Carter administration officials yesterday acknowleged that President Carter misspoke when he said on "Meet the Press" (NBC,WRC) on Sunday that "all of the increase. . .of inflation rates since I have been in office have been directly attributable to increases in OPEC oil prices."
An administration economist said that although the general thrust of what the president meant to convey was correct, he had unintentionally exaggerated the facts.
The economist said that the Department of Commerce index of inflation in personal consumption goods now stands at 8 percent after taking out all components relating to energy.
In Carter's first year in office, hesaid, that index (deflator) stood at 6 percent. Thus, a more accurate response by Carter to the television interview question, he said, would have been that all of the increase in inflation rates, except for two points, is attributable to energy.
The source acknowleged that Carter had referred to "OPEC oil prices," not to energy. "But that's as close as I can come to it," he said.
Independent economists said that if Carter had referred to indirect as well as direct effects of price increases by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, he would have been closer to the mark -- although still on the high side.