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tv   President Fords First News Conference  CSPAN  August 11, 2014 12:45am-1:15am EDT

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i pledge myself unreservedly to that goal. i say to you in words that cannot be improved upon: "let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate." [applause] as vice president, at the request of the president, i addressed myself to the individual rights of americans in the area of privacy. there will be no illegal tappings, eavesdropping, buggings, or break-ins by my administration.
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[applause] there will be hot pursuit of tough laws to prevent illegal invasion of privacy in both government and private activities. on the higher plane of public morality, there is no need for me to preach tonight. we have thousands of far better preachers and millions of sacred scriptures to guide us on the path of personal right-living and exemplary official conduct. if we can make effective and earlier use of moral and ethical wisdom of the centuries in today's complex society, we will prevent more crime and more corruption than all the policemen and prosecutors governments can ever deter.
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this is a -- [applause] if i might say so, this is a job that must begin at home, not in washington. [applause] i once told you that i am not a saint, and i hope never to see the day that i cannot admit having made a mistake. so i will close with another confession. frequently, along the tortuous road of recent months from this chamber to the president's house, i protested that i was my own man. now i realize that i was wrong. i am your man, for it was your
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carefully weighed confirmation that changed my occupation. the truth is i am the people's man, for you acted in their name, and i accepted and began my new and solemn trust with a promise to serve all the people and do the best that i can for america. when i say all the people, i mean exactly that. to the limits of my strength and ability, i will be the president of black, brown, red, and white americans, of old and young, of women's liberationists and male chauvinists -- and all the rest of us in-between, of the poor and the rich, of native sons and
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new refugees, of those who work at lathes or at desks or in mines or in the fields, of christians, jews, moslems, buddhists, and atheists, if there really are any atheists after what we have all been through. fellow americans, one final word: i want to be a good president. i need your help. we all need god's sure guidance. with it, nothing can stop the united states of america. thank you very much. [applause]
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we conclude with a look at gerald ford's press conference in 1974. this video is courtesy of the gerald r ford presidential library. it is about 30 minutes. >> good afternoon. at the outset, i have a very important and a very serious announcement. there was a little confusion about the date of this press conference. my wife betty had scheduled her first press conference for the same day. and obviously, i had scheduled my first press conference for this occasion. so, betty's was postponed. we worked this out between us in a calm and orderly way.
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she will postpone her press conference until next week. and until then, i will be making my own breakfast, my own lunch, and my own dinner. [laughter] >> mr. president, aside from the special prosecutor's role, do you agree with the bar association that the law applies equally to all men, or do you agree with governor rockefeller that former president nixon should have immunity from prosecution? and specifically, would you use your pardon authority, if necessary? >> well, let me say at the outset that i made a statement in this room a few moments after the swearing in. and on that occasion i said the following.
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that i had hoped that our former president, who brought peace to millions, would find it for himself. now, the expression made by governor rockefeller, i think, coincides with the general view and the point of view of the american people. i subscribe to that point of view. but let me add, in the last 10 days or two weeks i have asked for prayers for guidance on this very important point. in this situation, i am the final authority. there have been no charges made. there has been no action by the courts. there has been no action by any jury.
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and until any legal process has been undertaken, i think it is unwise and untimely for me to make any commitment. >> mr. president, you have been in office 19 days now, and already some of your natural, conservative allies are grumbling that you are moving too far to the left. does this trouble you? >> i don't think i have deviated from my basic philosophy nor have i deviated from what i think is the right action. i have selected an outstanding person to be the vice president. i have made a decision concerning amnesty, which i think is right and proper -- no amnesty, no revenge -- and that individuals who have violated either the draft laws or have evaded selective service or deserted can earn their way or work their way back.
