Press Conferences: Homespun Assurance

The 56 newsmen waited impatiently for Presidential Press Secretary Pierre Salinger. They were at the White House for Salinger's usual press briefing, and he was, as usual, late. When Salinger finally appeared, though, it was not to hold court himself. Instead he led the whole crowd down the hall to the capacious office of another White House official: Lyndon B. Johnson.

For the next half-hour, a little stiffly at first, the President held the informal kind of press conference that he prefers. The reporters simply crowded around —NBC's Herb Kaplow used Johnson's desk to write on—as the President, hands in pockets,...

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