George Wallace's former campaign manager and his brother-in-law have joined Republican presidential candidate George Bush's eclectic campaign staff.
Charles S. Snider, who managed Wallace's 1972 and 1976 bids for the Democratic presidential nomination, says he is working in the South "to put some of the people we know, real Americans, in touch" with Bush.
Snider's business partner, Alton Dauphin, who is married to Wallace's sister, Mary Ann, is helping out in this party-hopping effort. "Basically, it's not that much of a change for people who were involved in the Wallace effort to be involved in a Republican effort," said Snider. "George Wallace always got a lot of Republican votes."
The idea of urbane, Ivy League-educated Bush picking up the old Wallace vote sounds like little more than wishful thinking to many. But the Bush camp thinks hiring Snider will send a not-so-subtle message to the South that its candidate is okay.
The way Bush supporters see it, their candidate has nowhere to go but up in the South, a region where John Connally and Ronald Reagan are regarded as Republican favorites. Snider, the theory goes, will give them access to people who now regard Bush as one of the "pointy-headed intellectuals" that Wallace used to rail against.
"It's like having a player in their backfield," said one Bush aide.
Wallace, the former Alabama governor, is apparently going to help the effort along himself.He's agreed to meet with Bush when he visits the state next month.
Snider and Dauphin, whose firm is to be paid $4,000 a month, are only the latest additions to Bush's unusual campaign staff. Earlier this week, Susan Morrison, the former communications director of the Republican National Committee, went to work for the former CIA director and ambassador.
Whom will Bush hire next?
"I don't know," says communications director Peter Teeley. "I don't think what we've done is any different from what other successful presidential campaigns have done in the past."
Snider says he was brought together with Bush by Ahl Timaus, Wallace's former Texas chairman. After several conversations with Bush, they signed on. "I like the way he talks," Snider said.
"We wanted to be sure he was someone we could be comfortable with, and that we could be effective," Snider added. "We checked around and found the people we've always worked with were very impressed with George Bush.
"I think you're going to find some other Wallace state chairmen who will get involved with Bush," he said.