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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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the editorial operation of the Times, because of the machinations of my prospective successor -- [Max] Frankel, who, in conjunction with the publisher Punch Sulzberger, was busy destroying the morale of half my editorial board before he was actually due to succeed me on January 1. I have gone into this problem in some detail in a previous session.

But we did support Carter. And my real basic reason for this was that I really felt, from talking to him in Atlanta and from what he stated publicly, that he was not only a genuine liberal in a way that I didn't think his Republican opponent -- [Gerald R.] Ford -- really was at all; but an important element in this was that Carter clearly had a genuine understanding of the environmental problem that was facing the United States, which I felt very strongly about. After January 1, 1977 -- Carter was elected in November of '76 -- when I began writing for the Op-Ed page, among the topics I began writing on, although by no means the only one, was the environment and environmental issues. I remember feeling that Carter, especially during the early part of his administration, was the first president in my recollection who had the guts really to stand up against some of the more notorious rivers and harbor, big dam and anti-environmental boondoggles that the people who were interested in the subject, like myself, knew about and had been fighting against for years and years.

Carter, if I recall it correctly -- and it would be very easy to establish the precise time by looking into the record -- but my recollection is that Carter vetoed or tried to veto some of the specific, terrible boondoggles that came up, primarily in some rivers and harbors and dam projects in the first year of his administration. I remember feeling that this really took a lot of political courage, and I wrote about that. As I recall it, his vetoes were overridden and he actually didn't succeed in this effort, but in every way I would put Carter at the

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