The game of lists in the Virginia Senate race grew a little longer yesterday as Republican candidate John W. Warner's campaign staff unleashed its newest weapon - the Pentagon.
With little fanfare, but enough brass to command the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines together, the Warner organization announced the formation of Military Friends of Warner, a group of Virginians retired from the service and headed by Adm. Thomas H. Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Moorer was joined at an Arlington press conference in the shadow of the Pentagon yesterday by an array of brass that included Col. Judy Hamblett, the former top woman marine, and Vice Adm. George E. Moore II, vice chief of naval material when Warner was Navy secretary in the Nixon administration.
Also present was former assistant Navy secretary John Johnson, who, as a Maryland resident, can't vote for Warner, but as a black who served under Warner defended the Republican's race relations record during his tenure as Navy secretary.
The Military Friends is the latest in a litany of groups such as Virginians for Warner, representing non-Republican supporters, Farmers for Warner, Physicians for Warner, Certified Public Accountants for Warner and Realtors for Warner.
"We have a bunch of them and a bunch more coming," Warner spokesman William Kling said of the list of lists.
Listing prominent supporters publicly in various groups sometimes seems more important in Virginia's politics than the issues in the races. The military list could be secound in importance only to the list of independents and Democrats supporting Warner, because it is aimed at the votes of more than 62,400 military retirees who live and vote in Virginia, principally in the Tidewater area and suburban Washington.
Warner's retired military supporters also include former Marine Corps commandant Gen. Wallace H. Greene Jr., Maj. Gen. Jeanne M. Holm, the first woman general in the Air Force, and Gen. Frank S. Besson Jr., formerly of the Army's materiel command.
If Warner was their here of the hour yesterday, it was sometimes difficult to tell who was the enemy: Democratic candidate Andrew P. Miller or Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, the retired chief of naval operations who has been outspokenly critical of Warner's performance as Navy secretary.
Miller's name didn't come up at yesterday's press conference until the end, when a reporter mentioned it. Zumwalt, who ran unsuccessfully two years ago against Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr., (D-Va.) was mentioned even before the news conference began.
"I don't want to get into personality clashes, but I disagree with Admiral Zumwalt," said Moorer, who campaigned for Byrd.
Johnson, who in charge of the Navy's race relations under Warner, defended Warner from the criticism that followed the candidate's comment during a television interview a month ago that he had showed down integration efforts in the Navy. Warner later retracted the statement, saying he had not understood the question.
Johnson criticized Zumwalt for promising more changes to Navy personnel than he could deliver. "I went to Mr. Warner and said, 'You've got to stop this promising,'" he said. "It was no slowdown, it was a change in direction."
Kling played down the attention to Zumwalt. "It is not intended to be a response to Elmo," he said of the Military Friends. Both Kling and Moore said members of the group will appear on Warner's behalf during the campaign.
Kling refused to speculate on what list of supporters the Warner staff will announced next. A spokesman for Miller, who has issued only two lists so far, said, "If we were to prepare a special list, it would be called 'People for Miller.'"