Senators have traditionally found it difficult to go from Capitol Hill to the White House, but the newly-appointed solon from Montana, Paul Hatfield, had a particularly hard time earlier this month. Along with four other senators, Hatfield was invited by Jimmy Carter to watch his televised fireside chat on the Panama Canal issue.
At 8 o'clock that night Hatfield and his press secretary, John Linder, strode onto Constitution Avenue to hail a cab. Fifteen minutes passed, no cab. In desperation, Linder asked a Capitol Hill policeman to radio for a taxi. He did, twice, but with no results. Finally the officer gave Linder the keys to his Datsun. But neither to the senator nor the press secretary knew how to get to the White House; the policeman obligingly offered directions.
The men were soon lost, and at a red light ("I think it was near the Jefferson Memorial," Linder recalls) Hatfield knocked on the window of a stopped car to ask the whereabouts of the White House.
Linder dropped the senator off in the nick of time and returned the Datsun to the generous Hill cop, who didn't notice until the next day that Linder had left some newly purchased shirts and underwear in the rear seat. He forwarded the clothes to the office of the other Senator Hatfield, Mark of Oregon.
"Listen," Mark Hatfield said in a phone conversation to Paul Hatfield the next morning, "I don't mind answering phone calls of yours. And I don't mind answering you mail. But I will not do your laundry."