MAYBE it started with the name. "My friends call me Jurdan," he told a reporter shortly after the election. "but you can call me Jordan." Having two names is a tricky business: Muhammad Ali could have told him that, or Farrah Fawcett-Majors. Never mind that in much of the South it's always been "Jurdan"; to those from elsewhere, the odd pronounciation seems showy, a kind of special pleading. And there's more than a hint of surliness in the way it was said: the implication that the world is divided into Hamilton Jordan's friends and the rest, and that most people fall into the latter class.

Whatever started it, Hamilton Jordan himself admits he has an image problem. "All that anybody's ever heard about me is basically negative," he said recently. "I'm sure that if you took a poll and people recognized my name it would be in connection with something unpleasant."

Not that it started out that way. Jordan burst into the national imagination in 1976 as the political genius behind the rise of Jimmy Carter, author of the "prophetic memo" mapping the trip from Plains, Ga., to the White 'ouse. Rolling Stone featured him and 4ody Powell on the cover dressed as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Those were the days when Jimmy Carter was riding high, a nuclear physicist turned evangelical peanut farmer, a zero-based political outsider.

The months since have been hard ones for Hamilton Jordan. Shortly before Carter's inauguration, his wife Nancy had a miscarriage; a year later, their eight-year marriage broke up. A few weeks after that, in February, his father died.

And the good press went unmistakably sour. It was reported that he had been rude to Mrs. Ashraf Ghorbal, wife of the Egyptian ambassador, comparing her decolletage to "the pyramids along the Nile." In February of this year, Rudy Maxa's Front Page People column reported an incident at Sarsfield's in which an unnamed woman said Jordan spat iced amaretto and cream down her blouse.

Jordan denied both reports; but the nation, and the press, were titillated. John Osborne, venerable columnist for The New Republic, virtuously disclaimed any interest in the incident, but could not resist adding that it seen to him unlikely that Jordan could in fact have held three ice cubes in his mouth. Newsweek's George Will, while admitting that he personally found Jordan "nice," admonished in the earnest tones of a prep-school headmaster that, "It is arrogant for a powerful person to be scruffy and boorish in order to advertise his exemption from little conventions and courtesies."

Then, under the headline "A Slob in the White House," Esquire writer Aaron Latham revealed such dark scandals from Jordan's past as the fact that he once wore corrective shoes and didn't like them; had a sloppy car; seldom brushed his teeth while in college and on at least one occasion used single-bed sheets on a double bed. Latham flatly contradicted earlier reports that Jordan didn't wear underwear, revealing that it not only existed but was dirty and collected in corners in nastly but was dirty and collected in corners in nasty little heaps. Concluded Latham: "Hamilton Jordan's sloppiness has become a national problem, like the energy problem. He sits in the White House radiating chaos. And that is just what seems to be crippling his adminstration."

How did this happen? How, in the space of 18 months, did Hamilton Jordan go from brilliant thinker to belching slob-from Butch Cassidy, philosopher-king of the White House, to Bluto, the gross-out king of "Animal House"?

In a sense, of course, the question answers itself. If you be come a myth, larger than life, you shouldn't be surprised when you image gets out control. And Jordan stepped willingly into mythology-no law requires campaign aides to pose in costume for rock-and-roll magazines. "Like a lot of us, he doesn't mind the fame," says pollster Pat Caddell, who was Jordan's roomate for most of this year, "if he could turn it on and off." But he sems to have been genuinely unprepared for the vulnerability that kind of fame can bring. He is not the first to findd the star system a brutal-and fickle-business.

But Hamilton Jordan's roller coaster ride is also an example of the exaggerated way much of the press and the public alike often see political figures. The image of unassuming genius was overdrawn to begin with; it became untenable as Carter made one mistake after another. Nothing looks sillier than a dumb mastermind.

"Are we to conclud," asked Republican House Whip Robert Michel after the Sarsfield's report, "that in one year the Carter Administration has gone from 'Great Expectations' to 'Great Expectorations'?" Many concluded just that. The American presidency is the focus for 200 million sets of fantasies, hopes and fears; but Jimmy Carter, in good times and bad, remains stubbornly unmythic. The anger and disappointment needed somewhere to go; much of it crystallized around Jordan, the well-known but ill-defined figure in the background.

