Published on January 9, 2008
The Presidential Election of 1976: The Presidential Election of 1976 The Context Slide2: ISSUES OF THE DAY The Watergate Scandal The Economy The Watergate Scandal: The Watergate Scandal Slide4: In 1972, members of the Nixon administration broke into the Democratic National Convention headquarters located at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, DC to wiretap the office. During what was later found out to be their third break-in to the office, the men were caught red-handed when a security guard noticed a piece of tape keeping the door open. Slide5: A Senate committee was set up to investigate the scandal, and the tapes were subpoenaed. After the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Nixon, President Nixon gave up the tapes, which incriminated him and many other senior officials from the Republican Party. Four days after the release of the tapes, President Nixon became the first US president to resign. Ramifications: Ramifications The Watergate Scandal caused the American people to see the corruption that was taking place in their own government. They were particularly disillusioned with the Republican Party, which was visible from the results in the Senate and House elections that took place only three months later. The Senate gained five Democrats, while the House gained forty-nine. The Economy: The Economy Slide8: The 1976 election pitted the fiscally conservative Ford against the more liberal Carter. The candidates’ economic policies became increasingly important as the economy’s recovery from one of the worst post-WWII recessions slowed down. Ford backed a slow-growth policy to fight inflation, while Carter advocated stronger growth at the risk of inflation. Slide9: OVERVIEW The Watergate scandal and the state of the economy hurt the Republican party and gave Carter the advantage of being viewed as a newcomer and a reformer. 1976 Democratic Primary: 1976 Democratic Primary Carter, former GA governor, becomes immediate frontrunner after Iowa Caucuses Held off against late surge by ABC (Anyone but Carter) movement Convention Tally (Top Three only) Jimmy Carter 2278 Morris "Mo" Udall 329 Jerry Brown 300 Republican Primary: Republican Primary Gerald Ford Incumbent President Ronald Reagan California Governor Ascended to Presidency following Watergate Controversy Frustrated by Democratic Congress began in 1974 Politically damaged by pardoning of Nixon More Conservative Attacked Ford for failing to support South Vietnam more Began subtle political campaigning in the summer of 1975 and announced in the Fall Republican Primary (cont.): Republican Primary (cont.) New Hampshire Massachusetts Vermont Florida Oregon Ohio New York New Jersey Ford wins 15 States Republican Primary (cont.): Republican Primary (cont.) North Carolina Texas Alabama Georgia Nevada California Indiana Reagan wins 12 States Republican Primary: Convention: Republican Primary: Convention Regan and Ford arrive early to campaign for delegates Closest Primary EVER 1070 1187 The 1976 General Election: The 1976 General Election The General Election Campaign: The General Election Campaign Ford and the Republican Party took positions on important issues in the general election campaign that clearly differed from the positions of Carter and the Democrats. The Issues: The Issues The Economy and Jobs : The Economy and Jobs The Republican platform emphasized economic growth driven by private investment, reduction of government spending and cuts in taxes. For the Democrats, economic growth could be stimulated and inflation controlled by increasing the number of jobs. Its platform dedicated the Democratic candidates “to the right of all adult Americans willing, able and seeking work to have opportunities for useful jobs, at living wages.” For Carter, this promise eventually required a commitment to a large public service jobs program establishing government as an employer of last resort, and to wage and price controls, if necessary to combat inflation. The Democratic platform, describing “the present tax structure” as “welfare for the rich,” promised to make taxes more fair. Energy: Energy Ford argued for minimizing government intrusion in the energy industry, and advocated the expansion of nuclear power. Carter argued for strong regulation of the energy industry, and for minimizing dependence on nuclear power. Social Issues: Social Issues Carter staked out positions that were more moderate, but still distinct from Ford’s conservative positions. Carter favored voluntary busing for desegregation, and personally opposed abortion and federal funding of abortion. Ford favored constitutional amendments banning busing and permitted states to govern abortions. How the Candidates Were Seen: How the Candidates Were Seen JIMMY CARTER An honest outsider and reformer - attractive in the wake of the Watergate Scandal. PRESIDENT FORD President Ford, although personally unconnected with Watergate, was seen by many as too close to the discredited Richard Nixon administration, especially after Ford granted Nixon a presidential pardon. Ford made a dramatic surge in the polls in late September and early October, credited to Carter’s "blanket pardon" to Vietnam draft dodgers and Playboy magazine’s controversial interview with Carter. The presidential debates also greatly affected how American voters saw the candidates…. The Debates : The Debates First time in 16 years that presidential candidates engaged in general election debates and the first time in which an incumbent president participated. Also the first time the public observed a debate between vice-presidential candidates, Bob Dole (R) and Walter Mondale (D). Three Debates: The first debate was devoted to domestic policy, the second to international policy and the third was open to any topic. The debates broke from 1960 tradition by allowing the moderators to ask follow-up questions, and allowed candidate rebuttals and closing statements. Another first: The debates were broadcast from public places and before an audience instead of being conducted in television studios. The First Debate: The First Debate Topic of Debate: Domestic Policy Carter talked of "the bureaucratic mess" in Washington, and the "lack of leadership," and Ford's "insensitivity" toward the unemployed. Ford said Carter lacked details and specifics in the majority of his responses and accused him of playing "a little fast and loose with the facts." Ford talked about getting jobs by "expanding the private sector ... reducing federal taxes ... and holding the lid on federal spending." This first debate in Philadelphia was remembered for a 27-minute delay in which the sound on stage went dead. Neither candidate moved for fear he may be caught on camera in an unflattering pose. For almost 30 minutes the nation watched the two candidates standing mannequin-like at their podiums while the technical problems were fixed. Ford performed well The Second Debate : The Second Debate Topic of Debate: International Policy Ford was expected to do well, but Carter appeared more confident and challenged the President on his international policy leadership, saying he surrendered it to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. In what is referred to as “the blooper heard 'round the world,” Ford stumbled over a question about Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union after New York Times reporter Max Frankel asked him about Soviet domination of that area. The Second Debate (Continued)“The Blooper Heard ‘Round the World”http://youtube.com/watch?v=fCM2Lw4Yo_g: The Second Debate (Continued) “The Blooper Heard ‘Round the World” http://youtube.com/watch?v=fCM2Lw4Yo_g Ford (in response to Frankel’s initial question): "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration." Frankel responded: "I'm sorry ... did I understand you to say, sir, that the Soviets are not using Eastern Europe as their own sphere of influence in occupying most of the countries there?" Ford responded: "I don't believe ... that the Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Romanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. Each of these countries is independent, autonomous, it has its own territorial integrity, and the United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the Soviet Union.“ In response Carter said he'd like to see Ford "convince the Polish-Americans and the Czech-Americans and the Hungarian-Americans in this country that those countries don't live under the domination and supervision of the Soviet Union behind the Iron Curtain.“ CONSEQUENCES OF FORD’S STATEMENTS News reports about the debate were dominated by Ford's statement and its potential effect on the race. A post-debate Gallup poll on October 15 showed Carter six percentage points ahead of Ford, 48 percent to 42 percent. Third Debate : Third Debate The third debate was open to any topic. Ford and Carter discussed a wide array of issues in their third and final presidential debate. The questions covered the problems of the cities, minorities, gun control, the Supreme Court, and the issue of wholesale amendments to the Constitution. Significance of the Debates : Significance of the Debates Carter himself said later on: "If it hadn't been for the debates, I would have lost. They established me as competent on foreign and domestic affairs and gave the viewers reason to think that Jimmy Carter had something to offer." Election Results : Election Results Slide29: QUESTIONS?