Informal Exchange With Reporters on the Presidential Campaign

October 29, 1984

Q. Mr. President, Mondale said that the big themes of this last week are going to be that you don't care about the poor and the disadvantaged in this country and that you're going to get us nearer a nuclear war.

The President. He's been saying that -- what's new about that? He and some of you have been saying that for so long, but I'm not going to believe it, because I know it isn't true.

Q. Are you headed for a 50-State sweep, sir?

The President. I don't know. I'm not going to comment on that. I'm just going to keep on campaigning and hope I win.

Q. How confident are you?

The President. I told you before: I am always only cautiously optimistic, and I run one vote behind.

Q. Could all these polls be wrong, Mr. President?

The President. I didn't say that. I just said that as far as I'm concerned, I'm not going to judge them.

Q. Aren't you beginning to think that maybe these polls are right, and you are headed for a landslide?

The President. I'd be scared if I thought that. I'd scare myself for even thinking that. I am happier when I think I'm -- I've got to keep trying.

Q. You lost the Washington Post and the New York Times. There's a softball.

The President. Well, what's new about that?

Q. I don't know. [Laughter] We'll ask the questions here. [Laughter]

Q. Was there something you wanted to tell us?

The President. No. I just saw such a hungry look on both of your faces here -- [laughter] -- that I couldn't walk by. If I walked by, it would confirm what Mr. Mondale says, that I'm heartless. See, I turned immediately, thinking I could -- [inaudible].

Q. Mr. Mondale says you're so confident that you're sleeping at Camp David -- [inaudible] -- and you're not campaigning this weekend.

The President. Well, if I hadn't been overnight at Camp David, I would have been overnight in the White House, and either place is good sleeping.

Q. Can you retain the Senate? Can you retain the Senate and make gains in the House?

The President. All I can say is it is what we would like to do, and this is why I've been trying to help wherever I can.

Q. Thanks for coming over.

Q. You're right, that is nothing new.

Q. Have you all figured out -- [inaudible] -- terrorist attack -- [inaudible]?

The President. Of course. And I would recommend to any of you that you read George Shultz's entire speech on the subject -- --

Q. Why did George Bush -- [inaudible]?

The President. Well, you know, some people in your profession rushed up to him, quoted something that possibly -- not correctly or out of context -- and he responded to that, but not to what was in the speech.

Q. Thank you.

Note: The exchange began at 1:58 p.m. at Philadelphia International Airport as the President was preparing to board Air Force One for a trip to Parkersburg, WV.