He has a dog named Milhous, a wife named Bitsey, a chauffeur-driven Mercedes and a Jaguar.

He earns a reported $450,000 a year, owns two homes and a hot tub, wears $800 designer suits and a Patek Phillipe watch.

His caricature is on the wall of the Palm. "Whiz Kid," the caption says. One day he found a steak knife sticking out of it.

At 33, Roger Stone -- college dropout and Watergate dirty trickster -- is either the hottest political consultant or the slickest self-promoter in town, depending on whom you ask.

"He is the single best Republican consultant in a cluster of stars," says close friend John Buckley, press secretary to Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.), whom Stone serves as a political adviser.

"He's one of the great all-time frauds of American politics," says New Right point man Paul Weyrich, national chairman of the Free Congress Political Action Committee. "His reputation vastly exceeds his ability."

Cocky and controversial, Roger Stone has peddled his way to prominence in Washington the new-fashioned way: dropping names, parlaying contacts and generally playing "hardball." He's acquired a reputation as a ruthless climber -- but it hasn't seemed to hurt business at all.

When The New Republic published a cover story on Stone last December, headlined "The State-of-the-Art Washington Sleazeball," car phones around the Beltway buzzed. He's finished, his enemies snickered. But Stone was back in his office, busy mailing copies of the unflattering profile to influential friends.

"It did bring in clients," he says.

Still, even those who say the Whiz Kid has everything -- money, access, political connections and the skills to put his man in the White House in 1989 -- agree that his abrasive style will do him damage over the long term.

"You can't play it like that for a long time without making an awful lot of enemies," says Stone's old friend David Keene, George Bush's former political director and now an adviser to Sen. Robert Dole. "After a while, you have built up a whole community of people who don't wish you well. And if they don't wish you well, you've got a problem."

Stone disagrees. "The political strategist with no enemies is one with no wins on his record," he says.

"There is some truth to the statement that nice guys finish last." 'The Next Generation's Roy Cohn'

He is trim and intense, with a cool, cynical demeanor. His eyes are small and set close together. He describes them as "sad Hungarian eyes." His hair is blond and he combs it forward, barely covering an impending bald spot. He favors suspenders and double-breasted suits, which make his narrow frame appear even smaller.

His office at Black Manafort Stone & Kelly, the high-profile lobbying firm, is decorated in muted tones of gray. Stone, who served as Ronald Reagan's regional political director for the Northeast in the 1980 presidential campaign, sits behind a large desk, his tasseled loafers propped up. On the walls are seven pictures of Reagan and several of Stone's idol, Richard Nixon. Completing the gallery is an impressive lineup of former clients and cronies (among them Jane Byrne and Ed Koch), his wife (real name Ann; "she has the longest blond hair," Stone says) and his official, framed Air Force One passenger certificate.

Stone likes to think of himself as a fixer -- "the next generation's Roy Cohn," in the words of one friend -- and identifies with the modern consultant-as-slick-salesman personified by Richard Gere in the recent film "Power." Though "I don't have a shower in my office where I'm hopping in with my secretary," he says with a small smile, "which I thought was a nice feature."

He names his heroes as Cohn, Nixon and the Duke of Windsor -- all outcasts in one form or another.

"I'm not a member of the club," he says, leaning back in his chair and folding his arms behind his head. "I like to take long shots. I like to take risks. In this business, there's always another campaign. You thrill at the ones you win, you learn from the ones you lose. If you're good -- and I think I am -- you win a lot more than you lose."

He has nicknames within the Republican party: "The Godfather," "The Prince of Darkness." The latter is a name Stone himself likes to repeat. It is, he has told more than one friend, good for his "aura."

Indeed, he devotes considerable energy to that aura. "He likes the good life," says Marvin Liebman, a Washington supporter of conservative causes. "Nice clothes, attractive women. He wants very badly to be a swell." Stone's enemies are more blunt. His personal effects, says Paul Weyrich, "rival those of Imelda Marcos."

