Amy Carter, First Child and as such, an international White House celebrity? Or Amy Carter, 4th grader and such, trying to get "her feet on the ground like any other 9-year-old?"
Amy's parents prefer the latter, recognize the possibility of the former but to seek a reconciliation of the two through what First Lady Rosalynn Carter's Press Secretary Mary Hoyt yesterday called a spirit of "cooperation."
If media coverage of President and Mrs Carter youngest child becomes "a problem," Hoyt told reporters at a morning briefing, "the child will not be able to do some of the things her Stevens Elementary School classmates are doing . . . For a while, she needs to get her feet on the ground like any other 9-year-old."
Consequently, Hoyt said, Amy's activities will not be a matter of public record.
"I don't think Amy feels harassed or that the First Family feel harassed but at this point." Hoyt said. "We are not going to feature Amy on a daily schedule."
a frequent star of Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign and last week's events surrounding his inauguration. Amy drew national attention again Monday when she started public school in Washington. She is the first child of an incumbent President to do so since Theodore Roosevelt's 11-year-old son, Quentin, entered the old Force School on Massachusetts Avenue NW in 1904.
Photographs showed Amy, head bowed and uncommunicative , arriving at school with her mother. Later in the day, she was photographed again with "Grits," a puppy born on election night and presented to her by her new teacher. Verona Meeder.
That event, at Mrs. Carter's request had limited press coverage because according to Hoyt, "you had the difficulty of a child meeting her dog for the first time. She loves that dog."
(Grits, in fact, spent his first night in Amy's second-floor White House bedroom. Tuesday, he was moved to the White House kennel. His future "residence" is as yet undecided).
Amy's celebrity shared other topics on Rosalynn Carter's agenda in meetings this week with her 18-member East Wing staff, according to Hoyt who announced that Mrs. Carter has been working on plans for the following:
Two state dinners, Feb. 14 and 21, honoring Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo and Canadian Prime Minister pierre Elliot Trudeau, respectively. [It was confirmed that wine, rather than hard liquor would be served at the preceeding cocktail party.]
ERA and, specifically, what the may do to assist its passage in Virginia where it comes up for a floor debate in the state senate within a few days.
Special projects such as mental health and problems of the aging.
Policies concerning gifts to the First Family, a subject she intended to discuss with president Carter yesterday during lunch.
Staff and other changes in her East Wing domain.
Hoyt said the East Wing correspondence section, upon recommendation of Hoyt and volunteer consultant, will be merged with that of the West or president's wing, under the direction of Hugh Carter and Greg Schneiders.
"We interviewed everybody (during the transition) to see how the correspondence was handled. With 2 million pieces of mail coming into the White House each year, we had a general feeling in both the East and West Wings that mail was not being handled as efficiently as it could be."
Helen Dougherty and a staff of two, all from Georgia , will have direct responsibility for Mrs. Carter's mail, working within the newly merged department, Hoyt said.
In another streamlining move, Hoyt said three of the seven-member social entertainments staff, which includes calligraphers and records-keepers, will be transferred to non-East Wing posts. She said no decision has been made on who the three will be.
Physical changes in the East Wing include transference of the military aides' offices to first-floor quarters, freeing that space for White House Social Secretary Gretchen Poston and her staff.
Mrs. Carter's office is teh one formerly occupied by Ford Administration Social Secretary Maria Downs. It is situated at the north-west corner of the wing, overlooking Pennsylvania Ave.