Gerald R. Ford photo

Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Tampa, Florida.

February 29, 1976

THIS IS a great stop in Tampa. We have had two fine, full days. The response has been really tremendous--good crowds, excellent enthusiasm. Everything we have seen so far down here has been strongly on the plus side, and Betty and I are very, very enthusiastic. We had some momentum when we came. Just like in that soccer game, when you have the momentum going, you are awfully tough to beat.

REPORTER. Are you going to come back next week?

THE PRESIDENT. We have not had time to evaluate it. We will come back if there is time because we have some big problems in Washington, and we will also take a look to see whether the momentum is still going. I think organizationally speaking, under Lou Frey1 and the others, I have never seen so many enthusiastic workers. We have got everything going in the right direction, so at the moment, with the things we have to do in Washington, we just can't make a decision.

1 Representative Louis Frey, Jr., chairman of the Florida President Ford Committee.

Q. What are those things you have to do?

THE PRESIDENT. We have a few problems with the Congress. We have got some legislative matters. We have some matters concerning, particularly, the budget. Congress has to make some decisions early in the new budget process. And we are going to do our utmost to keep the Congress from going hog wild in spending, and the first step to hold them on line is, I think, March 15.

Q. Why do you think the Florida Republicans will vote for you over Ronald Reagan in the Republican primary?

THE PRESIDENT. I think we have a proven record, a record that seems to appeal to a very substantial number of Republicans in Florida and, I think, fortunately, a substantial number of Democrats.

Q. Do you think you will beat Reagan?

THE PRESIDENT. I think we will do very well, and I think we will win. Thank you all very, very much. It is nice to see you.

Note: The exchange began at 4:02 p.m. at Tampa International Airport.

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

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