Last summer, Stone turned up in M magazine in a section called "Men Who Look Great." He was recommended by a friend, designer Alan Flusser; in the picture, Stone is wearing a Flusser suit. Several years ago, the Stones' bedroom was photographed for The Washingtonian magazine, and their annual Calvin Coolidge birthday party has attracted press coverage as well.

*Roger Stone's aura includes a reputation as an eager source of information -- usually negative -- on politicians and their foibles. He brags about his access to the media, and says, "the key thing is maintaining your credibility. Don't try to retail something that isn't true." Columnists and reporters value him as a source, but also treat him cautiously. Says one national magazine reporter, "I discount about 50 percent of what he says."

Stone says he acts as a liaison between the Washington press corps and former president Nixon, arranging off-the-record soirees that have come to be known as the "Saddle River Dinners." Last month, Newsweek called Stone one of Nixon's "most trusted middlemen in Washington." Despite the 40-year age difference, the two have a lot in common.

Says former Nixon adviser Frank Gannon: "Nixon talks to Stone about politics the way he talks to David Eisenhower about baseball . . . Nixon is voracious for political information."

Says a former White House aide who knows both men: "They're both insecure."

Says Stone of Nixon: "The man will not be defeated. He will come back and come back and come back. You can defeat him. You can bury him. You can even disgrace him, but he will not be defeated. He has consistently had the resiliency and the discipline and the intelligence to keep coming back."

That is something to aspire to. "I'm a survivor," Stone says. 'My Elbows Are a Little Sharp'

With all this emphasis on aura, it isn't easy to assess Roger Stone's true value to his political and corporate clients.

"He was fantastic," says Mary Mochary, who paid $5,000 a month for Stone's expertise during her unsuccessful 1984 bid to unseat Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.).

"He throws himself totally into a campaign," says Jeff Bell, another New Jersey Senate hopeful. "He's available all hours of the day and night. I still owe him money . . . I thought it was a bargain."

His winning campaigns have included those of Reagan, Gov. Thomas Kean of New Jersey, state senator William Gormley of New Jersey, Rep. Matt Rinaldo (R-N.J.) and Rep. Jim Courter (R-N.J.). Kean calls Stone "a good idea man, totally dependable . . . one of the brightest young men in the country." Says Rinaldo: "The guy has fantastic political savvy. He's the best I've ever seen." Stone's admirers frequently cite his skills at building coalitions and attracting blue-collar voters to Republican campaigns.

The losers include former Delaware congressman Tom Evans; New York gubernatorial candidate Lew Lehrman; George Bush's brother Prescott Bush; Mochary; and Bell. And despite the votes of confidence from the last two, others involved in Stone's losing efforts are not so admiring of his work.

"He believes in the negative campaign," says one former client. "His philosophy and mine didn't jibe."

The 1982 congressional race between former congressman Tom Evans and Democratic challenger Thomas Carper is a case in point. According to Tom Little, an attorney and friend of Evans, Stone was hired "when the ship was going down. They got desperate." In early 1981, Evans was named as one of three congressman who had shared a Florida house with lobbyist and Playboy model Paula Parkinson. Soon after Stone was hired, a story surfaced alleging serious strife between Carper and his wife. Carper denied the charge. At the time, says Little, the story "was generally assumed to have come from Roger. None of us could prove it." Evans lost in what Little calls "the dirtiest, rottenest campaign that ever existed in America."

Little now says, "I wouldn't ask Roger Stone for any political advice."

Stone admits he was the catalyst for the story about Carper. He says the story "was something that went around the rumor mill in Delaware." When the Delaware newspapers wouldn't print it, Stone turned to The New York Post, which did. "I suggested that's where they could go and get it published," he says. "That's different than planting a story," he adds. "The issue of Evans' personal life had been raised. People were talking about Carper's personal life. Putting them in touch with a journalist, is that wrong? I don't think so."

Asked if the allegation about Carper was true, Stone replies, "I don't know whether it's true."

