WASHINGTON — Marlin Fitzwater made his debut today as President Reagan's chief spokesman and quickly encountered his first protests from the White House press corps.
At his first briefing, Fitzwater announced a major story: the resignation of CIA Director William J. Casey and the appointment of his deputy, Robert Gates, to succeed him.
Along with the news came complaints about reporters' lack of access to the President.
Fitzwater said Reagan's meeting today with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Andreotti would be available for coverage only by U.S. still photographers and Italian television cameramen, excluding U.S. television cameras and reporters in a departure from past practice.
Reagan has not been seen by reporters in the Oval Office since before Christmas.
'What Was Recommended'
Asked why he was restricting press coverage, Fitzwater acknowledged, "That's what was recommended to me and I accepted." Reporters' access to Reagan has been a recurrent issue between the press and Fitzwater's predecessor, Larry Speakes.