Dean Gets a VIP Seat

Convention Notebook

Kennedy School Dean Graham T. Allison '62, who has announced he will step down next year and is widely mentioned as a possible appointee in a Dukakis administration, made the transition from dean to political mogul last night. He was among the select guests of the Dukakis family seated in a VIP box located to the side of the podium. Allison and the Dukakis family and entourage, which numbered approximately 50, were joined in the box by the families of vice presidential candidate Sen. Lloyd M. Bentsen, Democratic National Committee Chairman Paul Kirk, and a rotating set of speakers, such as Sen. Edward M. Kennedy '54.

But despite their VIP status, the group was not spared the effects of a cramped convention hall. When they were all assembled, 200-odd power-brokers were packed into the two-tiered box, which had seats for only 109.

The advance people, who smoothly guide the candidates and their families through the convention, sometimes have to do more than organize. On Monday night during former President Jimmy Carter's speech, Kitty Dukakis, worn out from the excitement of the week, started nodding off to sleep. After consulting with other staff people, her advance woman made her way over to the governor's wife and gently poked her in order to ask a strategic question.

Just politicos they're not in Atlanta, where the Democrats drew a large crowd of Hollywood luminaries to their gathering. Actors such as Judd Nelson, Rob Lowe and Linda Carter attended each session. And in a hall crowded with notables, the Hollywood stars still received an extraordinary amount of media coverage, as well as numerous requests for autographs.

At midnight, after the convention sessions closed, most delegates and attendees were to be found at the enormous parties thrown every night by and for big names. For instance, on Monday New York Gov. Mario Cuomo threw a party for his and the Massachusetts delegates complete with Nathan's hotdogs and Steve's ice cream bars, and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young gave an elegant invitation-only party.


Striking a very different tone than that of his stirring, though standard, public oratory in the Omni, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson gave a comprehensive strategy speech to his supporters at a celebratory party in his honor on Tuesday night.

Jackson exhorted the packed ballroom at the Mariott Marquis to look ahead, beyond the convention and beyond even the November election.

The 15-minute speech fleshed out Jackson's oft-repeated assertion that the fight for minorities to be represented in government extends far beyond his own race.

He urged the swaying, cheering crowd to remember work still to be done and future battles to be fought, such as the 1989 mayoral races in New York and other strategic cities, the census in 1990 which will determine allocation for the next decade and the drawing of district lines in 1991 which will be in effect through the year 2000.

But the speech included more than a battle cry. Jackson outlined an agenda for capturing the attention of every state Democratic Party. He urged supporters to run for state party chairs, particularly in those states where Jackson took first or second in the presidential primaries.

Noting that Illinois has not backed a Democrat for President since 1964, former presidential candidate Sen. Paul Simon predicted his home state will buck the trend and back Dukakis in 1988. "I think we're going to win," he said, adding that the winning formula would be "a combination of things: Dukakis plus George Bush."

Rep. Pat Schroeder (D-Col.) called on Harvard students to rally behind Dukakis in November. "You've got to help us," the congresswoman told The Crimson. Schroeder said Bush is trying to convince Americans that "Harvard is more elitist than Yale."

Former Secretary of State and Maine Senator Edmund Muskie said "only time will tell" if the Democrats have really united behind Dukakis. "When you use glue, you have to wait a few minutes before it hardens--we're waiting to see if it hardens," Muskie said.

The former senator, responding to Bush's repeated barbs against the Dukakis-Harvard connection, had a question of his own. "Is Harvard really as liberal as George Bush says?" he queried, laughing.

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