Now the curve of opinion on a Carter is on the upswing again. After the Camp David agreements and a moderately successful close of the legislative session, Jimmy Carter no longer seems to be the stumbling boob of yesterday or the omniscient Christian engineer of the day before, but a politician who does some things badly and other things well. It seems a good time to look again at Hamilton Jordan, not as Paul Newman or John Belushi, but as an assistant to the president-a government employe who does some things well, some things badly and some things not at all.

The premise here is that-even if all the gossip is true-it is still Jordan's performance on the job that matters most-that even if he spent every evening in Sarsfield's (which he does not), he would still be spending most of his life in the White House, on the job.

If you don't knwo exactly what Hamilton Jordan does on the job, don't feel bad about that. To hear Jordan tell it, neither does Jimmy Carter. "The president," he says with a satisfied smile, "has no idea how I spend my time."

That statement, of course, gives a sense of how secure Jordan feels in his job-and offers a clue to the origins of his image problem. Myths thrive on mysteries-and Hamilton Jordan is a secretive man.

To begin with, the office. It used to be H. R. Haldeman's-a sunny corner room in the West Wing of the White House, just a few steps from the Oval Office. In a sense, Hamilton Jordan has H. R. Haldeman's old job as well. "Obviously he's the closest thing to a chief of staff we have," says press secretary Jody Powell. But that's not very close; Jordan has neither the temperament nor the desire to exercise moment-by-moment control over the White House staff.

Instead, he has remodeled Haldeman's job to suit his own eccentric and free-wheeling style. His sense of his job seems to have evolved from the old days as executive secretary to the governor of Georgia-where he handled politics, while Carter himself ran the state government-to a position somewhere between deputy president and one-man think tank.

The bare outlines are easily traced. He meets with Carter at least once a day, often more. He chairs a weekly meeting of the senior White House staff. He sits in on the president's weekly intelligence briefing and on the weekly foreign policy breakfast attended by Vice-president Walter Mondale, Defense Secretary Harold Brown, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, and National Security Adviser Sbigniew Brzezinski. In addition, he chairs a meeting for representatives of the cabinet departments and meets irregularly with major White House reporters to give the administration line.

He does virtually no lobbying on the Capitol Hill and has no direct liaison thinks with interest groups-like labor, business, or minorities-outside the White House. Personnel work is now handled by Tim Kraft. Jordan deals primarily with top administration officials and influential foreign visitors.

In a given week last month, his schedule included appointments with Budget Director James McIntyre, Governer Jerry Apodaca of New Mexico, British Ambassador Peter Jay, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and King Hassan II of Morocco.

But his week includes surprisingly large blanks as well. "I try to leave my schedule as flexible as possible," he explained. During that blank time, he is planning and thinking about long-term stragegy for the administration and the president.

"His role is to try to define and then protect what the president's personal stakes are-and not involve himself in other issues," says a White House colleague who has studied his method of operation. He immerses himself deeply in the areas he sees as "crises"-tow or three at time-and lets everything else fade out, to be handled by others. Speaking of White House decision-making, presidential assistant Anne Wexler saids, "He wanders in and out of this process at will."

Once he targets a crucial issue, Jordan deals with it in two ways. He frequently convenes adhoc task forces of White House staff and gency officials involved. This group, chaired by Jordan, develops a strategy. Once the group begins to function smoothly, he said, "I'll fade out and get to work on something else."

His style in meetings is usually low-key, informal, and humorous-but he can be sharp when he feels Carter's interests are threatened. Paul Jensen, executive assistant to Labor Secretary Ray Marshall, recalls an occasion in the Cabinet representatives' meeting at which Jordan confronted another aide with a charge that someone in his department was working against an administration program. "I can only call it 'eloquent rage,'" Jensen said. "He said, 'We can have this guy transferred out of the continental United States if we have to.'" On another occasion Jordan delivered a rebuke and then stalked out of the meeting without listening to an explanation. "That had a very sobering effect," Jensen said.

But beyond his work in meetings, Jordan's second-and probably most important-function is to write strategy memos for Carter' eyes. It is, of course, as a memo-writer that Jordan first came into public view; he has continued to turn them out since he moved into Haldeman's old office. Landon Butler, Jordan's deputy, estimates that he writes a major strategy memo for Carter's eyes about once every two weeks. Hese may be 40 or 50 pages in length, and may take 8 to 12 hours of writing, going through several drafts, which Jordan types himself on an IBM Selectric. In addition, he may write five or six shorter memos to Carter a week.

