These days few freshmen senators ride publicity waves as skillfully as South Dakota Republician Larry Pressler, whose frequent presence at parties, has made his face a fixture on society pages. One technique he uses to hype his image as a potential Republican presidential candidate at the age of 37 is to release to the press carefully selected photographs to maximize his exposure.

In August, for example, South Dakota's senior senator, Democrat George McGovern, organized a trip for a handful of businessmen and bankers from his home state to European money capitals in the hope of increasing agricultural trade. As a courtesy, McGovern invited Pressler along. Once abroad, Pressler attended a few meetings, missed others, but was right on time to meet with the Pope.

The American embassy in Italy made available to both senators pictures of their papal audience. The photograph at left was sent by McGovern's office to South Dakota newspapers. The right photo -- the close-up of only Pressler and the Pope -- was the offering from Pressler's office. Part of his left arm is missing because that was how the photo had to be cropped to eliminate McGovern's right arm. And in the handy caption provided newspapers, Pressler made no mention of either his colleague's presence or McGovern's role in arranging the European jaunt.