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Lance Resignation #50419

ABC Evening News for Wednesday, Sep 21, 1977
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(Studio) Apparent end to Bert Lance affair is brought about by Lance's resignation.
REPORTER: Harry Reasoner

(DC) Tension at White House hasn't been such as it was today since August, 1974, when country waited for Richard Nixon to resign. President Carter's press conference was postponed 2 hrs. at last minute, heightening speculation over whether or not Lance would resign.
REPORTER: Frank Reynolds

(DC) In announcing Lance resignation, Carter reads from resignation letter. [CARTER - reads from letter, in which Lance states that he believes he could still be effective OMB director, but because of controversy, has decided to resign. Cites intimate knowledge of Lance and accepts resignation with regret. Is sure Lance would have been spared recent allegations of impropriety if he'd stayed in Georgia in banking business and enriched self and family, in selfish fashion.] [REPORTER - asks if Carter asked for or encouraged resignation and why he accepted it.] [CARTER - didn't ask for resignation; cites frank communications between self and Lance. Thinks Lance did superb job before Senate committee ] President is asked if he thinks Lance has avoided appearance of impropriety, or if new standard is now in operation. [CARTER - cites lack of allegations that Lance has failed to properly conduct OMB job and high standards that remain in administration Thinks allegations with regard to Lance's life in past years have been proven false.] President's other comments on affair noted, include admission that own credibility has been somewhat damaged. This is Carter's saddest moment; doesn't give in to own or Lance's detractors, but does bow to inevitable.
REPORTER: Sam Donaldson

(DC) Lance's usual affable spirits aren't visible today.
REPORTER: Frank Reynolds

(DC) Report on Lance's day; he and wife LaBelle meet with Carter at White House to offer resignation before Lance prepares written statement with attorney Clark Clifford. Only words offered at end of day in Lance's defense come from wife. [Mrs. LANCE - didn't think husband had to resign and believes he could take any job and do well. Says he's good, honest man and she's proud of him.] Lances will return to Georgia to try to straighten out financial life.
REPORTER: Ann Compton

(DC) Presidents are often expected to make decisions in cold, objective way, but doesn't usually work that way, and this is why this one has been so painful for President Carter.
REPORTER: Frank Reynolds

(DC) Background on Lance, much of which he has in common with Carter, noted. Both were brought up in small Georgia towns. President in Plains, Lance in Calhoun, and both married school sweethearts. Pol. connections began during Carter's race for governor and continued in Lance's losing race for office in 1974. (TV ad for Carter shown.) Lance's financial dealings at Calhoun 1st National Bank and in buying stock in National Bank of Georgia noted. No questions were asked at confirmation hearings, but real trouble began when Lance had to ask for extension in sale of bank stock
REPORTER: Charles Gibson

(DC) Appearance in Congress to ask for extension began trouble by focusing attention on Lance's finances; details noted. Lance's counterattack on Senators in hearings damaged relations with committee overseeing OMB, which would also have to approve all Carter's plans for reorg. of executive branch. Lance still faces serious financial problems as he leaves office, because NBG is losing money; this has cut heavily into Lance's personal wealth.
REPORTER: Dan Cordtz

(DC) Despite Senator Ribicoff's statement that whether or not Lance would resign was between Lance and Carter, today's announcement was awaited with interest at Capitol.
REPORTER: Frank Reynolds

(DC) Report on reactions in Congress [Senator Jacob JAVITS - says resignation is in best interest of cntry., as Lance couldn't serve completely in job under circumstances. It's sad this had to happen, but Lance has to solve personal financial problems.] [Senator Sam NUNN - isn't saying Lance was hounded out of office. Lance made decision on basis of what's best for family and cntry.] Controversy over affair had already split Senator into partisanship not seen since Watergate; now it's hoped this will go away.
REPORTER: Don Farmer

(DC) ABC News commissioned Harris poll to sample general public'œ-s reaction to affair and effect on perception of Carter.
REPORTER: Frank Reynolds

(NYC) Poll indicates affair has hurt administration, but without doing serious damage to high regard country conts. to have for personal integrity of Carter. Poll results cited. Contrasting results of new poll with one taken in July listed. [Pollster Louis HARRIS - says President is relieved of one burden, with Lance no longer in office; cites questions that will remain in public mind about affair and Carter.] Affair and public reaction to it shows nation is still in Post-Watergate mood and morality in government remains major concern of voters.
REPORTER: Catherine Mackin

(DC) Special broadcast on Lance affair to be shown tonight.
REPORTER: Frank Reynolds

Compton, Ann;
Cordtz, Dan;
Donaldson, Sam;
Farmer, Don;
Gibson, Charles;
Mackin, Catherine;
Reasoner, Harry;
Reynolds, Frank

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