A good read in today’s WSJ. The opening:
WASHINGTON—When President Barack Obama told a gathering of the nation’s governors last month that he was “not going to rest” until each state’s economy improves, Mark Knoller was counting.
Mr. Knoller, a White House reporter for CBS Radio, has for two decades been the unofficial keeper of presidential data. The National Archives, the Smithsonian, the White House itself—none hold the cache of detail that Mr. Knoller has squirreled into his crumb-littered cubby in the White House briefing room.
According to his database, that Feb. 22 speech was the 11th time Mr. Obama had said he “will not rest” during his presidency, including: “until the dream of health-care reform is finally achieved”; “until we reach a day when not one single veteran falls into homelessness”; and “until anybody who’s looking for a job can find one.”
George W. Bush used the phrase 40 times, pledging not to rest “…until every child receives a quality education;” “until the Lebanese people enjoy full independence;”—and like Mr. Obama, “until every American who wants to work can find a job.”
At least five presidents—Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Mssrs. Bush and Obama—have vowed not to rest until every American is working, Mr. Knoller found.
Mr. Knoller’s database is the work of a self-described hoarder, filing milestones and minutiae of the American presidency. He shares his facts freely with others in the media, the White House and his more than 22,000 followers on Twitter, where the stocky, rumpled newsman known for his booming voice is the second-most followed CBS personality after Katie Couric