'Fritz and Fritz': It could happen

Fritz and Fritz. It does have a certain ring to it. Of all the candidates who sought the nomination this year silver-haired, silver-tongued Sen. Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina was far and away the most charismatic - and far and away the most presidential looking.

That might stand in the way of Walter F. Mondale, Democratic presidential nominee-apparent, working in tandem with the other Fritz.

Hollings did say some rather harsh things about Mondale - including calling him a ''sure loser.'' But Hollings has recanted, it seems. He says that Mondale's show of pluckiness in his comeback effort against Hart has somehow, in the eyes of Hollings, transformed the Minnesotan into a ''winner.'' And the two had always been on friendly terms as fellow senators.

But a reporter posed the potential problem standing in the way of this political marriage when, in preface to a question, he commented: ''With all your charisma and political charm, which you have shown here once again this morning, I don't see how lackluster Mondale would ever want you on the ticket with him. He'd fear that you would overshadow him.''

That might be the reason Mondale does, in the end, shun Hollings. But he would be wrong in so doing - if it were solely for that reason. What the Minnesotan needs is help - and Hollings, with his strong appeal to the South and Southwest, would certainly do much to shore up the ticket. This is not to say that Hollings would do more than, say, some charismatic woman or, perhaps, Gary Hart. But he definitely should be near the top of Mondale's list of possibilities.

Hollings also has close personal ties with the Rev. Jesse Jackson. So here is a Southerner who could assist Mondale in mending fences with Jackson and his vast black constituency.

It's important that Mondale choose someone, man or woman, that the American people will (a) accept as possessing presidential potential and (b) view at first glance as someone likable and interesting.

Mondale himself would seem to have it in him to discard his bland image that so often is on display on TV these days. As Hollings was underscoring: Mondale can be most appealing when he lets himself be himself.

Actually, someone like Hollings just might loosen Mondale up.

So could it be ''Fritz and Fritz''? Although not too likely, it does seem possible.

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