Interview With the President Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session With a Group of Publishers, Editors, and Broadcasters.
THE PRESIDENT. I just about got myself adopted by all of your States, not all the newspapers, unfortunately, in the last election.
ASSESSMENT OF FIRST DAYS IN OFFICE
I'd like to say, first of all, that I'm very grateful to initiate an effort to let the editorial leaders of our country get acquainted with me and my White House staff and, particularly Jody Powell and his group, so that we might have the kind of relationship that's easy and natural and personal as the next 4 years and the events unfold.
We've been in office now for about 6 weeks, I think, and I've learned an awful lot. I've enjoyed the job so far, and I think that we've now got a fairly good working relationship among the White House staff members. Although it's much smaller, as you noticed, than it has been in the past, it's much more intimate and, I think, hopefully much more homogeneous in their pursuit of common goals.
Secondly, I think we've got a superb and a very strong Cabinet. Each person that I've chosen in this early 6-weeks' test has shown that he or she is able to manage the major department which is their responsibility. And I don't feel there is a single one that has disappointed me in that respect. I don't feel that now or in the future I have to go into their department and help them manage the complicated responsibilities that are on their shoulders.
I might say, too, that we've got a fairly good relationship now with the Congress. We started off on shaky ground. They were accustomed--the Democratic majority was, at least--to have a combative relationship with the White House instead of a cooperative one. We have now put together, after some considerable delay, congressional liaison people with all the major departments, so that they can work with Frank Moore, my own congressional liaison leader--to deal with the Congress.
We've learned the Members--their special interests and capabilities and sensitivities, and I think we've worked out now an increasingly good relationship with them.
Obviously, there are going to be many times in the future when we'll have strong disagreements about my proposals to them. But their early approval of the natural gas emergency legislation, the overwhelming vote of the Senate on the reorganization bill which was highly controversial, even in the Senate, at first, is encouraging--we won't have that easy time in the House. I think we have an excellent chance to get an early approval of the new and major Energy Department which was a puzzle that was faced with potential pitfalls of a very serious nature--these are good indications at the beginning.
I've had a constant reassessment by my own staff and me of my campaign commitments. We've even had collected for my own personal use, 2 or 3 months ago, a complete book of every statement that I've ever made on any issue. And we went back through all the local newspapers, including your own, to make sure that if I made any local statement, that it was included. I think the book was-I've forgotten--110 pages. And we never anticipated it going to the news people, but they demanded to have it, so we just gave it to them as it was. I hope to carry out all of my promises.
The last point I'd like to make before I answer your questions is that I've established, I think, a working relationship with many of the foreign leaders already, either directly or by telephone or letter or by use of normal diplomatic communications channels, and I hope that I've established as good a relationship with the American people.
We've already had one fireside chat. I committed myself to at least two full-scale press conferences every month, live. I will have tomorrow, a 2-hour call-in telephone opportunity for American people, and I expect to be cross-examined on issues over which I would have very little control, if any.
Later, I intend to make a major speech at the United Nations on foreign affairs, perhaps even this month. And I expect to make another major speech to the Congress on the 20th of April or thereabouts-my first, to the Joint Session-on the new energy policy.
We will make a trip to two or three States this month for a couple of days to let me have town-meeting-type intercommunications with the people who are interested.
We are exploring in new ways, and hopefully effective ways, to let the American people believe legitimately that it is their Government, that they have access to me and to those who work with me, and that we don't have anything to conceal.
I know you built up, perhaps, some questions that you want to ask me. And I'll try my best to answer them.
CONCERNS OF THE PRESIDENT
Q. Mr. President, you spoke of some of the satisfactions of your first 6 weeks-legislation passed or moving along through Congress. Could you look at the other side of the coin for a minute and talk, perhaps, about some of the disappointments and/or surprises that you have felt in your first 6 weeks about the Government or the job?
THE PRESIDENT. One of the surprises has been the almost total absence of any sort of confidentiality around Washington on matters that I think, sometimes, we would like to hold to ourselves. I've been quite disconcerted at some of the CIA revelations, for instance, and I believe it's damaged us considerably in our capability of obtaining adequate intelligence information from other countries.
I might say that all of the revelations have been explored by me personally. All those that were at all accurate--and that would be less than a majority of them-were previously assessed by the Intelligence Oversight Board and also by President Ford personally. And I found no impropriety in them. But that has caused me some concern. How to maintain in a democracy, truthfulness and frankness with the American people on the one hand, through the news media, and on the other hand preserve a mandatory degree of confidentiality about intelligence sources?
