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Public Papers - 1989

Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters Following a Meeting With Former President Reagan in Los Angeles, California

1989-04-26

President Bush

Q. President Reagan, how do you think your successor is doing in his first hundred days? There seems to be some discussion about that.

President Reagan. Well, I'm not a part of that discussion because I think he's doing just fine. And he was a major part of everything that we did for the preceding 8 years. I'm very pleased to have him here.

Q. President Reagan, there's been some suggestion that President Bush has been a little slow in reacting and responding to Mr. Gorbachev. How do you feel about that, sir?

President Reagan. As I say, I think he's doing just fine.

Iran Arms and Contra Aid Controversy

Q. Mr. President, what do you feel about Ollie North these days, now that he's built a legal defense on an assertion that he was only following orders the entire time in the Iran-contra affair?

President Reagan. Here's one where I think we're both in the same boat. With this before a jury now, I don't think any comment is appropriate or proper with regard to that.

Q. Were you aware, Mr. President, that documents were not seen by the Iran-contra committees on the Hill?

President Reagan. Well, again, as I say, I just don't think this is a time to comment.

Death of Lucille Ball

Q. President Reagan, would you comment on the passing of Lucille Ball today?

President Reagan. Well, yes, I've issued a statement on that. I think it's a great tragedy, and all of us are affected. She was a friend; we loved her dearly, and she's truly going to be missed.

Defense Budget

Q. Mr. President, what do you think of President Bush's decision to cut money for Star Wars and military aid to the contras?

President Reagan. Well, having had, for 8 years, some of the same problems he's facing now, I'm not going to comment on that. I think that I can rest assured that he means to maintain our national security. There are many problems to contend with.

Abortion

Q. President Bush, the Supreme Court today will be considering an abortion case. Would you like to see that be the first step in a move to ban abortion in this country?

President Bush. Yes.

Q. President Reagan? Same question.

President Reagan. I think we've been agreed on that. You know my position on abortion.

Advice From President Reagan

Q. President Bush, are you looking for any tips today or anything in this meeting?

President Bush. Always.

Q. On what?

President Bush. ``Life its own self,'' as Dan Jenkins said -- ``life its own self.'' Figure that one out, Norm [Norman Sandler, United Press International]. But what it means is: I have a lot more to learn from President Reagan. As I've told you all over and over again, I learned a lot in 8 years. I learned a lot about principle; I learned a lot about the world as it really is. And so, I want to talk to him about the changes that are taking place abroad -- Japan, NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization], Europe, all over the place -- and get his advice. So, that's what I hope this visit will be about.

Q. Can you give us a sense of what he's told you here today, sir?

President Bush. Well, we just started. He told me you were coming in. He said there would be two waves and we were going to take questions at the second wave. That was all we've said so far after we said ``hello.''

Q. Would you like to enlist President Reagan's support for anything in particular -- missions, special -- --

President Bush. Yes.

Q. Can you tell us about it?

President Bush. No specific mission, but strong support. And I want to keep him fully informed. The respect for him around the world knows no bounds, and I've encountered that when I've met with 36, I believe it is, heads of state so far. And so, I hope I can talk him into various missions or assignments as time goes by. But I'm respectful of his own private life and what he's doing, but there will be plenty of opportunity to stay in touch, and that I'm determined to do.

White House Press Corps

Q. President Reagan, do you think your successor has a kinder, gentler press corps? More so than you had? [Laughter]

President Reagan. Oh, I think we're familiar with that. One thing I want to tell you that I proved to him before you came in, if you're curious about that -- I proved to him I was a Californian. We stood in the window, and I showed him that you could see Catalina from here.

President Bush. That's right. That's right. What a view! Have you all checked it? It's worth a look out there.

Offshore Oil Drilling

Q. You don't want any offshore oil drills out there, do you?

President Bush. Any what?

Q. Offshore oil drills out there.

President Bush. Out where?

Q. Out there at that view?

President Bush. Well, I don't know that anyone is proposing that right now, but you know my position on that -- strong environmental concerns and strong concerns about this country becoming further dependent on foreign oil. And I'm convinced that the proper balance can be found.

Views on the Presidency

Q. Do you miss the White House, sir?

President Reagan. No, it's in good hands.

President Bush. I can tell you they miss him, because the people there are the same. They're the same wonderful group that you told me were first-rate, and they talk very fondly about you and Nancy.

Note: President Bush spoke at 9:48 a.m. in the Office of former President Ronald Reagan at Fox Plaza. Following their meeting, President Bush traveled to Austin, TX.

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