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When did the first Joint Senate-House Republican Leadership meeting take place?

Whose idea was it to hold these meetings?

How did the Republican leaders view the purpose of the joint leadership meetings?

What kind of media coverage did the post-meeting press conferences receive?

What did the leaders talk about?

 

When did the first Joint Senate-House Republican Leadership meeting take place?

The first meeting was held in Dirksen’s Senate office on January 24, 1961, only four days after John F. Kennedy became president.

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Whose idea was it to hold these meetings?

The outgoing president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, suggested holding the meetings in order to present Republican alternatives to the new Democratic administration.  The Republican Party, he noted, “must have a voice while it’s out of power.”

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How did the Republican leaders view the purpose of the joint leadership meetings?

According the Senator Dirksen, Minority Leader of the Senate, “the meetings were intended to coordinate Republican House and Senate efforts and to pinpoint criticisms of administrative policy, which after careful consideration, we deem to be fully justified.”

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What kind of media coverage did the post-meeting press conferences receive?

The Capitol Hill press received notices of the meetings and the press conferences in advance.  It was not unusual for 40 reporters to participate.  On especially noteworthy occasions, the number might swell to 100.  Reporters asked questions of the two leaders for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.

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What did the leaders talk about?

Based on the 64 press conferences that took place during the Kennedy administration, about 100 different topics, both foreign and domestic, were discussed.

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