LAST CALL: New novel makes hero out of White House press man

The White House drama genre is getting stale. We've all seen The American President and The West Wing, but the problem is that the protagonist is always the President. Last Call has yearned to see the spotlight fall on the true hero of any administration: the press secretary.

The White House drama genre is getting stale. We've all seen The American President and The West Wing, but the problem is that the protagonist is always the President. Last Call has yearned to see the spotlight fall on the true hero of any administration: the press secretary.

Our prayers have been answered in the form of Ruffled Flourishes, a satirical novel by Peter Roussel, who served as an assistant press secretary under Presidents Ford and Reagan.

The book chronicles what he calls "the daily taffy pull between reporter, spokesperson, and President," told through the eyes of fictional press secretary Sox St. Louis.

"They say you can't write it unless you've lived it," Roussel told Last Call. "I used to sit there at Reagan's daily White House briefing. I would see things in the course of the day that were pieces of fleeting humor, and I'd make a note of them. I pretty quickly discarded the idea of doing a nonfiction book."

We didn't ask if a deal for the movie rights is in the cards - especially since Roussel's book includes a listing of 10 different ways to say, "No comment."

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