During the months they roomed together, Caddell remembered many nights when he went to sleep to the sound of Jordan's typewriter; in the morning, Jordan would be leaving for the White House when Caddell came down for breakfast. "Sometimes when he wanted to work on something by himself, he'd come home in the afternoon and sit by the pool and write," Caddell said.

Those who've read the memos say they are written in a lucid, spare style and include direct suggestions and criticisms for the president. Often Jordan will buttress his arguments with elaborate three-and four-color charts, which he draws himself and then has redone by a commercial artist. It is a mode of communication custommade for Carter, with his background in military briefings and his love for the tightly organized written word.

"I always do better with him when I send him a memo first," Jordan said. "I found that out in Georgia. (Otherwise) you go in there with five points and don't get past point one."

White House sources recall memos recommending that Carter live up to his promise to propose a Department of Education in the Cabinet, and that he withdraw the United States from the International Labor Organization. The recommendations took into account both political consequences of the moves and their policy implications. In both cases, Carter followed the suggested course.

Presidential assistant Tim Kraft recalls that, in the first year of the administration, Brzezinski's staff convinced Carter to hold an unprecedented number of meetings with foreign heads of state-eminent and obscure. In preparing a year-end memo, Kraft says, Jordan produced several pages of color charts showing that Carter and spent more time than any recent president on foreign policy and that public reaction was likely to be negative. "It would be presumptious to say that changed the president's mind," Kraft says-but the number of meetings dropped sharply in 1978.

Domestic political concerns are never far from Jordan's mind or his memos. "Clearly, Hamilton is now spending a lot of time thinking about the '80 campaign," says Anne Wexler. It is hard to find anyone who has worked with Jordan-even those who criticize other parts of his performance-who will denigrate his political judgment. The word "instinct" pops up often, to describe the nonverbal way he responds to political questions.

Midge Costanza, former assistant to Carter who resigned after repeated conflicts with Jordan, says, "He'll get up and walk to the window and you can almost hear it clicking. By the time he gets to the window he'll says, 'that's a good idea,' or 'I don't think it will work,' and he'll click off the answers."

Another present White House aide, who was initially skeptical of Jordan, has now become a convert. "He is one of the best political minds anywhere," he said. "If you were president, you would want him in a office close to yours and you'd want to talk to him everyday and you'd pay a fairly high price to keep him."

And carter does pay a price. There are many things Jordan does not do well, and he can irritate those who are unused to his style. "Ham will not get staked out as the accountable, responsible person on any one issue, " says a colleague. "That means he doesn't get credit for some things he does badly."

The narrow, deep focus of his attention is frustrating to those who want his help on other matters. "He is always charming to people," says an aide who has since left the White House. "Most people I know who meet with him like him and feel that he's very responsive and listens to their problems. What really drives them up the wall is that he never does anything about it."

Paul Jensen recalls an early meeting with Labor Department officials at which Jordan kept the office stereo at high volume, blaring the soul rhythms of Gladys Knight and the Pips. "You literally had to shout to be heard," he said. Another lower level White House aide, now departed, recalls being unnerved by Jordan's fidgeting and obvious boredom during dicussions of issues and by his famous sarcastic sense of humor. "If I was trying to have a serious and substantive dicussion, the humor was disruptive," he said.

There is also a feeling that he gives little credit to those outside the Georgia circle.

"A lot of people feel that when they do well, it's expected, when they screw up, it goes down in the book," said a non-Georgian. "The Cabinet members feel that they don't build up credits-there's no money in the bank."

Friend and foe alike agree that Jordan is not a goodd administrator. "The fact that the White House as an operation was not as well run as it should have been was partly his fault," concedes Jody Powell. Jordan has shucked many administrative duties, leaving them to newly elevated aides like Kraft and Wexler. His staff has declined in numbers since the inauguration.

As one builds a picture of Jordan's job, there emerges, like a photographic negative, a picture of a job nobody in the White House has been doing-an assistant who will follow up on all matters, crucial and trivial, and handle the loose ends left by Jordan's method of operation. Some observers feel that Jordan has kept anyone else from assuming that role-that he is jealous of his position as Carter's confidant. But others insist that there is no such detail person-no true "Chief of Staff"-mostly because Jimmy Carter himself doesn't want one.

Certainly there have been some celebrated losers in the White House influence game, chief among them Jack Watson, the urbane Harvard-trained Atlanta lawyer who headed the Carter "transition team" but who was bumped by Jordan after the election. Watson continues in a White House job, but has apparently had to scale down his ambitions. Midge Costanza, former vice mayor of Rochester and veteran of the Carter campaign, resigned in August after a series in August after a series of highly publicized clashes with Jordan.

