When the President of the U.S. makes a sudden, unexplained move during what is supposed to be a weekend of rest, it sends a ripple of consternation across the land. That is what happened when President Nixon, relaxing at his Camp David, Md., retreat, snatched up his briefcase, dashed to his helicopter and zipped back to the White House. Left behind were reporters, staff aides, his wife and a house guest.

To make matters murkier, White House spokesmen offered the lamest excuses. Speculation mounted. Surely the balloon could not have gone up? No, it had not, but the summer pollen...

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