Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 10, 1975 · Page 37
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 37

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 10, 1975
Page 37
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11C--August 10,1975 Harris' Campaign byi Camper Novel Approach to Oval Office By Junes Gente*zug SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) - Sometimes Fred Harris of McLean, Va., is reluctant In Madison, Wis., where the 29-year-oM mayor has just returned from a visit with Fidel Castro in Cuba and the secretary of state rides to political rallies on his bicycle, Harris drew an enthusiastic crowd of HE HAS NOT YET qualified for federal campaign funds under the new campaign finance law, but expects to do so by the time his cross-country tour is concluded He has 19 full-time staff members Fred Harris of McLean, va., is reiuciani cle Harris drew an enthusiastic crowd of He has 19 full-time staff members, into admit he is the same Fred Harris who is more than 400 persons to a lakeside picnic eluding two accompanying him on the trip, running for president of the United States, dinner O f bratwurst. corn-on-the-cob and but only two aides are being paid. although his campaign is plagued by low voter recognitioa One of those times was when he was about to step into a shower in a campground. A fellow camper came up to him and asked if he had met the man running for president. Harris said he had not, although he had heard the candidate was in the neighbor- good. "I didn't introduce myself," Harris recalled later. "It didn't seem appropriate, standing there without a stitch of clothing." * * * FRED ROY HARRIS, former U.S. senator from Oklahoma and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is in the midst of a campaign trip across the United States, traveling interstate highways and back country roads in a camper van. It is his dining room, office and bedroom, shared with a 14-year-old daughter, niece, two staff members and his wife, when she can free herself from work in Washington. It's a novel approach to a national presidential campaign and Harris is finding it has its drawbacks and advantages over more traditional campaigning. On the plus side, he said as the van rolled past acres of cornfields, "it's a lot more fun and a lot more relaxing. You don't have to race for airports and between stops you can sit down and take your shoes off." -APWIrephoto Cooking Steak During Break in travel is Fred Harris Presidential Candidate Crossing Nation by Van 500 Thought Dead in China JV.Y. Times Semite HONG.KONG - As many as 500 persons are believed to have drowned when two Sears SORRY! In the carpet remnahf of today's newspaper insert the 12'xl5' carpet remnant priced at $49.99 is incorrect--The correct price for this carpet remnant is $89 $9. Sorry for ' the inconvenience."' Chinese river boats collided and sank dur- , ing a heavy rain storm near Canton early this week, unofficial Chinese sources indicated Saturday. More than a hundred residents of Hong Kong on holiday trips were thought to be among the dead. Identification of the dead reportedly was difficult because some bodies had been in the water for a long time after the accident, which took place 50 miles west of Canton on the West River early last Sunday morning. Chinese government officials in Peking declined to comment on the reported disaster, according to Reuters, It was first disclosed in Saturday's edition of the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong, which quoted recent travelers from China and a member of the Canton bureau of Hsindua, the Chinese press agency. .. . = · . Chinese journalists here said they also heard of the collision. The Chinese government seldon discloses details of accidents or nagural disasters. ' THE DISADVATAGES of traveling by camper? "Don't ever open the cabinets while you're moving and don't try to cook while you're moving," he warned, speaking from his experience as the chief cook on the tour. Harris left Washington July 30, after a rally in Lafayette Park, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. The tour will wind up in California on Labor Day, covering 13 states and approximately 5,300 miles. He estimates the total cost will be $7,000. He is traveling by camper van out of ne- . cessity - a conventional tour by jet Would cost too much - and out of a desire to spend more time in small towns, he said. The van, decorated with bumper,stickers and the tour's slogan, "On the Road to the White House," arrives in parks unannounced. Wearing cowboy hat, work shirt, blue slacks and cowboy boots, Harris, the slightly pot-bellied, 44-year-old son of a poor Oklahoma farmer, ambles around the campground or just waits for other campers to wander over out of curiosity. "Hi, I'm Fred Harris. How are you this fine day?" he ask; beer. He entertained them with a version of the same speech he is giving across the country, focusing on economic problems. "We're going to beat President Ford next year on the price of gasoline and bread alone," he said. * * * FELLOW CAMPERS seem to get a kick out of his campaign style. "He looks like a man who wants to meet the people, a poor man anyway," said Canadian Albert Langlais of Camp Robinson, Ontario, the only camper not on the Harris tour spending the night in the Token Creek campground near Madison. But supporters of his opponents are skeptical about whether he can accomplish anything more than publicity with his trip. "It's neat to take a camper and go all over the United States of America but you don't reach enough people that way," said Sue Albrecht, an aide to State Treasurer Charles P. Smith and secretary of Rep. Morris K. Udall's Wisconsin organization. Udall, an Arizona Democrat, is seen as Harris' major competition for liberal support in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. Between campgrounds and rallies, Harris eats breakfasts with local reporters and stops at picnics, senior citizen centers and farm exhibits - anywhere his local supporters think he can find a few people to listen and to ask him questions. Harris' speech is punctated with down- home expressions. On the telephone with a labor leader reluctant to endorse any candidate, he winds up: "It's like the story of the guy fighting the bear. If you can't help me, at least you don't have to help the bear." Before entering politics, Harris practiced law in Oklahoma. He served eight years in the Oklahoma state legislature and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1964. He left the Senate in 1972, after running a more conventional campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination that year and running out of money very quickly. , Since then, he has taught political science at American University, written a book titled "The New Populism," and given lectures. but only two aides are being paid. Under the Harris game plan, organization comes first and money second. He plats to eater the New Hasepsre primary, traditionally the first »the aa- ttofl, aad hopes to win 25 per ceat U tie vote aad fiaish among the top three candidates. Then, on to Wisconsin, several weeks later, where he hopes to come in first aad become the leading liberal contender. In California, the last primary, he expects to come out on top. with the momentum and delegates to win him the nomination at the Democratic National Convention on the first or second ballot. And if it doesn't work out that way. he says, he can go back to teaching and 'working on the issues in some other capacity." WITH CAMPERS the conversation turns to economics, taxes and what Harris says is the key issue in the 1976 campaign; privilege - "whether our government is going to continue to look after the interests of the superrich and the giant corporations, or begin to look after the interests of the average family." DON'T PUT IT OFF! 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