The taste of victory was fresh and sweet to John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Just about a year
ago, he sat in the drawing room of his Georgetown home and spoke breezily about the office
he would assume. "Sure it's a big job," he said. "But I don't know anybody
who can do it any better than I can. I'm going to be in it for four years. It isn't going
to be so bad. you've got time to think -- and besides, the pay is pretty good."
One year later, on a cool, grey day, the 35th President of the United States sat at his
desk in the oval office of the White House and discussed the same subject. "This job
is interesting," he said in that combination of Irish slur and broad Bostonese that
has become immediately identifiable on all the world's radios, "but the possibilities
for trouble are unlimited. It represents a chance to exercise your judgment on matters of
importance. It takes a lot of thought and effort. It's been a tough first year, but then
they're all going to be tough."
The words, not particularly memorable, might have come from any of a thousand
thoughtful executives after a year on the job. But here they were spoken by the
still-young executive in the world's biggest job, and they showed the difference in
attitude and tone that twelve months in the White House have worked on John F. Kennedy.
Jack Kennedy -- Man of the Year for 1961 -- had passionately sought the presidency. The
closeness of his victory did not disturb him; he took over the office with a
youth-can-do-anything sort of self-confidence. He learned better; but learn he did. And in
so doing he not only made 1961 the most endlessly interesting and exciting presidential
year within recent memory; he also made the process of his growing up to be President a
saving factor for the U.S. in the cold war.
Kennedy has always had a way with the people -- a presence that fits many moods, a
style that swings with grace from high formality to almost prankish casualness, a quick
charm, the patience to listen, a sure social touch, an interest in knowledge and a greed
for facts, a zest for play matched by a passion for work. Today his personal popularity
compares favorably with such popular heroes as Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.
During 1961, Kennedy suffered some major setbacks, including one, in Cuba, that might
have ruined some Presidents. (Richard Nixon has said: "If I had been responsible for
failing to make a critical decision on the Cuban business which would have brought
victory, I would have been impeached.") Yet, his popularity has remained consistently
high, seemingly unaffected by his vicissitudes. In the latest Gallup poll, 78% of the
American people said that they approved of the way he is doing his job. But personal
popularity, as Kennedy well knows, is not always reflected in widespread support of public
policy. To translate popularity into support is the job of the politician -- and the job
to which Kennedy has come increasingly to devote his time and energy.
In many of the most visible ways, Kennedy has been little changed by the presidency. In
the White House, he still fidgets around, prowling the corridors and offices, putting his
feet on his chair, pulling up his socks, tapping his teeth, adjusting and readjusting the
papers on his desk, occasionally answering his own telephone or making his own telephone
calls. It used to be that the telephone salutation, "This is Jack," would bring
the instinctive question, "Jack who?" But no longer. Now everyone in Washington
knows who Jack is: he is the man at the other end of the line.
At 44, Kennedy's weight remains steady at 175 lbs. He has few more grey hairs or
wrinkles of care than when he took office -- but he somehow looks older and more mature.
Indeed he is older -- but in a way that the mere month-by-month passage of time could not
have made him.
Less Than Omnipotent. Kennedy has come to realize that national and international
issues look much different from the President's chair than from a candidate's rostrum.
There are fewer certainties, and far more complexities. "We must face problems which
do not lend themselves to easy, quick or permanent solutions," he said recently in
Seattle. "And we must face the fact that the U.S. is neither omnipotent nor
omniscient, and that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity, and that
therefore there cannot be an American solution for every world problem."
That sober view of the limitations of power and authority is far removed from Kennedy's
campaign oratory, which often seemed to suggest that any problem could be solved if only
enough vim and vigor were brought to bear on it. Kennedy promised a "New
Frontier" to "get America moving again." He soon found that it was tough
enough just to keep the old problems from getting out of hand.
Before he came to the White House, Kennedy chose as his model the Franklin Delano
Roosevelt of the New Deal years. He expressed admiration for Roosevelt's ability to
"do" things and to "get things done," even adopted some of F.D.R.'s
speech mannerisms (the cocked head, allusions to historical fact). Kennedy advisers talked
about a Rooseveltian 100 days of dramatic success with Congress. But before the azaleas
had bloomed in the White House garden the Roosevelt image went by the boards -- and so did
the 100-day notion. "This period," says Kennedy today, with just a shade of
irritation, "is entirely different from Franklin Roosevelt's day. Everyone says that
Roosevelt did this and that, why don't I?"
