Mondale adds to lead; Hart looks westward
Washington — Go west, young man. Gary Hart plans to take Horace Greeley's advice. After getting thumped by Walter Mondale in Illinois, New York, and now Pennsylvania, the young man from Colorado is setting his sights on what he and his top aides say will be friendlier turf in the West.
Mr. Mondale, meanwhile, shows growing confidence as his delegate total climbs to at least 1,036 - more than half the 1,967 needed for the nomination.
Mondale's 47-to-35 percent victory in the Keystone State was, in some ways, even more impressive than the raw figures indicate. The margin would almost certainly have been far greater if Jesse Jackson were not running.
Mr. Jackson, with 17 percent of the vote, attracted about 3 out of every 4 black voters, according to exit polls by ABC News. But the vast majority of Jackson voters would have backed Mr. Mondale in a two-man, Hart-Mondale showdown , the polls show.
The big question after Pennsylvania: Is the game over? Or can Mr. Hart turn things around?
In Washington on Wednesday, Hart campaign manager Oliver Henkel Jr. called a hurried press conference to scotch any talk of defeat. He claimed everything should begin looking better for the senator very soon.
Hart and his aides speak in sports terms to decribe the campaign still ahead.
We are now at ''half time,'' they say. It's time to go into the locker room, revamp strategy, and come out refreshed with a few new plays that the opposition doesn't expect.
One of the most important changes for the second half is that the candidates will be playing on different turf. In sports, there's something known as the home-field advantage. And some of the biggest states in the final phase of the campaign are geographically on what Hart considers to be his home field.
The first important scrimmage in the second half takes place in Texas on May 5. Hart expects to win, Mr. Henkel says. In fact, he almost must win if he is to start closing the delegate gap (Hart trails Mondale 1,036 to 574.)
Then, just three days after Texas comes ''Super Tuesday II,'' with primaries in Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, and North Carolina.
Henkel again is upbeat. Hart, he observes, leads in recent polls in North Carolina. And in Ohio, unlike New York and Pennsylvania, it is much easier for independents and moderate Republicans (with whom Hart does well) to vote. Ohio, Henkel says, should be another Hart state.
Finally, there is ''Super Tuesday III'' on June 5, with primaries in California (the year's biggest), New Jersey, New Mexico, West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana.
If Hart does well once more, Henkel claims that both Hart and Mondale will go into the convention with about 1,500 delegates apiece. If that happens, especially after a Hart victory in California, the senator will be able to persuade enough uncommitted delegates to back him for a first-ballot win at the San Francisco convention in July, Henkel says.
If wishes made presidents, of course, a lot of campaigns would have turned out much different. And there may be a large portion of wishful thinking in the Hart campaign's analysis. Here are a few factors that even Hart optimists are concerned about:
Money. So far, the cash is flowing in nicely to Hart's coffers. The loss in New York didn't seem to hurt. But the latest setback in Pennsylvania could slow things down. Hart's aides say they will carry on, even if the budget gets tight. ''We can live off the earth,'' Henkel says.
Image. Mondale has managed to monopolize the image of ''experience.'' Voters, especially those worried about the economy, feel more confident with Mondale than with Hart, about whom they know very little. In coming weeks, Hart will try to show that Mondale's experience in the White House doesn't necessarily mean he will be a strong leader.
Newness. In the early primaries, Hart benefited from a fresh image. Now that same image seems to be hurting him. The biggest concern about Hart, according to ABC News exit polls, is that people don't know enough about his positions. In the time remaining, Hart will make great efforts to become better understood.
Late deciders. In recent primaries, Hart has been neck and neck with Mondale until the final week. Then he falls rapidly behind. Hart aides say their campaign strategy in the final days of each race have been ineffective, and they are looking for ways for a strong, final-hour impact on voters in each of the races ahead. Meanwhile, analysts are poring over returns from the Pennsylvania primary for clues about where this race may be headed next. The state, it turns out, had few surprises.
Mondale, as before, ran best with voters who were older, Hart with those who were younger. Mondale gets low-income voters, Hart high-income voters. Mondale wins more Roman Catholics, Hart does better with Protestants (although Mondale edged him out with this group in Pennsylvania). Hart is liked by college grads, Mondale does better with voters who had less formal schooling.
Mr. Jackson's strong support from blacks helped him carry Philadelphia and run second in Pittsburgh. But Jackson continues weak with white voters, among whom he got only 5 percent, even less than in New York.
The campaign now enters a quiet period of nearly one month. Jim Johnson, Mondale's campaign chairman, even plans to take a five-day vacation - an event that Henkel says fills him with ''envy.'' Adds Henkel: ''Frankly, we're the underdog.'' Underdogs don't take vacations, he notes.