Gerald R. Ford photo

Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Fort Wayne, Indiana.

May 02, 1976

GOOD AFTERNOON. It's nice to be in Fort Wayne, back in Indiana again. Why don't you go ahead with your questions?

REPORTER. What happened in Texas, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I was naturally disappointed with the results in Texas. We expected to get a fair share of the delegates. We didn't. I think the main problem was a great many crossovers from people who ordinarily vote in the Democratic primaries and some apathy on the part of some Republicans.

We had real good leadership with Senator John Tower as my chairman. We had some wonderful volunteers. I think we had a good program. After all, we have taken this country out of the worst economic recession in the last 40 years, cut inflation 75 percent, increased jobs over 2,600,000. But we lost, and I don't think it will have any serious impact on our winning in Kansas City and winning in November.

Q. What does it do to the Indiana primary?

THE PRESIDENT. I've always thought Indiana was a very important primary, regardless of what happened in any one of the other 31 or 32 States.

Q. Mr. President, Ronald Reagan has made our military position something of a campaign issue. If I understand you correctly, though, you have at your fingertips the power to kill every living thing on the Earth. Why would we need to have any more military might than that?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I believe that our military forces are fully sufficient to carry out their assigned mission, which is to deter aggression, to protect our national security, and to maintain the peace. And the capability is in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and Marines, and it is unfortunate that my opponent takes just some of the figures, a part of them, and tends to distort the overall picture.

But when you look at the overall picture and get the reports from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, from the Secretary of Defense, I am convinced that our military forces are fully adequate to carry out the mission which, as I described, was to deter aggression, protect our national security, and maintain the peace.

Q. Mr. President, should you be elected to a second term and Secretary of State Kissinger decides not to return, who would you appoint as his successor?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I wouldn't want to speculate on that. In the first place, I know of no disposition on his part to leave the Cabinet.

Q. If Mr. Reagan seems to be gaining some growing support, do you plan to change any of your stances on the issues?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't see why I should. When you look at the overall record--and that is what I'm running on, I'm not running on campaign promises. I'm running on the accomplishments of what we have done in the last 21 months. As I indicated, we have taken this country out of the worst economic recession in 40 years. We are at peace. We have employment up to an all-time high. We've cut inflation 75 percent. That's a good record, and I think it is supported by a majority of the American people.

Q. Do you still think you will have the delegates you need when you get to Kansas City locked up before you go?

THE PRESIDENT. I think we will have enough delegates in Kansas City to win

Q. Before you get there?

THE PRESIDENT. We expect to win in Kansas City.

Thank you all very much.

Note: The exchange began at 7:02 p.m. at the Air National Guard Baer Field.

Gerald R. Ford, Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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