Answer: Sen. Everett Dirksen and Rep. Charles Halleck
Famed New York Times journalist Tom Wicker, who died last Friday at the age of 85, appeared on Meet the Press sixteen times during his journalism career. His first appearance on the Meet the Press panel was February 3, 1963. That program featured the stars of another Washington “show” – Republican leaders Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois and Representative Charles Halleck of Indiana. While they held the top leadership posts in the GOP, the two men held weekly meetings of the” Senate-House Republican Leadership” followed by a joint press conference in an effort to unify the GOP and draw media attention away from Democrats. The press labeled these appearances “the Ev and Charlie show” – and later the “Ev and Jerry” show after Gerald Ford replaced Halleck as the House Republican leader. When the Meet The Press panel quizzed Dirksen about his leadership strategy and his “show” with Halleck, he said “we don’t mind the appellation, because I think we were tagged with it in the belief that perhaps they could laugh this performance off the air.” You can read more about the history of the “Ev and Charlie show” via the Dirksen Congressional Center: http://www.dirksencenter.org/print_emd_republicanleadership.htm. Later in the program, Wicker used his inaugural MTP appearance to press Dirksen on Republican party politics, asking him how much the GOP presidential nomination would be worth after recent losses in the House. Watch the Senator’s heated response below, as well as more of the “Ev and Charlie” joint Meet The Press appearance. And you can read the New York Times’ obituary of Tom Wicker here: http://nyti.ms/tJQQHU.
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