Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) brought his troubled presidential campaign here today for a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim as the candidate's staff in Washington geared for a major blitz of New England, beginning with a regional television appearance Monday night.
Kennedy came to the United Nations searching, not for votes, but for information to help him prepare a "major policy address" he will deliver Monday morning at Georgetown University.
Kennedy and Waldheim conferred for about an hour. An aide to Waldheim said they discussed the crises in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
Kennedy was to meet Saturday with administration officials, including Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance and Defense Secretary Harold Brown, for policy briefings.
The fruits of this research will become public when Kennedy delivers his Georgetown University speech, which he hopes will clarify his differences with President Carter on foreign and domestic policy.
Carl Wagner, one of Kennedy's political advisers, said the senator would use the speech to clarify his candidacy.
"We have to respond to circumstances as they develop," Wagner said. "Three months ago, we weren't talking about war; we didn't have a State of the Union address that didn't mention a 13 1/2 percent inflation rate. These are issues that have to be responded to."
Wagner said Kennedy will use the speech "to discuss feelings he shares about what the Democratic Party stands for and what complex problems are facing the country today."
Thursday, with his polls showing him trailing Carter in New Hampshire, where a key primary will be held Feb. 26, Kennedy abruptly canceled a weekend campaign trip so that he could work on the speech that is designed to give his campaign a second wind.
Kennedy's new schedule has him beginning 15 days of campaigning in New England Wednesday. He is scheduled to leave the northeast Feb. 6 for two days each in Florida and Puerto Rico, returning to New England 10-15.
Press secretary Tom Southwick said Kennedy was buying a half-hour of TV time "throughout New England" for Monday night's broadcast, which is to be recorded in Washington over the weekend.
Kennedy has been frustrated by Carter's command of the headlines as the president has responded to developments in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. The challenger has complained that nobody seems to listen when he argues that Carter's weak leadership is responsible for inflation at home and anti-American agitation abroad.
There had been suggestions that Kennedy, who says his campaign treasury is almost empty, might withdraw from the race. But he and his staff steadfastly deny that.
Meanwhile, Kennedy picked up some needed support when he won the endoresement of the 200,000-member Brotherhood of Railway and Airline Clerks. The union's president, Fred J. Kroll, endorsed Kennedy earlier.
In Maine, where the Feb. 10 town caucuses will be the next Carter Kennedy confrontation, Gov. Joseph Brennen, who also has endorsed Kennedy, said today that he had urged Kennedy to campaign "intensely" in the state and added that he believes Kennedy can win there.