Saturday, February 12, 2005

A 1984 Campaign Scrapbook

Is this the year you’ve resolved to find a job, an exciting new career, or just more money in the pay envelope? Are you reneging on that resolution already because you just can’t find the right slot to realize your full potential?

Before you give up completely, have you tried running for president yet? After all, Walter Mondale says he’ll do it. So does Reubin Askew. And Alan Cranston has plans to do it, too.

If it seems 1984 is still a long ways off, and the thought of politicians campaigning set your teeth grinding, the news from Davie, Fla., this week is plain and simple: If you can’t ignore ‘em, join ‘em.

Run for president yourself, advises Davie resident Richard Grayson.

Grayson says he’s developed a scheme that would enable every unemployed American to apply for the prestigious, highly-paid office. After all there’s no law against announcing your candidacy for the presidency.

Grayson has formed an organization called Citizens Running for Employment as President (CREAP) for those who have presidential aspirations. So far, CREAP’s basic function has been to copy the government’s “Statement of Candidacy Application,” and Grayson himself is the sole candidate.

-- “This year, reach for the top,” Hollywood Sun-Tattler, 1/6/83

For those who have a tough time separating the pack of 1984 presidential hopefuls, at least one Democratic contender has a clearly identifiable platform.

As the candidate of the Committee for Immediate Nuclear War, Richard Grayson of Davie, Fla., will not be confused with the likes of Walter Mondale, John Glenn, Alan Cranston, Reubin Askew, Ernest Hollings or even a reputed issue-oriented candidate such as Gary Hart.

Grayson, the founder and only member of the committee, advocates that a nuclear war should happen as soon as possible.

“In addition to solving problems like boredom and street people, it will get rid of poverty and racism,” Grayson said in a telephone interview. “I say it’s either now or never.”

“Reagan is doing a pretty good job of getting a nuclear war started, but he just isn’t moving fast enough,” Grayson said.

He claims a Brooklyn-based group called the Grinning Idiot Party is considering endorsing him, as well as the cook of Averill Harriman, former ambassador to the Soviet Union.

“Harriman’s cook is the most important and highest placed person I know in Washington, so that endorsement is critical,” Grayson said. “But I suppose like Carter and Reagan, the best approach will be to run against Washington.”

He hopes state officials with put him on the Florida primary ballot where he said he could outpace Askew as the favorite son candidate.

“Most people who now live in Florida weren’t here when Askew was governor, and most of those who were are now dead,” Grayson said. “Although I should add that they’re dead not because of Askew, just because they got old.”

-- “Presidential contender calls for nuclear war,”
Athens (Ga.) Daily News, 7/18/83

As the candidate of the Committee for Immediate Nuclear War, Richard Grayson was in New York this week campaigning for the Presidency.

Mr.Grayson, a committee of one, reasons the warfare would solve such problems as ''boredom, soap operas and peddlers on 14th Street.''

Mr. Grayson, a short-story writer from Davie, Fla. - his works include ''Lincoln's Doctor's Dog'' and ''With Hitler in New York'' - says he has filed a statement of organization with the Federal Election Commission. He wants to draw voters' attention to the ''silliness'' of nuclear war.

''If we don't have it now, we might as well never have one,'' he said from his New York ''headquarters'' - a friend's apartment - before leaving for whistle stops in South Carolina. Mr. Grayson plans to return soon for more low-budget stumping. Thus far, only eight New Yorkers have signed his petition in support of him.

''And those were mostly from people who didn't understand what I was talking about,'' he said.

-- “One Man’s Crusade,” New York Day By Day,
The New York Times, 5/28/83

Thought it doesn’t have Walter Mondale or John Glenn shaking in their boots, Richard Grayson’s candidacy actually could attract support among those tired of traditional politics.

That’s because Grayson, whether he’s campaigning near home in South Florida or on the streets of New York, isn’t afraid to take a tough stand.

Make that an unusual stand.

Grayson stands alone in wanting to appoint divorce attorney Marvin Mitchelson to the next opening on the U.S. Supreme Court.

And he’s absolutely the only aspirant daring enough to offer the vice presidency to child actor Gary Coleman.