Changed Positives. Kennedy has always been a man of positive ideas -- but some of the
positives have changed. During the 1960 campaign, he effectively used the charge that U.S.
prestige had plummeted during Dwight Eisenhower's Administration. In fact, the U.S. had
under Ike, and retains under Kennedy, a high reservoir of good will in the free world --
as Kennedy saw for himself in his triumphal trips to London, Paris and, more recently
Latin America. During the presidential campaign, Kennedy also made much of the
"missile gap" between the U.S. and the Soviet Union; within a few weeks after he
took office, the missile gap somehow seemed to disappear (although the President was
publicly annoyed at Defense Secretary Robert McNamara for saying as much at a news
briefing. Kennedy himself said: "In terms of total military strength, the U.S. would
not trade places with any nation on earth."
As an amateur historian, Kennedy might have realized that no new President starts out
with a blank book to be filled with fresh-ink policies. The reach of current history is
such that any President's program becomes a continuing part of national policy; that
policy may be altered, but it can rarely be fully reversed. When Kennedy first came to the
White House, he resented his inheritance, constantly referred to problems "not of our
own making." But now those old problems tend to become "our problems," and
the fact that the world is in trouble seems to Kennedy less Dwight Eisenhower's fault than
he once suspected. At a recent meeting of the National Security Council, Kennedy opened a
folder filled with briefs of U.S. problems. "Now, let's see," he said. "Did
we inherit these, or are these our own?" Now, Kennedy can even joke to friends:
"I had plenty of problems when I came in. But wait until the fellow who follows me
sees what he will inherit."
Key to Power. Behind such subtle, sometimes facetiously stated, changes of attitude
lies the central story of a U.S. President coming of age. Personality is a key to the use
of presidential power, and John Kennedy in 1961 passed through three distinct phases of
presidential personality. First, there was the cocksure new man in office. Then, after the
disastrous, U.S.- backed invasion of Cuba (in White House circles, B.C. still means Before
Cuba), came disillusionment. Finally, in the year's last months, came a return of
confidence -- but of a wiser, more mature kind that had been tempered by the bitter
lessons of experience.
Kennedy's inaugural address, delivered under a brilliant sun after a night of wild
snowstorm, rang with eloquence and the hope born of confidence. "Let the word go
forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to
a new generation of Americans . . . In the long history of the world, only a few
generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger.
I do not shrink from this responsibility -- I welcome it."
Man of Destiny. Such was Kennedy's performance during the inauguration ceremonies that
the late Sam Rayburn was moved to remark: "He's a man of destiny." Poet Robert
Frost, then 86, obviously thought so, too, and his proud reading of one of his poems at
the inaugural set a tone of expectation. After a few weeks in the Presidency, Kennedy told
a friend: "This is a damned good job." He was fascinated by the perquisites of
his office and his sudden access to the deepest secrets of government. He explored the
White House, poked his head into offices, asked secretaries how they were getting along.
He propped up pictures of his wife and children in office wall niches, while Jackie
rummaged through the cellar and attic, charmed with the treasures she found there and
already determined to make the White House into a "museum of our country's
The Kennedy "style" came like a hurricane. For a while, the problems of the
world seemed less important than what parties the Kennedys went to, what hairdo Jackie
wore. Seldom, perhaps never, has any President had such thorough exposure in so short a
time. At one point, Theodore Sorensen, Kennedy's special counsel, reminded the president
of Kennedy's old campaign line: that he was tired of getting up every morning and reading
what Khrushchev and Castro were doing; instead, he wanted to read what the President of
the U.S. was doing. Replied Kennedy: "That's so, and I've been hearing some criticism
about it. People are saying that they are tired of getting up every morning and reading
what Kennedy is doing. They want to read what Khrushchev and Castro are doing."
First Realization. On the home front realization came quickly to Jack Kennedy that not
everything was going to come up roses. The 87th Congress had convened with lopsided
Democratic majorities -- but those majorities were deceptive, particularly in the House of
Representatives where conservative Democrats (mostly from the South) and Republicans saw
Kennedy's squeaky win over Dick Nixon as less than a national mandate. The first major
fight in Congress was over the Kennedy Administration's all-out effort to liberalize the
House Rules Committee. The resolution carried by a scant five votes -- and right then and
there President Kennedy, a veteran vote counter, concluded that his domestic programs were
in for trouble.
