For two in Miami, Campaign 80 just sort of slipped away
Anne Ackerman, daughter of Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union and President Carter's campaign captain for her condominium village just north of here, lost control of her tropps in the Florida primary.
Although the state went nearly 3 to 1 for President Carter, her Jewish neighbors, who padded across their thick wall-to-wall carpets, rode elevators to the ground floor, and walked across the driveway to vote, ignored her advice and gave a 47 to 36 percent advantage to a man few of them openly admire: Sen. Edward Kennedy.
They were registering their anger over President Carter's initial endorsement of the March 1 UN vote condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank of the Jordan River -- including the Arab sector of Jerusalem.
Similar pro-Kennedy results were registered up and down this largely Democratic Jewish condominium belt along Florida's southeast coast. Now Kennedy strategists are counting on a similar Jewish shift to help them in what are likely to be the crucial tests for their campaign -- the Illinois and New York primaries.
Meanwhile, deep in Miami's black ghetto, where Corennie Barfield has had to sleep on a sofa for 17 years, President Carter was beating Senator Kennedy by 2 to 1. The turnout was low, however -- about 25 percent -- compared to the usual 50 percent or so for Mrs. Barfield's precinct, considered by election officials here to reflect black neighborhoods countywide.
Senator Kennedy had been counting heavily on black support.
Although Mrs. Ackerman and Mrs. Barfield live in two different worlds, they have at least one thing in common: both cherish their votes.
"I vote for better living, for peace and progress," Mrs. Barfield explained as she sat barefooted on the rough concrete porch in front of her one-bedroom apartment. Inside, the sink was piled with dishes sitting in cold water: The hot water broke or was turned off several days earlier, and the New York landlord's agent here has made only empty promises since then about restoring it.
"I have no hot water to bathe my grandbabies in," she said.
Her son, an invalid, sleeps on the only bed, leaving her the sofa. The other day, she saved a 50-cent bus fare by walking five blocks home but was threatened on the way by some teen-agers. Not long ago, another group of boys robbed her on the street.
Campaign '80 has not made much of an impact in her neighborhood. There were no speeches. No posters or even leaflets appeared. A white woman called her a few days before the primary and asked her to vote for Mr. Carter, however,
But if she could ever present her requests to a presidential candidate, they would include: help in becoming owner of her apartment so she could fix it up decently; better police protection, and hot water.
Over at Point East, Mrs. Ackerman's condominium complex of 17 buildings, this is how Campaign '80 rolled in: One recent evening President Carter's Jewish Secretary of Commerce, Philip M. Klutznick, dashed through the condo circuit in this area trying to convince angry residents that Mr. Carter had made an honest mistake on the UN vote -- that he thought references to Jerusalem had been struck from the resolution.
Many came, but few believed Mr. Klutznick at Point East. "When you talk about Jerusalem, you're waving a red flag in front of a bull," says Mrs. Ackerman, relaxing in a lounge chair on her screened-in porch, crowded with potted plants. A sniff of salt is in the air as breezes rush in.
One week ago, she was sure of a sweeping Carter win in her precinct. After the UN vote, there were some predictions of a low Jewish turnout since support for Senator Kennedy appeared limited. But many at Point East are children of immigrants who pounded into them the importance of voting. So the turnout was close to normal -- more than 70 percent, one of the highest in the nation.