-- “This candidate just right for upcoming silly season,”
Hollywood Sun-Tattler, 8/13/83

Solving the crisis in Central America is simple, says an unemployed humor writer who says he’s running for president: make El Salvador the fifty-first state.

The United States made a mistake in the 1820s when El Salvador asked for statehood and was turned down, said Richard Grayson, a 32-year-old Dade County resident.

Grayson’s “Committee to Make El Salvador the Fifty-First State” is registered with the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C. He says he will also campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Florida Democratic Party Chairman Charles Whitehead, of Panama City, said he’s never heard of Grayson, and he called Grayson’s El Salvador platform “frivolous.”

“The only serious candidates are those who have qualified for matching federal election funds,” says Whitehead. “He’s not one of them.”

Grayson, undaunted, said his Salvadorean solution can’t fail.

“We’ll no longer be entangled in a foreign country,” he said. “Instead, they’ll be entangled in us.”

The New York native said he recently moved from Broward to Dade to improve his chances to capture the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination. Besides the rent is cheaper in North Miami Beach than it was in Davie, said Grayson.

-- “Salvador solution: writer says make it the 51st state,” Miami News, 8/13/83

From candidates on a lark to the sincere and strong-willed, 105 people have signed up for a chance of vaulting from obscurity to living rent-free at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Despite odds of failure no bookie would touch, Richard Grayson’s campaign pitch is a string of one-liners. The unemployed English professor and writer lives in North Miami
Beach, Fla.

“I figured the presidency pays pretty well, $200,000 a year,” says Grayson. “I urge all unemployed people to run.”

Grayson, 32, is three years shy of the 35-year age qualification set by the Constitution.

“I don’t really expect to win,” he admits. “But maybe I can trade my delegates for a decent job, which I really need.”

-- “White House Fever,” USA Today, 10/5/83

While other presidential candidates rail against Washington, D.C., Richard Grayson offers an action plan. He wants to move the nation's capital from the District of Columbia to Davenport, Iowa.

''I think it would be a good place because it's centrally located and it has the famous Quad Cities – Davenport, Rock Island, Moline and whatever the heck the other one is,'' Grayson said.

Grayson said he formally declared for the Democratic nomination - in papers filed with the Federal Election Commission under the title, ''Move the U.S. Capital to Davenport'' – in part to convince the people at the unemployment office he was looking for work.

Grayson said he chose the Iowa city because it ''outshines Washington in every respect: climate, culture, education and quality of life.''

More than that, though, the presidential aspirant would fulfill a lifelong dream if he elected. He would finally get to live in Davenport.

“Like a lot of kids who grew up in New York City, I always wanted to live in Davenport,” he said. “I think it was taking the Iowa test in school that kind of got me thinking about it. Besides, Davenport isn’t too far into Iowa. You can get out of there quick.”

Grayson said he would not transfer Washington's landmarks to Davenport. Instead, low-income residents of the D.C. ghettos could move into the White House, Capitol Building and Supreme Court building. ''Maybe we'll make them into condos,'' he said.

The president, on the other hand, could live in a ''flat, two-room house'' in Davenport while Congress could deliberate in the American Legion Hall and Supreme Court justices could ponder in a church ''although that might cause some separation of church-and-state problems.''

Grayson claimed he is serious about the move to Davenport. And to give the tourists something to see, he proposed the building of new monuments.

''We'll need one to honor the president born in Iowa,'' he said. ''The Herbert Hoover Monument. I don't know what it would be shaped like. A stalk of corn, I guess.''

-- “A capital idea: Move from D.C. to Davenport,”
Des Moines Register, 10/21/83

Earlier this year, Grayson wrote to the Federal Election Commission and got the forms to fill out to become a candidate for president. He mailed the forms in and began his campaign, which mainly consists of telephone calls and press releases.

He wrote to The Des Moines Register to tell Iowa voters that one of his first acts as president would be to move the nation’s capital to Davenport. The promise, he confesses, is a blatant attempt to influence the Democratic caucuses in Iowa.

“The head of the Davenport public library called me and wanted to know if he should start making plans to become the new Library of Congress. I told him the first thing he should do is buy some of my books.”

