WASHINGTON — Congressional critics said that President Reagan's 1987 budget was "dead on arrival," but, when the Administration delivered it to reporters Wednesday by ambulance, the apparent intention was to stress that it is just sick and can be revived.
As reporters waited in a drizzle outside the Government Printing Office for the budget to be released at 7:30 a.m., an ambulance with sirens blaring screeched to a halt and two attendants wheeled a gurney to the door.
They were met by a handful of government employees dressed in green surgical gowns, a prank to rebut Capitol Hill critics.
An attendant, fighting back a smile, said: "It looks like a serious situation." Two attendants raced to the rear of the ambulance and removed an employee of the White House Office of Management and Budget--strapped to a gurney.
They carried the supine patient, OMB public affairs assistant Paul Olkhovski, to the second floor, where he rose from the gurney.
Attendants placed a copy of the budget on his chest; Olkhovski then pronounced it alive and kicking.
"It was a play on the concept of 'dead on arrival,' " OMB spokesman Ed Dale said of the "little joke."