His opponent, and many of his friends, used to call the Baltimore County executive "TV Teddy." But today, as the gubernatorial primary nears the final act, even Ted Venetoulis' closest advisers concede that television has not been kind to him.
"TV Teddy is not TV Teddy at all," said Smelkinson, his campaign manager. "We've tried everything, but have not been able to capture his vitality on television. His image just doesn't come across properly. You can't feel the fire that comes from within him."
One of the top advertising agencies on the East Coast, W. B. Doner, has been trying for months to capture that fire. They started by giving him scripts, then tried filming him on the campaign trail and finally, last week, put him before an audience of people he did not know and filmed him as he answered questions extemporaneously.
"I think this final way is going to work," said Smelkinson, after viewing the results of the ad-lib effort with Doner executive Al Salter. "But it's still pretty late to develop a new theme. When Ted runs for president this is what we'll do from the beginning."
For now, however, Venetoulis is relying heavily on his own personnal campaign style and the enthusiasm of his volunteers to carry his image to the voters. The components of Venetoulis' image to the voters. The components of Venetoulis' image are a slogan - "Venetoulis for a New Maryland" - and is jogging through the streets during what are known as "caravans."
When he is jogging through the streets, his arms always moving and reaching out, his feet slapping down to the beat of the "Rocky" theme song blaring out from a sound system on top of a car, Venetoulis is trying to evoke the images of energy and rebirth that his campaign manager speaks of so passionately.
"There aren't that many impressions that you can get to stick in people's minds during a campaign," Venetoulis said last Sunday during a tour of black churches in Baltimore. "If I can get them to remember two things, one would be energy, the other change."
Earlier that day, at the Mt. Olive Free will Baptist Church, Venetoulis [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]