The bottom line in the presidential race is money -- or the lack of it. Everyone, including John Connally, the greatest campaign fund-raiser of them all, is running out of cash and the primaries have just begun.
The Reagan people are making deep cuts in their budgets, and the ones on salary at Kennedy Headquarters are never certain if they will get paid or not.
While many campaign workers are very committed to the candidates they are working for, they still have to deal with such small problems as eating and paying their rent.
How do you keep your help during a campaign when there is no money in the till?
I would guess this scene is being played out in the headquarters of every presidential candidate right now.
"George, I want you to know that you're doing a terrific job in the mailroom."
"Thank you very much. I didn't get my check this week."
"That's what I wanted to speak to you about. Did you ever hear the nursery rhyme about Old Mother Hubbard?"
"I think so. I didn't get my check from last week either. And don't tell me it's in the mail, because I work in the mailroom."
"We would never lie to you, George. That's why our man wants to be president. He feels the American people have been lied to long enough. The truth of the matter is that we have the choice of either paying you or printing up 500 bumper stickers."
"Bumper stickers don't need shoes."
"I know how you feel, George, but the very life of this country is at stake. If our man doesn't get elected, no one in the country will be able to afford shoes. You have to think of the future. If we win, we can turn the economy around, and also regain the respect of nations throughout the world. Our man will lick inflation and bring new dignity and stature to the highest office in the land."
"What you're saying is I'm not going to get my check."
"George, if our man becomes president how would you like to be the ambassador to France?"
"You promised that job to the guy who installed the telephones."
"Well, how about secretary of Defense then?"
"What's it pay?"
"Seventy thousand plus a chauffeur."
"What else have you got?"
"There might always be an opening on the Supreme Court."
"They're always fighting amongst themselves up there. I don't think I'd like that."
"Well, with your background, George, I'm sure there would be no problem making you postmaster general."
"Rumor has it you already promised that to a gal who's been stuffing envelopes. Look man, couldn't I just have $50 to see me through the week?"
"I could give it to you, George -- but it would be wrong."