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Jimmy Carter State of the Union Highlights: 8 Quotes From Speeches

Image: Jimmy Carter State of the Union Highlights: 8 Quotes From Speeches
President Jimmy Carter presents his State of the Union Speech to Congress. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Sunday, 22 Mar 2015 09:39 AM

Jimmy Carter was a one-term president who faced severe economic difficulties at home and rising tensions abroad. These eight quotes from two State of the Union addresses focus on those issues.

During Carter’s address on January 19, 1978, economic problems had been fueled by inflation and America’s dependency on Middle Eastern oil. Later that year, Carter would preside over the Camp David Accords that led to the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty the next year.

1. “Government cannot eliminate poverty or provide a bountiful economy or reduce inflation or save our cities or cure illiteracy or provide energy. And government cannot mandate goodness. Only a true partnership between government and the people can ever hope to reach these goals.”

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2. “Almost five years after the oil embargo dramatized the problem for us all, we still do not have a national energy program. Not much longer can we tolerate this stalemate. It undermines our national interest both at home and abroad.”

3. “We've learned the hard way that high unemployment will not prevent or cure inflation. Government can help us by stimulating private investment and by maintaining a responsible economic policy. Through a new top-level review process, we will do a better job of reducing government regulation that drives up costs and drives up prices.”

4. “In the Middle East, we are contributing our good offices to maintain the momentum of the current negotiations and to keep open the lines of communication among the Middle Eastern leaders. The whole world has a great stake in the success of these efforts. This is a precious opportunity for a historic settlement of a longstanding conflict, an opportunity which may never come again in our lifetime.”

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By the time of Carter’s State of the Union address on January 23, 1980, Americans at the U.S. Embassy in Iran had been taken hostage and the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan, intensifying global concerns.

5. “At this time in Iran, 50 Americans are still held captive, innocent victims of terrorism and anarchy. Also at this moment, massive Soviet troops are attempting to subjugate the fiercely independent and deeply religious people of Afghanistan.”

6. “While this invasion continues, we and the other nations of the world cannot conduct business as usual with the Soviet Union. That's why the United States has imposed stiff economic penalties on the Soviet Union.”

7. “Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

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8. “I believe that our volunteer forces are adequate for current defense needs, and I hope that it will not become necessary to impose a draft. However, we must be prepared for that possibility. For this reason, I have determined that the Selective Service System must now be revitalized. I will send legislation and budget proposals to the Congress next month so that we can begin registration and then meet future mobilization needs rapidly if they arise.”

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Jimmy Carter was a one-term president who faced severe economic difficulties at home and rising tensions abroad. These eight quotes from two State of the Union addresses focus on those issues.
jimmy carter, state of the union, president
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2015-39-22
Sunday, 22 Mar 2015 09:39 AM
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