1980 Presidential Election Remarks With Reporters on the Results of the Election.
Q. Is it true that you and Jody1 are getting in that Volkswagen headed for Iowa? [Laughter] Next week?
1 Jody Powell, Press Secretary to the President.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I thought you all would—
Q. Next week?
THE PRESIDENT. I thought you all would want something to do the rest of this week, so we thought we'd just go around and thank a few people that helped us so much.
Q. Well, maybe it's worth coming out. You can't get started too early.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I know you all have been through a hard time these last 36 or 48 hours campaigning. I slept late this morning, feel good.
What'd you say, Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International]?
Q. When did you first know that you were going to be defeated?
THE PRESIDENT. Monday night. Saturday evening we thought that we were well ahead in the polls, 2 or 3 points. Pat's2 polls have always been unbelievably accurate. Monday night Pat sent word to us that we had dropped precipitously and were down, I think, 6 or 7 percentage points, which is landslide proportions, as you know.
2Pat Caddell, the President's pollster.
Q. But the only thing that happened between Saturday night and Monday was the events in Iran and the news from Iran. So, would you say that that was the cause?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't know. I haven't seen the detailed analysis. I think Pat and the pollsters could probably tell you more about that.
Q. Mr. President, what are your longrange plans? Have you made any?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't know yet. I'm going to go up to Camp David and spend 2 or 3 days with Rosalynn, and I think we'll have a chance then to talk about what we want to do.
Q. How is she?
THE PRESIDENT. She's good. She's feeling well. I told her Monday night that we were going to lose and all the indications pointed to that. She's been campaigning even longer and harder than I have, as you know. And none of us looked on this as a pleasant experience, but she's remarkably calm and looking to the future.
Q. What are your thoughts more in the long term, Mr. President, about whether you'll write your memoirs and do that from Plains or Atlanta?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, that's my plans. We obviously have voluminous files; any President does. They'll eventually have to go into a proper library or repository somewhere. I'll have to have access to those. So, wherever I can keep those records and documents, that will really belong to the public eventually, is where I'll do most of the writing. But I think it's appropriate for a person who served in this office to make a report to the public, and in general that's been done through—
Q. How will history judge you?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't know yet. I've, you know, not had a chance to assess the conclusion of the administration. I've really been hoping that history could judge with a two successive term administration so that some of these things that we have worked on could be consummated. I think in general that the opening of access into Africa, the normalization of relations with China, the Mideast peace efforts, the maintaining of our Nation's peace, in international affairs it will look on us well. That remains to be seen.
Q. What confidence do you have, Mr. President, that the gains that you made under your Presidency, as you see them, will be retained by your successor?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, all of my comments are quite subjective in nature. From my perspective, in each instance when I've made the literally thousands of decisions, they've been shaped by, ultimately, my analysis of the confluence of events and circumstances and factors, and I've made judgments, I think, that led to a constructive ultimate resolution of the issues. And I think the same kind of events will mold the decisions of Governor Reagan and his advisers in the future. There are some unpredictable things about the international circumstances that we don't know.
I also will go ahead, of course, and do the best I can to continue the peace momentum in the Middle East. I'll certainly be meeting with Prime Minister Begin—
THE PRESIDENT.—in a week or so; I think the 13th of this month. And following that meeting I'll have a good analysis, probably, of the intention of his government, and I'm sure I'll be in contact directly or otherwise with President Sadat to see what his desires are.
It's important for the world to realize and for the American public to realize that I'll be the President for the next 2 1/2 months. Governor Reagan and I had a very clear discussion of this, as did President Ford and myself 4 years ago. We will keep him informed, but the full constitutional responsibilities and authority, obviously, will be mine. I don't want to put that burden on him.
We will work very closely with his transition team that they've put together. Jack Watson, by the way—I asked Jack a few minutes ago to head up my own transition effort, and he's quite willing to do it. He represented me before when I took over this office, so Jack's familiar with both the successive and—
Q. Well, as a lameduck, do you think that you could, I mean, really do anything in foreign affairs? Will you still meet with the Japanese?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, my intention is to do so. I think the foreign leaders will certainly want to understand the continuity of our system of government, and I think the continuity will be obvious to them all. My own inclination, although no final decision has been made, is that Secretary Muskie would go ahead with his plans for his Latin American tour, because I think those leaders need to know that we are working very harmoniously with my successors in office and Ed Muskie's successors. We have current challenges on a daily basis in our relationship with a hundred and fifty other countries, and we'll deal with those—
Q. How about the hostages?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I had a long meeting this morning with Christopher and Muskie, Brzezinski on the hostage issue. We'll continue to deal with it using the principles that I've outlined to you before, which we will certainly honor, to protect the hostages, their lives and safety, to work for their earliest possible release, but not to do anything that would violate the honor and integrity of our country. Any action that we take will have to be compatible with American law, the American Constitution.
