EMBARGOED UNTIL: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 1979, 11:00 AM EST
PRESIDENTIAL ANNOUNCEMENT STATEMENT ***
HONORABLE HOWARD H. BAKER, JR.
I am a candidate for President of the United States.
greatness of America has always been written in the confidence of her people as
they summon the will to shape their future. Throughout our history, days of
trouble have turned to years of pride through a renaissance of the American
spirit. Once again America knows days of trouble. Once again we will recover in
pride. But only if we are honest enough to admit our peril.
has lost its margin for error. Our superiority in strategic arms used to give
I repeat: America has lost its margin for error. We can't afford to wait. We can't afford to guess. We can't afford to be wrong.
So both reality and instinct tell us that the time has come for our country to find it greatness again...quickly. That will take still another renaissance of the American spirit. And it will take a President who can unite our people -- a President who knows Washington well enough to change Washington -- a President who can chart a course -- and, above all, a President who can launch a new generation of confidence.
have been privileged to serve Tennessee and my Party in the Senate. It
has been a testing challenge to seek legislative consensus during trauma,
indecision and self-doubt. They have been trying and difficult years as America
has continually fallen short of its heritage.
only one office can make America true to its heritage again. And the choice we
make may be more important than any we have made before. Our margin for error is
gone; we cannot afford to be wrong. It is obvious that one of five men will be
our next President:
Surely we know that we cannot withstand still more Washington inexperience.
Surely we know that government by ideological reflex, left or right, will not
bring the unity we need.
Surely we know that a President cannot govern without trust and that trust never
comes from bluster.
-- Surely we know that we need a leader for tomorrow if the goal is a new generation of confidence.
So I offer myself for the job with humility, but as well with the personal certainty that I am ready.
needs a President who will face up to the realities of a Soviet foreign policy
that probes every weakness and fills every vacuum -– a President to insist on
defenses strong enough through the next generation to give us the confidence to
stand tall again. I am ready to be that President.
needs a President who can bring unity and action in this city and in this
Congress -- to curb useless regulation and spending, to assure energy
independence, to help our people cope with inflation, and to set in motion a
long-range and certain program of tax relief to cut inflation and assure a
generation of economic resurgence. I am ready to be that President.
Our people need a President articulate enough to chart the future, tough enough to take a stand, honest enough to be believed, compassionate enough to care, young enough to lead, and experienced enough to get others to follow. I am ready to be that President.
And the Republican Party needs a President who can win -- in the South and in the North -- on the farms and in the cities -- with the whites and with the blacks -- with the old and with the young -- and having won can nurture the national unity needed to govern with purpose and launch a new generation of confidence. I am ready to be that President.
the days and weeks ahead I will share the specifics of this agenda for
America’s recovery. But unlike others in the past, I will not deal in
promises. I do not ask you to trust me; I ask you to judge me.
Promises are cheap; America needs performance. Judge me. Judge my Senate service. Judge the campaign that starts today. Judge me now as you judged me on Watergate in this very room.
As you do so in the upcoming SALT treaty debate, take the time as well to judge President Carter who negotiated it and Senator Kennedy who supports it. They may be on the right political side. But they are short-sighted and they are wrong.
of this treaty with its acceptance of Soviet strategic superiority could
guarantee to the Soviet Union the margin for error that used to be ours. If we
ratify the treaty we will be saying to the Soviets: “We’re willing to accept
an unequal treaty. We just hope you will abide by it." If we defeat the
treaty we will be saying: We intend to be the masters of our own fate again. And
we have the confidence to negotiate a new SALT treaty that is safe for this
country under a new President who will be safe for this country."
I don’t honestly know whether I can beat both Jimmy Carter and Teddy Kennedy on this treaty this November. It is very close. But I guarantee you that I’ll beat either Jimmy Carter or Teddy Kennedy in the voting booth next November.
Watch me. Judge me. Then come with me. Let's reach for the future and make it ours.
Source: Baker Committee Press Release
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