First Lady Mellows Out With the White House Press
In a sentimental farewell, Nancy Reagan presided at a press tour of the White House Christmas decorations for the last time. “Nobody knows what it’s like to be here, nobody,” she said after showing 50 reporters and cameramen through the executive mansion, which was decorated in the theme of “Christmas in the Park.” Even though Mrs. Reagan said that she often felt isolated as First Lady, she said she would miss the White House. And, despite her past skirmishes with the press, she told the media group: “I’m going to miss you.” Mrs. Reagan appeared near tears just before the annual ritual in which reporters sit on the lap of a visiting celebrity Santa, this year comedian Rich Little, to receive a gift from the First Lady and have their pictures taken. Little got his biggest laughs of the day by mimicking President Reagan’s style of dealing with questions shouted over the noise of a helicopter. This year’s White House decorations featured a towering gingerbread house made by White House chef Hans Raffert. The Christmas tree in the Blue Room displayed decorations made by volunteers from Second Genesis--a drug rehabilitation program.
--Polish labor leader Lech Walesa experienced disappointment during his visit to France. He did not get to meet actress Brigitte Bardot. “That beautiful woman was my childhood sweetheart--don’t tell my wife,” he said. “When I was a young man, I loved her on the screen. Now that I am an old man, I would have liked to have met this great woman, but it was not in the cards this time.” However, Walesa, 45, did enjoy another long-awaited meeting when he talked with a Radio Free Europe correspondent. “I have been listening to you for years. I have spoken to you by telephone and I would like to have your autograph,” Walesa told Paris-based correspondent Maciej Morawski. “I was so surprised that I forgot to ask (Walesa) for an autograph,” said Morawski, whose interviews are beamed daily into Poland.
--Former NBC News President Lawrence K. Grossman is going to pass on some of the lessons he learned behind the scenes. Grossman, who held the NBC post from 1984 until earlier this year, will be a visiting lecturer at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government this spring, teaching a graduate course on television news and the First Amendment. In addition, Grossman, who also spent eight years at the top of PBS, will write a paper on the effect of TV news coverage on the nation’s political priorities.