"I think you can chalk some of it up to jealousy," Stone says about criticism of his methods. "But I have to be honest with you. I play very rough. There may be some feeling that my elbows are a little sharp."

Candidates hire him for three reasons, he says. "They're desperate, or they're a real long shot, or they're desperately behind. They know I know how to run a desperate campaign."

This penchant for hardball tactics has won him clients, including Jeff Bell, who in 1982 hired Stone for his unsuccessful primary race against Millicent Fenwick. While he endcol was generally satisfied with Stone's advice, Bell recalls, "There were times he wanted me to be a little rougher on Mrs. Fenwick than I thought wise."

Much of Stone's success, observers say, is tied in with the success of Black Manafort Stone & Kelly. BMS&K handles clients such as a group of businessmen closely tied to former Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos (the firm stopped working for them when Reagan asked Marcos to resign), Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi, the government of Nigeria, Kamen Aerospace and Salomon Bros. Inc.

STONEROGER D,WELSH,LI,ADV,LI/WIRE,,,The partners have been criticized by some fellow consultants for their brand of influence-peddling: first electing clients to office, then lobbying them. The political arm of the organization, formerly Black Manafort Stone & Atwater, is now known as Campaign Consultants Inc. Partner Lee Atwater recently took a leave of absence to work for George Bush's presidential campaign, and partner Charles Black will likely head the Kemp effort.

Corporate clients are willing to pay six-figure fees to ensure the kind of access to top government officials Stone and his partners -- along with Michael Deaver, Robert Gray, Joseph Canzeri, Ed Rollins, Lyn Nofziger and other current stars of the Washington lobbying business -- like to flaunt. But what they're really buying is not easily measured.

Keene explains the lobbying game this way: "The further away a client is and the bigger he is, the more likely he is to think that somewhere in Washington there's a button and if you push it everything's going to be all right. He thinks that's the way the world works. You know there's probably nothing you can do for him. You also know that two months later, he's going to be really pissed because he's going to realize that you didn't know where the button was. The average consultant will say, 'I know this is going to happen so I better get what I can get right now.' If you're trying to get rich fast, that's not a bad way to do it. The dirty secret is, there is no button."

Stone disagrees with this scenario, saying, "I don't think people are that naive."

Asked about his corporate clients, Stone names MacAndrews and Forbes, a Manhattan company involved in film processing and the manufacture of cigars; GTech, a Providence, R.I., manufacturer of lottery terminals; and Rupert Murdoch's News Group Inc.

Charlie Black, asked about the Murdoch contract, says it has expired. A spokesman for Murdoch confirms that BMS&K "does not represent Rupert Murdoch or any of his companies and hasn't for some time . . . at least two years."

Pete Morrissey, senior vice president for marketing at GTech, says that his company's "expensive" contract with BMS&K expired a month before Stone named GTech as a client. "I don't think we'll renew it," he says. Asked if the effort had been worth the price, he replies, "I can't really say."

A MacAndrews and Forbes spokesman declined comment on the company's contract with Stone's firm except to confirm its existence. A Typical Roger Stone Story, as Told by Roger Stone

In 1982, Republicans held a party to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Richard Nixon's second presidential win. After the party, a group of former Young Republicans went to a bar in Georgetown. Stone was standing next to a burly biker. In the corner of the bar, a television was on. Suddenly, a story on the Nixon reunion appeared on the news. The Young Republicans applauded wildly.

Biker: "What's everyone applauding for?"

Stone: "Richard Nixon. He's the greatest living American president."

Biker: "Oh yeah? What makes him that?"

Stone: "He bombed Hanoi."

Biker: "So?"

Stone: "On Christmas Day?"

Biker: "You're sick." 'They Can Call It Snobbery or Arrogance, but It's Really Shyness'

He was born Roger Joseph Stone Jr. in Norwalk, Conn., on Aug. 27, 1952, the same year Eisenhower was elected to his first term. Birth and college records list his name that way, but at some point Stone adopted "Jason" as his middle name.

