Top officials criss-cross US in final week of campaign to help Carter
The Carter re-election campaign is about to conclude amid a frenzy of barnstorming by administration officials on what may be an unprecedented scale. During the final week of the presidential race, some 32 officials, ranging from Cabinet members to assistant departmental secretaries, will pay campaign visits to 26 states that encompass virtually every state where the contest with Republican Ronald Reagan is rated as close.
The impending blitz by Washington officials is mapped out in tentative travel schedules made available to the Monitor by the Carter-Mondale re-election committee. They cover the next six days, leaving the campaign's final two days (Nov. 2 and 3) open for 11th-hour sorties.
The states getting visits from presidential emissaries -- the committee calls them "surrogates" -- suggest where the Carter campaign is targeting its home-stretch resourceS.
The pivotal state of Pennsylvania is attracting the most attention. It is drawing seven high-ranking administration figures in six days, including three Cabinet members.
Next come New York, the nation's second-largest bloc of electoral votes, one which the President probably cannot afford to lose, and Florida, closely contested by both sides. Each is slated for five Washington visitors.
The large, crucial states of New Jersey and Texas each are due five visits by presidential stand-ins.
California, by contrast, rates only a token visit by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Moon Landrieu, suggesting that the Carter campaign may have conceded the biggest electoral-vote state to Mr. Reagan.
The Carter administration officials who will be hitting the campaign trail during these final days include six of the 13 members of the President's Cabinet: secretaries Bob Bergland (Agriculture), Philip M. Klutznick (Commerce), Shirley M. Hufstedler (Education), Patricia Roberts Harris, (Health and Human Services), F. Ray Marshall (Labor), and the aforementioned Mr. Landrieu.
They will be joined on the hustings by 7 heads of agencies, 8 deputies and assistants, and 10 White House figures.
The most active among them appears to be Secretary Harris, who is scheduled to make campaign appearances in six states in as many days.
Two lower-ranking federal executives, Veterans Administration chief Max Cleland and Assistant Secretary of Labor Eula Bingham, each will visit four states.
Two White House aides, congressional liaison Frank B. Moore and presidential assistant Sarah C. Weddington, also are booked for four states apiece.
Such campaigning by federal officeholders on behalf of the president who appointed them has become standard practice over the years. The officials travels are paid for by a president's campaign organization.
But Republicans charge that Mr. Carter is exploiting the device on a grander level than his predecessors.
They claim that planning for the trips began earlier (in April 1979) and the repayment to the government for them has been tardier (six to eight months after political trips, in the case of some Cabinet members) than in the past.
Carter campaign strategists say the travels are consistent with political tradition and scrupulously legal.
The officials' intineraries provide insights into how they are deployed for maximum political advantage.
Assistant Secretary of Labor Bingham, for example, is being dispatched to the four heavily unionized industrial states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, and Ohio where the labor vote could prove decisive for Carter.
The President's special assistant for ethnic affairs, Stephen R. Aiello, similarly is being sent to the critical Northeastern states of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania where the ethnic vote looms large.
Others will spend the campaign's closing days concentrating their attentions on a single state. Presidential trade representative Reubin O'D. Askew will encamp four days in assistant Anne Wexler will devote four days to wooing her home state of Connecticut.