Wisecracks on security:
Jim Nugent is taking names at the door. That is, Jim Nugent, who works for Deputy Transition Director Bill Timmons who works for President-elect Ronald Reagan is checking his list for the names of the people who show up at the door of the Presidential Room of the Mayflower Hotel. This leaves lots of room for the checker and the checkees to have a little fun:
"Uh, I wanna see your i.d., your birth certificate . . ." he says to one group. Guffaws.
Hank Berliner, a transition team leader, walks up and puts his hand on Nugent's shoulder. "I gave at the office," he says through a smile. Then, more seriously: "Who's going to be here?"
Answers Nugent, still smiling: "All the big ones."
"It's a thank-you party," said one guest. A party for a little more than 100 transition team leaders. No linemen here, just the quarterbacks. When the coach walked in last night at about 10 after 7, one collective deep-voiced chorus of "Yea!" rang up. This, of course, was the big one. On his way into the reception, Reagan looked over the assembled group of reporters and fans who weren't on Jim Nugent's list and had to wait in the lobby. A faint look of pleasant surprise crossed his face.
Jack Burgess -- young, wire rims, three-piece suit and white button down shirt -- led the transition team for ACTION.
"What do you do for a living?" someone asks as he walks in.
"I'll let you know in two weeks," he responds.
"I was Peace Corps director in Micronesia for five years," he says, "which is where I want to be every time the mercury drops below 50 degrees."
Hank Berliner, U.S. trade representative's office transition leader, is one of those attorneys who will tell you going into the government would be a hardship. He's wearing a pink shirt with a collar pin as he ponders the question put to him: If he could have any job in the administration, what would it be? "Oh, anything in the policy area. I don't have an application in. I'm not really thinking about it."
Wayne Berman, deputy director of the resources and development group transition (Energy, Interior and Agriculture): "You should have talked to me on the 11th of November. I thought, 'Oh, I'll do this. But it'll be really disorganized.'" He clasps his hands together. "But this has been the most important learning experience of my life. It turned me from a skeptic to an optimist. You're thrown into this thing with people you thought would be skeptical -- they've been around. But they were really positive. The secretary-designate [Energy] loved our report. He really sunk his teeth into it."
Wayne Berman, in blue three-piece suit, is 26 years old.
"Ah, I think I'm the youngest," he says with a sheepish grin. "But, you see, I'm the only one who's fatter and uglier than Jim Brady [Reagan's press secretary]. Most people think I'm 35 because I'm so bald."
Later that night, the president-elect moves on to a dinner for cabinet designees at Blair House. Some arrival notes:
Alexander Haig, secretary of state-designate, arrives by chauffeur-driven car that pulls up to the curb at the television light-bathed entrance. Secret Service agents rustle about. A television reporter throws him a question and he answers, half-pausing on his way up the stairs to dinner.
Caspar Weinberger, secretary of defense-designate, hops out of a car that stops in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. No topcoat, hands in pockets, he runs jauntily across the street and bounds up the stairs Fred Astaire-like. A couple of reporters notice.
Reagan arrives by limousine, ruddy-cheeked, and walks slowly past the reporters, smiling.
"Pretty different from L.A., huh?" one says.
"They don't have the air-conditioning turned up quite as high as here," he throws back good-naturedly to the dozen or so working press huddled behind ropes in the frigid night.