"That's interesting," he says, asked about the change. "It's Jason as far as I know. I'm a little perplexed."

The family lived in a rural area and Roger -- the oldest of three children -- says he had to learn to amuse himself at an early age. His father ran a well drilling company and his mother did some writing for the local paper. As a child, Stone moved with his family to Lewisboro, N.Y., where a neighbor gave the 11-year-old boy a copy of Barry Goldwater's "The Conscience of A Conservative."

"I read this book," he says now, "and I was completely transformed into a zealot." Believing that "Russians were evil," he took to wearing a Goldwater button to school. While his classmates were playing football, he rode his bicycle to the local Republican headquarters every afternoon to lick envelopes and run errands. The other kids, he says, considered him "a weirdo."

He decorated his bedroom "like the Goldwater headquarters. I had posters of Barry Goldwater and vice presidential nominee Bill Miller on the wall and bunting and bumper stickers." When Goldwater lost to Lyndon Johnson in the 1964 election, Stone was "crushed. I didn't eat for days."

Yes, he says, he cried.

A couple of years later, he ran for president of his freshman class at John Jay High School in Westchester. "If it had been a popularity contest, I would have lost. I won because I could out-organize everybody." In his junior year, he was vice president of the student body and the next year, president.

"I'm not a backslapper," he says. "I'm not good at small talk. I'm not good at palling around. They can call it snobbery or arrogance, but it's really shyness."

According to his mother, Stone was the only boy in the history of John Jay to receive an honorary athletic letter -- not for his prowess on the field, but for his pep rallies.

Social studies teacher John Wirchansky says nobody could forget Roger Stone.

"Politics was his life. When he ran for student council president, they had bunting, people coming down the aisles in hats. He put on quite a show. We never had another person like him."

In the fall of 1970, Stone moved to Washington to attend George Washington University. He became president of the District of Columbia Young Republicans. While his roommates were protesting the Vietnam War, Stone says, he was attending meetings of the Young Americans for Freedom. He also volunteered to work for Chuck Colson at the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP). He became an assistant to Bart Porter, who helped manage the dirty tricks operations. Under the pseudonym "Jason Rainier," Stone went to Kentucky and recruited a political spy, paying him $5,800 for information on Democratic opponents. He also went to New Hampshire and donated money to the abortive presidential campaign of Rep. Pete McCloskey (R-Calif.) in the name of a left wing group called the Young Socialist Alliance. Stone then drafted a letter to the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader describing the contribution, enclosing a receipt from the McCloskey campaign.

"They were all dumb ideas," he says now. "I did some things, in retrospect, which were in terribly poor judgment. I was caught up in the hysteria of the times."

He attended classes at night. Asked if he spent four years at GW, Stone says, "Yes," adding that he majored in political science. "Actually, I was there five years because I had to go back to take courses because I was working for Nixon."

According to the GW registrar's office, he completed two years of college. After those first two years, he signed up for continuous enrollment status, which enabled him to take courses later without reapplying for admission. He completed one more course the next year, bringing his total credit hours to 48 out of the 120 required for graduation.

After a request is made for his re'sume', which lists him as having "attended" GW, Stone telephones to explain. "I never got the credits to graduate. My parents are very sensitive about my not getting a degree," he says.

"I tried to go back for five years," he says in a later conversation. "I'd get the course books."

Was he there, then, at school for five years?

"Definition of the word 'there,' I guess," says Bitsey Stone.

Stone says there was a reason he never finished college. The courses, especially those in political science, were, in his words, "not relevant to real life." ''Cause Roger Stone Told Me to'

The "dumbest politician" he ever worked for, Stone says, was "a guy I elected to the county legislature when I was 16 years old. He was a fuel oil dealer and I talked him into running. He could read and write. I remember we went to the first candidate's forum at the League of Women Voters. The first question was, 'Why are you running for the county legislature?' The first candidate said, 'I want to serve my country. The other guy said, 'I feel like I've taken so much, I owe it.' They came to my guy and he said, ''Cause Roger Stone told me to.' "

He grins, arms cradling his head. "The guy won."