This is important even in peacetime. But is would be crucial to us in time of an international crisis to have the people that give us information, completely in a legitimate way, know that their help to us, their aid to us, their friendship to us, wouldn't be revealed publicly.
That's been one thing that's been of some concern to me. The other is that we've had a slow change in the attitude of some leaders in Washington, Congress and otherwise, toward the White House. I think we've tried to make some basic changes--and it's been slow, but I think progressively successful--to let them know that I am accessible; that I am depending heavily on Cabinet officers to make basic decisions; that they need not come to a Haldeman or an Ehrlichman to get an answer concerning domestic affairs; that Cy Vance is using the entire Foreign Service professional organization in the State Department to pursue international matters; that we are dealing through major emissaries simultaneously in different troublespots around the world; that we're not having just the Secretary of State be the negotiator.
I think it's been a slow thing for us to get these ideas across. We still are not completely successful. Those are a couple of things that come to mind.
Q. Mr. President, the concern of the people of New Hampshire, I think, has been addressed to you by Senator McIntyre over the shoe industry, and we've talked about this a little bit today. Dr. Gramley said earlier today that to put import quotas or tariffs on any foreign products would be unwise, it would push the cost up to the consumer. Have you made any decisions yet regarding import quotas or tariffs as it might affect the shoe industry?
THE PRESIDENT. No. The thing we all have to balance is obvious. One is the adverse impact on employees in the shoe industry if imports are permitted; the other one is the overall adverse impact on consumers, as the prices would inevitably go up. This recommendation has not yet gotten to me, and I have not made a judgment on it.
OIL AND NATURAL GAS PIPELINES
Q. Mr. President, oil will be flowing out of Prudhoe Bay this year, later, and so far there is no place for it to come into the Lower 48. How are you trying to work to find us some way to get oil into this country from Alaska, into the Lower 48?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, as you know, the first pipeline will be in operation later on this year, I hope. And I had quite extensive conversations with Prime Minister Trudeau from Canada and from his staff. Today, his Energy Commissioner is in the White House meeting with Dr. Schlesinger on that particular subject, to probe future opportunities to cooperate with the Canadians, if that proves to be advisable, on the routing of both oil and natural gas from the northern parts of our continent down here.
By September 30, I have to make a judgment on the other pipeline routes. The Congress has given me that responsibility. I have an option under the law to delay 60 days, I think, after September 30, to make the recommendation.
My expectation and hope is that I will make that decision on time. We are obviously considering the North Slope and other northern oil and natural gas sources, even including some of those in Canada, in evolving the energy policies that will be revealed on April 20.
I think that we now have an improving relationship with Canada. As you know, in the central northern part of Canada, they have substantial supplies of natural gas which are surplus to them and will be for many years in .the future. And whether they'll bring the natural gas route down through that field in Mackenzie Bay area--the Mackenzie Valley area, so that we can use our North Slope natural gas plus theirs, as well, in the same pipeline, is something that I'll have to decide.
We have environmental questions, as you well know, on the western coast, particularly in California.
So, my answer is that we are considering all those options. We have a good relationship with the Canadians. They share with us that responsibility if it becomes necessary to do so, and we'll make--I'll make my judgment on all the alternate oil and natural gas pipeline routes by September 30.
ENERGY SOURCES AND COSTS
Q. Mr. President, what would be your attitude 'toward a fairly modest--you mentioned--well, there was some talk about a 25-percent increase in the gas tax. What would you think about a fairly modest increase of, say, 5 cents a gallon with--[inaudible]--revenues for the alternate energy sources, development of alternate energy sources?
THE PRESIDENT. The figure that you referred to was in a question which I didn't answer.
THE PRESIDENT. But I'll try to answer your question as best I can.
I'm faced with a need to, first of all, encourage and require conservation. And that's by far the preeminent consideration in the new energy policy that will be forthcoming.
Second, we are faced with the inevitable depletion of the source of oil and natural gas in our own country. It's been dropping at about 6 percent per year for the last number of years.
Third, we are now faced with the fact that we are importing about 50 percent of our total oil supplies. And we have adequate supplies of coal, and we have problems with atomic power. I'm not sure that we need to greatly expand the rate of production of natural gas and oil in our own country. Whether it's better to leave those supplies in the ground and have a continuation of the present rates of production increase or decrease may be the optimum. I don't know that yet.
