From his home town, Sen. John Glenn (D) of Ohio sought to raise the altitude of his public career from Mercury astronaut to president of the United States. Senator Glenn has based his campaign on the premise that his public career distinguishes him from the rest of the pack, aides say. ''His astronaut background gave him an experience in the technologies of the future,'' an aide says. ''As a former military officer, he knows the military and can stand up to the military.''
In his announcement speech, Glenn stressed broad social and political values more than specific programs or issues.
''My mother was a schoolteacher,'' Glenn said. ''She taught me the value of one of the great experiments in human history. It's called American public education, and it's based on the revolutionary belief that all the children of this land deserve an opportunity; an opportunity to rise as high and go as far as their ambitions, talents, and good fortune combine to take them.''
Charging that basic American values have been eroding under the Reagan administration, Glenn promised he would enlist ''our nation's best minds to chart a bipartisan agenda for the future - a statement of national purpose that can be our road map to the next century.'' He promises to ''[provide] a first-rate education to every young person; revitalize our old industries;'' and ''pave the way for new jobs and industries as yet unknown.''