Q. Mr. President, where do you feel your failures lie? Do you think there was a failure in too much loyalty to too few individuals?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't think that's a factor at all. I think in the, you know, post-Watergate era the press and the public are legitimately interested in personal fallibilities.
The allegations that I cheated by borrowing money from Bert Lance's bank and, in effect, channeling money through my warehouse into my campaign fund in 1976 received headline treatment for weeks. I had to spend tens of thousands of dollars of my own personal money just for C.P.A.'s and lawyer fees. Obviously, all of those allegations were false, and they were finally announced to be completely false. But that series of charges, headlines, news stories about my cheating as a candidate in 1976 obviously made a small impression on the American consciousness.
The same allegations that Hamilton Jordan did something that was illegal in the use of drugs was ultimately shown to be made by three convicted felons who lied, but, you know, the impression still exists. Rosalynn saw one of the Moral Majority preachers this morning saying that Hamilton Jordan's use of drugs is something that the American electorate answered last night by putting a true Christian in the Oval Office.
But those kinds of things, you know, have come up, and they are inevitable. And they're part of the American consciousness, and I'm sure they made an impression on some people. But I think that in general my administration has been open. I think my loyalty has not been misplaced at all. And I think the ultimate analysis of these charges and countercharges will show that there have been some human fallibilities, but they are inevitable, and there's been certainly no, there's no instance where anybody in my administration has benefited at the expense of our Nation, financially or otherwise.
Q. Mr. President, last night Bob Strauss told me that the Ayatollah had accomplished his goal and he was tired of that point. Would you reflect on that?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, it's hard to say. I think Khomeini's professed public animosity against the Shah and against me the last 12 months has been obvious, and that included his statements this weekend. But I don't have any way to know what the Ayatollah's goals were.
I doubt if any successor of mine, including Governor Reagan, would materially change the posture that we are maintaining, and I doubt that anybody in my position the last 12 months would have done substantially different from what I did. I don't know anything that could have been done better or differently.
But obviously the hostage issue, coming as it did with the anniversary publicity and so forth, was a factor. But I can't say it was more important than the high interest rates or other factors that would influence the American people.
Q. You don't think Khomeini aimed at the election time to target—
THE PRESIDENT. No. I think that we have a tendency over here to greatly exaggerate the importance of the American election in the minds of the Iranian people. Their Government is still in its embryonic stage. They're struggling for political power and authority. Their country is endangered with an armed invasion. Their life's blood economically, with oil and the Abadan refinery, have been lost. They are still isolated among the community of nations. And for us to exalt, you know, the outcome of an election here, when the facts are that policies won't be basically changed toward Iran and the hostages, into something important for the Iranians I think is just a mistake.
Q. Apparently a lot of people voted a protest against changes that have occurred—
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
Q.—changes in our economy and the world economy, the change in the scarcity of resources, in our own lifestyles that perhaps have diminished because of that, and America's inability to continue to rule the world from the standpoint of military power.
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
Q. Do you believe that under Governor Reagan that somehow a change in policies can reverse or somehow return this country to the point where people may have been voting to returning to?
THE PRESIDENT. That's hard to say. I don't want to predict what might happen in the future. I'm sure that Governor Reagan will do the best he can to carry out his campaign commitments, which are deeply felt by him, I'm sure, and to restore as much as possible our Nation's preeminence in some areas where we have not been able to exert our will to dominate others. But the inexorable historical movements are that we don't have control over some things that we formerly did.
We have become very dependent, for instance, on foreign oil supplies, and I've done the best I could, one of our notable domestic successes, in changing our basic policy toward energy, establishing one, finally, that would result in a decreased dependence on that oil. Whether anybody could do more in the future, I can't say. I hope that now that those policies are established in law that the benefits of them will accrue to our country under Governor Reagan. This is one element that has shown that we are somewhat dependent upon decisions made overseas.
