From the view of the press, the questioning revealed a clear commitment to no retaliation against Iran and a clear statement about Reagan's
hard-line attitude toward the Soviet Union. The press was successful in
demonstrating that the administration was not ready to discuss an economic policy, although no one drew the explicit conclusion that the
administration did not yet have a workable economic plan.
A good balance was struck between the president's need to exert
leadership and the press motivation to require the president to account
for his actions. He did not overwhelm the press, as some claim was the
effect of John Kennedy's press conferences. Neither was there the kind
of mutual hostility generated by abusive press questions and less-than-
honest answers. There was even a balance in the types of questions
The balance evident in the first press conference was not evident in
the second. The key to understanding the differences between the two
lies in understanding the differences in the relationship between the
president and the press, differences caused by the rule changes. That
is the subject of Chapter 9.
"President Reagan's Press Conference Text", Congressional Quarterly
Weekly Report 39, no. 5 ( January 31, 1981): 237-240. All subsequent excerpts of
this press conference are taken from this transcript.
Irwin B. Arieff, "Republicans Will Get an Early Test of Their New Hill
Power as Congress Faces Key Issues", Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report 39,
no. 2 ( January 10, 1981): 55.
Dale Tate, "Hearings Held on Reagan Cabinet Nominees", Congressional
Quarterly Weekly Report 39, no. 2 ( January 10, 1981): 110.
"Reagan Hostage Remarks Text", Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report 39, no. 5 ( January 31, 1981): 236.
Richard Whittle, "Reagan Promises Retribution Against Future Terrorists, But Not Revenge Against Iran", Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report 39,
no. 5 ( January 31, 1981): 220.
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary ( Springfield, Mass.: G. C. Merriam, 1981), p. 983.
See chronology in
Julia McCue, "Final Three Months of Hostage Crisis", Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report 39, no. 4 ( January 24, 1981): 169.
Christopher Buchanan, "Reagan Melds Acting Ability with
Prowess in Politics", Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report 38, no. 38 ( September 20, 1980): 2762-2763.
"Key Events in U.S.-Iran Relations During 444 Day Hostage Crisis", in Eugene Patterson et al., eds., 1980 CQ Almanac, vol. 36 ( Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1981), pp. 352-353.
Cited in McCue, p. 169.