Page:Carter Interview with Harry Reasoner (Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter 1st debate)(Gerald Ford Library)(1554406).pdf/12

This page has been validated.

Page 11

MR. REASONER: Who would you rather run against, Mr. Ford and Mr. X or Governor Reagan and Senator Schweiker?

SENATOR MONDALE: I thought that over and discovered that even if I had an opinion, they probably wouldn't listen. I don't know. I have not had much luck in advising Republicans. Frankly, I think if we do our job well and if the American people see Jimmy Carter the way I do and the way those who know him see him, I think Governor Carter is going to be elected handsomely.

MR. REASONER: We reported every night this week on the Democratic ticket based on a trip to Plains, Georgia last week and talked to Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale. We noted we hope to do the same thing right after the Kansas City Convention with the Republican ticket, in each case an attempt to get the flavor of the candidates before the bombast and confusion of the formal campaign. It seems like a good idea now to do a little summing up.

Everybody knows by now that Plains, Georgia is a strange place to grow a Presidential candidate, but it doesn't really hit you until you see it. Here is a place which is really, in the old American phrase, 80 miles west of nowhere. And here is a man, a few years ago at least, with no powerful friends, no extensive record of public service, with no inherited background of wealth or culture or intellectualism.

Here is a man who decided a little over three years ago he could run for President and now has, according to the polls, a good chance of moving into the most powerful office in the world.

How do you judge him? Well, in a way Mr. Carter has made it easy. No candidate in my memory has said so many things flatly that he must either live up to or become ridiculous. Not since Dwight Eisenhower, for example, has a President asked for this kind of an image.

GOVERNOR CARTER: And the other thing is I consider my word of honor at stake.