Late-night radio don Larry King took his 14-year-old daughter to the Howard Johnson's for a dinner of franks and beans last night and the story of Watergate. And then he took her across the street to the Watergate itself where he emceed what was billed as a light-hearted anniversary party hosted by WACPAC, the Whimsical Alternative Coalition Political Action Committee, which is dedicated to bringing humor back to politics.
King began the brief, formal program by reading a telegram of regret from political humorist Mark Russell. "I wish I could have been there with you," Russell wrote, "but you forgot to tape the doors and I can't get in."
Chip Carter, son of the former president, raised his hands in the air and gave the classic Nixon imitation, shaking head and jello-jowls and waving peace signs when King introduced him. Nearby stood former Carter pollster Pat Caddell, the youngest person to make the White House enemies list.
WACPAC, which registered on April 1, 1982, as an official political action committee, used the break-in's anniversary to launch an effort to "let the air out of the rather stuffy balloon of our national politics," according to WACPAC secretary Earl Bender.
George McGovern, Richard Nixon's 1972 opponent for the presidency, was at the WACPAC party, feeling, he said, whimsical "to a certain extent--maybe more so than the guy who defeated me." McGovern offered himself as a presidential candidate in 1984, citing as qualifications--among others--that he has "a beautiful wife who looks much younger than I and really likes fine china" and that he has "left standing orders with my staff not to wake me up for anything short of nuclear war."
Former State Department spokesman Hodding Carter expressed regret that he had failed to make the enemies list. Mort Halperin, who was in the Nixon White House as an aide to Henry Kissinger, cracked self-deprecating jokes about the "gobs and gobs of expletive deleted and gossip" that Nixon had complained was the only result of the wiretap placed on Halperin's phone.
Republicans were noticeably absent from this merrymaking at their expense, although one mysterious and good-humored member of that party, who said he worked for "one of those real conservative organizations," was busy cracking jokes off the record and handing out stickers bearing the Republican Party elephant symbol. Said he, "I'll get fired if you print my name."