This morning Mark Knoller, CBS Radio’s longstanding White House correspondent, has a well deserved profile in the Wall Street Journal (stipple included, natch) highlighting the body of interesting and revelatory Presidential statistics he’s been collecting since the Clinton era. His records, widely considered to be the most comprehensive available, include information on presidential golf, executive orders, speeches, and foreign and domestic travel.
Without somebody counting, “a lot of this vaporizes,” Mr. Knoller says. “I’ve got an assessment of the presidency that others don’t…I’m amused by it.”
CJR (actually, yes, yours truly) had a similar piece in December, which included the below recounting from Knoller of the genesis of the habit under President Clinton:
“He was about to make a trip to California, and I said, ‘Gee, he’s been there a few times already. I wish I knew how many times he had been there,’” Knoller remembers. “And it took me forever to go back and put together those numbers. So I started keeping a record.”
“Back in those days, in the early nineties, the Internet was not fully up to speed. You’d go to Facts on File, but there wasn’t so much information readily available. So it was difficult, which is why I started to keeping it on my own,” says Knoller, who updates the document nearly every day. “It is ever much so more thorough and easy if I keep a contemporaneous record of everything the president does.”