I think one of the major elements in the outcome of the election was the doubling of oil prices last year. It was unanticipated, and this wreaked havoc with the international economy. Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain have had zero increase in employment in their nations. We've had a substantial increase, 10 percent, in total employment in our country during the same period of time. The inflation rate has doubled in Germany, doubled in Japan. And inflationary pressures in Great Britain, interest rates, are much higher; in Israel, 200-percent inflation rate. Some of the economies of other nations have almost been destroyed, some of the Latin American countries, Caribbean countries, independent countries.
So, I think we've assimilated these economic shocks as well as any country on Earth. The one thing that has hurt has been the inflation rate, because we started out at such an extremely low base of price, for instance, for gasoline, whereas the other countries were approaching $2 a gallon for gasoline before these prices were doubled. Ours were very low, and we had to go up. So, on a percentage basis ours went up much higher.
So, I'd say that kind of outside event—the capturing of our hostages, the increase of OPEC oil prices—is the kind of inevitable occurrence that we experienced that no one could have prevented. Whether we change the events in the future, I don't know.
But the opening up of China to normal relations is something that I don't think any President would want to endanger. I'm not trying to speak for Governor Reagan. The fact is that we've doubled our trade with Taiwan at the same time. And I think we've got a stable relationship there with the Shanghai Communiqué decision by Nixon and the normalization by me. We have a good relationship with our NATO Allies.
The budget restraints are going to be equally severe on Governor Reagan as they would have been on me. The conflicting demands by interest groups have to be met, with always disappointment by some because they have to share the restraints with others.
I would hope that we could have embedded in the consciousness of our people, through the media and otherwise, some of the benefits that we've derived, with energy, the new policy in Africa, new policy in Latin America, new policy with China, the progress towards peace in the Middle East, strengthening of NATO. I think that those things are helpful.
The big unmet decision is: What about strategic arms limitation? And I will do everything I can to contribute to that control. If Governor Reagan's professed desire to withdraw the SALT II treaty from consideration, to start with a fresh approach proves to be acceptable to the Soviets, then Governor Reagan can expect my full support of whatever effort he makes.
Q. There's a Republican Senate now.
THE PRESIDENT. I understand.
Q. Mr. President, going back to this whole question of the political climate, we have this extraordinary scrutiny of public officials and Presidents, you have an independent Congress, you have this post-Watergate syndrome, as we call it, and you have the fact that public officials have to campaign for years and years to get to an office, such as you. What's the future of the Presidency, as you see it? Are we in for a series of one-term Presidents? Can you just talk about the office a little bit?
THE PRESIDENT. I notice that there are a lot of political leaders out of work, and I'm going to be competing with a lot of folks for a job. [Laughter]
Well, I think you know the attrition in the Presidency since Eisenhower, and there were different circumstances. But the fact is that it's very difficult for someone to serve in this office and meet the difficult issues in a proper and courageous way and still maintain a combination of interest group approval that will provide a clear majority in an election time. I don't say that in derogation of the process.
And I know there's been some analysis that I haven't been a good enough politician, but, you know, I hope that history will show that I have never flinched in dealing with issues that some of my predecessors have postponed.
The Panama Canal treaty was, in my judgment, a necessary step. It probably encompassed the most courageous votes ever cast in the United States Senate. The outcome of it was favorable to our country, but the political aftermath was obviously a very strong negative reaction, particularly among those who were opposed to the treaty. They became fervent in their desire to defeat all those who had supported the Panama Canal treaty.
Among some groups the appointment of minorities to judgeships, you know, didn't go over well, because it was a highly publicized effort. Women's rights is clouded by all kinds of, I think, distorted analyses of what the equal rights amendment means. My judgment is that the pursuit of those two goals, basically encompassing civil rights, ought to be continued. But that arouses another negative element, who are very highly financed, very highly motivated, to determine the outcome of public elections for the Presidency and otherwise.
I hope that one of the things to come out of the election is a realization of the difficult decisions made here, the need for maybe a closer cooperation and coordination between the President and the congressional leadership. And the fact that constituency groups, when they're disappointed because they don't get 100 percent of what they realize, needs to be balanced with basic support and approval for the 90 percent they get. You know, that's obviously a factor in an election year.
I think there was some down side to the Mideast agreement. It's necessary for a President, in negotiating between Arabs and Israelis, to be balanced in one's approach. It would have been easy for me to demagog this issue, referring to Israel's territorial future and the status of Jerusalem. You know, there are dozens of facets of that that I could have used for political advantage, but it would have, I think, short-circuited any future involvement of Sadat and other Arab leaders in reaching the comprehensive peace that I hope is still to come.
