Sorry for the delay in getting this to you. Call when you have the chance. Best of luck.
A contemporary presidential campaign is both an emotional Cuisinart and a political blast furnace generating intense heat. A tired speech line that drew only polite nods at the Odessa Optimists awards banquet in April can be Chancellor's lead story in late August. Recall that, for three full days in September 1976, all Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter discussed was the rightfulness of the construction and installation of $335 worth of valances in the home of then-FBI director Clarence Kelley.
We, in the Reagan-Bush campaign, can be grateful to the heroic Polish workers for choosing last week to unite against their Communist bosses (never thought I'd hear Jesse Helms cheering any strikers). Gdansk did push Dallas off Page One, which brings me to Point One:
1. Theme. A strong majority of American voters do want Ronald Reagan for their president. Our only problem is that they have not met him yet.
Voters are discouraged by the bleaknes of their personal prospects and by the rudderless drift of their nation. They are fed up with the status quo, which is one reason the Carter folks are almost daily coming up with something new to make their man the candidate of change.
But what the voters do want, and what Carter will have a tough time giving them, is a leader who, voters believe, does hold genuine convictions and the determination to persevere for those convictions. This they want, along with stable and consistent leadership, which you must embody.
You must be the candidate of stable change who reassures voters. To do this, you must demonstrate both knowledge and thoughtfulness in giving your answers and discussing public questions. Because every time you speak you may be defining yourself for millions of people who do not yet know you, you can no longer afford to simply reassert conclusions or speak in wall posters. The Reagan campaign must define Ronald Reagan before the Carter campaign does.
Urge that you make a number of substantive speeches (Europe, the presidency, the individual -- all with heavy future emphasis) over network radio. It is cheap and effective, and it would require the press to report the substantive points you made rather than the hand-held signs in the crowd.
2. Schedule. Your campaign schedule must reflect campaign strategy, not make it. The Dallas appearance was a mistake that barely missed being a political disaster. You were caught on both the stage and network videotape while some gentlemen of the cloth warmed up the crowd for the forthcoming Inquisition. We have to assume these folks, if they do vote, are yours.
Urge that our primary concern now must be the swing voters we need to carry New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Ohio. There, our target voters are strongly Catholic and Jewish. They do vote, and they are not particularly comfortable with events like the one in Dallas. A check of our polls reveals no groundswell on the part of undecided voters anywhere for reopening the Scopes Trial.
3. Debate over debates. It is hard to believe that, twice in one political year, you could be the principal beneficiary from the public argument over candidate debate arrangements. But look out, Nashua, it could be about to happen again.
Urge you strongly to identify closely on this issue with both Kennedy and Anderson. Neither of them (or their fans) has any love for Carter on the matter of debates.
You are also given more ammunition for your flip-flop charges against the Incumbent and for your appealing to moderate Republicans, Independents and weak Democrats. Stay on it.
4. President Ford, where are you? In addition to concentrating on the important economic issues that are working strongly for you, the campaign must develop the capability of responding immediately to statements like Defense Secretary Harold Brown's recent admission that you were right on the state of our missiles and Leonard Woodcock's outrageous apologia pro China.
Urge that we get former president Ford. He is believable and he is exceptionally "reassuring." If we can only persuade Jerry to say, "Inflation was 4.8 percent when I left office. I am confident that President Reagan would be able to do the same thing." That would be an immense help.
Other surrogates who could be helpful on selected matters are Jack Kemp, Howard Baker, Elliot Richardson, Ed Brooke and Mel Laird. We recognize that Sen. Goldwater will be busy with his own reelection campaign.
There it is. You can win. Just by yourself. Relax. Urge that you keep your shirt on.