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Out of the Humidor

CA Readers
From the Print Edition:
Rush Limbaugh, Spring 94

(continued from page 2)

Your recent editorial concerning the smoking of cigars in the White House stirred up some old and valued memories. If the current occupants of the White House were familiar with the story I am about to tell, they might change their minds.

It concerns the late JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Strange as it may seem now, it is true.

I was a network news correspondent for ABC-TV at the time. I was in Washington trying to make arrangements to go to Guantánamo Bay--I would eventually get the assignment as pool correspondent. While waiting for my assignment to come through I was asked to back up Bill Lawrence, our White House correspondent.

At this point in time, Cuban cigars had become a rare commodity because they had been contraband since the Bay of Pigs fiasco. One of my favorite off-duty pastimes in New York, or any city to which I was assigned, was to wander about looking for small cigar stores in search of any leftover Cuban stock. Wandering along K Street one afternoon, I hit it lucky. I found 18 Por Larrañagas. They cost me a buck a piece--just about double their usual price. Not a bad buy. I figured ABC could afford it.

With my inside jacket pockets all plumped out with cigars--the feeling of them was comforting--I headed back to the White House. Back in the press room (a ridiculous arrangement of cubbyholes, each no wider than a phone booth), I sat back and lit up.

"Jesus Christ," Bill Lawrence calls out, "What do I smell?"

"What do you think you smell?"

"If I smell what I think I smell," he replies, "you've already made it to Cuba and back."

I give Lawrence the facts. If nothing else, Lawrence is a direct man. "Give me some!" he demands in his gravelly voice.

"No, Bill, remember your heart condition."

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