“The Iowa caucuses are important,” he continues. “I figure maybe this will get me some headway in Iowa. Then it’s New Hampshire, and I should do well there because of my proposal to amend the Constitution to give New Hampshire fifty extra U.S. senators. Then it’s Florida. I could wrap it up then, the Democratic nomination.”

He made a rare personal campaign appearance Friday night at the Florida state Democratic Party convention in Hollywood.

“I couldn’t get anyone to vote for me in the straw poll,” Grayson said. “I couldn’t get one straw, even though I looked for people wearing delegate buttons who looked like lunatics. There were a lot of them. But they were all for Mondale or Glenn.”

-- “Teacher-novelist in North Dade follows own presidential script” Miami Herald, 10/23/83

Fifteen of the more than one hundred of American men and women who have filed with the Federal Election Commission as candidates for the 1984 presidential election will be in town this weekend to attend the Florida Presidential forum – “a debate among the little guys” – their chance to air views rarely heard along the campaign trail.

At three area malls, each candidate will introduce himself with a brief statement, then expound on his campaign platform. Later, the audience will vote their choice among all 114 U.S. presidential candidates – in a “Shoppers 1984 Straw Poll.”

“I had better win or I’ll be in real trouble,” said candidate Richard Grayson of North Miami Beach, “After all, I am the favorite son. Or should I say the favorite grandson – there are a lot of old people around here.”

Grayson says his platform includes building coast-to-coast supersonic subways and lowering the voting age to the fetus. He also supports the movement for an Arctic nuclear freeze.

-- “Big names are out when presidential candidates debate,” Miami News, 11/3/83

Four men who won’t be elected president in 1984 told tens of shoppers at the Cross County Mall in West Palm Beach last night why they should be.

“Who Else is Running for President?” said the sign in the middle of the mall, inviting shoppers to the candidates’ forum. “Who Cares?” was the clear but unspoken answer the four candidates received.

An unofficial straw poll of shoppers showed they preferred the 7:45 p.m. showing of The Dead Zone and the beckoning aroma of Mama Leone’s pizza to the ideas of George Britt, Richard Kay, Richard Grayson or Elijah the Prophet.

“Who are these guys?” was how mall publicist David Citron introduced them. Citron dreamed up the Florida Presidential Forum, which goes on the road today to Lauderdale Lakes and North Miami Beach.

“The difference between them and the Big Seven candidates,” Citron said, “is money.”

And perhaps style.

Kay, who lost the presidential election in 1980 and a North Palm Beach Village Council election earlier this year, was arrested in New Hampshire last week when he wouldn’t leave the state Democratic convention.

Britt, an unsuccessful candidate for mayor of Philadelphia, has a 15-year-old campaign manager in Texas. Britt ran his mother for president in 1980.

Elijah the Prophet, from New York City, is a self-styled visionary who has a day job with Western Electric and campaigns for world government headed by himself.

“It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when people like us have to run for president,” said Grayson, an English teacher and freelance writer from North Miami Beach. He wore running shoes, jeans and a sport jacket that was too small.

Fifteen candidates promised to be there last night. Only four showed up. A candidate from Alabama got lost in Hollywood, a couple were stranded by the bus strike, one broke his foot and the mother of another died.

-- “Who Are These Guys?: ‘Small Four’ Hit Campaign Trail,” Palm Beach Post, 11/5/83

The lack of reaction didn’t keep the four candidates from acting like big-time, sought-after contenders. They ranted. They sweated. They squared their jaws and looked firm. Even when a movie called Wicked Lady began at the mall cinema and the crowd dwindled to five, the candidates kept at it, wooing the five shoppers as if they were 5,000.

Out of all this emerged the following views, which the candidates hope voters will consider at election time.

On the invasion of Grenada:

Richard Grayson: “We don’t know what’s going on there, basically, because some people pronounce it Gre-NAY-da and some people pronounce it Gre-NAH-da. That’s probably why they got mad at us. Now all these countries are mad at us because we can’t pronounce their names. In Libya, we’ve got trouble. Have you ever seen Khadafy’s name spelled twice the same way? No wonder he’s mad at us.”

