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Informal Exchange With Reporters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

April 01, 1987

AIDS Prevention and Education

Q. Mr. President, your Education Secretary disagrees with the Surgeon General. The Surgeon General says that there should be specific sex education for children—condoms, prevention, and specific information to really do something.

The President. Well, I think that what the Secretary was saying is something I myself have said. I think that that particular subject should be taught in connection with values, not simply taught as a physical, mechanical process.

Q. The Surgeon General is saying that if there isn't abstinence, that there should be—

Q. The Surgeon General says that if there should be specific—

The President. What?

Q. —and there should be other means used. If there can't be abstinence, then the Surgeon General says there should be other means used.

The President. Well, I don't quarrel with that, but I think that abstinence has been lacking in much of the education.

Q. The Surgeon General says that there has to be specific sex education. Do you disagree with him?

The President. That what?

Q. You clearly disagree with your Surgeon General—

The President. On what?

Q.— about the need for sex education at a very young age.

The President. I said, "that if that education was accompanied by values," but one of the things that's been wrong with too much of our education is that no kind of values of right and wrong are being taught in the educational process. And I think that young people expect to hear from adults ideas of what is right or wrong.

Transportation Bill Veto

Q. What did you have to give away to win the highway veto? [Laughter]

Q. Are you going to sustain the highway bill?

The President. What?

Q. What are you going to do

The President. It's still up in the air there. I'm waiting for it to get straightened out.

Federal Spending on AIDS Research

Q. Are you really spending enough money on AIDS? A lot of people—

The President. We have increased the spending on that more than anything we've increased in the budget.—

Q. Congress has doubled what you've proposed. Congress has fixed it every year—much more than what you've proposed.

The President. Well, Congress is made up of spendthrifts. [Laughter]

Note: The exchange began at 12:50 p.m. at Philadelphia International Airport. In the first question, the reporter referred to Secretary of Education William J. Bennett and Surgeon General of the Public Health Service C. Everett Koop.

Ronald Reagan, Informal Exchange With Reporters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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