From “Lincoln 365,” by Arnold Kunst
What Lincoln called Public Opinion baths took place from 10 - 2 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 10 - 12 on Tuesday and Thursday. For the public it was a fairly simple arrangement: first come, first served. Usually Lincoln would greet each individual with “what can I do for you?” Then he would listen and would promise to do what he could if the request were reasonable. If he was in a hurry to get rid of someone, he would crack a joke and with both of them laughing would ease the caller out the door. Among other things, since these meetings happened so regularly Lincoln had a consistently firm grasp on the concerns of ordinary people. In addition, the meetings served as a tonic in a city like Washington where overweening ambition and hypocrisy had – and, according to some people, still has - a way of warping facts beyond recognition.