Kenneth M. Curtis said yesterday he is quitting as Democratic chairman because of his dissatisfaction with the job, rather than any White House dissatisfaction with him.
"Is it just a lousy job?" Curtis asked at a press conference, and he replied: "That's one way you could put it."
He denied that he is being forced out because some high White House staffers are unhappy with his performance.
Instead, Curtis, who said he plans to return to his law practice in Maine, left the impression that he has become disspirited by the problems of trying to breath new life into the party's financially bankrupt national organization.
He painted out that the committee's $2.5 million debt is preventing it from making contributions to candidates or from instituting innovative computer and television operations.
Noting that it will take several years of hard work to restore the committee to financial health, Curtis said : "Id like to do something else with my life."
He added, "Did you ever try to meet the payroll every two weeks of a bankrupt organization, and try to keep 50 state chairmen happy?"
In response to questions about his relations with the White House, Curtis said, "I know I haven't been force out of office." He praise the cooperation he has received from Carter's top political aide, Hamilton Jordan, and White House appointments chief Tim Kraft.
However, he also displayed what appeared to be animosity toward Mark Siegel, another Carter political aide and a former executive director of the national committee. Siegel has been identified as the source of much of criticism directed at Curtis.
When reporters asked why he had not mentioned Siegel's role in dealing with the committee, Curtis replied, "I firmly was never aware he had a role."
Curtis confirmed a White House announcement Wednesday that he had met with Carter Oct. 13 and informed him of his intention to resign. He said he declined the President's suggestions that he reconsider or take a job within the administration.
Curtis said he expects the new chairman to be chosen when the national committee meets here in April. Until then, Curtis added, he probably will remain in the office.