Gerald R. Ford photo

Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Keene, New Hampshire.

February 19, 1976

HI, EVERYBODY. I just wanted to say a word or two. First, to say it is real nice to be back in Keene--I remember the wonderful welcome that was given to me last September when I came through here on the campaign.

But, substantively, let me say that it is extremely encouraging that the United States Senate, by a good margin, did sustain the veto of a bill that I think could not be justified--it was election year politicking, it was pork barrel of the worst kind.

The best way to solve our economic problems is the firm, commonsense, realistic approach that I have tried to carry out. And I appreciate very much the Members of the Senate, both Republican as well as Democrats, who stood up and turned down a bad piece of legislation so that we won't add to the deficit, so we will be able to have a good economic program that will reduce unemployment, which will increase employment, and do something affirmatively about the problems of inflation.

It is real nice to be here, and I look forward to spending a good day and half in New Hampshire.

REPORTER. Mr. President, this is your second trip here now. Just how important is New Hampshire to your cause in election terms?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think New Hampshire is a very important The eyes of the Nation are in this State. I think we will do well. I am that the two trips will be extremely helpful, hopefully, and I think encouragingly getting enough votes.

Q. If per chance you do lose, how badly do you--

THE PRESIDENT. I don't think it will be too harmful because there are 49 other States where either by primaries or by conventions there will be delegates selected. As I have said before, I am entering every primary---31 altogether. I think that is the best way for a candidate seeking the nomination of his party. I don't agree with those who pick and choose States where they think they can win and duck those where they think they might lose. I am willing to take my chances in every State.

Q. Mr. President, if you were to lose here, would you welcome the Vice President into the campaign as a candidate for your office?

THE PRESIDENT. The Vice President is out talking affirmatively for my programs. I don't see any reason whatsoever for the Vice President to seek this office. He has indicated that he is very happy being Vice President, supporting my programs, and he has been very supportive of me personally.

Q. If you were to lose three or four primaries, do you think that situation would continue to obtain?

THE PRESIDENT. I intend to be at the convention in Kansas City in August and I expect to win there.

Q. Did you read his speech today

THE PRESIDENT. I have read it and I talked to him personally.

Q. Did you regard that as a supportive opinion?

THE PRESIDENT. I think so, yes. In fact, he told me it was. And I saw him at

about 3:30 before I took the plane here.

Very nice to see you all.

REPORTER. Thank you.

Note: The exchange began at 5:10 p.m. at Dillant Hopkins Airport.

Gerald R. Ford, Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Keene, New Hampshire. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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