Gobbleygook was being spoken at the White House and on the Hill yesterday as the turkey crisis moved into its third day.
In an unporecedented move, the 20 pound wild turkey that has been stalking the White House grounds, and occasionally venturing as far as 16th and K streets NW, puttering its way right up to the window of the Oval Office yesterday and began pecking with studied nonchalance on the ground outside. It is not known whether the turkey and Jimmy Carter spotted each other through the window, but the president has made his position on the turkey matter perfectly clear: It is not to be harmed.
Meanwhile, members of Congress found it necessary to talk turkey at a hearing where Nanus Fish, regional director of the National Park Service, whose office is responsible for the White House grounds, was questioned about efforts to capture the renegade bird.
Fish said the Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service suggested waiting several days before any aggressive efforts are made to capture it, so the turkey can "get adjusted to its environment."
Fish also discredited a report that the gobbler might be part of an advertisting stunt, saying, "We really suspect it's one of the turkeys that nest within the Beltway area and it just flew in."
However, Robert Pierpont and CBS News seemed to think there was some fowl play being perpetrated by "a certain New York advertising agency which is employed by a certain Kentucky distiller which markets a certain product."
CBS reported Wedneday night that President Carter suspected the turkey was planted at the White House, perhaps by the National Wild Turkey Federation of Edgefield, S.C., which last month gave the president a print of a wild turkey. But CBS was betting on this "certain Kentucky distiller which markets a certain product with a certain name"
In New York, the head of the firm that sells Wild Turkey bourbon denied the visit was an idea hatched by an advertising executive. Richard Newman, president and chief executive officier of Austin-Nichols, said: "I can state unequivocally that to the best of my knowledge neither our company nor its public-relations firm had anything to do with releasing the turkey on the White House lawn."
Newman said he is "delighted to have the name of our bourbon whiskey publicized," but "I would never have staged this sort of cheap stunt. To use the White House, a national symbol, for this sort of thing would have been presumptiuous and in poor taste."