October 20, 1934 - Article - Washingtonia, by Raymond G. Carroll

Then the doors of the room were closed and silence fell, for the President was speaking "off the record." The biweekly White House press conference was on.

It was the same rich, resonant voice of the radio, only more intimate and moving, and it issued from a very human and handsome face.

Some 300 writers were grouped, 20 deep, in the little half circle pressing crescentlike around Mr. Roosevelt's desk.

Journalistic self-esteem can rise no higher in Washington than to be included in that little half circle hermetically sealed into a trusted zone of not-to-be-repeated confidences. It is regarded as the peak of thrills; practically "alone" with the President, privileged to share in his plans for the next play of the New Deal team on the national gridiron, and under the spell of the fascination that the word "secret" always exerts. Correspondents frowned when Mr. Roosevelt frowned, laughed when he laughed, keeping in emotional harmony with the moods and words of the President. It was a flawless exchange of sympathetic understanding.

Gladstone once said that he was as eloquent as his audience was appreciative. Mr. Roosevelt not only has a wonderful persuasive platform eloquence but a close-up grace and charm, with power to draw such questions as he may wish to answer from the attentive, appreciative pressman whom he calls by their first names. (pg. 23)

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