So, I think that the Presidency itself is still strong and intact. I've read a lot of history since I've been in this office. And my relation with the press, my relationship with the public at this moment is, I think, good compared to what Truman's was when he was in the heat of the political battles, in dealing with the labor unions, with railroad strikes, with other elements that were so difficult to handle.
So, I don't have any concern about the status of the Presidency. If we have failed, I think it's in not getting across to the public the significance of these key issues that we have addressed. I've just mentioned two or three of them to you for illustrative purposes.
The refugee question has hurt us badly. It wasn't just in Florida, but it was throughout the country. It was a burning issue. It made us look impotent when we received these refugees from Cuba. I think in retrospect we handled the situation properly. We took them in. We tried to restrict the flow and enforce the American law. We finally got through Congress some financial recompense for the communities that had to bear the financial burden. But, you know, looking back on this last 6 months, I don't see anything we could have done differently or better, but there was a political cost to how we handled it.
I'm not saying all these things in a tone of regret or excuse; I'm just trying to answer your question about some of the factors that go into an electorate's decision. And I think this last few hours before the election took place, the dominating news story of the hostages not coming home immediately, the mobs in the street, Khomeini's statement, just kind of reconfirmed America's concern about our lost dominance of world affairs and our preeminence in economic affairs.
You know, face the facts. I don't think there's any indication in the polls that there was a personal turning against me, although you can ask Pat about that. I haven't talked to Pat, but Jody says that the number of people that thought I handled the hostage question right went up; the number of people who thought I used it for political manipulation went down. There was not an aversion to me. It was just a frustration that there are some unresolved challenges and problems. And the natural tendency is to vote against incumbents in the U.S. Senate, the Congress, and, I guess, Governors as well.
Q. What do you think happened to the Senate?
THE PRESIDENT. I think the same thing that I've discussed with you applied nationwide. I still haven't seen any sort of breakdown regionally. But there was a kind of across-the-board, literally, a 10-percent drop in political approval from Saturday until Monday night, and I think it was just a kind of a floodgate opening of people.
Q. Mr. President, do you anticipate after you leave office that you'll continue to speak out on public affairs, be very visible in the public eye, or will you rather become a historian and a scholar and look to your memoirs as your major activity?
THE PRESIDENT. I don't know yet. You know, I really haven't thought through that. I haven't even talked to Jody or Rosalynn or any of my other advisers. I would guess, though, that those matters that are very important to me, for which I've worked for 4 years, that I would defend them in a proper way.
I hope that I can keep my commitment to be very constructive in my relationship with Governor Reagan when he's in office. I don't think I'll comment on the relationship that I've had with my predecessors, but I would like to have a good, positive relationship with Governor Reagan. I know vividly how much support could be forthcoming from an ex-President who understands these issues.
And although I might disagree with him on approach on some things, the SALT issue as an example, if he makes a positive move to control nuclear weapons using his tactics, I'm not going to condemn him for it. I'll be in there helping him anyway he asks me to, to bring about the consummation of the same goals that I'm sure he wants, that is, to control nuclear weapons. And the fact that we have to abandon my approach and adopt his, that's a prerogative he'll make. I'll support it. I want to be very constructive.
Q. When Lyndon Johnson went out of office, the stories say that he felt the greatest sense of relief despite the loss. Will you be feeling any relief? Do you feel like a great load has been lifted off your shoulders?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I've still got the full load for the next 2 1/2 months. [Laughter]
Q. I understand that. But is there any statement that you're looking forward?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, in a way. You all can see it first hand—the constancy of the responsibility on a President. There's no way to escape, day or night. Somewhere in the world, something's going on about which you have to be concerned; And the way our Government is structured, a Cabinet officer can't act, you know, without direct authority from a President on matters of a crucial nature. I have not found it to be onerous. It's been a very gratifying experience for me. I've looked forward to each day with anticipation. I've never approached even the most serious crisis with a sense of dread.
But obviously, for someone else to be dealing with the routine duties will be a relief. And I'd like to contemplate about history and perspective and where our Nation goes from now. Still, as I said last night in my closing sentence—it wasn't in the text that I had ahead of time—I love this country and its people, and the outcome of the election hasn't affected that feeling at all.
Q. Mr. President, Governor Reagan will be the sixth President in 21 years, the second one to come into this office without any Washington experience.
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
Q. What do you think about that, the Washington experience, knowing people and the system? I mean, is there anything you would have done differently? Is there any advice you would give him? He's in the same situation.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, it's hard to say. I think Governor Reagan will have the same things to learn that I had to learn.