Opinions were divided about whether Jordan is vindictive toward rivals. "Those whom Hamilton is thought to have done in-Watson and Costanza-in fact had no influence anyway," and one White House source-who then asked not to be quoted by name. Many in and out of the administration were certainly unwilling to discuss Jordan for publication. "Hamilton has a long memory," said one person who refused to be interviewed.

But there is also evidence that Jordan has help bring new people into the White House inner circle-among them Anne Wexler, who moved from the Commerce Department in April of this year to an office on the second floor of the West Wing. Richard Moe, chief of staff for Vice President Mondale, credits Jordan with a major role in promoting the unprecedentedly close working relationship between Carter and Mondale.

In fact, Jordan seems quite confident of his relationship withe Carter; his mind seems to fit Carter's like a peanut fits it shell. They have worked together since 1966, when Jordan was 21. Jordan's adult personality is shaped around Carter's. Many of those interviewed echoed Carter's domestic issues adviser, Stuart E. Eizenstat, who calls it "almost a father-son relationship."

Jordan is respectful and semiformal with Carter and is careful to remain identified with the president's personal political fortunes. As a result, Carter listens to what he says, and Jordan can oppose him when necessary.

"Of all the people who can present bad news to be president and give him harsh advice, Hamilton is the one who feels freest," said Jim Fallows, former White House chief speechwriter who left recently to become Washington editor of The Atlantic.

Jordan has been central to a number of the administration's key victories. He chaired task forces on civil service reform and the Saudi-Egyptian arms package and played a key role in the successful drives to uphold Carter's nuclear carrier veto and repeal the Turkish arms embargo. He was at Camp Davidd for the entire 13-day ordeal and sat in on daily morning sessions with Carter, Vance and Brzezinski to review the progress of negotiations.

(His only trip away from Camp David was a quick flight to deny a Jack Anderson column which charged that he and Atlanta lawyer Charles Kirbo had been "linked to" an attempt to gain administration help for exiled financier Robert Vesco. An old Jordan friend, W. Spencer Lee IV, was to receive a fortune in stock for delivering a message to Jordan, Anderson said. Jordan threatenea libel suit; Anderson later admited that the letters he had used as basis for the charge were "reconstructions" and not originals.)

But his major success to date has been the administration's key win on the Panama Canal treaties. "Would the arms sale (to Egypt and Saudi Arabia) have gotten through without him? Probably," says Robert G. Beckel, former State Department lobbyist who is now on Frank Moore's White House congressional liaison staff. "The Turkish arms embargo? Probably. Would the Panama Canal treaties have gotten through without him? No."

Jordan organized a series of White House briefings for influential people in key senator's districts. He also flew to Panama for a long visit with Gen. Omar Torrijos, the head of state, and met or talked almost daily with Panamanian Ambassador Gabriel Lewis.

Beckel says it was this personal contact with the Panamanians which kept the administration from making a misstep that might have tempted the mercurial Torrijos to renounce the treaties. And one source says Jordan talked to the Panamanian leader on long-distance telephone several times in the anxious days between ratification of the first and second treaties, trying to prevent just that.

But Jordan's one try as a lobbyist ended in failure. He and Special Ambassador Robert Strauss paid a special call on Senator Wendell Ford (D-Ky.), whose vote was seen as winnable. Shortly afterward, Ford announced his opposition; the Congressional Liaison staff has razzed Jordan about his lobbying ever since.

The Canal effort seems to have impelled Jordan into his present role as foreign policy adviser and coordinator of key lobbying campaigns, as role he will likely play in the upcoming arms control treaty debate. But the event that spurred his entry into foreign policy planning was the disastrous U.S.-Soviet declaration on the Middle East in October 1977. Jordan, who was not consulted until after the new policy was announced, worked long and hard to repair the damage done by the move to the administration's relationship with Jewish constituents. And he went to the president and told him that domestic political savvy was necessary in making foreign policy. In January, Carter asked Jordan to come to the breakfasts.

He downplays his role in foreign policy. But it has come to take more and more of his time and attention. When the presidential party visited Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, Carter sent a telegram summoning Jordan from Washington to a dinner at King Khalid's palace. Contacts he made there proved valuable during the arms-sale fight, he said. "

These personal contacts are important," he added. "But I try to avoid being used as a back channel. I don't have the background or the inclination to conduct actual negotiations."

