Informal Exchange With Reporters on Foreign and Domestic Issues

December 27, 1984

Q. Mr. President, come on over and talk to us.

Q. Mr. President, how do you respond to the cuts in Medicare, the freeze?

The President. Well, it would be a continuation. It's something we're talking about as part of the whole budget process -- the deficit process. It wouldn't be a further cut; it would be a continuation of the freeze.

Q. [Inaudible] -- freeze?

The President. What?

Q. [Inaudible] -- of the freeze -- on payments -- --

The President. Yes. If that's what we need. We're still going over it and discussing all of those things.

Q. Why would it be necessary to freeze the doctors as well as at the hospital level?

The President. Well, for one thing medical care is the fastest increasing service that we have with regard to inflation.

Q. How do you feel about the Afghan anniversary today -- the invasion of Afghanistan?

The President. A President once called a similar day a ``day of infamy.'' I guess that's exactly what this is also, the anniversary of a day of infamy. There is no legitimate excuse for a great power like the Soviet Union that is doing what it is doing to the people of Afghanistan.

Q. How do you respond to criticism by certain people on Capitol Hill that we're not doing enough aidwise for the Afghan freedom fighters?

The President. Well, there's a line in the scriptures that says -- that explains that: ``. . . the assembly was confused, and they knew not wherefore they were gathered together.''

Q. Senator Humphrey says a lot of the military aid for the Afghan resistance is getting lost in the pipeline.

The President. We do the best we can in anything of this kind, under very difficult circumstances. But, again, it's something that I don't think I'm going to comment on.

Q. Any New Year's resolution?

The President. What?

Q. New Year's resolution?

The President. New Year's resolution? Oh, yes -- be nice to all of you, and then you'll reciprocate.

Well, Happy New Year!

Q. Happy New Year!

Note: The exchange began at 9:27 a.m. at the South Portico of the White House as the President and Mrs. Reagan were leaving for a trip to California.