While still in high school, Stone attended the 1968 Republican convention, where he says he was thrown into a hotel swimming pool by Christopher Buckley for wearing a Nixon button. "I'm sure he doesn't remember," Stone says. Buckley, son of columnist William F. Buckley, says the incident never happened.

By the time he got to college, however, Stone was being taken seriously as a political adviser. "I remember sitting in Roger's dorm," his wife marvels, "and having state legislators from New York call him and ask how they should vote on issues."

He says he worked on the 1973 Virginia gubernatorial campaign of Mills Godwin. "I frankly don't have any recollection of him," Godwin says. M. Patton Echols, a Virginia attorney general candidate that year, recalls that Stone was paid a small allowance to drive Echols to appointments.

In December 1973, Stone took a job as a junior staffer in Sen. Robert Dole's office. But he left six months later after Jack Anderson wrote a column revealing Stone's history as a "Dirty Trickster." (The departure was "by mutual agreement," says a spokesman for Dole's office; Stone says he'd given notice shortly before the column appeared.)

Although Stone was given, in his words, a "clean bill of health" by the Senate Watergate Committee and the FBI, Republican politicians, anxious to avoid the taint of scandal, regarded Stone as a pariah. "It was tough to get a job for a couple of years," he says.

After serving as Ronald Reagan's "youth director" in 1976, he became close to conservative fund-raiser Richard Viguerie. His wife was working for Viguerie at the time.

With his friends Terry Dolan and Charlie Black, Stone formed the National Conservative Political Action Committee, serving as its treasurer. In 1977, he ran for national president of the Young Republicans. Black managed his campaign.

A popular, soft-spoken man, Black is widely thought to be Stone's protector, the man who helped transform him from political pariah to powerful New Right activist. "Somebody could say I was looking after him," Black now says, "But Roger and I are peers. I've never thought of myself as an older brother."

Two months before the election, a stinging Evans and Novak column raised the question of what they called Stone's "waist deep" involvement in Watergate and expressed concern about his desire to make the Young Republicans independent of the national committee. Evans and Novak (who today often use Stone as a source) concluded the column, "Even Republicans too insensitive to worry about the impact of Roger Stone's past are getting frightened by Roger Stone's future."

Nevertheless, in June, Stone was elected YR president.

By this time, he was already working for Ronald Reagan and in 1980, signed on to handle the Northeast. Although Stone was regarded as a sharp technician, he angered a number of the party elders, including Sen. Lowell Weicker, who went to Reagan's campaign manager, Sen. Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.), and demanded that Stone be thrown out of Connecticut.

After the election, in 1980, he joined his partners in the lobbying/consultant firm they had founded. Gradually, he began to distance himself from the ultraconservative wing of the Republican Party. This shift angered many of the hard-line conservatives like Paul Weyrich, who saw Stone as abandoning his ideological beliefs for the sake of business.

"In my view, the man's word is no good," says Weyrich. "Every meeting I've had with the guy, I wanted to wash my hands three times afterwards." 'We're Both Ambitious'

In a strange way, Roger and Ann Stone are to the '80s what Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden were to the '60s. They represent the collective strivings of a new generation: toward consumerism, upward mobility and conservative values.

They live in a $200,000 red brick town house, tucked into a quiet cul-de-sac in Alexandria. The furnishings are reproductions of the federal style, and everything looks new and shiny.

She calls him "Pookie." He calls her "Bitsey." They have two dachshunds, Milhous and Dewey. Milhous has "a bit of a biting problem," Bitsey says, so the dog is kept in a room on the first floor. He barks constantly. Upstairs in the kitchen, on a spring evening, Roger is making his special spaghetti sauce for dinner while Bitsey, in navy and white polka dots, talks about their success.

"It's not a question of being smarter than the rest," she explains. "It's a question of working harder."

