As you have directed, will omit all unnecessary small talk. Urgent that you and your principal colleagues understand fully the extraordinary burden you have imposed upon your campaign organization. For close to 45 months, your administration has been unable to persuade the American voters of any of the following: that you have been a good president; that you will be an even better president; that your reelection is important to those voters' lives and their future.
What the administration has failed to achieve in nearly four years in office you have asked the campaign to accomplish in only two months. That is a very large task, and one that should inspire in you and your principal colleagues considerable gravity and uncharacteristic humility.
Do what your opponent cannot do .
You have a close identification with two institutions that are considerably more popular with likely voters than you currently are: the Democratic Party and the presidency. Urge continuous intimate, physical contact with both for the next eight weeks.
FDR, Harry Truman, Jack Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey (practice, if necessary, but get it right!) -- all can collectively provide you with a form of innocence by association. The fact is that twice as many voters call themselves Democrats as call your performance in office "acceptable."
You are president. Do not let us forget it. Visit the Marines at Parris Island, the cadets at West Point or the Air Force Academy. Go to an Annapolis football game and remind us that you were in submarines after your Republican opponent had finished his military career making training films somewhere in the shadow of the Hollywood Freeway.
Urge that you give up jogging. Jogging is not presidential. "Hail to the Chief" is presidential. Jogging does not simply remind voters that you are younger than Reagan; it reminds them of that day of the Camp David Marathon when you did not collapse. But you did not finish either.
2. Continue as is in the South .
You have been perfect in the South. These voters must be appealed to and won on stylistic rather than substantive grounds. Urge that you keep emphasizing shared roots, shared values, shared fate that your victory or defeat will represent.
We do not have real electoral base like Reagan does. We have to put one together by performing a number of different chores simultaneously. Very few registered voters, including many GS18s, are willing to walk over lukewarm embers in their hiking boots for our ticket, let alone over hot coals in their bare feet. Reagan is helping us in the South, but we cannot count on his snafus in perpetuity. The issue must be framed for southern voters that the verdict of the nation in November will be rendered on both of you -- the South as well as Jimmy Carter. If you are rejected, so too are they.
Let mme work this out with Rafshoon. Urge that we make one television commercial that will be shown both early and often in the Midwest and the Tv markets.
Call it the "eating crow" spot. You, talking directly into the camera, believably admitting a mistake you made and a lesson you learned during your first term. You are best person to decide which mistake to address. Perhaps something that contributed to less-than-cordial congressional relations and that you are confident you have now mastered. (Both Speaker O'Neill and Sen. Byrd could help with research.) Most Americans are pretty sure you and self-doubt have never met. Let's show them.
4. Vision Test .
Urge that, in addition to being absolutely consistent on issues positions from here on in, you articulate a real vision for the voters. Give them some sense of joy you have in your presidency, some difference that you have made or want to make and that only you, as president, can make. Define the presidency for us. Do not present the job as a burden. Reveal that you now understand that the president is the country's Main Persuader, Main Educator and Main Politician. And that you like the job and will enjoy it. Make the voters enthusiastic. They need it.
5. Perceptions do become realities .
You must be seen as deliberate, not weak. Reagan must be seen as rash, not decisive. The race must be between the South Georgia Turtle -- with the resolute patience required to effect a Camp David accord -- against the dashing California Hare -- who is a great first date but may not be someone to get serious about.
Urge firmness, not vindictiveness: no meanstreaking, like '76 with HHH and '80 on Cy Vance; no overkill on Reagan -- voters will not believe he's a demon. Don't waste your time.
Keep up the good work and just think: four more years.