Right on the dot, at eleven-hundred hours yesterday, Alexander Haig, fresh from the previous night's firefight, wheeled into his GHQ on 15th Street to review his campaign troops. He was greeted not by salutes but by a surprise chorus of "Happy Birthday."

The former NATO commander, now 63, instantly bent over like a fragile geriatric case, began quaking, and extended his arm as if it were clutching a cane.

Then, his eyes darting across his assembled troops, he said: "They work better than they sing."

He then stood at attention at his pink, white and baby-blue cake. On it was scrolled in icing: "Happy birthday for our next president."

As Haig prepared a gust of breath to blow out the candles, he offered an aside about the Tuesday night debate: "We could have packaged all that wind on the Democratic side. Heh, heh."

With the lights snuffed, Haig swiveled and promised "an increasingly aggressive approach to the front-runner."

He declared, "There is no 11th commandment!" referring to the precept that Republicans do not speak ill of one another.

"It is incumbent upon every Republican to differentiate himself from every other Republican in the field," he said.

But, before the next offensive, it was time for presents.

A rectangular package was first. "Not liquid?" asked Haig.

He tore at the wrapping and a huge pair of green sunglasses emerged. Haig put them on.

Then he unwrapped a stuffed pit bull that bore an uncanny resemblance to the Bud Light mascot, Spuds McKenzie.

Haig put his new sunglasses on the party animal and embraced it. A campaign mascot, perhaps?

"Good old Spuds," Haig said warmly.