FLYING IN THE FACE OF POPULAR MYTH

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President Richard M. Nixon has been laid to rest, and in the eloquent words of President Clinton, so has the debate that focused so passionately on one part of his life-Watergate.

My personal experience with him began in 1972 and continued to the end. The extraordinary warmth and kindness he showed to me and to others flew in the face of popular myth. His brilliance and the clarity of his thought and expression were remarkable and, at times, breathtaking.

His impact on the world around us will be judged by those better qualified than me.

He profoundly changed the relationship between a presidential candidate and his advertising and marketing counsel. So successful was that change that subsequent presidential candidates took note and wisely followed his lead.

He immediately embraced the concept of a special, stand-alone advertising agency staffed with the best people that could be borrowed under the Four A's "Anchor & Loan" program.

That concept led to the establishment of the "November Group" in January of 1972-a fully staffed advertising agency with 95 people from 19 agencies. They worked full time on the campaign until Election Day, when they returned to their respective agencies.

The effort was repeated in the 1976 primary campaign of President Ford and in the 1980 campaign of President Reagan. These were all winning efforts and reflected the benefits of the highly focused efforts of bright, committed people.

The concept was eroded in the Bush campaign of 1992 and the results are self-evident.

Each president brings his own personal strength and weakness to the office. And, having worked in various capacities for four presidents, President Nixon remains etched in my memory because of his vision, his incisive thinking and his warm and considerate manner.

President Nixon will be judged much differently in the future than he has been in the past. Future presidential candidates could well benefit from the example he set by tapping the talents of the best minds in the advertising business.

Mr. Dailey, the founder of Dailey & Associates, Los Angeles, and later vice chairman of Interpublic Group of Cos., is now a private investor and non-executive chairman of Memorex Telex. His government service included appointments as ambassador to Ireland and special presidential envoy to NATO countries for intermediate nuclear weapons.

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