Gerald R. Ford photo

Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Kansas City, Missouri.

September 12, 1975

IT IS delightful to be in this part of the country. We love it, and we are coming back next August, and we are looking forward to a very successful convention. We are just delighted to have the opportunity to be here in the Middle West.

REPORTER. Mr. President, can I ask you why you dropped the reference about holding America hostage in the last part of your speech in St. Louis?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't recall any--you mean in the comments to the White House Conference? I decided that I had followed the script sufficiently in various speeches, and I thought I would incorporate some shortened version, give the people more opportunity to ask questions. And so I just condensed it.

Q. Do you still feel that way, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. I feel that what I said was the thing I wanted to say, and I felt it was better that more people had an opportunity to ask questions than for me to make a speech.

It is really nice to see you all.

Note: The President spoke at 6:22 p.m. at Kansas City Municipal Airport. The advance text of the President's remarks to the White House Conference on Domestic and Economic Affairs held September 12 in St. Louis contained the following paragraphs:

"You cannot begin to gain a sense of what is on people's minds by sitting in the safety of the Oval Office and looking at opinion polls. Only by going around the country to meetings like this, by meeting people face to face and listening to what they have to say, can you really learn how people feel and what they think.

"Doing this is an important part of my job. I have no intention of abdicating that responsibility. I have no intention of allowing the Government of the people to be held hostage at the point of a gun."

Gerald R. Ford, Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Kansas City, Missouri. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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