Informal Exchange With Reporters

 

October 19, 1987

 

Stock Market Decline

 

Q. Mr. President, are we headed for another great crash?

 

Q. What about the stock market?

 

Q. Are we headed for another great crash?

 

Q. Stock market.

 

The President. Oh, the stock market. Well, I only have one thing to say: I think everyone is a little puzzled, and I don't know what meaning it might have because all the business indices are up. There is nothing wrong with the economy, though.

 

Q. Panic.

 

The President. What?

 

Q. Panic, how --  --

 

The President. Maybe some people seeing a chance to grab a profit, I don't know. But I do know this: More people are working than ever before in history. Our productivity is up. So is our manufacturing product up. There is no runaway inflation, as there has been in the past. So, as I say, I don't think anyone should panic because all the economic indicators are solid.

 

U.S. Reprisal Against Iran

 

Q. Sir, about the Gulf -- some people seem to think that the U.S. response was very, very, very minimal.

 

The President. Well, since so many of you keep calling it an oil derrick of some kind or platform, no. It was a command and control tower with radar and the ability to track shipping through the Gulf. And, so, we thought that it was an appropriate and proportionate response to their missile attack on a freighter, which wounded some of our people.

 

Q. What do you think the market's going to do tomorrow? What about tomorrow?

 

Q. What's the message to Khomeini?

 

Q. Are we now in a war with Iran?

 

The President. No, we're not going to have a war with Iran. They're not that stupid.

 

Stock Market Decline

 

Q. What about the market? Tomorrow will it go down again?

 

The President. I don't know. You tell me.

 

Q. Is the market your fault?

 

Q. Is it your fault? she says.

 

The President. Is it my fault? For what, taking cookies to my wife?

 

Q. Reaganomics.

 

The President. I just told you. Good Lord, we reduced the deficit over last year by $70 billion. And all the other things I've told you about the economy are as solid as I told you. So, no, I have no more knowledge of why it took place than you have.

 

Q. What's the message to Khomeini?

 

Q. Well, what would you tell the small investors?

 

The President. What?

 

Q. What would you tell the little old lady who lost money today?

 

Q. The little old ladies who lost their shirts.

 

The President. I don't know of anyone. Are you talking about a specific case?

 

Q. I lost mine.

 

Q. Me.

 

Q. This one.

 

The President. Wait a minute! How about how many people must have sold out in order to get a profit because they bought it back before it was ever this high?

 

I've got to go to the hospital.

 

Q. Give our best to Mrs. Reagan.

 

The President. Thank you, Andrea [Andrea Mitchell, NBC News]. That, I will do. She'll be coming home soon.

 

Q. What's your message to Khomeini?

 

Q. Invest in our stock market.

 

The President. If I really gave it to you, you wouldn't be able to print it.

 

Note: The exchange began at 5:04 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House upon the President's departure for Bethesda Naval Hospital, where Mrs. Reagan was recovering from cancer surgery.