There have been less glorious moments as an adviser, of course. He reportedly urged Carter to support embattled budget director Bert Lance and encouraged Lane to hang on as long as possible. The Lance affair-which Jordan refused to discuss-was handled in a way that maximized the damage to Carter's reputation.

It's a mixed record, to be sure, but hardly disgraceful. Much of the press and the public, however, have remained fixated on Jordan's clothes, his manners, his conduct. The Esquire article even managed to provide a full-fledged psychiatric diagnosis for his reported rudeness. Supported by the wisdom of unnamed psychiatrists, it said that Jordan was suffering from an inferiority complex brought on by wearing ugly shoes and growing up in the South; his personality, it said, was trapped in the oral phase-leading him to spit, let's says, amaretto and cream at any opportunity.

But the only psychiatrist known to have spent much time with Jordan as a co-worker, departed White House drug adviser Peter Bourne, discounts this vicarious psychologizing. "I think it's so easy to make those judgments about anyboddy," he said. "I've always felt that you could criticize his style but there was no great psychopathology there."

The bad press seems to have sparked some disquiet among those who know Jordan. Fallows says that there is resentment in the administration over press coverage of Jordan-"a feeling that he is being labeled a boor and a boob by people who are in fact more boorish than he. And the irony is, of all the people here, the one I would most trust my fate with is Hamilton."

In the fall of 1967, while Jimmy Carter was between campaigns for governor of Georgia, Hamilton Jordan joined a group of young people trained in rice cultivation and sent to Vietnam as "community development specialists" by International Voluntary Services. Stuarts M. Bloch, who was Jordan's roomate during training in Vietnam and is now a Washington lawyer, remembers him as a boisterous, friendly, but reticent young man who spent his monthly allowance on Coca-Colas, hired a local tailor to sew him a spiffy set of powder-blue Vietnamese pajamas and kept a shiny pair of wing tips under his cot.

Shortly before the Tet offensive, Jordan developed a fever and a large swelling on his neck. Bloch and he flew together to Saigon in a plane carrying the bodies of dead GIs in rubber bags. Jordan entered a hospital in Saigon and eventually went home to Georgia. Of the war, Jordan sas, "I didn't see it so closely that people were dying to the right and left of me, but I saw it."

Bloch looks at subsequent events with some bemusement. "He was the least likely prospect to be where he is today," he said recently. "There may be thousands of people who are brighter than be running around Washington. . . I don't think he's any kind of secret genius or secret villian."

That may be the most useful insight about Hamilton Jordan. Despite the myth of his genius, and the converse legend of his slobbioshness and crudity, he seems like a fairly ordinary guy. In a way, he represents the basic premise of the Carter campaign-that ordinary people, without special credentials or Washington experience, can give the United States a government "as good as its people."

Certainly Jordan came to his job without the special credentials expected of a 34-year-old moving into the White House-elite education, legal training, professional or business success. His degree in political science from the University of Georgia was gained, he once said, in "five-and-a-half funfilled years." Except for his brief stint in Vietnam, his entire adult life has been devoted to furthering the career of Jimmy Carter.

Bloch recalls Jordan's account of his time as an intern in the office of the lat Sen. Richard B. Russell (D-Ga.). "Russell gave his taste of power," Bloch said. "But he also a sense of how, outside the Congress, Southerners were completely shut out-considered racists, bisgots."

If Jordan has seemed uncomfortable with Washington, it may be bcause he is aware that many people are ready to regard him as a bumpkin and an ignoramus. And compounding this problem is another Southern trait-his extraordinary reticence.

He seldom tells what he's thinking, and he had refined silence and discretion into a powerful personal sytle. "He is without question the most confidential person I know," said Evan S. Dobelle, treasurer of the Democratic National Committee and a friend of Jordan's. Jordan is known for not answering direct questions; he uses his dry sense of humor to deflect curiosity. When truly angry, he does not lose his temper, but withdraws, physically or mentally. If someone truly offended him, Dobelle said, "After a while you'd hear yourself talking for seven minutes with nothing coming back." tNo one who has covered a Southern courthouse could mistake the look on Jordan's face when he doesn't want to answer: chin uplifted slightly, eyes hooded. It's not quite defensive, but it expresses an old Southern notion that power is best exercised quietly, and that only a fool talks about what he's going to do before he's done it. An interview with Jordan is a little like watching one of those trick boxes which, when turned on, extrudes a tiny hand that turns the switch off. Asked what he would like to tell the public about his job, he smiled sardonically and sais, "I would't tell'em anything. If I had one shot to tell them about myself I'd tell them I worked for a good and unusual man."

