Pending final approval by President Carter, top aide Hamilton Jodan will soon move from the White House to take active command of the Carter reelection campaign.
The idea for Jordan to fulfill the same role he did for Carter in 1976 came from Robert S. Strauss, chairman of the Carter-Mondale campaign committee.
Carter at first resisted losing his key lieutenant as White House chief of staff, but on Monday delivered a letter to Strauss indicating approval.
Strauss would retain the title of chairman, and Jordan would become deputy chairman with responsibility for political operations. Actually, Strauss has functioned mainly as Carter's political spokesman while Tim Kraft, a former Jordan aide with the title of national campaign manager, tended to details.
The SOS call by Strauss reflected his conviction that the Carter campaign is by no means ready for the general election and that somebody with more authority than Kraft is needed to get things going. On the Carter team, nobody other than the president has more authority than Jordan.
Strauss first broached the idea to the president over dinner at the White House on June 4. Carter responded with a flat no, insisting the needed Jordan to perform the chief of staff duties he officially took on last summer. Strauss telephoned the president on the matter again June 5 and raised it once more in person Sunday night.
The president apparently paid off.As the president was leaving Washington for Miami Monday, he handed a typewritten note to Strauss that Strauss interpreted as a green light for the Jordan transfer.
Although Jordan as Carter's closest adviser has been intimately involved in political decisions, the overwhelming majority of his time has been spent on government duties. For example, he has been calling the signals on the Iranian hostage crisis, much to the dismay of the State Department.
Thus, his transfer to the Carter-Mondale committee signifies that Carter is clearing the deck for action in the 1980 campaign. Even more than now, all efforts will be devoted to reelection.
No such transfer would have been possible before the recent clean bill of health given Jordan by a federal special prosecutor investigating allegations of drug usage by Jordan made by defendants in a tax evasion case who were later convicted. Since those drug charges have been made, Jordan has kept out of public sight.
His exoneration and transfer into the political arena do not promise greater exposure. Jordan informed Strauss he wanted to maintain his inaccessibility from reporters in the political post that he established a year ago. If he has his way, there will be no Jordan on the Sunday talk shows.