At 8:50 a.m. yesterday, the President of the United States confronted a day of tense and definitional decisions. His health-care plan faced life-or-death negotiations with nervous Republicans.
- Within hours, he'd host his first meeting with the leader of a nation at urgent risk of decimation by North Korea, which is flirting with nuclear war. He was about to give a speech designed as the centerpiece of a week dedicated to national energy policy. The trade war we just mentioned was brewing.
- But as the president watched TV, one topic consumed his mind and mood: two talk-show hosts who had insulted his psychological stability. Their average audience is just over 1 million — .3% of the nation's population.
- He banged out those infamous 53 words.