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i don't think these are views that fall in the political spectrum right or left. i intend to make the same kind of judgments in other matters because i think they are right and i think they are for the good of the country. >> mr. president, may i follow that with one more example, possibly. that is, there is a report that the administration is considering a $4 billion public works program in case the inflation rate gets higher than it is, say 6%. is that under consideration? >> i think most of you know that we do have a public service employment program on the statute books which is funded right today, not for any major program, but to take care of those areas in our country where there are limited areas of unemployment caused by the energy crisis or any other reason. there is a recommendation from some of my advisers saying that
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if the economy gets any more serious, that this ought to be a program -- a broader, more expensive public service program. we will approach this problem with compassion and action if there is a need for it. >> sir, two political questions. do you definitely plan to run for president in 1976, and if so, would you choose governor rockefeller as your running mate or would you leave that choice up to the convention's free choice? >> i will repeat what has been said on my behalf, that i will probably be a candidate in 1976. i think governor rockefeller and myself are a good team, but, of course, the final judgment in this matter will be that of the delegates to the national convention. >> may i just follow up on helen's question. are you saying, sir, that the
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option of a pardon for former president nixon is still an option that you will consider, depending on what the courts will do? >> of course, i make the final decision. and until it gets to me, i make no commitment one way or another. but i do have the right as president of the united states to make that decision. >> and you are not ruling it out? >> i am not ruling it out. it is an option and a proper option for any president. >> do you feel the special prosecutor can in good conscience pursue cases against former top nixon aides as long as there is the possibility that the former president may not also be pursued in the courts? >> i think the special prosecutor, mr. jaworski, has an obligation to take whatever action he sees fit in conformity with his oath of office, and that should include any and all individuals. >> what do you plan to do as president to see to it that we have no further watergates? >> well, i indicated that, one,
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we would have an open administration. i will be as candid and as forthright as i possibly can. i will expect any individuals in my administration to be exactly the same. there will be no tightly controlled operation of the white house staff. i have a policy of seeking advice from a number of top members of my staff. there will be no one person, nor any limited number of individuals, who make decisions. i will make the decisions and take the blame for them or whatever benefit might be the case. i said in one of my speeches after the swearing in there would be no illegal wiretaps. there would be none of the other things that to a degree helped to precipitate the watergate crisis. >> do you plan to set up a code of ethics for the executive branch? >> the code of ethics that will be followed will be the example
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that i set. >> mr. president, do you have any plans now for immediate steps to control and curtail inflation, even before your summit conference on the economy? >> we have announced that as far as fiscal control is concerned, we will spend less in the federal government in the current fiscal year than $300 billion. that is a reduction of $500 million at a minimum. this, i think, will have two effects. number one, it will be substantially beneficial. it will make our borrowings from the money market less, freeing more money for housing, for the utilities to borrow, and, in addition, i think it will convince people who might have some doubts that we mean business. but in the meantime, we are collecting other ideas from
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labor, from management, from agriculture, from a wide variety of the segments of our population to see if they have any better ideas for us to win the battle against inflation. >> mr. president, as you know, a number of people have questioned your opposition to a return to wage and price controls. gardner ackley, a university of michigan economist that you have listened to in the past, recently testified before congress that if we are really frightened about inflation, we ought to think about returning to wage and price controls. can you foresee any circumstances under which you would be willing to do that and make them work? >> i foresee no circumstances under which i can see the reimposition of wage and price controls. the situation is precisely this. this past week i had a meeting with the democratic and republican leadership, plus my own advisers in the field of our national economy.
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there was an agreement, number one, that i would not ask for any wage and price control legislation. there was agreement by the leadership on both sides of the aisle that there was no possibility whatsoever that this congress in 1974 would approve any such legislation. number three, labor and management almost unanimously agree that wage and price controls at the present time or any foreseeable circumstances were unwise. under all of those circumstances, it means wage and price controls are out, period. >> can you give us your present thinking on how best you might use mr. rockefeller as vice president once he is confirmed? >> i have a lot of ideas. until congress confirms mr. rockefeller, we are sort of in a honeymoon period. i really shouldn't make any commitments until we actually
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get married. but to be serious, if i might, i think governor rockefeller can be extremely important in the new administration as my teammate in doing effective work in the area of the domestic council.
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