The Presidency: No Popularity Contest

No Popularity Contest

Larry Speakes, 47, left his job last week after five years ten months one day and nine hours as the President's spokesman, the longest tenure in that chamber of horrors since James Hagerty served Ike, twelve press officers ago.

As Larry headed for the Big Apple and big bucks ($250,000-plus) with Merrill Lynch, a roly-poly, hail-fellow, stogie-smoking Kansan named Marlin Fitzwater, 44, moved into the cauldron. Therein lies one of the most intriguing questions of this age in the presidency.

Speakes, who would not win a personal popularity contest among the White House media corps, has nurtured the most successful era...