That Wastrel, Harry Byrd

Throughout his press conference last week, Franklin Roosevelt was in rare histrionic form. He had decided to play an unfamiliar role—that of a stern, penny-pinching budgeteer—and he decided to play it broadly, for laughs. He was really "terribly concerned," he solemnly informed his audience, about the cost of the coming inaugural. The 1933, 1937 and 1941 inaugurals cost roughly $47,000 each—plus the expense of Pennsylvania Avenue reviewing stands and White House receptions. This year, a top figure of $25,000 had been set by the Congressional Inaugural Committee, headed by Virginia's apple-cheeked Harry Byrd, famed far & wide for...

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