Washington — Even before so-called "Super Tuesday," President Carter has picked his vice-president, Walter Mondale, to be the chief mediator in bringing about a reconciliation between Mr. Carter and his Democratic challenger, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
"Mondale has been selected for this job because of his long and close ties with liberal Democrats," a White House source said.
"He will be working through [Rep. Morris K.] Mo Udall, among others close to Kennedy, to try to bring this off."
Thus, even as the final day of primaries on June 3 approaches, the President's post-primary task is being addressed.
"Win, lose, or draw in those big primaries in California, New Jersey, and Ohio we already have this nomination wrapped up," one leader in the Carter camp said.
"Now we are already moving to see to it that we avoid the kind of party divisiveness that could elect Ronald Reagan."
In addition, the first thing next Wednesday (June 4) the pressure on Senator Kennedy to bury the hatchet with the President may become intense.
At that moment phone calls to the Senator will be coming in from all over the United States -- from Democratic leaders and others of great influence in the party.
The argument that these callers -- governors, mayors, senators, congressmen, state legislators, state chairmen, national committee people, and others -- will be making is this:
Come back to support of the President and the Democrats can win in November.
Come back and the President will be most conciliatory -- in terms of concessions he will be willing to make in the platform and to liberal leaders who would like to be a part of the next four Carter years -- if they come.
Mr. Carter, himself, has let it be known that he will be calling Senator Kennedy to invite him to a get-together in the White House.
"This call may not come immediately after Tuesday's primaries," one White House source said.
"We may let things simmer down for a week or so first -- to let the senator feel the full impact of what it means to have a President who is not just seeking the nomination but has by then clearly more than enough delegates to be renominated." This source continued:
"Senator Kennedy will doubtless find Democrats generally and Democratic leaders in particular will tend to gravitate toward the obvious winner of the presidential nomination and away from the obvious loser."
A key Carter campaign official has this to say on the President's upcoming moves toward reconciliation:
"The President probably won't call the senator until after the vice-president has sought to lay the groundwork for the call."
This informant added: "The President rather doubts that Kennedy will accept the invitation. But he does expect that the call itself will help pull the two together -- and that the road to reconciliation will have begun."
The President is known to believe that Senator Kennedy will carry his "ideological" challenge into the convention -- but that the fight there will not be a bitter one.