On Lebanon:

Grayson: “There are so many fractions there. That’s the problem. You’ve got Druids. You’ve got Philanderers. I think first of all they have to have a national council of Christians and Druse.”

On a balanced budget:

Grayson: “I think we should tax the heck out of rich people. There are a lot of rich people in this country. And we need them. Because without rich people, America would be a poorer place. Now as far as balancing the budget, I have a plan. On the back of the dollar, there’s the great seal of the United States. Now we all know that seals can balance things on their noses. If we used the great seal to balance the budget, we would have no problems.”

At the end of the forum, a straw poll was held to see whom the shoppers preferred for president. Nineteen ballots were turned in, but only 16 people voted. Grayson got five votes, Britt got five, Elijah the Prophet got three, President Reagan got two and Reubin Askew got one.

Later, after the forum had ended and the mall had emptied, David Citron said he thought the American political process had been well-served.

“It was a good exercise in political freedom,” he said. “Can you imagine something like this going on in the Soviet Union?”

-- “The big names were missing, but candidates had their forum,” St. Petersburg Times, 11/6/83

Four dedicated gentlemen brought their little-known presidential campaigns to the Cross County Mall in suburban West Palm Beach Friday night, kicking off a barnstorming tour of South Florida shopping malls.

The not-for-time-prime politicians will appear today at The Lakes Mall, U.S. 441 and Oakland Park Boulevard, Lauderdale Lakes, at 10 a.m.; and the Skylake Mall, Miami Gardens Drive and NE 19th Avenue, North Miami Beach, at 3 p.m.

“It’s a grueling campaign tour,” said candidate Richard Grayson after completing a three-minute speech in front of about 25 persons. “At least they don’t make us eat chicken dinners. I’m a vegetarian.”

-- “Darkest horses off and running at area malls,” Miami Herald, 11/5/83

It’s a long road from teaching remedial writing at a Fort Lauderdale community college to shaping world history from the White House. But the bearded, 32-year-old Democrat just can’t wait to start shaping.

“I’m serious about this. It’s not true that anyone in this country can be president. But anyone can run. The more, the merrier. What we have now is the bland leading the bland.”

A few months ago, he started an organization that is seeking more people to run for president. So far he is the only member of Citizens Running for Election As President – CREAP for short.

Politics is a lonely life for Grayson, a bachelor who has no campaign workers, no campaign literature and no campaign contributions.

In 1980, he ran for vice president, vowing to ban religious bookstores and return royalty to America. Issues such as resolving the national debt and unemployment didn’t make his platform.

This time out, Grayson has decided to seek the top spot himself and he hopes to land Meryl Streep as his running mate:

“It’s Streep for Veep. She’s intelligent and beautiful. She has a way of making her co-star look good. Besides, she’s a much better actor than Reagan was. And she’s so good with foreign accents, I can send her to countries all over the world and their leaders will think she’s from their own homelands.”

Grayson’s platform is simple. Among his first executive orders would be the stuffing of Interior Secretary James Watt and placing him in the Smithsonian as a warning to those who would abuse the environment. Another would be establishing an Entertainment Protection Administration.

“These are very depressing times,” Grayson said. “I think the nation needs more fun. I’d give poor people cable TV stamps to make sure everyone has some top-notch entertainment in their lives – also access to dirty movies.”

“Why is this CREAP laughing?,” Fort Myers News-Press, 11/17/83

When Richard Grayson went to the unemployment office in August, he told counselors he was seeking the job of the nation’s president.

Grayson got the unemployment check. Now he’s teaching college English classes and running what he describes as a “high-tech, low profile” campaign for the highest office in the land.

Since filing a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on Aug. 8, Grayson has been creating political action committees – including The People Who Enjoy Prune Danish for Breakfast, The Right to Be the Life of the Party, Numismatists for Change, and The Council of Armed Rabbis.

More ominously, Grayson is listed with the FEC as treasurer of several committees that appear to support his Democratic campaign rivals: Mobsters for Mondale, Gangsters for Glenn, Hoodlums for Hart, and Criminals for Cranston.

A North Miami Beach resident since the summer, Grayson lives a few blocks from city hall. His furnished apartment is cluttered with boxes of newspaper clippings, letters, and job applications.

