Aide Lambasts Candidates

A former top government aide last night let loose her sarcastic wit on this year's crop of presidential candidates as she presented her philosophy of life to approximately 80 people at Radcliffe's Cronkhite Center.

Liz Carpenter, who served as an aide to then-Vice President Lyndon Johnson, spoke last night in an effort to promote her recently-published autobiography, Getting Better All the Time.

Carpenter unleashed her unique commentary on several of the current presidential candidates.

"Dukakis is very exciting. After he won in Wisconsin, he painted the town beige," Carpenter said. "I think Gore is smart, but he's so young...He dreams of a safe ozone layer...He dreams of his own apartment.

Of Jesse Jackson, Carpenter said, "I must say that of all the candidates, he's the easiest to listen to."


"What happened to me in my book is talking on paper about big moments...It was a lot like lying on your own psychiatrist's couch," said Carpenter, who was also press secretary to Lady Bird Johnson.

Carpenter, who was born in 1920, said that older people should take advantage of the time granted to them by God and modern technology to engage in creative activities.

She said Walter Cronkite, who "still wants to go to the moon and lobbies about it all the time," is an example of a vigorous senior citizen.

Carpenter also recounted her own Washington experiences, which took her from being a cub reporter to the White House.

"I was a small town girl looking for the big town life...part of the pre-pill, pre-Pepsi generation," she said.

Carpenter said studying her ancestors, such as two great aunts who were involved in the suffrage movement early this century, had given her insight on politics.

In 1920, "One [of the great aunts] was pelting the White House with rotten eggs because Wilson wasn't moving fast enough," while the other was being coy with senators to get them to vote for suffrage.

Carpenter said she learned that the feminist movement needs both "shouters" and those willing to work with the establishment to advance their cause.