At 7:30 a.m. Friday, after working all night in a cluttered kitchen in John B. Anderson's campaign headquarters in Georgetown, Clifford Brown put the final touches on the third draft of the longest and most unusual political document of the year.
It was, Brown joked, the first time the head of a presidential candidate's kitchen cabinet had ever actually worked out of a kitchen.
For four full months, Brown, a political science professor from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., and about 35 other people in the Anderson campaign had struggled with a perplexing problem: how to put together an election platform without the help -- or hindrance -- of a party apparatus.
The result is a thick, wordy document that campaign director David Garth quipped would "give someone a hernia if they tried to carry it across town."
The "short" version, called "Rebuilding a Society That Works: An Agenda for America," is 49 pages long. The "long" version, called "The Program of the Anderson/Lucey National Unity Campaign," goes on for 317 pages.
The platform includes no instant solutions, or new splashy attention-getters like the 50-cent-a-gallon gas tax Anderson proposed last year.
Instead, it is a relatively undramatic document that restates Anderson's known position on a host of issues, and lays out what Brown calls "a coherent game plan for governing."
"We'd like to convey the impression he knows what he is doing and the others don't," Brown said.
Unlike the Republican and Democratic party platforms, it was put together without a single public hearing, messy confrontation, compromise between factions, street demonstration or public debate.
It does, however, bear the unmistakable imprint of such Washington think tanks as the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute, and of academia, environmental groups and some of the nation's leading economists, foreign policy experts and industrial leaders.
The process by which the platform evolved reveals some insight into Anderson and his independent presidential campaign.
Anderson's environmental platform is a good case in point.
Its chief architect was Grace Pierce, a former Capitol Hill lobbyist for the Wilderness Society, who once ran unsuccessfully, as a liberal Republican, for the legislature in Delaware.
She had returned to Washington last April and was on the way to a job interview when a friend invited her to an Anderson reception.Someone asked if she had a resume. She did. "Three days later they asked me if I was interested in manning the campaign's environmental desk," she recalls.
Pierce knew Anderson's record on environmental issues and considered it "a medium one." But she took the job. "I really felt 'here is a man who has grown in office,' and he'd grown in a way that showed he cared about future generations," she says.
Anderson's campaign, in those days was the small seat-of-the-pants operation popularized last winter in Doonesbury comic strips. It was located in a small, cluttered building in a rough area behind Union Station, far different from today's plushy, carpeted headquarters at the foot of Georgetown, under the Whitehurst Freeway, with a plate-glass view of the Potomac and the Virginia shore.
Only a bulletin board plastered with Doonesbury cartoon strips, picturing the candidate in various flattering poses, remains as a reminder of those halcyon days. Two small bathrooms, located off a busy workroom full of volunteers, are designated as "Person" rooms, reflecting the candidate's liberal stand on the Equal Rights Amendment.
In early June, Pierce started gathering information and talking to people in the environmental movement. She knew many, and the scope of the issues, from her days with the Wilderness Society.
She and Peter Berry, another campaign aide, also carefully studied Anderson's congressional voting record, its strengths and weaknesses. The record, she says, was "good on public lands, good on clean air and good on water pollution."
Its major weakness, from the point of view of environmentalists, was Anderson's steadfast support over the years of the nuclear power industry -- which has campaigns once hoped would provide a major share of funds in gratitude. But even here Anderson had begun to shift ever so gradually.
In mid-June, Pierce put together the first of three Anderson meetings with environmentalists. The campaign characterizes these meetings, which dwelled on a host of issues, as the equivalent of hearings held by the major parties in drafting their platforms. But most were unannounced, secret sessions. Neither press nor public was invited.
The first meeting, a luncheon at the Capitol Hill Hyatt Regency, was attended by representatives of a host of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, Friends of the Earth Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Policy Center and Wilderness Society.
"It was a very good give-and-take session," Pierce says. "He really listened to them."
Two more meetings were held on the West Coast, winding up Aug. 12 in Anderson's hotel room in San Francisco. Among the handful present were a solar architect, two scientists from the Berkeley campus of the University of California, an editor of the Sierra Club Magazine and a director of a Friends of the Earth energy project.
By this time, Pierce and Berry had narrowed their concerns to two chief issues -- water and toxic substances -- which they believed woulb be increasingly critical in the 1980s. They had also written their first draft of the environmental plank, this one in essay style.
Meanwhile, the Anderson research and policy staff had grown to upward of 35 full-time persons and dozens of others dropping by for consultations. This was a far larger number than in either major party.
"This is Anderson's style. This is what he wants," said Brown in an interview at the time. "Reagan doesn't need that kind of staff. He gives the same speech every day. Carter has the whole federal government working for him."
Alton Frye, director of the Washington office of the Council on Foreign Relations and former aide to-then-senator Edward Brooke (R-Mass.), joined the campaign as director of policy development. Frye, Brown, Robert Walker, formerly on Anderson's congressional staff, and Bill Galston, a University of Texas professor and Anderson's chief speechwriter, completed the top of Anderson's platform team.
In mid-August, Pierce and company finished their second rewrite of the environmental plank. Drafts of this and planks on other issues were periodically passed on to Anderson for comment and revision. Vice presidential candidate Patrick Lucey was shown the whole platform after his selection last Monday.
A third rewrite was completed late Tuesday night. The plank that emerged was one of the toughest and most straightforward in the platform.
It pledged an Anderson administration to stricter enforcement of existing water and air pollution laws, an increase in public wilderness areas, enactment of a superfund to clean up oil spills, a superfund to clean up improperly disposed-of toxic chemicals and to compensate victims of such disposals, and a get-tough policy on Corps of Engineers projects.
"I think environmentalists will be very happy with the platform." Pierce said after she finished her section. "I hope they see that we are on their side, and we are trying in a realistic way to solve the problems of the enviroment."
But as late as Thursday she was still worried about Anderson's nuclear power position, which was being written by another group of aides and had created one of the biggest internal debates of the whole platform process.
The language that emerged in this plank, however, was tougher than Anderson, the old advocate of nuclear power, has used on the campaign trail.
It talked of a moratorium on new permits for nuclear power plants, of "major deficiencies in the management and practices of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the industry," and hinted at phasing out existing nuclear plants if safety and waste problems can't be resolved.