Gerald R. Ford photo

Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at Waco, Texas.

April 29, 1976

AS YOU can imagine, I'm delighted to be here in Waco and to have such a wonderful welcome. And I'm delighted to answer any questions.

REPORTER. Mr. President, recently the Vice President apologized to the Senate for remarks that he made. Can you state that no Government agencies have been used to gather information on any political candidates and report back to the White House?

THE PRESIDENT. Absolutely. As far as I know, there is no effort whatsoever, and I have strictly said there should be no such effort by any Government agency.

Q. Mr. President, would you rather run against Hubert Humphrey than Jimmy Carter? Would he be easier to beat?

THE PRESIDENT. Gee, I really can't tell you one way or another. I think I can win in either case.

Q. Well, with all those statements you made about Hubert Humphrey, though, were you thinking at that time that he would be easier to beat?

THE PRESIDENT. No, I simply thought that the combined Democratic powermakers or dictators in the top echelon would probably end up putting Hubert in the top spot. But Jimmy Carter seems to have some momentum going that will make it very different, unless they go to a backroom, smoke-filled room situation.

Q. If the new FEC [Federal Election Commission] bill hits your desk next week, what would you do with it?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, they haven't sent it down to the White House yet, and they won't pass it until next Monday or Tuesday. And I learned a long time ago, dealing with this Congress particularly, I wait and see what the small print says, and when they get it down there and I take a look at it, then I will make a decision.

Q. Will Governor Connally be your Secretary of State or hold any other Cabinet position if you are reelected?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I have said that Governor Connally is fully qualified to hold any public office in the United States. And after we get the nomination and after we win in November, we will take a look at the overall situation. He is certainly qualified for any position between now and November or after November.

Q. Mr. President, since we last talked with you, Senator Humphrey has announced that he is not going to enter in New Jersey. What is your reaction to this? Do you think it is a wise decision?

THE PRESIDENT. I wouldn't pass judgment on whether it is a wise decision or not. I think it appears to be a very practical decision, because Jimmy Carter got some tremendous momentum in the Pennsylvania primary. And unless the powers that be in the Democratic Party sit behind some closed doors in a smokefilled room and broker Jimmy Carter out of it, why, I think, it looks to me like Jimmy has the odds in his favor.

REPORTER. Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you all. It is nice to see you.

Note: The exchange began at 3:10 p.m. at James Connally Field, located on the Texas State Technical Institute campus.

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

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