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Still grinning despite a barrage of recent ad hominem attacks, Jimmy Carter wasted little time campaigning in Massachusetts.
Carter press secretary Jody Powell said that yesterday was Carter's last day of campaigning in the Bay State, and there were no plans to return Tuesday night. After the Faneuil Hall speech the Carter campaign convoy made a brief but high-in-symbolic-content visit to Salem before taking off for the South from Logan Airport.
The symbols of Salem can be seen in at least two ways. Having faced down the witchhunt in Boston of recent sniping by Jackson, Bayh and Udall, Carter was going to show his lack of fear at the site of the witchcraft trials.
On the other hand, some might say Carter, whose relentless gopher's grin and Joe Hardy-like rise from obscurity have earned him the recent sobriquet "The Devil's Candidate," was only going to touch base with the dark spirits who have granted him his mortal popularity.
Apart from the supernatural, Carter would also respond symbolically to outraged reaction of Massachusetts's voters who reeled at his proposal to terminate tax deducations for homeowners--with a little Marie Antoinette.
Sandwiched between his softspoken rebuttal of Democratic backbiting at the Cradle of Liberty and his late afternoon take-off from Logan was a handshaking blitz at the Cradle of Monopoly--the Parker Brothers' games factory in Salem.
"Ouija" boards by the hundreds rolled off assembly lines, and backlogged piles of "Sorry" and hundreds of tokens, dice, deeds, cards, wheels, and boards spewed out.
Whitting machines were all ready to snap off the carelessly trailed television cables and long locks of campaign photographers scrambling to keep up the pace of the dazzlingly efficient smiler and handshaker. Beginning at 2:47 p.m., the Nuclear Peanut blurred through all levels of the three-story factory like an overheated molecule going into the terminal phases of Brownian motion.
At approximately 3:05, 160 handshakes, five kisses and six backpats later, with a complimentary set of Monopoly still wrapped in shiny plastic under his arm, Carter emerged from the Parker Brothers factory with no incidents and even one cardboard sign of support to his credit.
Back in the press bus on the way to Logan,, Powell, New York Timesman R.W. "Johnny" Apple, Baltimore Sun man Adam Clymer '58, and Washington Post ace Jules Witcover sought refuge in the back of the bus. Witcover, who had just arrived "two days ago" in the Northeast, brooded in the back, but Apple and Powell traded banter.
Referring to the heat Carter had taken on his tax statements, Powell laughed and said to nearby press, "See. You bastards tell us to get specific. And when we do, we burn our ass on 'em. Kinda like spittin' to windward."
Somebody mentions that Scoop had himself ahead on a poll 17 per cent to 11 per cent. Why would Jackson then bother to attack Carter in Massachusetts?
Apple, the leader of the pack on political trends, was quick to squelch that line of attack.
"Those figures had Jackson first with 17 and Carter second with 11? Some poll!"
Jody Powell picked up the Jackson angle. "There's one candidate who can never use 'I'll never tell a lie.'"
"Never has," interjected Apple. "In fact," said Apple with a straight face, "once he got up and said, 'I reserve the right to lie in the defense of freedom.'"
Carter's man Powell, somewhat relaxed after his last campaign trip to Massachusetts, told reporters some stories about earlier campaign troubles on identifying Carter with the wrong economic sector before the electorate.
"We had a huge telethon in Georgia, with lots of operators taking calls--we were tuned into 13 media markets in Georgia and Florida and throughout the South. The first call comes in and one operator jumps up with a big grin and grabs the mike before somebody could do anything about and beamed 'We just received $5,000 from the Coca-Cola Company!"
"The first one! We threw a big rope around her and dragged her off."
Powell then told a story of Carter in the Navy. Carter's ship was cruising the Caribbean when it met a British Navy vessel. There was one black officer aboard the American ship, and when the British officers invited all the white American officers to a party, all the Americans, including Carter, refused.
"That was charming of the Brits," Apple said. "The captain must have been Enoch Powell."
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