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CAMPAIGN '88 : 'Secret Weapon' Party

February 23, 1988|Maura Dolan

What a birthday party!

Loreen Gephardt, mother of candidate Gephardt, turned 80 over the weekend and met her son for what the campaign billed as a "birthday party" on the campaign trail.

The "party" turned out to be a Gephardt speech about trade and farm policy in front of 135 Democrats in Watertown, S.D. Nobody sang "Happy Birthday."

There were some birthday touches, however: balloons in the campaign's red, white and blue colors, and a sheet cake that was cut after the candidate left. As photographers snapped pictures and television cameras took aim, Gephardt gave his mother her gift: a red T-shirt that read "Gephardt for President '88" on one side, and "The Secret Weapon" on the other. The candidate likes to tell audiences that his mother, who not only gives speeches but also mends his clothing on the campaign trail, is his "secret weapon."

Loreen Gephardt, who loves campaigning for her son, didn't seem to mind that her party had been turned into a photo opportunity.

"I'm the proudest mother in America today," she told the audience.

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