With President Obama’s prime time news conference hours away, veteran political reporter Walter Shapiro ponders at The New Republic “what made [Pres. John F.] Kennedy’s performances the gold standard for presidential Q-and-A’s” and concludes:

John Kennedy was different for one transcendent reason—he actually answered the reporters. Sure, there were presidential evasions and a bit of politically convenient double talk. But, for the most part, Kennedy took the questions seriously and responded with bracing forthrightness… Kennedy’s shimmering press-conference legacy is that truth-telling beats twaddle and trickery nearly every time.

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.