We do need to make sure that the consumer prices are not excessive and that the oil companies have an adequate amount of capital to continue their explorations. But I'm not as dedicated to a crash program for exploration of the extraction of oil and natural gas as some others that have been involved in the process.
So, the last point that I'd like to make-and I'm speaking in some generalities-is that deregulation of natural gas is something that I'm committed to for a limited period of time. I would like to combine this with a prohibition against excessive profits by the oil companies that I don't think the consumers would stand for.
So, the reason I can't answer your question specifically is I don't know the answers yet. I would hope that by the end of April, the 20th of April, which I've set as a deadline, that I would have a complete package put together so that the oil companies, the consumers, the coal producers, the automobile companies, overseas suppliers, those who are interested in building up a reserve supply of oil in the salt dome, would all know how it fits together because, if we come out, I think, with one tiny portion of the policy to be examined on its own merits alone, it obviously helps some people and hurts more.
But the comprehensive nature of the package that we come out with, and with fairness of it in toto, is the only thing that I have that might be a basis on which it can be .accepted, because if I just come out with a conservation package and nothing else, the people are going to object to it. If I come out with a deregulation and nothing else, the consumers are going to object, and so forth.
I just can't answer your question any better than that.
Q. Can I follow up on that question?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes.
Q. This is a follow-up on that question: In the area of Ohio where I'm from, the big concern is on the price of gas and oil. The winter has hurt us because we've lost our supply of gas, and the prices have reached the point where, as I said earlier today, they are higher than the mortgage payments on houses, in some cases--of gas and oil and electricity. And that's what--a real concern there. And I was just wondering how you were going to address yourself to that?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I can say one thing in general terms. The price of natural gas, at least in commercial use, is too low. This encourages the stationary power generating plants to use natural gas in preference to oil and coal, which they should use. I think natural gas has got two basic future uses--hopefully, as long as we can have it available: one is in the heating of homes, and the other one is as a raw material. And also, it's a heat source when purity and an absence of exhaust gases are crucial.
So, I think there is inevitably going to be an increase, a substantial increase in the price of natural gas. We're going to do all we can to hold down or to eliminate the use of natural gas in stationary power generating plants and also to minimize the use of oil and shift toward coal.
I think that as time goes on, the price of all energy sources is going to go up even faster than the rate of inflation. But I'm going to do what I can to minimize those increases.
The last point is that we've got some environmental tradeoffs. In most instances an increase in the efficiency of automobiles and the purity of the automobile exhausts work at cross-purposes. There are possibilities for exceptions, and there is no need for me to go into the technicalities of it. And to shift toward coal as a primary heat source in stationary power generating plants causes us to have some problem, as you know, with the sulfur dioxides.
I think that we can resolve both those questions. In Georgia for a number of years, long before I was Governor there, we shifted to coal, and we met the environmental standards, which in our State are quite strict, by permitting the tall stacks. Most of the stacks, for instance, for electric power plants are about 1,100 feet high. And we now generate about 85 percent of our electricity in Georgia from coal.
In States like Arkansas, Florida, I'd say it would be less than 15 percent. We just lucked up on that particular decision.
But it's such an extremely complicated subject, as you can see, that it's hard to talk about it in fragments with any sort of definite statements on my part. I just don't want to disrupt the American consciousness about the energy problem by singling out a particular part of it and saying that this is going to go up in price, this is going to go down in quantity. It's hard for me to answer your question any better.
ST. LOUIS AIRPORT
Q. Mr. President, the Nation, and St. Louis in particular, where they're celebrating Charles Lindbergh's 50th anniversary this year--and there is an irony involved in this, because the State of Illinois is in the process of skyjacking St. Louis airport--I'm sure you are familiar with the situation.
THE PRESIDENT. The people from Illinois didn't express it exactly the same way.
Q. I understand. [Laughter] In any event, Secretary Adams has under review a decision by the Ford administration to go ahead and approve this unwanted, unneeded, billion-dollar boondoggle airport rather than to keep St. Louis airport and the Spirit of St. Louis where it belongs.
