Carter, Ford Clash on Foreign Policy
Students Watch Debate at Science Center
More than 500 people jammed into Science Center C 'last night to watch Jimmy Carter and President Ford debate foreign policy and for the first time trade sharply worded attacks on each other's records and positions.
Carter accused Ford early in the debate of deliberately distorting the Georgian's positions on defense budget cuts, and of using the defense budget itself as "a political football."
Ford likewise accused Carter of "talking in broad generalities," answered attacks on the Republican administration's foreign policy by saying that the United States was now the world's "strongest nation," and termed himself the "leader of the free world."
Carter attacked Ford's reliance on Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger '50, saying that "as far as foreign policy is concerned, Kissinger is the president."
The "Most Moral"
Carter began a discussion of "morality" by saying the secrecy involved in foreign policy decisions has kept the "character of the American people" from being expressed in foreign policy.
Ford countered by saying that his policies are the "most moral" and that American policies of providing food to underdeveloped nations "could not be more moral."
Carter said that the United States should no longer be known as the "arms merchant of the world."
Twice during the debate, Carter included Watergate in his catalogue of Republican foreign policy "failures," although he has said repeatedly that Watergate should not be an issue in the campaign.
Ford criticized the General Accounting Office (GAO) for releasing a report Tuesday that was critical of his handling of the "Mayaguez" crisis last year.
Ford called the report an example of "grandstand quarterbacking" on the part of the GAO. Carter, in response, did not criticize Ford's role in the crisis, but said Ford should have released information contained in the GAO report earlier.
After Carter attacked Ford for not taking initiatives against the Arab boycott of American firms that trade with Israel or that have Jewish ownership, Ford said the Commerce department will release tomorrow the names of firms that have complied with the terms of the boycott.
Ford said he had taken the first presidential action since 1952 against the boycott, but Carter said Ford has blocked any Congressional action against the boycott.
The Campaign for a Democratic Foreign Policy sponsored the Science Center showing of the debate. Although there was no admission charge, buckets for contributions were passed through the audience before the debate began.
Many students leaving the Science Center auditorium said they thought Carter had improved his position in the campaign by showing he has a command of foreign policy issues.
Students also said they thought Ford had not spoken as well as he had in the first debate, and had damaged his image through occasional verbal stumbling.
The Institute of Politics was forced to close its doors last night as students crammed into two different rooms to watch the debate, and to watch themselves later on WNAC TV news.
Midway through the debates, the students focused their attention on a group of Harvard's "foreign policy experts" as they analyzed the proceedings.
David A. Keene, a fellow of the Institute and formerly a Reagan campaign staff member, criticized Carter for attacking Ford "from positions of both the left and the right."
Almost 40 people gathered around the T.V. by the grill in the lower level of Currier House last night to watch the debate.
The reaction was lively, and began as Carter's opening statement provoked the comment that "He's out for blood tonight!"
After the debate was over, Siri Bennett '77 said that "both were more willing to voice strong opinions this time." Bennett added that she felt Ford had won since, in her opinion, "Carter seemed to run around the issues."
Kevin Price '77 said that Carter had clearly won. "By saying things like Eastern Europe is now free from Soviet domination, Ford showed his basic inexpertise in foreign policy."
However, some students felt the debate showed little. John Duff'79 said, "The two candidates were just trying to make each other look as bad as possible. It was like a game instead of a realistic discussion of the issues."
When Ford finished his summation with "Thank you and good night," a student watching at the Institute added to the laughter when he exclaimed, "Ford thinks he is Walter Cronkite!