Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters on Domestic and Foreign Policy Issues

July 23, 1982

Q. Here we are. How do you feel about Ed Meese's son? Ed Meese's son -- that was really horrible.

The President. That has all of us very saddened. They're a very close family, and he was a fine young man. This is just a terrible tragedy.

Q. Have you talked to Ed Meese yet?

The President. No, he's on his way back. He is in California. So, I'll see him when we get there.

Q. How about Weidenbaum? Do you have a replacement for him yet?

The President. What?

Q. For Murray Weidenbaum. Do you have a replacement for him?

The President. No, and I goofed in mentioning to -- --

Q. No, you didn't.

The President. What?

Q. You didn't give us the news. You didn't -- --

The President. Well, no. That was for him to announce that he had told me, and there's nothing unusual about it. As I said in the beginning, many people who have come with us came with the understanding that they couldn't stay full-time, and he was getting ready to return to the university. But it was for him to say. And this young man that interviewed me happens to be a graduate of the university, knows him personally, and I just casually -- --

Q. Did he have any policy differences with the supply side -- --

The President. Oh, no. Oh, no, no. I was just -- --

Q. With the midterm economic performances?

The President. No. No, this was just plain -- it was like when Marty Anderson went back to Stanford, the Hoover Institution. There just was a limit to how long they could leave their real careers. So, we've talked about it, and I knew he was going back. But I was going to leave it to him to announce when and -- --

Q. How soon are you going to replace him?

The President. Well, I imagine we'll start thinking about that right away, yes. But also, we've got some time until he's going to leave.

Q. Are things better in the Middle East now? Is there any new -- --

The President. I don't know. I don't think there's anything I can comment on there.

Q. Mr. President, last night in talking about the pipeline, you sounded fairly conciliatory toward the French. Is it possible that you won't try to -- you wouldn't go to court to fight these new sanctions?

The President. I've got to wait for that report I mentioned. I've asked the Commerce Department to give me a report on the entire situation.

Q. I gather you're trying to keep the level of rhetoric down, though? You're not -- --

The President. Yes, because there are plenty of people that are trying to step the level of rhetoric up. And I don't think there are any -- I think that Premier [Chancellor] Schmidt called it himself publicly when he said there are no real and deep differences between us. It's still all in the family.

Q. Are you going to see Schmidt when he's here at all?

The President. No, he's out at the Bohemian Grove, and I can't go now.

Q. Do you wish you were there?

The President. That would cause too much disruption.

Q. Do you mean -- you're right. The women wouldn't like it. [Laughter]

Q. Do you wish you were there?

The President.. Anyone who's ever experienced the Grove wishes they were there. It's a wonderful experience. It really is.

Q. We've heard a lot about it. [Laughter]

The President. I'm not sure that you've heard the truth. [Laughter] It's really very -- --

Q. Okay, then invite us and we'll go.

The President. What?

Q. Invite us and we'll go. Full coverage.

The President. It's really a very -- consider it a real nice wholesome gathering, and everybody has a lot of fun.

Q. Are you disappointed with the midterm economic report that's coming out?

The President. Well, we're still having meetings and talking about that.

Q. Will we get that on Monday?

The President. Honestly, I don't know.

Q. Thank you.

Note: The exchange was held on board Air Force One in the morning as the President was returning to Washington, D.C., from St. Louis, Mo.