President Carter's chief political adviser, conceding that Carter has changed his priorities since taking office, said yesterday no domestic programs is exempt from the White House drive to cut the federal budget deficit.
Presidential adviser: Hamilton Jordan told a breakfast meeting with reporters that a White House review of federal programs extends even to such longstanding Carter commitments as welfare reform.
"Compared with a year ago, it's a new bail game." Jordan said, suggesting that programs that impede the president's pledge to cut the budget deficit to $30 billion or less next fiscal year will be dropped or severely scaled back.
During his 1976 presidential campaign, Carter promised to cut the defense budget, which he asserted was bloated with waste. But under the administration's anti-inflation program and the new emphasis on reducing spending defense is the only aspect of government activity that the president has spared from what Jordan described yesterday as an effort to "cut back to the bone."
The architect of Carter's successful campaign, Jordan acknowledged that this approach "probably is at variance with what he said in 1976." But, he added, it has developed "because of changed economic circumstances," particularly the threat posed by inflation.
Moreover, Jordan added, the emphasis on fighting inflation reflects the public mood and will pay political dividends for the president if suceessful. Predicting that Congress will be "generally cooperative" with the effort, he said that politicians who ignore the public's antispending mood will "do so at their own peril."
"The message of the 1978 elections and the 1976 presidential elections that the American people don't want more government, they want better government," he said.
Jordan said the president is connected to his anti-inflation policy and "willing to pay the price" politically to carry it out.
Speaking at the National Press Club yesterday, another senior presidential adviser, domestic policy chief Stuart Eizenstat, echoed Jordan's comments.
"The president means business and is willing to run the political and other risks that are associated with the effort to fight inflation," he said.
Asked if Carter had changed his priorities, Eizenstat replied, "What it recognizes is that every president when he comes into office has certain goals and no president can blindly follow [them] . . ."
On other topics during his wider anging breakfast discussion with reporters, Jordan:
Brushed aside AFL-CIO President George Meany's charaterization of Carter as the country's most conservative president since Calvim Collidge. "Carter is not the first president Mr. Meany has attacked and I doubt he will by the last," Jordan said. "But we can't let any one person or organizations stand between us and our intention to make the anti-inflation programs work."
Denied that recent admistration moves as the announced intention to moves as the anounced intention to expand ciil defense funding are part of a deliberate strategy to soften conservative opposition in the Senate to a new strategic arms limitation agreement with the Soviet Union.
Said the President's call during a nationally televised interview Monday night for Egypt and Israel to put aside the "technicalities" that separate them from a peace agreement reflected his "sense of furustration" at the pace of the Middle East peace negotiations.
Described Carter's charge during the same interview that the press is "irresponsible" as a "spontaneous" reience with the press for the most part has been good," he said. "Coverage of this president by and large has been fari."
Said he does not anticipate any chances in the senior White House staff or Cabinet as Carter passes the midway point of his term.
Jordan also discussed the 1980 presidential, if challenged in his the Democratic Party, will have no choice but to run in every primary. To do otherwise, he said, "would be a sign of weakness."
He also said that the loss by the Democrats in last week's elections of some key governorships in states such as Texas and Pennsylvania should not seriously hamper a Carter reelection campaign.
"We are beyond the day and age when elected officials could dictate a presidential election or the outcome in a particular state," Jordan said. "I don't see that as a tremendous obstacle."
Jordan, whose freewheeling lifestyle attracted much attention early in the administration, was dressed in a conservative blue suit and answered questions carefully. He said at the end of the breakfast that he had "given up" trying to maintain his previous carefree ways and was trying "to conform more, so as not to distract the attention of the American people from the real issues."