Independent presidential candidate John Anderson said today that he will name his running mate in four to six weeks and that he is looking for a liberal Democrat in the mold of his friend, Rep. Morris Udall of Arizona.
Anderson said in an interview during the Paris stop on his foreign tour that while he is "not excluding a Republician or an independent, obviously" a Democrat would be "in harmony with the national unity theme" he has been striking.
Anderson indicated that he did not think Udall, himself an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1978, would be available since he has accepted an invitation to be a keynote speaker at the Democratic convention and announced two days ago that he is seeking reelection as a congressman.
But, Anderson said, Udall is a good example of the kind of vice presidential candidate he has in mind. Asked if any other names leapt to mind, he said, "no."
At a press conference earlier, Anderson said that while he expects to have an announcement on his running mate in four to six weeks, he had not focused on the issue yet because he has been tied up trying to meet Democratic challenges to his presence on the ballot.
Anderson said he thought the president is "as embarrassed as I am" by Billy Carter's acceptance of fees to represent the interests of Libya and that it is bound to become a campaign issue. But, said Anderson, he is not going to be the one to exploit it.
Turning to the Republicans, Anderson speculated on Ronald Reagan's choice of running mate, saying that there would be "incipient difficulties" between Reagan and front-runner George Bush since the two men are so far apart on so many issues, especially Reagan's call for a major tax cut.
The choice by Reagan of Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee "would be better," said the maverick Republican.
French officials who met with the candidate said he seemed to be more at home with U.S. domestic issues than with foreign affairs. These officials nevertheless said he seemed to have a better grounding in foreign policy than Reagan or Carter.
At a dinner with French Foreign Minister Jean Francois-Poncet, sources said, the candidate concentrated on explaining why and how he was going to win and then mostly asked the minister questions and listened.
"At least he did not make any mistakes," said one Frenchman, "but he did not leave a stupendous impression." The French said they were intrigued to find that the only foreign affairs subject that Anderson seemed to be deeply informed about was the Middle East and that Francois-Poncet had therefore concentrated on that.
Anderson noted in his press conference that despite some far-reaching identities of view, especially on international economics, "some approaches were not identical, especially on the Middle East." Of the French views, Anderson said, "The legendary French candor is alive and flourishing."
In contrast with the measures French reaction to Anderson, his aides described their impressions of the French foreign minister with enthusiasm. "How can you do anything but like such a likable, intelligent, attractive man?" said an aide of the minister, who has a reputation for being acerbic.
The Anderson team did not hide their disappointment that French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing had not agreed to meet him, even though Anderson has seen other heads of state and government.
Anderson explained in the interview that he understood Giscard had not seen him because he was returning a favor to President Carter. Giscard, Anderson said, had asked Carter not to receive Socialist opposition leader Francois Mitterrand during the French parliamentary election campaign two years ago.