But people, quite naturally, want to know more; and as long as Jordan keeps the essentials of his work out of sights, that curiosity is likely to focus on the periphersal: his grooming, his manners, his personal life.

And that's too bad, because the official Jordan is an interesting figure. He seems to come at problems with no preconceptions. "He's not Ivy League derivative," said a White House staffer whose Washington experience predates this administration. "He's not carrying a whole agenda from another political period."

His political philosophy is sketchy. "Domestically, I am greatly disenchanted with the ability of the federal government to enhance the quality of life," he said. "I thought the Great Society was a wonderful thing at the time, but now I would question that."

The issue he cares most about is education, "The basis for improving the quality of life in this country. That and the civil rights stuff-I think that has a special meaning for those of us from the South. But I'm not a programs guy."

His greatest loyalty is clearly to Jimmy Carter. "When you have a relationship with someone as long as I have had with Carter-I don't agree with everything he believes, but I'm comfortable enough with him, his intellectual honesty, that I'm not watching everything he does with the idea that I might walk out over something."

He would walk, though, over "a basic question of honesty and justice-but that's exactly what I can't imagine. I could imagine him starting a needless war before doing something like that."

Those who know him say Jordan is a mild dove. His opposition to the B-1 bomber was a factor in Carter's decision not to produce it. But his loyalty to Carter might override that. "His natural inclination is to be soft andd dovish," says a former White House colleague. "And his political inclination for the president is to be hard and hawkish."

Jordan dismisses charges that he has trouble working with women and has opposed appointments of women. "I'm probably chauvinistic in some ways, but that's a bumrap," he said.

Co-workers say he has tried to compensate for his traditional upbringing. "He does find it hard to take women seriously," says one. "But he buys it as a political thing." He favors federal funding for abortions-one of the few issues he openly disagrees with Carter about. Anne Wexler chooses her words with care: "I don't have any more feeling that Hamilton is a sexist than I do about any other man that I work with." I can see how Jordan could inspire affection and exasperation at the same time. During interviews he fidgets, whistles, walks around the office and wheels his swivel chair aimlessly to and fro. A junior aide making a presentation might be dismayed to see the president's top assistant flip open a copy of New York magazine, or begin noisily winding and unwinding a mechanical doll of Woodstock, the forlorn little bird in "Peanuts."

It seems less like rudeness than the manner of a man who lives very much in the moment, and thus bores quickly. "I don't have any plans for the rest of my life," Jordan said, though he added that he'd like to write fiction some day. He admits that he'll stay "as long as he needs me." H. R. Haldeman's old office might be a pleasant place to dream about the novelist's life, for-say-the next six years or so.

It's certainly a more pleasant place now that Carter's polls are up, Jordan's time of personal trial seems to be over, and the press is off his back. In fact, a new myth of Hamilton Jordan may be emerging. In place of Butch Cassidy or Bluto, we are now seeing a Mr. Jordan suprisingly like the suave divinity of "Heaven Can Wait." After his appearance in November before a group of Washington reporters, Andrew Glass of the Cox newspapers wrote that "the once ugly-behaved rascal has been metamorphosed into a beautiful political butterfly." Godfrey Sperling of the Christian Science Monitor wrote of a "restyled" Jordan who has finally dropped all that nonsense about the name: "He was introduced as 'Hamilton Jordan' (Northern accent) on the CBS program 'Face the Nation' Nov.12."

So, in the end, we are back to the name again, and the myth isas strong as ever. The announcer, in fact, politely called him "Jurdan"-but that people are hearing "Jordan" may be the clearest sign yet that Hamilton Jordan's image is coming under control.

It may also depend on Carter's polls. If they drop again, it may be back to the belching slob. But ho myth is as valuable as the fragile notion that Hamilton Jordan is just an ordinary guy, who can dress up when he needs to and who works for and obviously loves.

Not having special wisdom or the backing of unknown psychiatrists, I can only guess the rest. Could he be rude in a bar? Probably, if the mood took him. Is he a maniac, rampaging through the world as if it were a toga party at Delta House? I think not.

So, for now, the name is "Jurdan." Like they say it down in jurgia.