He was absolutely right. During the year, in 66 messages to Capitol Hill, the President
made 355 specific legislative requests. Of those, the Congress approved 172. In general,
the Congress gave the President almost everything he wanted in the field of national
security. After desperate fights, it approved Kennedy Administration requests for the
biggest housing bill in history, an increased minimum wage and new federal highway
financing. But such pet Kennedy programs as aid to education and medical care for the
elderly never even came to House votes. And in one of the bitterest blows of all President
Kennedy got for his vital foreign aid a half-loaf that did not meet his urgent demands for
long-term borrowing authority.
Naive Request. In foreign affairs, understanding of the difficulties came more slowly
to the President. At the outset Kennedy naively conveyed a request for a six-month
moratorium on Communist troublemaking while the new Administration got its house in order.
In response, Communist guerrillas began gobbling even more hungrily at faraway Laos.
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko came to the White House to sound out the new
President. In the Rose Garden, Kennedy sternly warned Gromyko of the danger of pushing the
U.S. too far in a situation where its prestige was at stake. Gromyko listened -- and the
guerrillas kept advancing in Laos. As the situation worsened, Kennedy went on national TV
at a press conference to declare that a Communist takeover in Laos would "quite
obviously affect the security of the U.S."
The plain implication of Kennedy's statement was that the U.S. would send arms and, if
necessary, troops to defend the security that had been equated with its own. But nothing
could have been further from Kennedy's intention, and only a few days later State
Department officials and White House aides began downgrading the importance of Laos.
Kennedy himself said, in a qualification that counted Laos out: "We can only defend
the freedom of those who are ready to defend themselves." Actually, the new President
had been caught in a talk-tough bluff aimed, at best, at achieving a pallid, precarious
truce in Laos.
But Laos did not diminish Jack Kennedy's self-confidence. Neither did the space flight
of Russia's Yuri Gagarin. To that, Kennedy reacted in a manner characteristic of his first
months in the White House. First he called in his space experts, demanded that they come
up with answers about when, how and at what cost the U.S. could catch up with the U.S.S.R.
in man-in-space prowess. "I don't care where you get the answers," said Kennedy.
"If the janitor over there can tell us, ask him." Next Kennedy appeared before
the Congress to deliver an unusual midyear State of the Union message. He asked for a $9
billion program to put a man on the moon by 1971, and he placed that request, in a manner
smacking more of Hollywood and Vine than of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, close to the top of
the U.S. cold war priority list.
Dark Night. Then there was Cuba. It was a tragedy, but if nothing else it served the
function of a hickory stick in the presidential education of John Kennedy. Kennedy had
inherited the unpleasant fact of Communist Fidel Castro's rule over an enclave within 90
miles of U.S. shores. He also inherited from Dwight Eisenhower a specific plan for the
U.S. to back, with air cover and logistical support, an anti-Castro invasion of Cuba by
Cubans. But Kennedy decreed that the U.S. should not provide some of the necessary
ingredients to that plan -- such as air cover by U.S. planes. The result was disaster at
the Bay of Pigs.
On the night when the Cuba failure became apparent, the scene at the White House was
memorable. President Kennedy, doffing the white tie and tails he had worn to a legislative
reception, returned to the Executive Wing while the unhappy news was pouring in. At 2:30
a.m., orders were given to the State Department's Latin American expert, Adolf Berle Jr.,
and White House Aide Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to fly to Miami to confer with anti-Castro
Cuban invasion leaders. Black coffee was being rushed about. Berle (since eased out of his
State Department office) stood around in an overcoat complaining of the cold. Schlesinger
was haggard and unshaven. Finally, Berle and Schlesinger left, and so did most others of
the White House coterie. Abruptly, President Kennedy walked out into the White House Rose
Garden. For 45 minutes he stayed alone, thinking.
Cuba made the first dent in John Kennedy's self-confidence. When the invasion first
began to go sour, the President called his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who
was making a speech in Williamsburg, Va., at the time. "Why don't you come
back," said Jack, "and let's discuss it." Bobby flew back and, in the midst
of crisis, his was the profile pictured against the late-burning White House lights. In
Cuba's immediate aftermath, it was Bobby who moved into the White House, spearheaded an
investigation of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, became a moving spirit at National
Security Council meetings.
