(52:30) 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: Mr. Maynard, the record of gun control, whether it's one city or another or in some states, does not show that the registration of a gun, handgun, or the registration of the gun owner, has in any way whatsoever decreased the crime rate or the use of that gun in the committing of a crime. The record just doesn't prove that such legislation or action by a local city council is effective. What we have to do, and this is the crux of the matter, is to make it very, very difficult for a person who uses a gun in the commission of a crime to stay out of jail. If we make the use of a gun in the commission. of a crime a serious criminal offense, and that person is prosecuted, then, in my opinion, we are going after the person who uses the gun for the wrong reason. I don't believe in the registration of handguns or the registration of the handgun owner. That has not proven to be effective, and therefore, I think the better way is to go after the criminal, the individual who commits a crime in the possession of a gun and uses that gun for a part of his criminal activity. Those are the people who ought to be in jail. And the only way to do it is to pass strong legislation so that once apprehended, indicted, convicted, they'll be in jail and off the streets and not using guns in the commission of a 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 the individuals that with whom I've consulted have not convinced me that 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.
(56:47) MS. WALTERS: Governor Carter. MR. CARTER: I - I think it's accurate to say that Mr. Ford's position on gun control has changed. earlier, Mr. Levi, his attorney general, put forward a gun control proposal, which Mr. Ford later, I believe, espoused, that called for the prohibition against the uh sale aw- of the so-called Saturday Night Specials. And it would've put very strict control over who owned a handgun. I have been a hunter all my life and happen to own both shotguns, rifles, and a handgun. And the only purpose that I would see in registering handguns and not long guns of any kind would be to prohibit the ownership of those guns by those who've used them in the commission of a crime, or who have been proven to be mentally incompetent to own a gun. I believe that limited approach to the - to the question would be advisable, and - and I think, adequate. But that's as far as I would go with it.