Jimmy Carter photo

Plains, Georgia Informal Exchange With Reporters Alter Voting.

November 04, 1980

Q. Do you think you're going to win, Jimmy?

Q. Mr. President, how do you feel?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I think I got two votes.

Q. Who did you vote for?

THE PRESIDENT. I voted for the one I consider to be the best candidate.

Q. Who was that?

THE PRESIDENT. That was myself.

Q. What are your prospects, Mr. President? What do you think?

THE PRESIDENT. I think good. It depends on the turnout and how well our organization works. It's a very close election. But I have confidence in the American people, always have, and they've never disappointed me so far.

Q. What do you think you would do if you lost this election today?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I obviously would abide by the American people's judgment, whether I won or lost.

Q. But I mean your future plans.

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, well, I'm counting on winning.

Q. Have you got some late polling information that encourages you?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I haven't gotten any late polling information. I think the polls have been published and pretty well closed 24 hours ago, most of them within the bounds of error. And it really depends on the turnout, on the attitude of the people, the weather across the country, how well the organizations work.

Q. Does it look neck-and-neck right now?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it's very close.

Q. Governor Reagan got a surge from that debate, but some polls showed that it began to dissipate. What gives you the confidence that perhaps you're going to go over the top today?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I really have to wait till the returns come in. But I think the judgment of the American people will be good.

Q. What about the hostages? Any late information?

THE PRESIDENT. No. All of the information we had about the hostages has been steady, that they will be turned over by the militants to the Government, that Algeria will be an intermediary, may play a larger role. We've been in touch with the Algerians not only now, but for a long time. Even before the five United Nations members went to Iran, months ago, the Algerians were working very closely with us—Mr. Majawi was. We've had meetings in Washington with Ambassador Malek, who represents Algeria in our country. So, I think the Iranians couldn't have chosen a better intermediary than they did, in choosing the Algerians.

Q. Well, we have a report this morning that Tehran has asked for certain clarifications. Do you know anything about that?

THE PRESIDENT. NO. I talked to the State Department this morning about an hour before we came in to Warner-Robins. And we will exchange documents with them, probably through the Algerians. What we will propose will be to uphold our Nation's honor and integrity. It'll be made public at the proper time, and I think the American people will be pleased.

Q. Do you expect to have the [inaudible]—to be released?

THE PRESIDENT. I feel more encouraged about the hostages now than I have in the past, but the time schedule for their release is something I can't predict.

Q. Did the hostage issue handicap you in your reelection bid?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, obviously the last year, you know., the concern about the hostages, the frustrations that all Americans have felt, I think have obviously been a negative political factor. But we've acted properly. In retrospect, I see no way we could have done any differently, because I wanted to protect the lives and the safety of the hostages under every condition and also protect the honor of my country, and we've done both things.

Q. There were references in the news media to saying that you had become a hostage of sorts because of the hostage issue. Did you ever feel that way?

THE PRESIDENT. No. No. Obviously, my judgment has been made consistently in what I considered to be better for the country, first of all, and commensurately with that, and not in conflict with it, what's best for the hostages. The only failure we've had, so far as I know, has been the delay in the hostages being released. But there were times, as you well remember, when we feared for the lives of the hostages, and I think the way we have handled the matter has been best under the difficult circumstances.

Q. Mr. President, in your last day on the campaign trail you made an explicit pitch to the John Anderson supporters. Do you think you reached them?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I hope so.

I'll see you downtown.

Q. Mr. President, would you do anything different on the campaign this time from what you did?

THE PRESIDENT. We've done the best we could. I'll see you downtown.

Note: The exchange began shortly after 8 a.m. outside Plains High School, where the President and Mrs. Carter voted.

Jimmy Carter, Plains, Georgia Informal Exchange With Reporters Alter Voting. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/252219

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