At precisely 12:31 one day last week, William Moseley ("Fishbait") Miller, Doorkeeper of the U.S. House of Representatives, rose and raised a stentor's voice: "Mistuh Speakuh: the President of the United States." To the standing applause of a joint session of the U.S. Congress, a smiling Dwight Eisenhower (carefully shirted in television blue) strode to the rostrum. He was beginning two difficult years of business with a Congress organized by an opposition party that had one main aim: to get his job.

As his first public act in dealing with that Congress, the President made a...

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