CARTER/MONDALE MONEYPERSON NUMBER ONE: "You think we'll do a quarter of a million in Boston?"
MONEYPERSON NUMBER TWO: "$270,000."
NUMBER ONE: "And New York?"
NUMBER TWO: "$800,000."
ONE: "What about New Jersey?"
TWO: "Three and a half."
ONE: "Orlando I figure will be about $325,000. New Orleans about the same."
And on it goes, like a top-40 song on the AM radio. This was a reception given by Joan Mondale at the Averell Harrimans last night, where it wasn't just Moneyperson Number One (Democratic National Committee Deputy Chairman Evan Dobelle) and Number Two (DNC Treasurer Peter Kelly) who were chattering Carter/Mondale politics and perhaps secretly wondering if they should send out job resumes soon.
The whole place was in fact filled with a fancy knot of presidential backers, principally those who had paid $20,000 to the DNC for a portfolio of work by six American artists: Audrey Flack, Sam Francis, Robert Indiana and Wayne Thiebaud.
So far, 65 of 150 portfolios have been sold; assuming they all go, and minus expenses for the artists, that's $250,000 for Carter/Mondale via the DNC. Dobelle said last night they'd start spending it today.
But while Dobelle was adding up campaign balances in his head, everybody else was chitter-chattering about polite subjects allowable at polite parties. Such subjects include Art Don't You Look Well and, in a case not quite so polite, Mary Cunningham, William Agee and the Big Mess at Bendix Corp.
Then there was the really impolite subject of morale at the White House these days. Nobody warmed to this at all, aside from saying something about "hope" and that after some encouraging polls, this week is looking brighter than last.
"We feel better," said Joan Mondale. "It's coming along . . . but if we lose, then that's a fact of life."
The party was a small one of 50 or so, most of whom wandered through the elegant old rooms of the Harrimans' house on N Street, taking in the avocado mousse, an occasional peanut and a statue or two.
"I didn't realize they had this Degas," said Olga Hirshhorn, wife of the art collector, who suddenly found herself face-to-face with a small ballerina likeness. "What a pleasant surprise."
Brave guests could wander out on the terrace under hanging ferns, but it was freezing. Still, you got a fine view of the formal garden. There was a small field of impatients on one tier, and a lighted pool on another.
The Harrimans went swimming in it yesterday, and who knows, maybe they'll go skating on it today.