A White House spokesman said Tuesday a congressional resolution...

Oct. 4, 1983
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WASHINGTON -- A White House spokesman said Tuesday a congressional resolution calling for Interior Secretary James Watt's resignation will not influence President Reagan, because 'the case is closed.'

And Watt spokesman Douglas Baldwin repeated 'we see nothing' that indicates the secretary will step down.

Watt has made no public appearances since the flap arose over a remark he made last month, when he described his advisory coal leasing panel as consisting of 'a black ... a woman, two Jews and a cripple.'

'He has a lot of work to catch up with,' Baldwin said in a telephone interview, and he has not been seen in public recently only because he 'travels in spurts.'

Republican leader Howard Baker has promised a Senate vote on a resolution proposed by Democratic leader Robert Byrd calling for Watt's ouster, but he said it probably will not come up until after next week's Columbus Day recess.

When deputy White House press secretary Larry Speakes was asked Tuesday if Reagan would be 'influenced' by passage of the resolution, he replied, 'No.'

'The case is closed and the matter is behind us,' he said.

Later in the day, Speakes said: 'I don't expect the president to change his mind on Jim Watt.' Asked about a Watt resignation, he said, 'I don't anticipate it or expect it.'

Asked if Watt would resign if the Senate resolution is approved, Baldwin replied at the Interior Department, 'That's one we can't respond to, because it's an 'if' question.'

He added, however, that the secretary 'serves at the pleasure of the president.'

Baldwin declined to say whether Reagan has had any personal comment. Speakes has said on several occasions that Reagan has not talked to Watt personally in the aftermath of the flap.

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