Nofziger: keen political instinct
San Francisco — Lyn Nofziger would seem to be many things that Ronald Reagan is not: a disheveled, wise-cracking former newsman who would rather hang around with reporters and other campaign veterans than attend a posh Palm Springs soiree.
Yet beneath the rumpled exterior beats a heart of a pure conservative with a razor-sharp political instinct that has served the President-elect well for nearly all of his political career. As Assistant to the President for Political Affairs, with special responsibilities regarding the Republican National Committee and the Senate and House campaign committees, Mr. Nofziger will bring his talent and loyalty to a key White House post.
A former Washington correspondent for Copley News Service, Franklyn (Lyn) Nofziger has spent much of his time over that past 14 years as Mr. Reagan's press secretary. Well-regarded by most reporters, Nofziger saw his main job as making his man look as good as possible in the media. If that meant favoring television cameras over the "pencil press" or cutting off a press conference when the questions got tough, he did it with good humor but with no excuses or apologies.
Nofziger's own philosophy is fully as conservative as Reagan's. He argued against those who wanted to tone down the candidate's rhetoric and make him appear more moderate. When not working for Ronald Reagan, he helped other politicians who might be classified as aggressive, even combative, Republican campaigners: Richard Nixon (Nofziger worked under Bryce Harlow as a lobbyist in the Nixon White House), Kansas Sen. Robert Dole, and one-time California arch- conservative Max Rafferty.
But Ronald Reagan has always been Nofziger's main man. He urged Reagan to press his presidential suit in 1968. Between the 1976 and 1980 elections, he kept the organization thriving as head of "Citizens for the Republic," a center for Reagan fund- raising and speechmaking.
Nofziger has never been a favorite of Nancy Reagan (perhaps because of his unpolished style) and has on occasion lost out in the intramural battles within the Reagan camp. After the November election he vowed to stay in California as a political consultant, and he was not under serious consideration as White House press secretary.