Charging Up Capitol Hill

How Oliver North captured the imagination of America

The screen split. On one side of it, Ronald Reagan was seen ambling sidelong and smiling across the South Lawn of the White House. He waved to an off- camera crowd, deflected shouted questions with a shrug, and at the steps to his helicopter, smartly saluted the Marine guard standing at attention.

At that moment, on the left side of the television screen, another Marine, Oliver North, leaned forward in the witness chair in the Senate Caucus Room, listening, his eyes gone now from disingenuous to wounded, then brightening to a righteous glint.

Blip. The Reagan side of the picture disappeared....