For five solid hours that afternoon I read through and digested material which my staff had prepared, on every issue that might conceivably be raised during the course of the debate. By the time I had completed my boning and was ready to take off for the television station, I felt that I was as thoroughly prepared for this appearance as I had ever been in my political life up to that time. I had crammed my head with facts and figures in answer to more than a hundred questions which my staff suggested might be raised in the field of domestic affairs.
The tension continued to rise all afternoon. My entire staff obviously felt it just as I did. As we rode to the television studio, conversation was at a minimum as I continued to study my notes up to the last minute. . . .
When I got to my hotel suite (after the debate), I asked Don Hughes to get Len Hall, Fred Seaton, Bob Finch, Jack Drown, Jim Shepley and any others who were available to come by and give me an appraisal. Before they arrived, however, Rose Mary Woods, my personal secretary and also one of my most honest critics, came in with some disturbing information. Her parents had called -- from their home in Sebring, Ohio -- and asked if I were feeling up to par. They said that on their TV set I had looked pale and tired. I asked Rose what she thought. She said she tended to agree with their reaction, despite the fact that she thought I had had the better of the argument on substance. . . .
My growing conviction about how bad I must have looked was further confirmed when my mother called from California, after the program was carried there, to ask Rose if I were "feeling all right."