Grayson says he’s worried about a looming shortage of celebrities.

“I mean, how many times can they put Linda Evans on the cover of People Magazine?” he asks. “They need some new faces. We’ve got plenty of poor unemployed people in our nation’s inner cities who could be put to work as celebrities.”

-- “The best man?: Presidential candidate likes making fun of the system,” Miami Beach Sun-Reporter, 11/27/83

Q: Who formed a political action committee called “Citizens Who Think Nancy Reagan Should Eat More”?

A: The fellow who’s behind “Absent-Minded Professors for Something or Other,” “FAT CAT PAC” and “People Who Enjoy Prune Danish for Breakfast.”

All of these have been registered officially at the Federal Election Commission by Richard Grayson, 32-year-old humorist, author, unemployed English teacher and candidate for President of the United States.

In the last five days, he has registered five new committees. “They’ll let you register anything,” he says.

The registrations have brought Mr. Grayson a flood of mail. Mostly, he gets advertisements from political button makers, stationery-supply firms and, he says, subscription offers from “newsletter that explain how to raise a lot of money.”

Q: So what’s next for Mr. Grayson?

A: He’s running for president as a Democratic candidate, and accepting public financing, sort of.

“When I go down to the unemployment office I have to prove that I’m looking for work,” he says. “I figure that the presidency is a good job.”

He would like Jane Wyman to be his running mate. “She has experience dumping Reagan,” he says. The president’s ex-wife hasn’t accepted yet.

-- “This Presidential Candidate Wants Jane Wyman as His Running Mate,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/28/83

Richard Grayson, 32, humorist-author and one of this year's jester candidates for the U.S. presidency, on why he would like Jane Wyman to be his running mate: "She has experience dumping Reagan."

-- “On the Record,” People section, Time Magazine, 12/12/83

A Florida humorist and unemployed English teacher, Richard Grayson, 32, decided to join the 1984 Presidential race for a unique reason. As he told the Wall Street Journal, "When I go to the unemployment office, I have to prove that I'm looking for work, and I figure the Presidency is a good job." As a running mate, Grayson wants to draft Jane Wyman "because she has experience dumping Reagan." But apparently Ronald's first wife isn't looking for work outside Falcon Crest. "Why, it's absolutely incongruous," sputtered Wyman when she heard of Grayson's proposal. "The only thing I can say to that is a big laugh." Would Jane ever run for any office? "Never!" she replied in no uncertain four-year terms.

-- “Draft Dodger,” Chatter, People Magazine, 1/8/84

It may be time to start learning the words to the Star Spangled Banner.

If U.S. presidential candidate Richard Grayson has his way, we in the Great White North will become part of that great union south of the border.

Grayson, an author in North Miami Beach, is vying for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination and part of his platform is to annex Canada.

The only problem is he doesn’t propose to ask us first.

“If it’s done very discreetly, nobody will notice the invasion,” says Grayson. “The army will be dressed in grey suits, disguised as bankers. During a hockey game might be the best time.”

Grayson believes that Canadians will be glad to join the U.S.

He is promising us a stronger dollar, cheaper prices and a postal system that really delivers.

“We will let the Canadian Parliament continue, but only in the form of entertainment on cable TV,” he says.

Asked if Canadians can keep their culture, Grayson promises the NHL will remain intact and we can continue to use the word “eh.” We can keep our accents too.

“If we could stomach Jimmy Carter’s accent, we can take anyone’s accent,” he notes.

Grayson has never visited Canada, but says in the winter most of the people in North Miami Beach are Canadians.

“They’re usually the ones who are driving badly,” he says.

-- “Uncle Sam wants us!: Presidential candidate would annex Canada,” Edmondton Sun, 1/13/84

Richard Grayson won media attention by announcing plans to name Jane Wyman as his running mate. “She has experience dumping Reagan,” he said of the president’s first wife.

Miss Wyman, however, turned him down. “She told People magazine she thought the idea was incongruous. But I think they misheard her and she actually said she wants to be in Congress instead,” Grayson said.

