The former high government official had come here, he wanted the press to know, not to make fun of the Carter administration, not to criticize its policies and not to contradict the president.
"I will not do that," he asserted. "I will not compete with Andy young."
With such drollery, Henry A. Kissinger, the man who gave us shuttle diplomacy, is now practicing shuttle politicking.
From a breakfast of Special K cereal at $50 a bowl in Cincinnati ("Vot's dis?" he wanted to know when served) to a $100-a-plate dinner here Thursday night ("I looked under my plate and there was no $100"), Kissinger has become one of the most effective fund-ralsers on the Republicans' Tough Beef & Rubber Chicken Circuit.
He packed them into Opryland, and brought them to their feet in Cincinnati. In convention centers and in hotels, at breakfasts, lunches, dinners and cocktail parties in between, Republicans and even a few Democrats are paying $50, $60, $100, even $500 to see what one Republican calls "undeniably, the very best" fundraiser.
Kissinger, national security affairs adviser and secretary of state in two Republican administrations, a Nobel Peace laureate and all-around man of fascination, has raised more than $900,000 for GOP House and Senate candidates in less than a year. By election day, he may easily pass $1 million.
"That ain't shabby," says R. Doug Lewis, an aide to former treasury secretary and current campaigner John B. Connally, who has raised $1.2 million for Republican candidates.
"Kissinger is one of the Big Four fund-raisers," with Connally, former California governor Ronald Reagan and former president Gerald R. Ford.
Super K has become Super K.
"He's an elected official's dream," says Illinois State Sen. Jack Schaffer, campaign manager for Rep. Robert McClory (R-Ill.), for whom Kissinger raised $45,000 last month. "He's a very entertaining and informative speaker."
"He's prohibited from running for president [as an immigrant from Germany], so he's not a threat to anyone. The Reaganites don't get nervous, and the Ford people don't get nervous. He is one of the best draws in the party," Schaffer added.
"In fact, the president said the other day Andy Young is doing a great job. If that is true, then Andy Young must be moonlighting."
"He's the best we've ever had," says Ron Roberts, who works in the reelection campaign of Rep. Willis Gradison (R-Ohio). "His ability to talk to a crowd --people out at 8 a.m. on a Thursday for a breakfast of Special K, and you've done something." Total take, $72,000.
"I don't do that many -- six or seven a year," says Kissinger, walking through Albuquerque on the way to at least his ninth political appearance in recent months and fresh from raising $75,000 the night before for House Minority Leader John J. Rhodes in Phoenix.
"I'm bound to have an affection for an administration every member of vitch speaks with an accent."
"I would be the last person to deny the historic achievements of our president. His fireside chat with the sweater on -- he is the first president in American history who started his term by pulling the wool over his own eyes.
By the time he had finished his one-liners here and had challenged the Carter administration's foreign policy as incoherent, Kissinger had raised an estimated $100,000 for Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), who is seeking reelection. The next day, as there usually is when Kissinger appears, there were front-page headlines furthering Domenici's campaign.
Schaffer in Illinois says Kissinger did even better on garnering publicity for McClory than Vice President Mondale did for a Democratic candidate in a neighborhing district.
"Henry," says a Republican campaign official in Washington, D.C., "has a reputation among old-line politicians here who look askance at him -- all of a sudden he's a folk hero. He's the most articulate Republican spokesman on foreign policy."
"Republicans fairly well hold him in awe," adds Connally aide Lewis.
No, he doesn't intend to make fun, criticize or contradict. Not at all.
Yet Kissinger views President Carter's confrontation with the Soviet Union over human rights as a venture that only demonstrated "the impotence of the United States" to affect Soviet domestic policy. Then, too, there was the "unilateral abandonment of the B-1 bomber," "the stretching out of the MX missile" and being "excessively conciliatory" while "proxy" Cuban troops spell the Soviets in Africa.
So if he did not come here to say all of that, then what is Henry Kissinger doing here?
"He is picking up chits." says a Republican campaign official, "showing he's a loyalist and that he's with the party. All he wants to talk about is how you run a statewide campaign."
Is Kissinger, then, practicing for running for U.S. senator from New York in 1980?
"I don't need the practice."
Does he have political ambitions? "No, not really."
Then what is he doing?
"I usually don't do campaign appearances. I only do them for people who support principles I consider vital to the country."
"He offered to help the senator any way he could," says an aide to Sen. Robert Griffin (R-Mich.), who is having a $500-a-person cocktail party-dinner on Sept. 14 with Kissinger as the draw.
"'Chuck, let me know if I can ever help,'" he is quoted as having told Sen. Charles Percy (R-Ill.), and Kissinger eventually wowed more than 1,300 guests at a "Chuck Roast" that raised $350,000 for Percy.
"I have written a thousand pages of my book, and I am not even through my bachelor days. It will be called 'a Study in Humility,' . . . Or, 'A Study in Infallibility.'"
Contributing to this report was staff researcher Jane Freundel.