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'Fishing Pole' Mikes Taboo in Oval Office

March 17, 1986|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Deputy White House press secretary Larry Speakes warned television technicians today not to use their "fishing pole" microphone extensions in the Oval Office anymore or face being barred from picture-taking sessions.

Speakes gave the warning as the media pool left the Oval Office where President Reagan and special envoy Philip C. Habib had just begun their meeting.

The fishing poles--microphone-tipped booms that can be extended over and beyond reporters and photographers--can pick up the remarks the President or his visitor are making that are not generally audible.

Reagan has had his problems with off-the-cuff remarks that have been relayed by microphones that he was not aware of.

"The next one that uses his fishing pole does not get to come in," Speakes warned.

The technicians said they are under competitive pressure from their colleagues.

Later in the day, there apparently was a compromise because one aide warned technicians to keep their equipment in check. "As a reminder," he said, "fishing poles not extended to their full length."

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