Grayson does appear on the Florida Democratic primary ballot as a delegate, officially unpledged but really pledged to himself. Another Grayson is running with him as a candidate for alternate delegate – his mom.

Grayson’s campaign slogan, he says, is “One candidate is not like another. Vote for Richard Grayson – and his mother.”

-- “Oddball candidates spice presidential race,” Detroit News, 2/2/84

Richard Grayson has described himself as “South Florida’s favorite grandson candidate.”

In this case, favorite son might be more appropriate. Grayson is running as a candidate for delegate to the Democratic National Convention, supporting himself, of course. Grayson’s mother, Marilyn, is also on the ballot as an alternate candidate.

But trouble may be afoot. After his surprise win in the New Hampshire primary, Colorado Sen. Gary Hart found himself with no candidates for delegate in some Florida congressional districts. Hart managed to corral delegate candidates formerly pledged to presidential dropouts Alan Cranston and Reubin Askew, but his campaign staff also called Marilyn Grayson to ask if she’d support Hart.

“I can’t believe it, but she said she’d consider it,” Grayson said. “I said to her, ‘Mom, do you think Miss Lillian would do this to Jimmy?’”

At last report Mrs.Grayson had decided to stick with her son, the relieved candidate reported.

-- “His mother’s choice?,” The Miami Herald, 3/12/84

The day after “Super Tuesday” probably feels like the day after “The Day After” to some presidential candidates. But not to Richard Grayson of Miami, whose campaign for the White House is moving along right on schedule.

“I know for a fact I have at least two votes – mine and my mother’s,” he said from his election headquarters (his apartment) on the eve of the Florida primary. “The momentum is building. I feel good about my chances.”

Should he actually win, a remote but politically fascinating possibility, he plans to reorganize the government from top to bottom.

“I’m going for an all-celebrity cabinet,” he explained. “For secretary of defense I want Mr. T. He could really stand up to the Russians. Gloria Vanderbilt would be my secretary of the treasury. Imagine what her signature on the dollar bill could do for the economy. My best appointment, though, would be Michael Jackson as secretary of state. Have you ever seen the way George Schultz dances?”

-- “Race of darkest horses (& dog),” Baltimore Sun, 3/14/84

Florida’s “favorite grandson” presidential candidate, Richard Grayson, saw his campaign go up in smoke in the Super Tuesday primary. Grayson, running as an officially uncommitted delegate, garnered only 4,210 votes, far below the totals of his district’s four winning delegate candidates, who support former Vice President Walter Mondale.

“I think I did pretty well,” said the Broward Community College teacher. “I beat all the Jesse Jackson delegates and the guy left over from ’72 who was still supporting George McGovern.”

Still, Grayson’s showing was surpassed by someone in his own family.

Marilyn Grayson, Richard Grayson’s mother, received 7,522 votes for alternate delegate – over 3,000 votes more than her presidential candidate son, who expressed no jealousy and vowed not to drop out of the race.

“Mom’s showing plus mine proves my campaign has grassroots support,” Grayson said. “I’m the grass and she’s the roots.”

-- “’Favorite Grandson’ Bid Flops in Primary,” Hollywood Sun-Tattler, 3/17/84

Richard Grayson, the failed “favorite grandson” presidential candidate from North Miami Beach, has come up with yet another idea for landing a federal job:

A loan to President Reagan’s friend and adviser, Edwin Meese.

On March 22, Grayson sent Meese a $1,000 check along with a letter describing it as an interest-free loan “to express my support for your nomination as attorney general – friend to friend…

“Take your time in paying it back,” wrote Grayson, a teacher and author of several humorous books.

Meese, who’s in hot water because he accepted personal loans from other men who subsequently got government jobs, quickly returned Grayson’s check with a note that said thanks, but no thanks.

President Reagan has refused to withdraw his nomination of Meese to succeed William French Smith as U.S. attorney general. Meese has denied any wrongdoing. But his confirmation by the Senate has been held up while a special U.S. prosecutor looks into the loans.

Grayson, in his rambling letter, offered his own sympathy and told Meese he would soon lose his own job as a part-time lecturer in English at Broward Community College. He barely hinted at his hope that Meese would help him find a new job.