At the moment of nadir in the Cuba disaster, a White House aide watched President
Kennedy and said: "This is the first time Jack Kennedy ever lost anything." The
fact of defeat was jolting, and the President showed it. In the weeks that followed, he
seemed unsure of himself and willing to attempt almost anything that, by any conceivable
stretch of the imagination, might recoup the B.C. position. He even got himself involved
in the ill- advised attempt to trade U.S. tractors off for captured Cuban rebels.
On to Vienna. But it is in the nature of Kennedy to strike when things seem worst. It
was in that sense that after Cuba the President -- despite campaign criticism of summitry
-- decided to go to Vienna to meet Nikita Khrushchev. He hoped, he said, to size up
Khrushchev and to warn him against miscalculating U.S. determination in the cold war. He
knew beforehand that Khrushchev was tough -- but only at Vienna did he discover how tough.
"The difficulty of reaching accord was dramatized in those two days," he says
today. There was no shouting or shoe banging, but the meeting was grim. At one point
Kennedy noted a medal on Khrushchev's chest and asked what it was. When Khrushchev
explained that it was for the Lenin Peace Prize, Kennedy coldly replied: "I hope you
Kennedy managed to wangle out of Khrushchev a paper agreement on the need for an
"effective cease-fire" in Laos and for a neutral and independent Laos (Communist
guerrillas nonetheless continued to violate the cease-fire), but the two got nowhere on
other matters. Then Kennedy insisted on a last, unscheduled session with Khrushchev.
"We're not going on time," he snapped to his staff. "I'm not going to leave
until I know more." He found out more. At that final session Khrushchev growled that
his decision to sign a peace treaty with East Germany by the end of December was
"firm" and "irrevocable." "If that is true," replied
Kennedy, "it is going to be a cold winter."
High over the Atlantic Ocean, flying back to the U.S. the next night, John Kennedy sat
in his shorts, surrounded by his key aides. He was dead tired; his eyes were red and
watery; he throbbed with the ache of a back injury that the nation did not yet know about
but that had forced him to endure agonies on his European trip. Several times he stared
down at his feet, shook his head and muttered how unbending Khrushchev had been. He hugged
his bare legs and wondered what would come next.
Aides in the White House agree that August and September were the most critical months
so far in the personal and political life of John Kennedy. The first thing that Kennedy
did when he got back to the White House was to call for an estimate of the number of
Americans who might die in an atomic war; it was 70 million. Kennedy and those close to
him felt that war was a very real possibility. The President became moody, withdrawn,
often fell into deep thought in the midst of festive occasions with family and friends. He
sat up late in the White House and talked about war. To one intimate associate he said:
"It really doesn't matter as far as you and I are concerned. What really matters is
all the children."
But at some point, in some way, the President passed through his period of personal
crisis. He decided that words could be effective only when backed by the plain willingness
to perform deeds. "We do not want to fight," he told the U.S., "but we have
fought before. We cannot and will not permit the Communists to drive us out of Berlin,
either gradually or by force."
Kennedy had uttered such bold words before -- but this time he intended to support them
with action. The Communist Wall in Berlin caught the U.S. by surprise, and President
Kennedy had no ready response. "There's no reason why we should do everything,"
he said. But he did decide, even if it meant war, to insist upon the maintenance of three
basic Allied rights in Berlin: 1) the presence of Allied forces, 2) access to Berlin, and
3) a free and viable city as part of West Germany.
Turning Point. It was to demonstrate that determination in the only language that
Communism can understand that Kennedy ordered an armored U.S. troop convoy to travel the
Autobahn from West Germany through East German territory to West Berlin. The journey made
for some dramatic headlines, but its real significance was somehow diluted by the flood of
international crises. Kennedy well recognized that if the convoy were stopped, the
shooting might start. "Talking to Kennedy was like talking to a statue," recalls
a White House aide. "There was the feeling that this mission could very well escalate
into shooting before morning."
The battle group was to be sent along the Autobahn in serials of 60 trucks each.
