"Okay, Mr. President, we need you up there in center stage. Now you, Mr. Meese, and you, Mr. Denver, and all you New Right senators, we want you on either side of the president. Sort of form a chorus line. That's it. Terrific! Now remember, the tune is 'I Love New York.' Ready, on the count of three. And a one and a two and a three.":
"I LOVE THE POOR."
"Stop, stop, stop. That was awful. You, Watt. Stop frowning. The idea is to make the president and his administration seem compassionate. You're supposed to care about poor people and all the people you're making poor. Just a joke, Mr. Secretary, baby. Just kidding. Look, you gotta smile, Watt. You got to look compassionate. You can't look bored. Okay, let's take it from the top. And a one and a two and a three":
"I LOVE THE POOR."
"Cut! Cut! Better, but still not it. Look, French Smith. Do you have to wear evening clothes? It's ruining the effect. You're supposed to look like an average Joe. People have to identify with you. You have to look upbeat. Think of this as Up With Poverty. Imagine you're granting tax exemptions to racist schools. Something like that. Get with the program, French Smith. Reagan's the name and compassion's the game.
"Okay, let's line up again. Mr. President, you stay where you are. Terrific! You're just terrific at this kind of stuff. Okay, French Smith, why don't you stand behind Meese and you, yeah you, Watt, you should be in the back row, too. Now all the rest of you, pay attention. Remember, you sing the song and then while you're singing we flash to some scenes just like the I Love New York commercials.
"We are going to show the president . . . No, stay just where you are Mr. President. That's terrific. Just terrific. You're a real pro. We are going to show the president stacking sandbags. Wonderful footage, Mr. President. Dynamite stuff. You wearing those boots and all. Outasight! Made the scene work. Just made it.
"Okay. And then after the sandbag scene we're going to show some poor people. We're going to have poor people coming out of your ears. Boy, are we going to have poor people. Poor blacks and old people and the unemployed looking for jobs. Your heart will melt, and when you see them, Mr. President Baby, you are going to cry. You are just going to cry. The tears will roll down your cheeks and your voice will crack because that's the kind of guy you are. Mr. President Baby. You're compassionate.
"And then . . . get a load of this. We are going to have migrant workers. The cutest people you have ever seen. Short. Every single one of them is going to be short and needy-looking. We are going to show them picking veggies. We'll show the migrant labor camps and again, Mr. President . . . Mr. President Baby, are you listening? You gotta pay attention. This is important. Okay, after the migrant workers you cry again. Got it? First you cry at the poor and the old people and then you cry at the Hispanics.
"Listen, Watt. Back into line. You, too Baldrige. Zipkin, get in the back with Watt. I want you in the back row. Nofziger, straighten your tie. Senator Denton, stop that silly blinking.
"Okay now get back into line. Right. That's it. Nancy, get over next to your husband. Nancy, I just have to tell you, you look terrific. You should wear jeans more often. Dynamite. Just dynamite. Look, I have to be honest. I'm nothing if I'm not honest. It's cost me some jobs, but at least I can sleep at night.
"We're going to take it from the top. Now remember. There are ordinary people out there. They do not live at the Watergate. They do not have ranches. They think Adolfo is a canned spaghetti sauce. They worry about their pensions and clean air. They're for women's rights and civil rights and they're afraid of growing old and being poor. What can I tell you, kids? That's America. What can you do? So look sincere.
"Watt, get back into line. French Smith, put away that gold cigarette case. Nancy, I can't see your face--your smile is too wide. That's it, Nancy. Beautiful. You're beautiful.
"Okay, this is it. Cue the president. Cue the Cabinet. Cue the New Right. And a one and a two and a three."
"I LOVE THE POOR."