“I think it’s terrible the way the media are criticizing you,” Grayson wrote. “I don’t think you have done anything wrong, and I’m sure many people agree with me.

“It would be nice to have a job in government,” he wrote. “I’m a teacher now, but I’ll be unemployed at the end of April.

“Oh well, forgive me for rambling,” he concluded in an abrupt change of tone. “The purpose of this letter was just to offer you my good wishes. Thank you for being you.”

Grayson said yesterday that his situation actually borders on the desperate. He said he had to postdate his check to March 24 “so that it wouldn’t bounce.”

Grayson – author of such books as “With Hitler in New York” and “Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog” – dropped out of the Democratic presidential race after failing to win a single delegate in the March 13 Florida primary.

He had touted himself as a “favorite grandson” who advocated making El Salvador the 51st state and replacing the Kissinger Commission on Central America with Bianca Jagger and Menudo.

Although people often find Grayson’s public statements laughable, Grayson said he wasn’t kidding. His offer to Meese was sincere – “basically a friendly gesture that I thought might help me.”

Meese, mistakenly addressing his April 6 reply to “Mr. Robert Grayson,” also played it straight.

“Your generosity in sending your loan is greatly appreciated,” he wrote. “However, White House regulations prohibit me from accepting this and therefore I am returning your check to you.

“During this difficult time, it is tremendously heartening to receive messages of friendship and encouragement such as yours,” Meese said. “I intend to do everything possible to merit your confidence and support.”

Since Grayson learned he’s unlikely to win a federal job with help from Meese, he’s been casting about for other opportunities.

“I might need to get back into the presidential race to at least have a chance to get a job,” Grayson said. “Or else maybe I’ll have to read the want ads.”

-- “Thanks but no: His $1,000 ‘loan’ to Meese returns without interest," Miami News, 4/13/84

Richard Grayson wants to travel, hang out with Brooke Shields and live in a “big, white house, rent-free” – so the 32-year-old humorist running for president.

With his tongue stuck in his cheek, Grayson announced he is a write-in candidate in New Jersey’s June 5 Democratic primary. Unlike the major presidential hopefuls, the unemployed teacher and author from North Miami Beach, Fla. is not pulling any punches.

“I noticed Nixon, Carter and Ford made a lot of money from their books so maybe my books will sell better if I become president,” he said.

If Garden State voters support him, Grayson promises to “stop all tolls on the turnpike and Garden State Parkway during my administration.”

Unable to come up with the rent, Grayson was thrown out of his Florida apartment and is staying with a friend in New York. But he’s too busy working on his campaign to become depressed.

Grayson admits, “I’m only 32 and a president can’t serve until he’s 35.

“But since a president often causes more problems than he solves, having the country in limbo for two years until I’m old enough to serve will be good for America.”

-- “Gagster running for prez,” Morristown (N.J.) Daily Record, 6/1/84

Richard Grayson is one minor candidate who thinks ahead. Conceding that defeat is likely this year, Grayson says: "I'm thinking of moving to New Hampshire now to get an early start for 1988."

-- “Why All Those Others Run for President,”
U.S. News and World Report, 7/16/84

Richard Grayson voted for Walter Mondale for president last week.

Mondale lost. And Grayson, a write-in candidate and former North Miami Beach resident, didn’t get any votes in Dade County.

“I voted for Mondale. But my mother in Broward voted for me,” said Grayson, who said he was living with a friend in Manhattan on Tuesday. He said he would be returning to South Florida “when it starts getting colder” to attend a Florida International University graduate program in computer education.

Grayson, who at 33 is two years too young to be president, said he was not surprised by Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory. “I think people are generally content with the way things are and they don’t want to rock the boat. But it’s not whether you’re better off than you were four years ago, it’s whether society as a whole is better off,” he said, adding that it would have been “a waste” to vote for himself.

Grayson said he will stick to “going to graduate school and writing,” and then run for the state commissioner of education seat currently held by Ralph Turlington in 1986.

Grayson ran unsuccessfully for Davie Town Council in 1982, capturing 26 percent of the vote.

-- “Poor candidate gets one vote,” Miami Beach Sun-Reporter, 11/14/84