The campaign manager and one of the presidential candidates were having a meeting.
"The one thing I have no intention of bringing up if Teddy runs is Chappaquiddick," the candidate said.
"Your're absolutely right, sir," his manager said. "I think it would be a big mistake."
"I believe we should put out a press release saying that I will not talk about Chappaquiddick because I consider it a personal matter that has no place in American politics."
"A media release could get lost," the manager said. "I think you should hold a press conference and make a strong statement spelling out your reasons for not making Chappaquiddick an issue."
"What about a TV commercial that we could play during the campaign? I could do it on Martha's Vineyard. I would talk about inflation, energy and SALT and then say at the end, the one thing I will not talk about is what happened here," the candidate suggested.
"It's a good idea. By the way, I've been in touch with the other campaign managers and we're trying to see if we could arrange a TV panel with all the presidential candidates. Each of them could give their reasons why they will not discuss Chappaquiddick. We could get John Chancellor, Walter Cronkite and Barbara Walters to host it."
"I like it," said the candidate.
"Im running into trouble putting it together. Connally's man said he won't agree to it unless we all announce we won't bring up his milk fund trial. Reagan's manager says he'll only agree if we promise not to talk about Reagan dyeing his hair. And the Carter people say if an candidate brings up jogging all bets are off." "Anyone heard from Jerry Ford?"
"His man says that FordS pardon of Nixon has to be off limits. Frankly, sir, we may have to go it alone."
"Could we rent the Goodyear blimp during the Superbowl and announce it that way?"
"I'll chect it out. The other candidates might demand equal space and the blimp can just handle so many announcements."
"This is a problem," the candidate said. I'd like to be the first one to say that Chappaquiddick is not the issue, but if one of the candidates announces it before I do, it will look as though the idea did not originate with me."
"Agreed. At the same time if Teddy, at the last moment, decides not to run we'll have used up a lot of money for no good reason."
"There is also the possibility that Carter could beat Kennedy for the nomination. We don't want to peak on refusing to discuss Chappaquiddick too early."
"We're covering all bases," the manager said. Our advertising agency has reserved billboards in New Hamphsire, Florida, Iowa, Pennsylavania and New York. It will have your picture on it and say, 'Vote for the man who kept Chappaquiddick out of his campaign.
"I wish I could do it more subtly. Maybe we could rent that big sign over Times Square, put my name up in lights and flash on and off: INFLATION SI -- CHAPPAQUIDDICK NO."
"I'll check it out. Now let's talk about your speech tonight to Radar Trappers Union. We put in the paragraph you used last week in Detroit about not panicking in a crisis. The Kennedy people raised hell about it. Do you want to leave it in?"
"Sure, but add a line that when I'm speaking about panic I am certainly not referring to Chappaquiddick as that would be dirty pool."