Now, considering your concern for unnecessary spending and your interest in cutting back various public works projects, could we count on you to use your influence to celebrate Lindbergh's flight in the proper manner by keeping St. Louis airport where it belongs?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, let me make two affirmative statements. Your question, which reconfirms my assessment of the objectivity of the press--[laughter]--is well expressed and doesn't presuppose an answer, nor bias my answer, I'm sure.
And I might say that my own home county in Americus, Georgia, shares with you an interest in Lindbergh. He bought his first airplane at Sutter Field in Americus. I don't know what the decision will be about the airport yet. I will probably go along with the recommendation made by Brock Adams.
He and I have discussed it a couple of times. I'm not familiar with the merits on both sides. I have heard the argument that you've just expressed in your question. But I can't answer the question yet.
Q. You are aware of the bipartisan support for the position as I expressed it?
THE PRESIDENT. I am. And I've heard it explained very clearly to me during the campaign, primarily from the St. Louis point of view. It's not nearly so burning an issue in Illinois as it is in Missouri, as you know, but primarily, I guess, because they came out on the good end of the decision. I don't know how to answer your question yet. I am not being evasive. The decision just has not been made.
Q. Mr. President, back to energy just for a second. Without asking you to fragment things, Senator Jackson and others have talked about the conservation side of it by saying that any conservation would have to have some mandatory side or it really wouldn't be a program at all. Are you far enough along with your thinking to talk about at all whether there would be some mandatory conservation measures?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. There would be mandatory conservation measures. We're trying to concentrate in the new Energy Department, an adequate amount of cohesion and authority to carry out the energy policy that will be put forward on April 20. And there will certainly be a continuation of mandatory 'constraints on the use of energy.
As you know, the Congress passed already a time schedule for mandatory efficiency of automobiles, whereas, I think, by 1985 the average miles per gallon of all automobiles produced in this country has to equal 27 1/2 miles a gallon. That rate of improvement in efficiency might have to go up even faster under the new energy policy.
I would guess that we would also put into effect some FHA or, perhaps, other housing program requirements on insulation standards. And we might very well, either through reward or through tax measures or through legislation, rapidly phase out the use of natural gas as a heat source in stationary power plants when coal or oil can be an adequate substitute.
Those are some of the kinds of things that we would do in a mandatory way and, of course, any of them can be imposed effectively only to the extent that the Congress and the American people think that they are fair. And I would say that that's my ultimate responsibility, to assure that they are equitable and fair. So the answer is yes about mandatory conservation.
WATER RESOURCE PROJECTS
Q. Mr. President, most of us in the West find it difficult to understand why the decisions concerning water projects was made before consultation with State and regional officials, and the fact that only now are the States invited to come in and justify those projects. This suggests that perhaps the decision has already been made, and that this justification is really only--[inaudible]--would you care to comment on that?
THE PRESIDENT. I'll be glad to. The ultimate decision won't be made by me. The ultimate decision will be made by the Congress. And my own judgment is that none of those projects are worthy and that none of them ought to be completed or continued.
My staff and I identified, after a fairly laborious analysis, 35 projects that I thought ought to be canceled. I met with the leaders of the Office of Management and Budget, the Interior Department, and the Corps of Engineers to discuss those 35 projects. We felt that the 19 that were deleted should not be built.
I'm not trying to speak for the other agencies involved, but what I also decided was to go ahead and cut them out of the budget, since I had a deadline on the budget submission to Congress; to express my commitment very clearly that, unless I changed my mind, I would personally oppose them. And I will continue to take my case to the American people, if necessary, to stop what I consider to be a gross waste of the American taxpayers' money in some instances.
If, during this 60-day assessment period, it is shown me that the benefit/cost ratios are favorable, that there are no serious environmental consequences of construction, and that the construction will result in a safe storage of water, then I will change my mind.
But I wouldn't want to create the impression in you that it was a decision that was lightly made. I did not underestimate the political consequences of it. I feel like I have a responsibility as a President to terminate projects, even though they may have been favorably considered 25 or 20 years ago, and the circumstance is now changed. I think I have a responsibility as President to do that.
I might say two other things: One is that I don't hold the Congress nor the Corps of Engineers nor the Interior Department reclamation agency at fault. Many of these projects were favorable when there was no consideration for environmental quality, when we didn't have concern about earthquake fault zones, and when the interest rate on borrowed money was 2 3/8 percent, and when committee chairmen in the Congress, very powerful, quite often would just put their name on the list and slowly have a project come up to the top, even though it was not advisable. Those times have changed.
