Grand Island, Nebraska Exchange with Reporters on Arrival.
Q. What is your view of what ought to happen now to Ramsey Clark?
THE PRESIDENT. It is both legal and constitutional to restrict travel to Iran for several reasons. The order was issued publicly and clearly, and my inclination is that it be carried out. We will make the ultimate decision on how to confront the people who violate the order—whether it should be a civil or criminal prosecution-but I think it is damaging to our Nation's foreign policy. It is damaging to carrying out the economic sanctions to Iran. It is clear that a prohibition legally should be followed.
Q. Your guess is that it will be a civil or criminal?
THE PRESIDENT. I think whether it is civil or criminal should be the concern and judged by the Attorney General. I would guess that a civil penalty would be more appropriate, but I don't want to make that final decision now.
Q. Mr. President, on the issues of debate, are you now more willing than before to debate Mr. Anderson during the campaign?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, the primary concern I have is to be able to debate Governor Reagan, as the Republican nominee, one-on-one. I can represent my party, the Democratic Party, and he can represent his, the Republican Party, and we can have an uninterrupted debate on our own policies and also the past and present and future commitments of our parties.
This is an important thing. I don't want to sit there and debate against two Republicans. However, if we can have that assured and some forum is indicated where I could debate both Governor Reagan and other candidates, it might be defined in some fashion. My own thought is that if any candidate is theoretically able to get a majority of delegates by qualifying in enough States that that might be one way to establish whether he qualifies for a debate or he should not.
To summarize, I am willing to debate a candidate who might have enough delegates and the possibility to win the nomination, but I don't like to interfere with the direct, head-on-head, one-to-one debate against Governor Reagan.
Q. Mr. President, you go to Venice in a little over a week to talk about energy and the world economy. Will you go there seen as a less effective leader because of not having won the oil import fee?
THE PRESIDENT. It would have been better for me and for our country, for my reputation as a leader and for our Nation's reputation as a leader, had the Congress supported the oil import fee that they themselves asked me to impose. That was my energy policy, and it was a mistake on the Congress' part to vote that way.
Note: The exchange began at approximately 3:30 p.m. at the Hall County Regional Airport.
Following his arrival at the airport, the President went to the Grand Island YMCA building to meet with Federal, State, and local officials and discuss relief efforts in connection with the tornado damage in the area.
As printed above, the item follows the text of the White House press release.
Jimmy Carter, Grand Island, Nebraska Exchange with Reporters on Arrival. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251013