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Roberts v. Jackson

1:18 PM, Jun 26, 2009 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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From the Times's Caucus blog:

The death of Michael Jackson on Thursday recalled his brush a quarter century ago with an aide to President Ronald Reagan - John G. Roberts Jr., who would go on to become chief justice of the United States. Mr. Roberts, it appears, was not the King of Pop's biggest fan in the White House.

One of Roberts's duties was to review presidential correspondence. He rejected a couple of attempts to have President Reagan send Michael Jackson fan mail. The rejections were relayed with Roberts's typical wit and polished prose:

"I recognize that I am something of a vox clamans in terris in this area," Roberts wrote to White House counsel Fred Fielding, "but enough is enough. The Office of Presidential Correspondence is not yet an adjunct of Michael Jackson's PR firm. "Billboard" can quite adequately cover the event by reproducing the award citation and/or reporting the President's remarks. (As you know, there is very little to report about Mr. Jackson's remarks.) There is absolutely no need for an additional presidential message. A memorandum for Presidential Correspondence objecting to the letter is attached for your review and signature."

And later:

"I hate to sound like one of Mr. Jackson's records, constantly repeating the same refrain, but I recommend that we not approve this letter. Sometimes people need to be reminded of the obvious: whatever its status as a cultural phenomenon, the Jackson concert tour is a massive commercial undertaking. The tour will do quite well financially by coming to Washington, and there is no need for the President to applaud such enlightened self-interest. Frankly, I find the obsequious attitude of some members of the White House staff toward Mr. Jackson's attendants, and the fawning posture they would have the President of the United States adopt, more than a little embarrassing."

Classic.