Jimmy Carter photo

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming Informal Exchange With Reporters Following a Boating Trip on Jackson Lake.

August 25, 1978

THE PRESIDENT. Hello, Jody. I'm glad I didn't ram the boat into the dock.

Q. Is that the first time you've sailed in a long time?

THE PRESIDENT. A long time.

PRESS SECRETARY POWELL. I thought that looked pretty good.

THE PRESIDENT. I used to sail a lot at the Naval Academy. I went sailing one time at Sea Island at the Governors' Conference. Remember that?

MR. POWELL. It wasn't Sea Island, it was Hilton Head.

THE PRESIDENT. Hilton Head, that's right.

MR. POWELL. There was a doctor-whatever his name is—from Savannah that was Hamilton's friend. That was a beautiful boat.

THE PRESIDENT. It had a yawl.

MR. POWELL. I don't know the technical-

THE PRESIDENT. No, it was a ketch.

MR. POWELL. It was all wood and brass.

Q. Do you like the Grand Tetons?

THE PRESIDENT. Gee, that's something else, really beautiful. We went all around the island. We had a brisk wind when we went out, but there was just almost no wind coming in. It was nice.

Q. Have you been doing any work today, as well as having a little fun?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I had a whole stack of paperwork this morning, made a few telephone calls.

Q. How does it look on the natural gas bill? Do you think you're in trouble there?

THE PRESIDENT. I made several calls last night and this morning about that.

Q. Have you talked again to the Vice President?

THE PRESIDENT. I talked to him this morning and last night. He's on the way to Texas.

Q. This coalition was unexpected, wasn't it?

THE PRESIDENT. It's the same coalition that's been evident among the conferees. You've got half on one side and half on the other that don't want a natural gas bill, and you've got the gas-producing States that want more money out of it, and you've got others that don't want any deregulation of natural gas ever. And that's why it's been so finely balanced.

As you know, we almost didn't get one vote in the House and almost didn't get one vote in the Senate to give us a majority in the conference. The same basic problem.

Q. Do you think you can put your compromise together again?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know. Of course, what they'll vote on now is the conference committee report. It's not a matter of redrafting. But it's going to be after the 11th.

Q. Were you surprised by Senator Baker's statement the other day that he would not support cloture?

THE PRESIDENT. I talked to Senator Baker last night. He's got an open mind about it.

THE PRESIDENT. He's backing off that hard statement that he took?

THE PRESIDENT. I'm not trying to speak for him. But he said he wanted to look it over carefully and see what the entire energy package looked like. Obviously, the whole energy picture is involved, including nuclear power and gas, oil, coal, solar. It's extremely complicated, just one of those difficult things to put together.

Q. Senator McClure is indicating at this point that there was some sort of a tradeoff for his vote on the possibility of putting the nuclear reactor, the breeder reactor over in Idaho?

THE PRESIDENT. No. Dr. Schlesinger and Stu Eizenstat had a press conference today and explained what happened about that. We did not change our position. I am not in favor of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor. We have always been in favor of a research and development program on breeder technology to investigate safety features, design features.

We offered a compromise in the House that was narrowly rejected. We maintain our position. We are in favor of a 3-year program on basic design work, no commitment to build. This is the agreement we worked out with McClure. The only-just to explain my position, we want to be sure that we weren't terminating the breeder program altogether. The amount of money involved, the way I understand the figures, is less than the amount the House already approved and less than the amount that the Energy Committee in the Senate had approved. But I think that Senator McClure was trying to make it look as though he had won a great victory and changed our position, possibly for his home State influence.

But we've explained that, I think, today, the ones that worked out the agreement with him. The Vice President and Stu Eizenstat and Jim Schlesinger were the ones that talked to Senator McClure about what our position was. And I think it was a very brief discussion.

Q. What Senators have you spoken to?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I'd rather not give you a list of names—but enough, I hope.

MR. POWELL. That's enough. You won't get all—

Q. They ask if you were enjoying your vacation?

THE PRESIDENT. That's a silly question. [Laughter] This is so beautiful.

Q. What else do you plan on. doing while you're here, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. We'll go fishing two or three times. I think we'll probably go to

Q. Can you fish right here? Or will you go away from here to fish?

THE PRESIDENT. On this lake—we had a briefing from one of the fishermen here—this lake is 400 feet deep, over 400 feet, and you fish deep for large lake trout. And we'll do some of that. We'll probably go up in the upper lake, Yellowstone, and fish a while, and maybe go to one of the streams and wade some and do some fly-fishing.

Q. I meant, did they ask you whether you were enjoying your vacation. The Senators.

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, you mean the folks back in Washington. Yes, they all envy us. I think I've got enough folks lined up in the Senate that want to go down the Middle Fork of the Salmon to keep them busy for a while. [Laughter] It's good to see you all.

REPORTER. Thank you.

Note: The exchange began at 5:10 p.m. at the dock near Brinkerhoff Lodge.

Jimmy Carter, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming Informal Exchange With Reporters Following a Boating Trip on Jackson Lake. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248805

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