Gerald R. Ford photo

Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at West Palm Beach, Florida.

February 28, 1976

WE WERE in Florida about 2 weeks ago. I want to thank Lou Frey, Skip Bafalis, Herb Burke, Bill Young, and all of the other people who have done superior jobs.

I am very optimistic. We have the momentum going. In New Hampshire, we came from behind and won, and I think we are going to do the same thing here in Florida.

I am confident we will do extremely well in Illinois. The momentum is going because of a lot of fine people who have cooperated, volunteered--telephone callers, walkers--it is just a great organization and a fine effort. It is real nice to be here and to see you. This is not a typical day in Florida.

REPORTER. Mr. President, if you win here in Florida, do you think Ronald Reagan is finished in the campaign?

THE PRESIDENT. I think that is up to him to decide.

Q. Do you think there is a place for him possibly on your ticket?

THE PRESIDENT. We have a wealth of excellent Republican talent for Vice President. I have said it is conceivable that he, of course, could be on the ticket, but we have a wide variety of Federal officials, State officials--the Republican Party has a great group of younger people coming along. So, we don't have to worry about one, we have many.

Q. Mr. President, you said he is too far to the right to be elected President. Do you think he is too far to the right to be elected Vice President?

THE PRESIDENT. I think you have to read my words very carefully. I said I was in the middle, and anybody to the left couldn't make it. And I put it again on that basis. I am in the middle, and all or most of the others are on the right or the left.

Q. Mr. President, is Ronald Reagan too old to be Vice President? You said there were younger men coming along.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think we have a wealth of talent, young and old, and we have a lot of people with great capabilities. Our convention is not going to have any trouble picking a first-class Vice President.

Q. What kind of Republican victory do you expect you will have in Kansas City?

THE PRESIDENT. I think we will do very well in Kansas City. I can't pass judgment on whether somebody else is going to be there. We will be there, and we are going to win.

Q. How big do you expect to win in Florida?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't make any predictions on numbers. I think some who have been on the other side of the fence have picked numbers. Somebody told me we gained 12 percentage points in the last 3 or 4 days. I think that is indicative of how well we are doing. The momentum is going, and we are going to do extremely well.

Q. Mr. President, did you think you would be coming from behind in Florida?

THE PRESIDENT. I am just going by the opponents' statistics and by their own admission, we have gained 12 points in the last several days. That's plenty of momentum in a political arena.

Thank you all very much. It's great to be here.

Note: The exchange began at 12:45 p.m. at Palm Beach International Airport. In his opening remarks, the President referred to Representatives Louis Frey, It., chairman of the Florida President Ford Committee, L. A. (Skip) Bafalis, J. Herbert Burke, and C. W. Bill Young.

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

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