National Affairs: Eve of the Message

The thermometer hung at a sharp 20° at the rambling Eisenhower farm outside Gettysburg at 8:49 one morning last week as a helicopter from Washington touched down on the lawn. The passengers were Presidential Assistant Wilton B. ("Jerry") Persons and Presidential Speechwriter Malcolm Moos. Their briefcase cargo: an all-but-final draft of the 1959 State of the Union message incorporating changes that the President had ordered two days before. The President greeted them just inside the door, led them to his long, heated sun porch, where he had been working on a portrait of Thomas Jefferson. They spread out the papers on...

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