Vice President Mondale hopscotched across Wisconsin today, rallying supporters of the Carter administration against the possibility of another upset at the hands of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
"We feel right confident of the results" in next Tuesday's Wisconsin primary, Mondale said at the start of a three-city tour from the shores of Lake Michigan to the Minnesota border. "But we're not taking anything for granted."
Playing his familiar role of campaign surrogate for the White House-bound president, Mondale called on traditional Democratic labor and farm constituencies to prevent a recurrence of the upsets Carter suffered last Tuesday in New York and Connecticut.
With Kennedy scheduled to arrive in Wisconsin Saturday night for a two-day blitz of the state, Mondale this morning expanded his own Wisconsin campaign schedule to keep him in the state on three of the final four days before the voting.
Instead of returning to Washington tonight after stops in La Crosse and Eau Claire, as originally planned, Mondale added Saturday events in Madison and Green Bay to his previously scheduled Monday appearances in Milwaukee.
After Tuesday's twin upsets in the East, Carter campaign pollster Patrick Caddell went back to resurvey Wisconsin voters. According to Mondale aides, the first results Caddell relayed this morning showed "Wisconsin still looks good. He [Caddell] can't see that it's changed that much." While no figures were given, indications were that Carter had a comfortable lead in the most recent poll.
But Mondale's campaign efforts suggested a degree of nervousness that the momentum might have shifted in Kennedy's direction. There was less apparent concern about the efforts of California Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr., who has been campaigning heavily on the state's campuses for the past 10 days.
At every stop, Mondale displayed the symbols of Carter's support from traditional Democratic voter groups. Here in Racine, Mondale was introduced to a rally of about 500 United Auto Workers members and retirees by Ray Majerus, regional UAW director who will soon become secretary-treasurer of the international union.
While UAW president Douglas Frasedr is backing Kennedy, he gave Majerus, a longtime close friend of Mondale's, permission at the time of the New Hampshire primary to make a personal endorsement of the Carter-Mondale ticket.
Last Tuesday, Carter met with Majerus and members of the regional political action committee of the UAW at the White House, reportedly in hopes of gaining a formal endorsement from that body.
That endorsement has not been forthcoming, which means that the phone banks and full-scale organizational efforts the UAW normally mounts on behalf of its endorsed candidates are not visible here, in a congressional district whose congressman, Les Aspin, is actively supporting Kennedy.
But Majerus told reporters that "the meeting we're having today speaks for itself," and said that ordinary organization efforts were not needed with an incumbent president.
Later in the day, Mondale was joined by Lee Mulder, president of the Wisconsin Farmer's Union, as he toured the dairy-farming country of northwestern Wisconsin.