Ronald Reagan headed into a week of uninterrupted vacation while his top advisers scattered around the country today to catch up with their private lives for two or three days before reassembling for full-time transition planning.
The president-elect rested at his Los Angeles home today with no meetings on his schedule and, after attending services at the Bel-Air Presbyterian Church Sunday morning, he is to fly to his remote ranch in the hills above Santa Barbara. His vacation will be almost unprecedented in its privacy for this age of constant photographic coverage of our leaders. Press secretary Lyn Nofziger said there will not even be a "photo opportunity" during the days Reagan spends at his ranch before returning to Los Angeles Friday.
This was disappointing news for those grown fond of seeing on TV and in their newspapers pictures of their presidents and presidents-elect at play, whether the play be fishing, swimming or riding horseback.
"Very little is happening," Nofziger told reporters in response to a series of questions.
He said there were no plans for Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin or former treasury secretary and GOP presidential candidate John B. Connally to meet Reagan during the week.
"He does not plan to come down from the mountain, and I'm not sure whether they'll let Mohammed or anyone else up the mountain," Nofziger joked. w
Nofziger, the only senior Reagan aide who remained accessible in Los Angeles, pointed out that campaing director Edwin Meese, who will also lead the Reagan transition team, has gone to his home in San Diego, and the key deputy directors of the transition group are taking a few days off before the Wednesday opening of the Reagan transition headquarters in Washington.
The only "news opportunity" from the Reagan camp that might help any citizen feeling pain rather than pleasure from the withdrawal of political news after the long campaign will come from Meese's appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Nofziger said reports that Reagan plans to give his Cabinet members offices in the Old Executive Office Building near the White House to facilitate and symbolize their close relationship with the president are premature. Such details, he said, remain to be decided.
Nofziger said reagan had functioned as governor of California without moving his cabinet officers to places of special proximity.
When Reagan moves to his ranch, the reporters following him with the tenacity that goes with an assignment to write about a president or president-elect will set up camp together with some Reagan aides at a Holiday Inn in Goleta, a town near Santa Barbara, which has the advantage of being about two hours closer to Reagan's ranch than Los Angeles is. Coleta is, however, still almost two hours of winding dirt road away from the ranch.