Chapter Three IMMORTALITY AND MEDIOCRITY IN THE WHITE HOUSE

IN 1935 MY HUSBAND ESTIMATED THAT the men of the working press in Washington were 95 percent in favor of Franklin Roosevelt as a competent man at home in his job as President of the United States. This startlingly favorable reaction was due partly to Roosevelt's own charm and ability. It was based also on the contrast he made with former men in the same job as judged by men who watched Presidents close-up.

My husband had known Presidents Harding and Coolidge personally and well. Although he came to Washington during Woodrow Wilson's second administration in 1917, while World War I was still going on, he was then a beginner in newspaper reporting. Only experienced newspapermen are assigned to cover the White House. So Ray had had no personal experience with Wilson.

Of course we talked about Wilson a lot; about his autocratic manner in telling Congress, "This is what I want, you

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