Gerald R. Ford photo

Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Manchester, New Hampshire.

February 07, 1976

WHILE WE are waiting for Susan and Mrs. Ford, I might make a comment or two. It is nice to be back in New Hampshire. I first came to New Hampshire, went to the University of New Hampshire campus in September of 1935, did a good bit of skiing up in New Hampshire in the late 1930's and 1940 or '41. I have been here a good many times with Jim Cleveland1 and others. It has always been a great experience.

1 Representative James C. Cleveland, chairman of the New Hampshire President Ford Committee.

In 1975 I had a great trip, going to Concord, Nashua, Keene, Exeter, Portsmouth, a number of other communities, and I am looking forward to this weekend, as Betty and Susan are.

We think it is a great opportunity for us to come up and get reacquainted and get acquainted with some new friends. We will discuss some of the issues; we will talk about the economy; we will talk affirmatively about our progress in maintaining peace. We think it is a great opportunity to see all of you and to have a chance to get better acquainted.

With that, I will be delighted to answer any questions from the local reporters.

REPORTER. Mr. President, what is your insight into former President Nixon's trip to China just 3 days before the primary? Do you think it will have an effect on your race here?

THE PRESIDENT. President Nixon is going to China as a private citizen at the invitation of the People's Republic of China. He, of course, took a historic step in 1972 in opening China, in an attempt to initiate a normalization of relations with a country that has some 800 million people.

Approximately 10,000 Americans have visited China in the last several years, and President Nixon is going there as a private citizen at the invitation of the government officials. I certainly am delighted that his health is such that he can go, and I asked him to extend my best wishes to Chairman Mao and the others.

Q. Mr. President, could you give a wave to the crowd?

THE PRESIDENT. Sure. They were very kind and hospitable, and it is delightful to be here. I wish it were possible for me to do a little skiing up here again, but they have got the schedule worked out so Susan, who is the expert in the family, is going up to Conway and do a little.

I am surprised that some of you haven't asked about my good Press Secretary Ron Nessen's comment. [Laughter]--

Q. Is he going to ski?

Q. They won't let him.

THE PRESIDENT. I have been thinking of taking him up to the headwall and throwing him over. But Susan well represents the family on the slopes tomorrow.

Q. Mr. President, how do you think you will do in New Hampshire 2 weeks from today?

THE PRESIDENT. I am optimistic, and Jim Cleveland is a pretty good judge of how people vote in New Hampshire. Jim just whispered in my ear, "Just great," so I will rely on a good authority like Jim.

Q. Is this the only trip so far planned, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. This is the only definite trip planned, yes, but it may be followed by another.

It is good to see you all. We will see you the rest of the day and look forward to some questions at the press conferences. And I hope you will be at the budget briefing, which will give us an opportunity to respond to the questions that I think are very legitimate--how the Federal Government can help provide services at the local level with Federal funds and give to the State and to the municipalities and to the counties and townships the necessary funds to provide services to the good citizens of your State. Thank you very, very much.

REPORTER. Thank you.

Note: The exchange began at 11:25 a.m. at Grenier Field.

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

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