General Bruce Clarke, Commander in Chief, U.S. Army, Europe, set up headquarters in the
woods about one-half mile from Helmstedt. He was in near-instant communication with the
White House. President Kennedy had postponed a weekend trip to Cape Cod; his military
aide, Army Major General Ted Clifton, was ordered to remain on duty all night in case of
trouble, Kennedy himself stayed up until midnight, then turned in. When he arose at 8
a.m., he was told that the convoy's first group had passed safely through the gate into
Thus, the incident itself did not amount to much, but it was a turning point in the
presidential year. For the first time Kennedy had backed up his urgent words with urgent
action -- and was psychologically ready for more. Gone was the old feeling of complete
cockiness. Gone too was that period of doubt -- which had been so devastating to a man who
had never before known doubt.
From the beginning of his Administration, Kennedy had been concerned about establishing
"credibility" with Khrushchev. But, in retrospect, it was not until after the
Autobahn voyage that Khrushchev began to believe that the new U.S. President might really
back up his brave words with daring deeds. Given that inch, Kennedy began to make mileage.
The U.S. continued building up its nuclear and conventional forces to strengthen its
military might around the world. The Army stated raising its strength from eleven to a
planned 16 combat divisions, got a badly needed infusion of modern equipment. Draft calls
were increased, and some 156,000 reservists and National Guardsmen were called to active
duty (some of them have been screaming ever since). Down to the smallest detail, Kennedy
himself discussed ways in which the U.S. might combat Communist guerrillas in strategic
areas of the earth. In a meeting with military leaders to decide which weapons ought to be
sent to pro-Western forces in Southeast Asia, he personally called for specimens of
several. He tried the new M- 14, then the new Armalite. Then he hefted the old, World War
II carbine and said: "You know, I like the old carbine. You aren't going to see a guy
500 yards in the jungle."
Kennedy once again conferred with Gromyko in the White House to discuss East-West
tensions, and this time the President made it clear that he was through with offering U.S.
compromises in return for continuing Russian intransigence. Said Kennedy: "You have
offered to trade us an apple for an orchard. We don't do that in this country."
Before long, diplomatic pouches were bringing word back that Khrushchev now felt that his
young American antagonist might be much more than a pup. In evidence Khrushchev amid
belligerent yowlings, backed away from his year- end deadline about the settlement, forced
or otherwise, of the Berlin question.
The Image. Slight and temporary though it may have been, the relaxation that Kennedy
won in the tensions about Berlin gave him a chance to perfect and polish his image as a
U.S. political leader. Part of that image was, and is, the youth, vigor and attractiveness
of the Kennedy family. Few diplomats have scored more triumphs than Jacqueline Kennedy in
her year as the nation's First Lady. She has charmed Britain's Macmillan, France's De
Gaulle, Germany's Adenauer and, for that matter, Khrushchev himself (said Khrushchev of
Jackie's gown: "It's beautiful!"). "Jackie wants to be as great a First
Lady in her own right as Jack wants to be a great President," says a friend. Toward
that end, Jackie has worked hard and effectively. She has done over the White House with
unexceptionable taste. She has introduced into the White House, for the first time in
years, good food, great music, Shakespeare, warmth and informality -- all along with a
deep respect for American tradition. In so doing, she has managed to stay very much
Jackie Kennedy refuses to be falsely humble. She wore her apricot dress and coat of
silk and linen to speak to farmers in a Venezuelan barnyard. She declines to honor all the
petty requests that pour into the White House, ignores most of the President's political
rallies, turns down invitations from women's groups who are constantly nagging her for an
appearance. She water-skis, rides, plays golf, and yet remains an attentive mother to her
"Who's Crying?" The Kennedys try to shield Daughter Caroline from too much
publicity. But despite all her parents efforts, Caroline is a real Kennedy: she makes
news. She came clutching her mother's shoes into a presidential press conference at Palm
Beach. Carefully rehearsed, she was on hand to proffer a fresh rose to an enchanted Nehru
at Newport. Once, Kennedy had to break off a TV filming to go and wipe Caroline's offstage
tears ("Who's crying in this house?" he demanded). Again the President of the
U.S., spending a weekend at Glen Ora, was heard to say impatiently: "Hurry up,
Caroline. I want to use the phone."