The cumulative total of the cost of these projects as presently projected is $5.1 billion. I would guess at the end of 7 or 8 or 10 years, however long the construction takes, because of inflationary trends and so forth, it would be much greater than that.
I'm committed to balance the budget by 1981, and I intend to carry out that commitment. I don't see how I can possibly do it by wasting money. And in my opinion, several of these projects--I'm not going to single them out--would be better not built if they didn't cost anything, if they were free--but because of their enormous expense, I think they ought to be terminated.
Q. To follow on there, Mr. President--
THE PRESIDENT. Please.
Q. What's the future role of the Federal Government in the field of water conservation in the West, and what is the present feeling of the administration?
THE PRESIDENT. I think it would be good. As you probably know, we have 390 projects in all, and my deletions comprise 19 of them, so we're not wiping out water resources projects. We're not putting out of business the Corps of Engineers nor the Bureau of Reclamation in the Department of the Interior. We're just reassessing all the projects. And I want to eliminate those that are ill-advised, but I certainly support those that are useful and needed.
I recognize the enormous interest of local Chambers of Commerce, and so forth, in having that money either spent or, in my view, wasted in a community. It creates temporary jobs and it's a matter of status, and quite often, the status of congressional Members is at stake.
I recognize all that. I faced this in Georgia. I canceled about a $200 million or $300 million project in my own State while I was Governor. It wasn't an easy thing to do. But somebody's got to bite the bullet and say this needs to be done.
The same thing applies to defense contracts. It's very easy to approve every weapons system that's proposed to me by the Defense Department, but I think I've got a good working relationship with the Secretary of Defense to say these are no longer needed. They are very costly in the long run, and we can make substitutes for them.
I think I have the same relationship with the Corps of Engineers and with Cecil Andrus, the Secretary of the Interior. But we'll be doing it together. And I don't have the final judgment. And there is a 60-day period when these are being reassessed.
To get back to the original question: when State officials, congressional Members, and others have a chance to present your side.
Q. May I follow up on one question on that? As you reassess this, you've listed the three criteria of safety, cost/benefit, and environmental damage. Would one additional criteria be the amount of money already spent or the degree of involvement already committed to these projects? Would that be a factor?
THE PRESIDENT. It has been a factor. I would have insisted on the deletion of several of the projects had they not been so far along and had major contracts not already been completed. But I have to admit that some of the projects were well underway, and it was a matter of losing an investment of $100 million that's already been committed, with the prospect of saving the other $1.2 billion that hasn't yet been spent.
Q. Mr. President, could I follow on that?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes, please.
FOREIGN ARMS SALES
Q. You spoke of the arms procurement as part of one of these bullet-biting operations. There has been a good deal of controversy about American arms sales abroad to other nations. The argument has been made repeatedly by supporters of that, that it is necessary to maintain the balance of payments and maintain our defense industry. What kind of look are you taking at that $12 billion a year annual rate of sales?
THE PRESIDENT. A hard look. Here, again, I think that if there is one person in the Government that ultimately has the responsibility to take a position and to make a decision and then explain the consequences of that decision to the American people, it's the President, not just because it's me. Somebody has got to do it. And it has to be the President.
When Cy Vance visited all the Middle Eastern countries early this month, there was one unanimous statement made by every head of state, and that was that we are spending too much of our money on weapons.
Now, it's hard for one of those countries, for instance--I'm singling out that part of the world--unilaterally to stop buying weapons. But every one of them unilaterally said they would like to stop. And I think that this puts a responsibility back on our country, the major arms supplier of the world, to try to induce Iran and Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Syria and Israel and Jordan to cut down on the quantity of arms they buy.
Now, I've also been in touch with the Soviet leaders, with the French leaders, with the German leaders, and with the British to join with us in an effort to cut down on the quantity of arms sold throughout the world. And they've responded favorably so far. We've not reached any tangible agreement, and I can't, I don't want to claim that we have. But there is a general concern around the world that the arms sales are excessive, and I think that our country can take some unilateral action. We can take a considerable amount of action bilaterally, when we get the buyer or the purchaser of arms to agree to cut down the quantity of their orders, and on a multilateral basis, it's going to be slower to come. But I think we can get our own allies and our potential adversaries to minimize or to reduce their previous arms sales rates.
