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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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I had story after story about what was going on in closed sessions of Congressional committees, obtained very easily simply by talking to Congressmen later, not quoting them if they wished. That, of course, depended on the circumstances on which a story would be given to me. But I felt that by really hard legwork running down those corridors of the House and Senate office buildings - the longest and hardest corridors in the world -- you really could get almost any story that was around no matter how secretive the committee sessions were. And my experience was primarily with Congressional committee and with Congress rather than with the other end of the Capital. I know that of course there was a general feeling that during that period there was a tendency to withhold things from the press - there may have been in the departments - but I feel that probably the same thing that I've said just now would apply there: that if you worked hard enough, you could always get the story. And I think it still applies today. I'm not one of the people who thinks, however, that every story you get you ought to automatically print. I take seriously some of the security problems of the government, but that's a different question.


Were there any stories you covered during the Washington period that you think we should talk a bit about? Any occasions perhaps when you felt a great deal of satisfaction about uncovering a story that no one else had?


Oh, I don't think that there were any sensational scoops; there were lots and lots of exclusive stories dealing with certain matters that went on in Congress. They were not exposés - I guess I'm not that type. No, I don't think there was any special story that's worth burdening you with. There would be such things as, for instance, there would be a closed caucus of the Democratic Party which is closed and you weren't supposed to know

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