Gerald R. Ford photo

Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Green Bay, Wisconsin

April 03, 1976

Good afternoon, everybody. It is nice to be in Green Bay and Brown County, and it is great to have an opportunity to respond to any of the local press questions. Do any of you have any questions you would like to ask?

REPORTER. Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and really wonder if you are President?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I remember very vividly that I took the oath of office and ever since that, in August of 1974, I have been so busy I haven't thought of anything except trying to solve the problems that we have had.

Q. Do you feel we will get a good fuels bill eventually?

THE PRESIDENT. I think eventually the Congress will get around to passing a good energy bill. They took a year to pass one that was marginally good. But there are some things they could do this year that would make our Project Independence more meaningful. We certainly are going to keep the pressure on, because we can't continue to be so dependent on foreign oil.

Q. President Ford, this is a an agricultural State. If you are reelected, is there any change anticipated with the Secretary of Agriculture?

THE PRESIDENT. I think Earl Butz is one of the finest Secretaries of Agriculture we have ever had. He has gotten our farm economy turned around and on the right track. We are now producing about $22 billion a year in farm exports. We have had the highest 3 years of net farm income. We have farm programs that are designed for production and not for storage. So, I think, in my opinion at least, Earl Butz is the best Secretary of Agriculture we have had, and we are lucky to have him.

Q. What do you think will be the results of the Wisconsin primary, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. It is going to be a tough battle, a close contest. I have been up here trying to meet face to face the people from the State of Wisconsin. I think that is an important way to communicate--I think it is the best way to communicate. I think if you can talk to people or if you can look them straight in the eye, that is the way to convince them that they ought to support you. And it will be a tough battle, but I think we will come out ahead, although it will be very close. I will be satisfied with 50 percent, plus 1 vote.

Q. The differences between Ronald Reagan and yourself, are they going to hurt the Republican Party?

THE PRESIDENT. I would hope not, but certainly some of the comments concerning the United States I don't happen to think are necessarily good at all. It is my feeling that the United States is number one. We are unsurpassed in military capability, we have the greatest industrial capacity in the history of mankind, our agriculture is by far the most productive in the history of the world, we are ahead by any standards in science and technology and, besides that, we have the greatest moral, spiritual, and religious strength.

So, when you put it all together, the United States is number one, and anyone who says it isn't, I think is harmful, is hurtful to our overall efforts.

Thank you very, very much.

Note: The exchange began at 1:10 p.m. at Austin Straubel Air Field.

Gerald R. Ford, Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Green Bay, Wisconsin Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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