Barry Goldwater ordinarily is an amiable sort, a man with an earthy sense of humor who enjoys a drink with friends. With delegates entering his camp in ever-increasing numbers, he ought to be feeling good. He isn't. The hard campaign for the Republican nomination is getting on his nerves.
On a recent trip to Atlanta, Goldwater stepped from his plane, strode wordlessly through a cheering crowd. A radio reporter popped up with a microphone, asked: "How was the trip, Senator?" Goldwater just scowled. An admiring girl tried to clap a big white hat on his head. Goldwater shoved it away, snapping: "I don't want that." The radio reporter tried again. Goldwater spoke a few words, but the reporter wanted more. Goldwater pushed the mike away and growled: "Get that damn thing out of here."
"I'm Through." He later apologized for his impatience. "I'm sorry," he said. "I'm a little tired." His aides could wholeheartedly agree with that statement. Says one: "The pressure of the whole thing has really been getting him down. You know, he's always had a hot temper, and we used to joke about the day he'd punch some fresh jerk in the mouth. Let me tell you that in the past month or so it's ceased to be a joke."
At the Sacramento airport late one night, Goldwater was greeted by about 100 boosters chanting "We want Barry." Goldwater turned to California Campaign Manager Bill Knowland and said angrily: "I'm not going to get off this plane until you get those people away from here." And again, in home town Phoenix, Barry was annoyed when a few newsmen and a dozen or so autograph-hunting youngsters met him at the airport. He crossly told an aide: "I don't want this to ever happen again."
More and more, Goldwater complains that because of his coast-to-coast campaign commuting, "my backside is taking on the shape of an airline seat." In mid-April he returned from a hectic California trip and laid down the law to his staff. "If this is the way it's going to be," he said, "I'm through."
"I'm Leaving." With that, Goldwater cut his campaign schedule in half. Now, instead of spending eleven more days in California before the primary, he plans to spend only five. "But of course," he adds, "if the convention chooses me, then we'll start doing it differently. Then we'll have to take off."
Last week he took off instead for four days of golf at West Virginia's Greenbrier resort. "I have told Greenbrier," he said, "that the first time a reporter or photographer shows up, I'm leaving."