Mark Shields / Politics

A Poll Apart

A long time ago, maybe in the first Eisenhower administration, my precinct committeewoman taught me the unchanging rules of how to respond to public opinion polls. If the polls show your candidate trailing badly, then simply attack polls and ...

Nixon's 'Gift'

The U.S. Supreme Court, including former President Richard Nixon's own appointees, ruled 8-0 that Nixon must turn over 64 tapes of White House conversations to the Watergate special prosecutor on Aug. 5, 1974. Investigators heard a tape on which...

Nobody Asked Me, but ...

From time to time, the late New York sports-writing legend Jimmy Cannon used to do a column composed of witty, sentimental short takes he called, "Nobody Asked Me, but." It was Cannon who wrote of the longtime African-American heavyweight-boxing...

The Most Reliable Poll of All

I dimly recall being rousted out of my bunk bed as a young child before sunrise on Oct. 27, 1948, so I could stand at an intersection in my hometown of Weymouth, Massachusetts, to catch a brief glimpse of President Harry Truman as he drove by on...

Giving Public Service a Better Name

A while back, after the Gallup poll had reported that public confidence in Congress had fallen to a then-record low of 9 percent, Arizona Sen. John McCain observed that for Congress, "9 percent" meant we were down to "paid staffers and blood ...