Most people have excessively limited their analysis of my advisers to those that came here with me from Georgia. And I think if you look at the Cabinet makeup, both the original Cabinet and the present Cabinet, you'll see the breadth of their experience, geographically and their background, their knowledge of Washington, their knowledge of international affairs. It's very broad and very impressive. So, I have not felt limited in understanding the international or the national scene excessively.
Obviously, I have grown in the job. I understand much better now who in the Congress is dependable, who is effective, who works hard, who can be constructive, what their personal district needs are. Those are the kind of things that I have learned in the process.
Also, I spent the first couple of years in this office as a student. You know, it's my nature to learn things, and I studied in the most meticulous detail the makeup of the budget, the role of the hundreds and hundreds of little tiny Government entities and agencies in a relationship. I didn't know those things well before I came here. I've also studied history. I've also studied the makeup of, roughly, the hundred and fifty nations, their relationship with one another, the characteristics of the leaders of the nations that are important to us. Those are the kinds of facts that I, myself, have felt I needed personally.
And I've governed this country as a strong President. I think any of my Cabinet officers would tell you that the ultimate decisions have been mine.
I don't know what Governor Reagan's philosophy will be. He may want to do the same thing, or he might want to devolve a much greater authority to his Secretary of State or to his Secretary of the Treasury or to his budget officers. I don't really know how he will address the office. I think each President is different.
Q. You say you've governed this country as a strong President.
THE PRESIDENT. I hope so.
Q. The perception seems to have been you were a weak President. Why do you believe there was a failure in the country to perceive you as you perceive yourself?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, Sam [Sam Donaldson, ABC News], what I meant was that I have never avoided the ultimate responsibility of making the difficult decision. I think that Secretary Vance or Muskie or Christopher or Brzezinski or Bill Miller or even the ones who've gone, Califano, Blumenthal, would tell you that when the final judgment came, I made it, and I tried to acquaint myself with all the factors. And that's what I meant by governing as a strong leader. I didn't try to put the responsibilities off on anyone else. When a mistake was made, I tried to take the blame.
On the image part, anyone who sits in this office would have to refer, without being repetitious, to the question that was asked earlier. There are international events—refugees, oil prices, the capturing of an Embassy in Iran—over which a President has no direct control, and the fact that we don't have control and our Nation is not able to dominate world affairs to suit our own inclinations reflects adversely on the image of a President.
On those issues that I could decide—should we go ahead with the Panama Canal treaty or not, should we normalize relationships with China or not, should we deal with the Mideast peace treaty in a highly speculative way by going to Camp David and then later going to Jerusalem and Cairo or not—I don't think I've failed, in those respects when the issues were in my hands, to act with a proper degree of boldness. And I've done it after very careful consultations. I'm not trying to brag on being bold or courageous and so forth. I'm trying to keep an analytical judgment of how I see myself. History will—[inaudible].
Q. Mr. President, since the ship is so small and the sea is so large, do you feel that the Presidency should be a 6-year term?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, if I could just in a stroke of the pen change the Constitution, I would personally prefer a single 6-year term. I think the adverse consequences of a potential lameduck Presidency toward the end is relatively minor compared to the removal of the, quote, stigma or insinuation that everything is done for political reasons. I hadn't been in this office a year before almost every decision I made was tainted with the allegation, at least by some, that an element of sincerity or objectivity was missing and was replaced by a grasping for political advantage. There are some other factors. But I think that between those two, the single 6-year term, I think, would add to the stature of the Presidency.
And you have always faced the possibility of the lameduck. The lameduck thing comes and goes, unfortunately, with public opinion polls. When a President is strong in the public opinion polls, like immediately after Camp David, I found that I had a much easier success in getting my will implemented in Congress. When it looked like I was faltering and Kennedy might sweep me out of office, you know, after he announced as a candidate last October or November, I found that I had more difficulty in the Congress. But I think in balance you'll find, when the analyses are finally concluded, that our success in the Congress has been very good.
Q. Mr. President, can we talk about the Democratic Party for a moment. How bad shape is it in, what needs to be done to restore it, and what role would you play in—
THE PRESIDENT. I don't know yet. That's one question I really haven't thought about it.
Q. Mr. President, how big a factor was Senator Kennedy's furious assault on you during the primary and the somewhat lukewarm endorsement he gave you at the convention and afterward? How big a factor was that?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, let me say that afterward has been very good, superb. I talked to Senator Kennedy last night, and he expressed his great admiration for the campaign we've run, for the announcement last night congratulating Governor Reagan. When I couldn't go out to campaign Sunday because of the hostage issue, he graciously cancelled his afternoon's activities and went out to represent me. I think that it's been very helpful.
