Gerald R. Ford photo

Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at San Diego, California.

May 24, 1976

GOOD AFTERNOON. It is great to be in San Diego. We've had an excellent trip--Oregon, California, Nevada--and now we are here in San Diego. We're trying to do the same here that we have done elsewhere on this trip--lay out what the Ford administration believes in, what we've actually accomplished, which can be summarized: peace, which we have achieved--we have, and we intend to maintain; prosperity, which we didn't have a year ago but we're well on the way to a total and I think a complete economic recovery--we've added some 3,300,000 jobs in the last 12 months, over 700,000 in the last month; and were restoring the kind of confidence and trust that I think the American people want in their Government in Washington.

I am very pleased with the leadership that we have on my behalf in the State of California. We recognize that we are an underdog, but I have won a few ballgames when we came from behind, and we are going to try very hard here in the State of California.

I would be glad to answer any of your questions.

REPORTER. Mr. President, how critical is the California primary to you, sir?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, the California primary is a critical one, obviously. Every one we have had--and I might add, I have entered every one and we expect to do our very best in the final go-around, not only in California on June 8 but in Ohio and New Jersey. They are, of course, very critical and very crucial.

Q. Mr. President, you mentioned jobs, but in San Diego the situation hasn't improved that much with the unemployment picture. What do you have to offer us voters here in San Diego County?

THE PRESIDENT. Of course, the Navy shipbuilding program that I have advocated and that I have added to in the last month will have a beneficial impact on the overall economy here in San Diego. I think also the overall improvement of the economy is inevitably going to have a beneficial result here in San Diego.

In the interim, of course, we will do the things that are needed and necessary with our summer youth program, which I recommended, that we'll spend about $528 million in 4 months this summer. Of course, a substantial part of that will come to San Diego. So, San Diego, I'm sure, like the rest of the economy, will come back and will be a healthy and prosperous area.

Q. Mr. President, when you talk about quality education are you speaking about desegregated education?

THE PRESIDENT. I am talking first that quality education is our prime responsibility. But, at the same time, we have to maintain the constitutional rights of individuals that we should not have segregation. I think we can have both. If we do the right thing, both with the courts on the one hand and the Congress and the President on the other, we can achieve quality education without undermining the constitutional rights of individuals to have desegregation.

Q. Mr. President, do you believe that you can come away from Kansas City after the convention with the party united behind you?

THE PRESIDENT. I think so. I have tried to minimize any personal confrontations. There are some basic differences between myself and my opponent, but I don't think they will adversely affect the Republican base or the Republican structure throughout the United States. I will certainly maximize my efforts to heal any ruptures that might have occurred between now and Kansas City. And Republicans know very well that the only way we can achieve success in November is to have a unified party, and I will do my very best to achieve that.

REPORTER, Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you all. It is nice to see you. We look forward to being in San Diego.

Note: The exchange began at 3:23 p.m. at Lindbergh Field, San Diego International Airport.

Gerald R. Ford, Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at San Diego, California. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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