Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
Rosalynn Carter, confiding that "some of my best friends are presidents" (but without mentioning any names), had some questions and answers for a new president Wednesday night.
Some concerned what Carter termed "the personal life" of Copley News Service's Marguerite Sullivan, being sworn in as the 50th president of the Washington Press Club in ceremonies at the Sheraton-Carlton Hotel. They were things, the first lady said, that are "very important" to being a president.
"For instance," inquired Carter in a role reversal that had 400 journalists looking on while she conducted the questioning, "Do you have a brother?
"Will your daughter go to public school?
"Does your mother speak Swahili?
"Will the rest of the family write books about you?"
Sullivan would almost certainly "learn a lot," Carter assured her, "and I'm in a very good position to give you some advice." Which she promptly set about doing:
Don't worry about polls - "but if you do don't admit it."
Don't hesitate to have an image made "lately this has worked wonders."
Don't evade important questions vital to the country, even if they are difficult.
"For example," Carter elaborated, "Are you and Miss Lillian still locked in a struggle for Jimmy's attention?
"What would you do if Amy married a Republican?
"Is it really possible for you to live a normal family life?"
Not only possible, said Carter, answering her own questions, but she and her husband live one all the time. To prove it, she recounted how "Jimmy picks me up at the airport in his helicopter when I come home from trips . . . sometimes we entertain foreign visitors at our country retreat . . . we have a nice home close to our offices. . . and our children have friends in just like normal children, or they can play with their bodyguards."
Joan Mondale shared receiving-line honors with Sullivan and Copley News' publisher Helen Copley.