Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
With the pope elected, Mideast peace accords signed and Farrah Fawcett-Majors' first movie finally released, the only thing left was to install a new high priest of lobbying for CBS.
So they did it in great style Tuesday night at the Corcoran Gallery when - spearheaded by CBS's Board Chairman William S. Paley - everybody is anybody at CBS showed up to officially welcome William Small as CBS' new Washington vice president and chief corporate lobbyist.
Small succeeds Bill Leonard, who will assume Dick Salant's job when he retires as president of CBS News in April.
Racing in - and then out again as fast as he could - was Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass), followed by Sen. Jacob Javits (R-N.Y.), Sen. Robert Dole (R-Kans.), energy czar James Schlesinger, Iranian Ambassador Ardeshir Zahedi, Eric Sevareid, FCC Commissioner Charles Ferris and a gaggle of CBS Big Guns.
Besides Paley, Salant and Leonard, they included John Backe, president of CBS, Inc.; Gene Jankowski, president of CBS Broadcast Group; Jim Rosenfield, president of CBS Television; Sandy Socolow, executive producer of CBS Evening News; Walter Cronkite and from as far away as KNXT in Los Angeles, Van Gordon Sauter, a rumored comer for president of CBS News in two years when Leonard faces a mandatory retirement.
Henry Kissinger, pitstopping at several parties, was greeted warmly by Paley, even though he didn't stay long. "I wouldn't want Paley's ego to get inflated," Kissinger laughed. As for the Camp David summit, Kissinger praised Carter as doing "a great job," before adding with a chuckle, "but, of course, if they hadn't called me every evening they would have been in deep trouble. They rose above my absence."
Summit euphoria generally ran high with most partygoers agreeing with Paley that, "It came off so much better than I thought it would. I think Carter handled it beautifully."
Guest of honor Small, who managed CBS' Washington Bureau for 12 years and was, until a recent CBS shake-up, the senior vice president in charge of hard news in New York, pronounced Tuesday night's affair, "like old home week."
But he also confirmed that the new job was not his first choice. "That's accurate," said Small, who many at CBS say had expected to step into Salant's shoes. "But this is a great job working for a great company. Am I bitter about what happened? No, I have no bitterness. I'm just a sweet loving fellow."
Salant, meanwhile, is clearing in no hurry to give up his job himself. "I can't stand it," wailed the man who has held the post for 17 years. "I hate leaving so much I haven't even been able to face it, for Christ's sake."
Nonetheless, Salant did admit to having his own personal choice for the job when Bill Leonard also turns 65. "There's only one guy who can do it," he deadplanned, "Lou Grant."