The Press: Annie Under the Gun

"Looks quiet," said White House Press Secretary Jim Hagerty to his associate, Mrs. Anne Williams Wheaton, before leaving on a ten-day vacation. "Let's keep it that way." Hagerty had barely arrived in Puerto Rico when Sputnik 11 shattered the lull at the White House. Annie Wheaton's first week under the gun as acting press secretary was Ike's busiest in months.

For silver-haired Anne Wheaton (age: "past 60"), it meant a succession of grueling, twelve-hour days, with twice-daily press briefings punctuated by countless queries from individual newsmen. Since she does not have Hagerty's firsthand knowledge of top-level decisions, the answers often involved some...

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