Vice President Bush may be out front carrying the flag for the Reagan administration, but Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) just went behind the lines to raid the White House of two soldiers. Bently T. Elliott, chief White House speechwriter, will join the Kemp organization on June 1 as a consultant and speechwriter, and Don Eberle, an executive assistant in the White House Office of Public Liaison, plans to leave in May to become executive director of the Fund for an American Renaissance, Kemp's foundation.
Elliott, who has been at the White House for five years, said, "It is now time to help the conservative movement in new ways." He described Kemp as no less than "a man of vision who will carry forward the president's principles that have reversed America's decline and rallied the West."
Kemp's press secretary, John Buckley, termed the capture as "significant" because "it is the first movement of White House officials to Kemp's -- not Bush's -- likely run for the presidency."
While Kemp was raiding, Bush was bringing in reinforcements: David Bates, one of Bush's closest aides in the early months of his presidential campaign, will return to Bush's staff Monday as a deputy to chief of staff Craig L. Fuller. Bates' main responsibility, Bush associates said, is to be a link between early Bush supporters and the "new" Bush team. The Houston native has the war record -- he spent more than a year traveling with Bush from coffee klatch to chicken dinner, where he met potential Bush supporters and took names.