"We're both ambitious," her husband says.

One measure of success is their $230,000 beach house on the Delaware shore. "Which reminds me, Bitsey," says Roger, "Bay Buchanan the former U.S. treasurer is renting it for the last week of July."

The Stones appear older than their years. "Roger's big ambition in college was to have gray hair," Bitsey recalls. "He couldn't wait to be 30."

"People don't take you seriously when you're 25," her husband says.

They both work long hours and travel; Roger likes to leave the office at noon on Friday "to goof off." They like to entertain, but often go their separate ways to functions and parties.

"The beautiful strength of my marriage," she says, "is the independence. Yet, when we need it, we're there for each other." The Stones usually manage to eat dinner together only one night a week, Roger says.

They met at George Washington University. The story, as Bitsey relates it at dinner parties, goes like this: She walked into her room one time to find Roger and a girlfriend in bed together. Their mutual interest in conservative politics peaked when Roger managed Bitsey's campaign for secretary of the college Republicans. "The strongest thing underlying my philosophy as a Republican was anti-Communism," she recalls. "The Berlin Wall left a very profound impact."

Bitsey says she comes from a blue collar family in Stratford, Conn., and has worked all her life. She remembers buying dresses for $5 at the Grand Union.

She and Roger married in 1974, spending their honeymoon as camp counselors for the Teenage Republican Leadership Conference. Bitsey worked at Human Events magazine, selling advertising, then left to join Richard Viguerie's firm. Eventually, she says, she became the youngest vice president with the company, and she now heads her own direct mail firm, Ann Stone & Associates.

They are asked if it would it be possible to be married to someone outside the political world. Could Bitsey, for example, be married to a salesman?

"I am," she declares.

Dinner is served in the formal dining room. The table is long and polished, with three place settings, fine white china and silver. There is a flurry of activity as Roger fetches salad bowls, only to find salad plates already at the table. Bitsey frowns. Milhous has not stopped barking.

Bitsey says that her husband "is not as thick skinned or as mean as people think." As an example, she tells the story of a Korean mechanic who used to work on Roger's two Citroens. (He has since sold them. The Mercedes is a leased company car. He owns the Jaguar.)

The mechanic was eager to start his own business, but needed financial backing. Roger agreed to invest. In return, the mechanic invited the Stones for dinner. It was Christmastime, but there were no presents under the tree. Bitsey asked the children what they were getting from Santa. The parents, as Bitsey tells it, became sad and said there was no money for presents.

The next day, Bitsey says, "Roger sent his secretary out with some money to buy toys for the kids. We sent them by messenger, anonymously." But the parents "figured out it must have been us. It's been a tradition now for several years." She pauses. "This year, since we were away for Christmas, we still have the gifts downstairs." 'I Was Flattered That Ed Asked Me'

There is no question that Roger Stone is climbing the political flagpole. But the higher you climb, the saying goes, the more you expose yourself.

Herb Harman, former regional political director for the Reagan-Bush campaign, puts it this way: "You can parlay your short-term connections into making money, but administrations change. That's where Roger is going to end up short, because he doesn't have any real talent. He doesn't have any character. That's why questions have come up about his ethics and his way of doing business. He has to parlay connections to give himself credibility because he has no credibility on his own."

For now, at least, his position within the Reagan camp seems secure. Stone is "not an unfamiliar figure" in the halls of the White House," says Mitch Daniels, assistant to the president for Political and Inter-Governmental Affairs. "Clearly, he's been an important soldier."

Some Republican elders say the Whiz Kid has mellowed in the past few years. "I think he's matured," says Marvin Liebman. "A lot of the rough edges are off."

"He's not as brash as he was," says former Reagan adviser Lyn Nofziger. "I think he's learned a lot of things."

But Stone may have at least a few more things to learn.

Last February, he angered supporters of Bush and Dole at a Conservative Political Action Congress' meeting. David Keene, the chairman of the congress, accused Stone of rigging a presidential preference poll "in a Watergate-type tactic from the kind of people who learned to operate in that era."

