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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
MS. WALTERS: Mr. Nelson to Governor Carter.
MR. NELSON: Governor, you've said the Supreme Court of today is, as you put it, moving back in a proper direction 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 streamlined the structure of the court, put in administrative officers, put a unified court system in, required that all 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 has been confirmed by the Burger Court, hasn't been 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 s- struck down the unwarranted influence in the legislature of parsley populated areas of - of the states. The right of indigent or very poor accused persons to legal counsel. 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 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 some of the more liberal members of the so-called Warren Court agreed with those decisions. But the only thing I 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 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 search and analysis procedure had been completed, and once I'm given a list of the five or seven or ten best qualified persons in the country, I would make a selection from among those persons. If the list was, 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 to continue the progress that has been made under the last two courts - the Warren Court and the Burger Court. I would also like to 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 emphasis, I think, of the - of the court system should be to interpret the the Constitution and the laws equally between property protection and personal protection. But when there's 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 that would be another factor that I would follow.
MS. WALTERS: President Ford.
MR. FORD: Well, I think the answer as to the kind of person that I would select is obvious. I had one opportunity to nominate an individual to the Supreme Court and I selected the Circuit Court of Appeals judge from Illinois, John Paul Stevens. I selected him because of his outstanding record as a Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, and I was very pleased that an overwhelming Democratic United States Senate, after going into his background, came to the conclusion that he was fit and should serve, and the vote in his behalf was overwhelming. So, I would say somebody in the format of Justice Stevens would be the kind of an individual that I would select in the future, as I did him in the past. I believe, however, a comment ought to be made about the direction of the Burger Court, vis-a-vis the court that preceded it. It seems to me that the Miranda case was a case that really made it very, very difficult for the police, the law enforcement people in this country to do what they could to make certain that the victim of a crime was protected and that those that commit crimes were properly handled and sent to jail. The Miranda case, the Burger Court is gradually changing, and I'm pleased to see that there are some steps being made by the Burger Court to modify the so-called Miranda decision. I might make a correction of what Governor Carter said, uh speaking of gun control, yes, it is true, I believe that the sale of Saturday Night S- Specials should be cut out, but he wants the registration of handguns.
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