So, I feel very strongly about this. And I believe that in the long run, our own economy and the world peace will be enhanced by shifting production and expenditure of funds to other services or goods.
I'll just add one other thing: When you look at it on a job/cost ratio basis, how many jobs do you get for a million dollars spent? One of the most inefficient industries is the defense weapons industry. And I think that we need not continue with a supposition that in the long run the expenditure of the limited amount of financial resources of the whole world and of our own country is going to be increased or decreased. When you spend money for defense, you don't spend it on education or health or other services or goods. And I think the shift away from weapons toward peaceful goods and services in the long run is favorable for world peace, and also you get more jobs per dollar spent.
Q. Mr. President, I am from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. And there is a problem there that affects the people that live in that area, but it also affects everybody else in the country. And that's the drug problem. A day doesn't pass when there are not arrests made for the drug smuggling, usually across the border of Mexico.
Last week, 9 tons of marijuana was confiscated. In your recent discussions with Mexican President Lopez Portillo, did you discuss this problem?
THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Yes, we did discuss it at length. I would guess that 70 percent of our heroin comes to our country now from Mexico. And the only way we can reduce that particular influx of drugs to our country is to cooperate with the nations where it is grown. We can, by infrared photography, either we or the Mexican Government, for instance, identify the fields where the heroin poppies are grown. And by going to the farms, the Mexican soldiers go into the farms, they can destroy those poppy fields before the harvest is complete. At the same time, many of those farmers are small, poverty stricken, live in remote areas of the mountains. I think you have to be above 3,000 feet to grow heroin poppies, and alternative crops need to be provided for them.
So, we discussed this at length, President Lopez Portillo and I did, and we agreed that with sub-Cabinet level representatives that we would explore this question further. A part of it, obviously, is trying to stop drugs as they cross the border. But that's a very, very inefficient operation. The cost is enormous. And as you know, a tiny volume of a very large quantity of heroin makes concealment very, very easy. And so, to stop the drugs where they are being produced is by far the better approach. Lopez Portillo is also deeply concerned about this. He feels the same way I do.
I've appointed as my own representative, here in the White House, Dr. Peter Bourne, who is probably the world's foremost expert on heroin, cocaine, and marijuana-even alcohol--all the drugs that are bad. He's traveled throughout the world at the invitation of other countries. He goes into countries that we can't even get into because we don't have diplomatic relationships with them. But because of his knowledge about the subject, they bring him in to help them with their problems. And he is heading up our drug effort in this country. And I think that with him and the equivalent leaders in the other nations, particularly Mexico, we can help a great deal in the future.
I want to say in closing, this: I wish I had more time to answer your questions. I tried to give as much time as I could to you. I don't claim to know all the answers. I'm learning. I'm studying. I'm enjoying the job. I get over here every morning at the latest by 7 o'clock. And I ordinarily go home in time for supper at 7, and then I spend 2 or 3 hours at night working and studying and reading.
It's not a laborious thing for me because I really enjoy it. In the first 6 weeks, I have shifted away from details and excessive burden of paperwork to a more long-range analysis of the questions that face our country. I study about foreign matters. I get briefings from the Cabinet Secretaries on things that are important to them. And I'm trying to prepare myself to make decisions as they come up in the future. But it's very important to us to let the American people know what's going on.
And I'm deeply grateful that you've been willing to come to Washington to meet with me and with Jody Powell and Midge Costanza, and others who work with me closely. I hope that you will feel after you go back home, that there need not be any obstacle to your direct contact to us. If you call Walt Wurfel or Jody or Rex Granum in the news section of our operation, they'll give you an answer to the question. And I really hope that you will always feel that this is your Government as well as it is mine.
I hope to get around the country every now and then, to travel. We are making good progress, I think, in foreign matters. We don't have any magic answers. It's going to be laborious and tedious and require a great deal of tenacity to solve some of the problems that have been on us so long. And when I go out of office, there will still be a lot left for the next President.
But in summary, I appreciate the confidence that the American people have placed in me and feel confident that I've got a good staff and a good Cabinet to work with me and hope that you will keep an inquisitive eye on us and a critical one when we make mistakes, but give us the credit when we have those infrequent successes of which we are proud. Thank you very much.
Note: The President spoke at 4 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.
The transcript of the question-and-answer session was released March 5.
Jimmy Carter, Interview With the President Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session With a Group of Publishers, Editors, and Broadcasters. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/242898