President Carter say s housing secretary-nominee Moon Laudrieu is an "honorable man," and he has "no concern" the former New Orleans mayor has a conflict of interest problem with his real estate dealings.
In an interview with visiting editors Friday, released by the White House yesterday, Carter discussed allegations against Landrieu, the Palestinian question and his own reelection.
Carter was spending the weekend at Camp David and planned to return to the White House tomorrow.
Landrieu went to work for a New Orleans developer, Joseph C. Canizaro, the day after his term as mayor expired. He later received a 10 percent interest in a partnership with Canizaro, without putting up any money. While Landrieu was mayor, a rich parcel of city-owned river front property had been traded to Canizaro.
"Moon is an honorable man," Carter said. I have no concern about this at all. I trust him, and he would be an excellent Cabinet officer."
Carter said that if he decides to run for another term, "I would have a good chance to get reelected." He said he would announce his intentions later this year, but he is expected to run.
Asked to clarify his position on the Palestinians, Carter said: "I am against any creation of a separate Palestinian state. I don't think it would be good for the Palestinians. I don't think it would be good for Israel. I don't think it would be good for the Arab neighbors of such a state."
Carter said he will not deal with the Palestine Liberation Organization unless it recognizes "the right of Israel to exist," and added U.S. policy has never deviated from that condition.
He warned it would be "dangerous," and he would oppose a move to gut the "windfall profits" tax on the oil industry in the Senate and try to draft a more acceptable bill in a House-Senate conference.
Carter said he will follow the recommendations of the commission looking into the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. But he added that there is "no way that our country can close down nuclear plants...and it would be ill-advised to terminate the construction of nuclear power plants that have already been approved."