Presidential press secretary Jody Powell said today he has "no idea" what Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's 1980 presidential plans are, but President Carter's greatest concern now is Soviet combat troops in Cuba.
Powell, speaking to the Maine Press Association at this seaside resort, said Carter's televised statement Friday declaring he could not accept "the status quo" on Soviet forces in Cuba meant he could not accept "the presence of a Soviet ground force combat unit in Cuba."
Asked about how Carter perceives the Massachusetts senator's getting support from his mother, Rose Kennedy, and his wife, Joan, Powell said, "I have no idea what the senator will plan to do. That's a decision for him to make.
"I wasn't particularly surprised his wife and momma were going to support him. That's the thing about wives and mothers."
In another report today, Kennedy was quoted as telling Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) and New York Gov. Hugh Carey he would make a decision before Thanksgiving on whether or not to seek the Democratic nomination.
Meanwhile, Rosalynn Carter complained publicly today that her husband's job is harder without support from Democratic leaders.
"His task is obviously made more difficult when he does not have the support of key Democratic leaders," Mrs. Carter said. The First Lady did not name the "leaders" to whom she referred, but her comments seemed aimed at Kennedy.
Mrs. Carter's comments came in a speech to a Democratic audience in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A text of her speech was released by the White House.