Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Medford, Oregon.
IT'S really great to be in Oregon. I have been here a good many times. I have always enjoyed it. I think I have a lot of friends here.
I am out here to make a very direct approach to this campaign. The theme of my campaign is peace, growing prosperity, and the restoration of trust in the White House. The record is very clear. We have achieved the peace, we are maintaining it, and we are going to keep it through our military capability and our diplomatic skill.
We inherited a very bad economic situation. Inflation was 12 percent. We were on the brink of high unemployment, and in the last year we made substantial progress. We have reduced the rate of inflation to under 3 percent, a 75-percent reduction. We have added 3,300,000 jobs in the last year--700,000 more jobs in the last month.
We are well on the way to the kind of prosperity that America deserves, and we are going to get it in the next 4 years. In addition, I think the restoration of trust and confidence in the White House is obvious to everybody. We had a hard time at the beginning, but we have convinced the American people that we have an open, candid, forthright, open-door policy in the White House. And I think that's what the American people want.
REPORTER. Mr. President, will you support legislation that will allow clear-cutting in the national forests?
THE PRESIDENT. I strongly support the Humphrey bill, which provides for good management practices under the control and guidance of the Forest Service. I am vigorously opposed to the Randolph substitute, which I think would inhibit and in effect, prohibit the kind of good management practices which are necessary.
Q. Mr. President, on Monday the New York State delegation will meet. Is there some concern on your part of giving those uncommitted delegates to you before the Tuesday primaries?
THE PRESIDENT. I'm very optimistic that the New York delegation will be in the Ford column, but that's their decision. I have a good many friends in the New York delegation. I think they will be sympathetic, but I will let them make the decision.
Q. Have you urged them to meet earlier than normal? Wouldn't they normally not convene until closer to the convention?
THE PRESIDENT. Not at all. This is their decision. They, under the leadership of their State chairman, Dick Rosenbaum, decided that they wanted to take whatever action they take this weekend.
Q. President Ford, we have a nuclear safeguard initiative on the ballot here. Would you encourage Oregonians to vote for that?
THE PRESIDENT. I am a strong believer in safe and reliable nuclear power. The country today has about 55 nuclear plants operating. They have a very good safety record. Their reliability is good. We have to improve both, but if we don't use and expand nuclear power the United States will become more and more dependent on foreign oil cartels. We cannot afford to let foreigners establish the cost of energy in the United States. So, I believe in nuclear power. And I therefore hope there will be no restrictions or prohibition artificially and arbitrarily applied against nuclear developments.
Q. Mr. President, are you moving to the right on the racial issue with these busing remarks, and the nuclear reactors in South Africa?
THE PRESIDENT. Not at all. I have strongly opposed court-ordered forced busing to achieve racial balance. I have consistently all my life lived and believed and voted for the end of segregation. But I think the real answer that we are trying to get is quality education, and court-ordered, forced busing is not the best way to achieve quality education.
Therefore, what may transpire by the Attorney General--and he has not yet made his final decision--is an attempt to get a better remedy for quality education than the remedy that has been applied in several States.
In the case of South Africa, we are trying to end the radicalism which has developed in South Africa since the Soviet Union and Cuba took over Angola. The way to do that is to convince the independent States in South Africa that there should be no outside power controlling that part of that continent.
And at the same time, we have to believe, because it is historically the right thing in this country and what we have believed in--of majority rule with the absolute protection of minority rights-
Q. Do you mean majority rule in the Soviet Union as well as Rhodesia?
THE PRESIDENT. And in the case of South Africa itself, I have said at the proper time it will undoubtedly be appropriate for me to meet with the proper government officials in South Africa. In the case of Rhodesia, that is another matter.
REPORTER. Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very, very much, sir.
Note: The exchange began at 11:06 a.m. at the Jackson County-Medford County Airport.
Gerald R. Ford, Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Medford, Oregon. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/258497