A Washington Times report last month that Dallasite Jim Francis had been bounced from Phi] Gramm’s presidential campaign sent waves of consternation through the ranks of Gramm’s Texas supporters. Francis, after all, is the wunderkind of Texas Republican politics, having won hard-fought elections for Bill Clements, Kay Bailey Hutchison, George W. Bush, and Gramm himself-every major statewide victory the GOP has enjoyed. The story, as it turned out, contained a kernel of truth: Francis will not move to Washington and will not take full charge of the campaign. But he will remain deeply involved in setting the campaign’s direction, as he has been from the beginning.
In fact, nobody seems to be taking full charge of the campaign. Washington strategist Charles Black-whose consulting company is a full-time business in itself-will be working half days at campaign headquarters. “If you want to know where the buck stops in the Gramm operation,” says one insider, “it stops with Phil Gramm.” Experienced Washington operatives shake their heads at the turmoil that has rocked the Gramm campaign since early January. “Forget the internal maneuvering between guys like Black and Francis,” says our source.” Ninety-nine percent of the campaign’s problems the past six months can be directly attributed to the candidate.” As one Gramm supporter notes, presidential candidates who try to manage their own campaigns are like the lawyer who represented himself in court and found he had a fool for a client.” Phil’s got about three weeks left to make a life-or-dcath decision, and it’s the most basic decision of all: Who’s in charge?”