Kemp won't challenge President now -- but he's ready if Reaganomics proves ineffective

By , Staff correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

The more Rep. Jack Kemp (R) of New York insists he isn't running for president, the more he sounds like a candidate. After a breakfast session with reporters on Nov. 16, the Kemp political rational for the future seemed to come down to this:

Under no circumstances will he challenge President Reagan. Further, he hopes that Mr. Reagan now will take steps to increase the US growth rate and get the economy going again.

''But if the growth rate hasn't moved well above 2 percent by 1984,'' Representative Kemp says, ''then the presidential nomination isn't going to be worth anything to the President.''

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By positioning himself as a critic of the President's current economic course , Kemp seems to be leaving the door open to his own candidacy - if economic woes discredit the President's approach. Kemp says he has reestablished good relations with Reagan following the rift that occurred between them when Kemp refused to back Reagan on the recent tax hike. He concedes, however, that ''there are those in the White House who haven't forgiven me.''

Kemp says hope for economic recovery rests on Federal Reserve Board policy. He says the Fed must continue to bring interest rates down - that this is central to getting more economic growth.

Kemp says he is convinced that the President ''wasn't particularly happy with the stay-the-course'' theme. ''And I think he sees in the election results a message for him to get the country going again. I am convinced he now will move us beyond the 2 percent growth rate.''

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