White House reporters resentfully acknowledge that all too often the only way they can discover what's really happening in the Oval Office is at background briefings with the President's press secretary.
On October 11 Jody Powell brought the same off-the-record rules to the Parker House, and members of the New England Circle grilled the President's spokesman on the workings of the White House.
Typically, one of the most questioned men in the nation did not hesitate to give the assembled guests a chance to question him further - no holds barred.
For more than two hours, both at the podium and over cocktails, Powell verbally fenced, jousted, and sparred with his inquisitors with the same jovial frankness that has made the Georgian one of the most popular press secretaries in years.
"After the grilling I got at the Circle, some of the White House reporters seem like amateurs," Powell said.
by Andrew Schneider (Correspondent, Associated Press, New Hampshire)