I have no criticism of Senator Kennedy's running for the nomination, because among him and his advisers, I think it was obvious a year ago that he would capture the nomination. I would guess that every one of you thought that. Go back and look at the writings of the political columnists. It was a generally accepted fact.
There's no doubt that the very heated campaign in the spring months crippled me politically with some constituency groups, and we had to spend a lot of time reestablishing my credentials among the minority citizens, women, the poor, the elderly, and others that are very dear to me and very important to me. I think after the convention Senator Kennedy did his part to try to repair that damage, but the damage was obviously there.
Q. Did you recover from it?
THE PRESIDENT. Not completely.
Q. Does it hurt that the South rejected you?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't look on it as a rejection. I would rather have carried the South and the rest of the Nation, but I have nothing but fond feelings toward the South.
Q. Mr. President, do you think that Governor Reagan is as much a threat to world peace and a lot of other things that your campaign rhetoric indicated?
THE PRESIDENT. I have a firm belief that Governor Reagan will do his utmost to maintain the peace.
Q. Mr. President, is there any possibility that you would consider running again?
THE PRESIDENT. That's a question that I hadn't even dreamed about.
Q. When will you meet with Reagan?
THE PRESIDENT. Will I meet with Reagan?
THE PRESIDENT. Whenever's convenient for him. I think the first time I met with President Ford was, the first time I ever came in this office was the 3d of December. But I'm going to be kind of busy for the next couple of weeks. I'm sure Governor Reagan's going to want to get some rest. It's been strenuous for him, too.
We'll let our transition teams be working with each other. I asked Governor Reagan last night if there was ever any semblance of incompatibility between our transition groups for him to call me immediately, and personally that I would resolve it; I was determined to have this be the best transition that's ever taken place in history. I'll go a second mile to accommodate him and to provide him with an administration that would be best for our country.
And I'll have the full responsibility and authority of the Presidency until the day he takes the oath of office. He understands that, and he agrees. We'll give him absolute access to all security briefings. I've already met this morning with Admiral Turner and instructed him accordingly, and we'll be providing Ed Meese, who I understand will represent him, with every possible assistance. I've got to go.
Q. Mr. President, on the previous question did you mean to leave open the possibility that you might run for national office again?
THE PRESIDENT. I really haven't thought about that and don't want to comment on it.
Q. Any advice for Reagan? Ford had advice for you. He said meet with Giscard and Schmidt as fast as you can. Do you have any advice for him?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I haven't thought about that.
MR. WISE. 3 Let's go to Camp David, Mr. President.
Q. Do it in Guadeloupe.
3Phillip J. Wise, Jr., Appointments Secretary to the President.
Q. Have you had any contact, any word from any foreign leader, calls?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, some have come in expressing their friendship.
THE PRESIDENT. I haven't seen an inventory on that. I just got a small—[inaudible]. I'll probably get them tomorrow.
Q. Are you going to go on vacation after Camp David?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I don't think so. I'm going to stay at Camp David off and on probably for about a week, but I imagine I'll come down here several times just to meet with some of my advisers.
What we're doing now is to make a kind of an inventory, an agenda of the responsibilities that we have to pursue this next 2 1/2 months. I met with Ed Muskie and Christopher and Brzezinski this morning. They'll be doing that for me in international affairs. But we're keeping current at the same time. And I've instructed Jack Watson and Stu Eizenstat to do the same thing on domestic issues.
We have the congressional session to approach. We've pretty well got the agenda there. We'll establish priorities for the pursuit of those congressional decisions. But I feel at ease.
Q. You won't resubmit SALT, then, or anything like that?
THE PRESIDENT. No, I think that would probably not be well advised. It's not a matter of resubmission. SALT is still on the congressional calendar. It never has been withdrawn, as you know.
But I feel very much at ease and look forward to getting a few days rest. And I want to go out of this office in 2 1/2 months and make this, hopefully, the best 2 1/2 months of the whole administration. Thank you.
Q. You'll stay a week at Camp David?
THE PRESIDENT. Rosalynn will stay a week. I'll be back before.
Q. Good luck.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you all.
Q. Good luck, sir.
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I've enjoyed being with you this morning and the last 4 years.
Note: The exchange began at 11:30 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.
Jimmy Carter, 1980 Presidential Election Remarks With Reporters on the Results of the Election. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/252237