For the Time When the Country's No. 2 Man Isn't, Consider These Five Eligibles for Each Party
Margaret Heckler, Rep., 48. Dean of women's congressional caucus and a smart cookie: now serving her seventh House term from Massachusetts' heavily Democratic 10th CD. Married. Good off-the-cuff speaker and hard campaigner. Plays to the media—staff heavy on press aides, light on legislative aides. Politically savvy but also cautious—unlikely to run for No. 2 spot given much chance of losing.
Nancy Kassebaum, Rep., 47. Alf Landon's daughter, millionaire. Won Senate seat in 1978, first woman elected in her own right. Former housewife, now divorced. Dubbed herself "Little Dorothy from Kansas" on Capitol Hill, but has caught on fast. Highly accessible—often answers her own phone. Speaks well on her feet but knows when to keep quiet. Moderate feminist who could attract women without scaring others away. Main drawback: lack of experience (never held public office higher than school board before). One White House staff appraisal: "A good VP candidate someday, but right now still learning."
Elizabeth "Liddy" Hanford Dole, registered Independent, 44. Married Kansas Sen. Robert Dole in '75—her first. Resigned from Federal Trade Commission last March to help him run for President. Deputy director of Nixon's Consumer Affairs Office, previously a staffer in HEW. Harvard Law, class of '65. North Carolina native who exudes Southern charm; hence insiders' code name "The Prom Queen." Plodding workaholic. Limited experience. But attractive and quick to learn. Bitter consensus: a better choice than hubby was.
Jane Cahill Pfeiffer, Independent, 47, board chairman of NBC. Nicknamed "Attila the Nun" after corporate house-cleaning in financial scandal (also spent six months in convent in her 20s). Good-looking, intelligent; brilliant administrator. Worked her way up to VP for communications at IBM in 21 years of fluent performance and flawless office politicking; left in '76 to marry fellow exec. Hefty pay cut and divided family life might make her reluctant to run for No. 2 spot—she turned down Carter's offer to be Commerce Secretary. As a Catholic, no teammate for Kennedy, but could help Carter in the Northeast. Deficit: no stump experience. "
Anne Armstrong, Rep., 51. Highly regarded ambassador to Great Britain, 1976-77, and first woman to co-chair RNC, '72-73. Now a Georgetown prof and director on several top boards. Lovely, charming—and tough as nails. But negatives abound. Credibility damaged by last-ditch support of Nixon. Only elective office: school board trustee. Texas rancher husband might object to VP candidacy. Couldn't run with fellow Texans Connally and Bush. Reportedly said no to Reagan in '76.
Sissy Farenthold, Dem., 53. Liberal, feminist, wide-eyed reformer. Married to Houston oil exec. Lost two Texas gubernatorials. Only woman in Texas House during late '60s; offended the club as head of "Dirty 30" reps who broke corrupt lobbies' influence in the capital. Ran National Women's Political Caucus in 1973. Soon to resign four-year presidency of tiny college in N.Y.; plotting return to Texas politics. Good geography for Ted, but ideologically too close. Vice versa for Carter. A long shot.
Elizabeth Holtzman, Dem., 38. Strong feminist known as "Holtzperson" on Capitol Hill. Youngest woman (at 31) ever elected to Congress; now serving fourth term from Brooklyn. Harvard Law, class of '65. Unmarried except to job. Exemplary legislator. Liberal, gutsy moralist. Definitely no yes-person. Highly qualified. Highly unlikely as VP candidate. Shrill speaker, indifferent flesh-presser. Unlikely to team with Kennedy because of Catholic-Jewish combination. Unofficial appraisal from Carter camp: "She has about as much charisma as a prune." Her best hope for 1980: Jacob Javits' Senate seat.
Patricia Harris, Dem., 55. First black woman ever appointed to Cabinet post—HUD Secretary. Now Secretary of HEW, largest department in federal government. Decidedly liberal but pragmatic. Daughter of Pullman car waiter, came up the hard way to become a summa at Howard University, later dean of its law school. Partner in lucrative Washington law practice from '70 to '77. Married. Inclined to be imperious; has tendency to rub people the wrong way, including some blacks. But a talented in-fighter, happy enforcer and loyal team player. Kennedy-Harris unthinkable: too Eastern, two minorities. Carter could make points with her among blacks, liberals, women—and Washington insiders. Eminently qualified.
Ella Grasso, Dem., 60. First woman ever elected governor in her own right, now in second term. Earlier represented Connecticut's Sixth CD for two terms in the House. Doesn't duck the tough ones: Voted against SST despite local labor and business interests; angered feminist backers with tough anti-abortion stand. Still has high liberal rating and backing of feminist leaders. Likably frumpy, good at campaigning, great with her elbows behind the scenes. If lightning strikes Brown, Ella would be perfect. Impossible for Kennedy because she's Catholic and Eastern. Good for Carter because of both. He's forgiven her supporting Scoop Jackson in '76. A White House insider's view: "The only feasible woman candidate."