Frederick Dutton, 82; was aide to Kennedys, Washington power broker
Frederick Gary Dutton, a well-connected Washington lawyer who for four decades served as an adviser to the Kennedy family, assisted the campaigns of several Democratic presidential candidates, and lobbied Congress for Saudi Arabia, died Saturday at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., as a result of complications from a stroke. He was 82.
Among his chief accomplishments, his family said, was helping engineer the political strategy that, in 1978, pushed legislation through Congress to sell the Saudi government 60 F-15 fighters. Three years later, he played a major role in prodding Congress to approve the $8.5 billion sale of AWACS radar planes to Saudi Arabia.
He also helped invent the modern ''advertorial" by persuading one of his firm's clients, Mobil Oil, to buy ad space on the editorial pages of major newspapers.
''What he was really interested in doing was changing the world, and the best way for him to do that was through government and power," said Nancy Dutton, his wife and partner at their law firm, Dutton & Dutton. ''To wield power, you had to win elections. He linked with candidates who had the same values as he did."
Mr. Dutton came to Washington from California in 1960 as deputy director in John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign and later became a special assistant to the president. He later became Kennedy's secretary of the Cabinet and served as assistant secretary of state for congressional relations at the State Department under both Kennedy and President Johnson. He also helped draft the Democratic platform at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.
In 1968, Mr. Dutton became the primary campaign manager for Senator Robert F. Kennedy's presidential bid. He was with the senator when he was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, and rode with Kennedy and his wife, Ethel, to the hospital.
''Fred did an outstanding job for President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy over the years, and I valued his advice and counsel immensely," Senator Edward M. Kennedy said yesterday in a statement. ''He was a wonderful friend to all of us in the Kennedy family, and none of us will ever forget him."
Mr. Dutton went on to work on the presidential campaign of Hubert H. Humphrey in the fall of 1968 and served as a senior adviser to George McGovern in 1972. From 1969 to 1972, he also served on the Democratic National Committee's McGovern Commission, which changed the way delegates are selected.
Born in Julesburg, Colo., Mr. Dutton moved with his family at age 6 to San Francisco.
During World War II, he served as a first lieutenant in the Army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, where he was wounded in the chest and taken prisoner for five months. After recovering in a German hospital, he was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. During the Korean War, the Army sent him to Japan, where he served in the Judge Advocate General's Corps.
In between his Army posts, Mr. Dutton graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1946, where he studied economics and political science. Three years later, he earned a law degree from Stanford University, where he served on the first editorial board of the Stanford Law Review with Warren M. Christopher, President Clinton's first secretary of state.
Mr. Dutton's political career began in 1956, working in California for Adlai Stevenson's presidential campaign. He later became one of 21 members of the California university system's board of regents.
Two of his daughters described him as charming, intellectual, and inspiring.
''He had a truly infectious laugh; you could find him anywhere at a party or a room," said Stacy Dutton of Philadelphia. He was a ''penetrating intellect, inspiring and challenging to his friends and family. His intellectual passions were so close to the surface you couldn't help but be positively influenced by them."
His daughter Christina Dutton, of Washington, D.C., described him as a ''very warm and supportive dad."
''He was a great teacher," she said. ''He encouraged us to take everything as a learning opportunity. One piece of wisdom he offered us was to listen to what clients are saying, but always to analyze what's going on beneath the surface, what's not being said."
Mr. Dutton was divorced twice.
In addition to his daughters and his wife, Mr. Dutton leaves two other daughters, Lisa of Los Angeles and Eve of San Carlos, Calif.; a son, Christopher of San Anselmo, Calif.; and seven grandchildren.