8. Gerald Ford - January 15, 1975
Republican President Gerald Ford launched into his 1975 address, his first since ascending to the presidency in the August of 1974 after Richard Nixon's resignation, with these famous words, “I must say to you that the state of the Union is not good.” He then offered these familiar examples: “Millions of Americans are out of work. Recession and inflation are eroding the money of millions more. Prices are too high, and sales are too slow. This year's federal deficit will be about $30 billion; next year's probably $45 billion. The national debt will rise to over $500 billion. Our plant capacity and productivity are not increasing fast enough. We depend on others for essential energy. Some people question their government's ability to make hard decisions and stick with them; they expect Washington politics as usual.”
But Ford immediately offered some data to give members in the chamber reason for hope and optimism. He promoted the Voting Rights Act and offered specific tax cut measures, and then he tackled the budget, noting that he was against any new spending – other than on energy programs. He vacillated between energy and fiscal matters as his address went on and later spoke generally about the military and foreign relations.