THE ADMINISTRATION: Trying to Govern as the Fire Grows Hotter

Let me remind you that the finest steel has to go through the hottest fire.

RESIDENT NIXON used that self-eassuring image last week at a White House staff meeting. The next day, he repeated it at a Cabinet meeting. It so inspired him that he repeated it once again at a Republican fund-raising dinner. Nixon and his far from steely Administration desperately needed reassurance: the fire kept getting hotter, and at times it seemed to be out of control. The dominant question each day was: What next?

Former Attorney General John Mitchell, once...

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