Even beyond his immediate household circle, the President remains a family man. A
brother, sisters and brothers-in-law have flocked to Washington in convenient
concentration, all willing to help the President with his work and eager to help him relax
after hours. Bobby is still Kennedy's right-hand man. Sargent Shriver Jr. -- Eunice
Kennedy's husband -- is head of the Peace Corps. Stephen Smith -- Jean Kennedy's husband
-- is special assistant to the head of the White House "Crisis Center." Actor
Peter Lawford -- Pat Kennedy's husband -- helped pay off Democratic debts by co-producing
an inaugural extravaganza, still shows up at Kennedy conclaves, sometimes with the
Hollywood Rat Pack in tow. Until he suffered a stroke last month, Father Joe was in
regular touch with the President, offering encouragement and loyalty. And it was
Multimillionaire Joe who negotiated the movie contract for Robert Donovan's book on
Kennedy's wartime days, PT 109. It came to a tidy $150,000 -- some $2,500 for each of the
old PT crew members or their widows and $120,000 for Donovan.
The Treatment. Whether with his family, at a casual dinner with friends, or working
among his trusted aides, Kennedy has one overwhelming interest that shapes all his
actions: politics. By instinct and training, he is a political creature who works 25 hours
a day at politics.
Kennedy's front-line political weapon is his own power of political persuasion. He
courts Congressmen, inviting them to the White House for intimate social gatherings,
calling them on the telephone to hash over old times on the Hill, remembering their
birthdays with personal notes, carrying a tiny pad on which to jot down their political
Where Harry Truman delighted in denouncing "special interest" groups, Kennedy
tries to win them over. He places great emphasis on the power of the press, and no other
U.S. President has granted so many private interviews to journalists of many levels. It
goes without saying that organized labor is friendly to Democrat Kennedy, but the
President has also gone all-out to relieve big business of its suspicions about his
Administration. He has sent his economic advisers all over the country to preach that big
business is a respected Administration partner, slipped such business leaders as U.S.
Steel Chairman Roger Blough into the White House for long, earnest chats.
Kennedy's persuasive personality has also been turned on foreign dignitaries. The
President has received 30 chiefs of state and heads of government since his inauguration,
sent most of them away grateful for the treatment they received and impressed by Kennedy's
broad knowledge and willingness to listen to their problems. Among his Western Allies,
Kennedy gets along splendidly with Britain's Harold Macmillan. Germany's Chancellor Konrad
Adenauer recently left the White House declaring: "I've never left this house feeling
better." Even France's difficult Charles de Gaulle trusts and respects Kennedy -- up
to a point. >From De Gaulle aides after Kennedy's spring trip to Paris came word of a
characteristic De Gaulle declaration. In his long lifetime, said De Gaulle, he had met
only two real statesmen: Adenauer and Kennedy. But Adenauer was too old, he said, and
Kennedy was too young.
Where persuasion fails, Kennedy is perfectly willing to use power -- in his own way. In
the early days of his Administration, he realized that he had picked the wrong man for
Under Secretary of State. Chester Bowles, who was supposed to be tending to administrative
work in the State Department, was instead obsessed with big-think solutions to world
problems; beyond that, Bowles committed the ultimate sin of disloyalty by letting it be
known, after the fact, that he had been against the Cuba venture all along. Kennedy
decided to get Bowles out. He invited Bowles down for a swim in the White House pool. Then
the two had lunch while Kennedy explained that he had a new job, outside Washington, in
mind for Bowles. Bowles not only refused to bite at Kennedy's bait, but went out and
stirred up protests among his cultist liberal following. In the face of a fuss, Jack
Kennedy backed away -- but anyone who knew him also knew that it would not be for long.
Last November, when nobody was looking, he shifted Bowles into a high-sounding but
peripheral job as a presidential adviser, tossed in nearly a dozen other White House and
State Department switches for good measure -- and managed it all with hardly a murmur of
complaint from anyone.
Crab Grass & Berets. In the White House, Kennedy is still a man in near-perpetual
motion, interested in everything that goes on about him and casual enough to take a hand
in anything that interests him. Amid his other duties, he had time to notice crab grass on
the White House lawn and order it removed, and to order the Army's Special Forces to put
back on the green berets that had earlier been banned ("They need something to make
them distinctive"). When he wanted a haircut a few weeks ago after a hard day of
work, he simply had his secretary summon a barber to his White House office. There, the
barber neatly spread a white cloth in front of the presidential desk, lifted a chair onto
the cloth and began snipping away. The President of the U.S. tilted back his chair, picked
up his afternoon paper, and smiled happily. "Now," he said, "I'm going to
read Doris Fleeson."