Informal Exchange With Reporters on the Presidential Campaign

September 4, 1984

Q. Mr. President, what did you mean by that new spirit enveloping America? What did you mean by that?

The President. I think it's evident every place you go. Everyone is optimistic and everyone is gung-ho to go forward with the kind of expansion we're having. We've got 6 million new jobs in the country. We've got the fastest business expansion that we've had -- 600,000 new incorporations. Everybody's ready to go.

Q. Mr. President, have you laid the religious issue to rest? Some of your aides have said that with your statement today you are finished talking about religion on the campaign trail.

The President. Well, I was only talking about it because I was speaking at a prayer breakfast, and then what I said was greatly distorted. My concern was not with government invading religion, it's with all those people that are trying to make government turn around and interfere with people's right to practice religion.

Q. Who distorted that, Mr. President, and how was it distorted?

The President. I guess it lost something in the translation.

Q. You've had a campaign kickoff, and you haven't even mentioned Walter Mondale by name. Why not?

The President. Why should I? [Laughter]

Q. Thank you; you're wonderful.

Note: The exchange began at 4:40 p.m. upon the President's arrival at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, IL. The President then went to the Hyatt Regency Hotel, where he remained overnight.