Once a month Lucky does his bit to help sell millions of copies of the National Enquirer by traveling around the United States meeting famous people. This spring, for example, he had lunched on biscuits at the White House, though he's not partial to Democratic administrations - he also chowed there during the Nixon administration.
Nothing sells newspapers, traditional wisdom has it, as well as pictures of kids and animals. And Lucky is a dog, a mutt found in a Miami pound several years ago by the promotion-minded Enquirer. As the newspaper's mascot, Lucky nuzzled Bob Hope and John Wayne, shook hands with George Wallace, marched in parades and posed with Richard Nixon's King Timahoe as well as Amy Carter's spaniel named Grits.
"He's a darling dog, he's like little Benji," says Ann Anderson, the First Lady's deputy press secretary who facilitated Lucky's recent romp with Grits. (Adds Anderson: "I don't know how the dogs happened to fall into our bailiwick.")
"Everybody loves Lucky," says William Barnhill, whose West Virginia news service first contacted Anderson on behalf of the Enguirer. "I understand that Lucky gets more fan mail than any reporter."
Arranging for Lucky to pose with celebs is a high priority assignment that enjoys the personal interest of iron-fisted Enquirer publisher Generoso Pope Jr., according to staffers at the Enquirer. No expense is spared. Lucky sometimes flies with his trainer and articles editor Joseph Cassidy, or a member of the Cassidy family, with whom Lucky lives his off-camera life.
Gerald Ford's press secretary, Ron Nessen, once turned Lucky down, saying "We won't lend ourselves to this kind of gimmick," but that's the exception.
Generally Lucky gets in and Enquirer readers are treated to a picture of the dog saved from certain death for life in the fast lane.