According to Keene, Stone first complained that two pro-Kemp groups, the College Republicans and the Fund for a Conservative Majority, had not been included in the original poll. Then, after Keene agreed to conduct a second poll of those attending the meeting, Stone hastily recruited hundreds of College Republicans to come to the meeting and cast their votes for Kemp. For good measure, he orchestrated the most vocal demonstration of the day, with "Not Bush" buttons and "Kemp '88" signs.

When Keene confronted him, Stone said he was sick with the flu. "He said, 'I haven't been out of my house for two days, how could I have done this?' " Keene recalls. "And some reporter said, 'Yeah, but he's talked to all of us four times a day.' "

Republican insiders were incredulous when they read in The New Republic that Stone said he's turned down a high-powered White House job offered by Ed Rollins, the former deputy to the president.

"I was flattered that Ed asked me," Stone said later. "And I obviously did seriously consider it, but I just didn't think I'd be happy. I've worked for myself now for so long. I'm set in my ways."

Responds Rollins: "For him to say a formal offer was made and he turned it down is not quite true." The two men, he says, talked about it informally. But Rollins says he was not sure Stone would have "fit well in that setting," meaning the White House. He also didn't want "the baggage of Roger."

So far, Stone has not been hired for any 1986 senatorial campaigns. He is working with Jeff Jacobs, who is running for Ohio state treasurer, and Rep. Bob McEwen (R-Ohio).

Everyone says he is almost certain to play a role in the 1988 presidential election, although no one is willing to say exactly what that will be. "Roger and I have been friends for years. I consider him to be one of the best political professionals in Washington. I look forward to his continuing advice in the political arena," said Kemp, through spokesman John Buckley. David Keene, however, says that "Roger and Jack Kemp have never been close." If something were to happen to the Kemp connection, Keene says, "I think Roger would try to work in with Bush probably."

But Bush's people may not want him. In 1982, Stone approached the Bush camp about the job of deputy to the chief of staff and was rebuffed. "He expressed an interest," says Pete Teeley, Bush's former press secretary, but "it just didn't work out." It probably won't help that in a March issue of Time magazine, Stone was quoted as calling the vice president "a weenie" -- though he later complained that his unflattering assessment had been off the record.

"Roger would love to run a national campaign," says one former White House deputy. "He has the skills to run a national campaign. But he cannot do it because he doesn't have the relationship with people. The most important thing in putting a big campaign together is to have a team. They've got to respect you. It's not an individual sport. This is a business, as Mike Deaver is finding out, where you've got to have allies instead of enemies.

"The problem I think Roger has is nobody trusts him." 'That Guy's Got a Really Good Life'

On any given night, you can find them. Young men in button-down shirts and yellow ties, sipping Chivas in Georgetown bars and trading political war stories. Roger Stone's name comes up often these days. There are those who idolize him, and Scott Reed is one.

A former wind surfing teacher from Delaware, Reed worked on the Tom Evans campaign. Now, at 26, he is th regional political director for the Republican National Committee and a self-described prote'ge' of Stone.

"There's no question that there are a lot of guys my age who are very taken by him," Reed says. "It's hard not to be."

In 1982, Reed was a gofer for Evans, mostly getting sandwiches. "Here comes this consultant type guy, walking in," he recalls. "He's got a nice suit on. People were buzzing, 'Mr. Stone. Mr. Stone.' I said to myself, 'That guy's got a pretty good life.' "

Reed became Stone's deputy. "I basically did everything he didn't want to do. Which was a lot. He's a very demanding person. He spent a lot of time looking at the big picture. He can tell you how the press is going to handle something. Get stories in The New York Post. That kind of thing . . . "

"He doesn't have to worry about how he's going to make his monthly mortgage payment. I can't wait until I'm at that point. You can spend 100 percent of your time doing what you do best; trying to get people elected."

Says Reed: "He wants to elect the next president."