Informal Exchange With Reporters on the Supreme Court Nomination of Robert H. Bork

 

October 8, 1987

 

Q. Mr. President, 51 Senators now oppose Judge Bork. He can't make it. He can't make it, sir. Fifty-one Senators have announced their opposition.

 

The President. He has a decision to make. I have made mine. I will support him all the way.

 

Q. Are you going to see him this afternoon, Mr. President?

 

The President. I'm not quite sure.

 

Q. Would you accept his decision, whatever it may be?

 

The President. Well, obviously I'd have to.

 

Q.  --  -- not ready to give up, sir?

 

Q. Did the White House mess up in campaigning for him? Did you do enough to campaign for him, sir?

 

The President. It would be impossible for me to give up in the face of a lynch mob.

 

Q. But did you work hard enough? Did your team work hard enough?

 

Q. They're blaming Howard Baker for this defeat on Capitol Hill, Mr. President.

 

Q. Is Bork coming over this afternoon?

 

Q. It's not Mr. Baker's fault?

 

Q. The conservatives say it is Mr. Baker's fault.

 

The President. I don't know any conservatives who say that. I think it's very apparent whose fault it is. We saw that in the committee hearings. I would like to call your attention to the fact that some of the same individuals who were participating in that had much the same attitude toward my nomination of Justice Rehnquist.

 

Note: The exchange began at 1:34 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House. The final series of questions referred to Howard H. Baker, Jr., Chief of Staff to the President. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.