tv Book Discussion on Ike and Dick CSPAN February 17, 2014 10:12pm-11:24pm EST
no moderate will win inch pennsylvania, 100,000 more people voted democrat in congressional races last november. 1en thousand more. 13 republican congress people and five democrats. figure that out. some is just segregation, neighborhood segregation. the american people live in big cities like philly, and -- is that chicken or egg? they live in big cities, they're liberals or become liberals. whatever it is, liberal live in cities and pillis 85% for obama. so you waste the votes in the big cities and the rural areas are 60/40 republican. and the democrat -- like barbara lee, 85%. nancy pelosi, 85%. all those votes. don't help anything. when you go statewide and all those count equally because they're distributed. minorities matter. so the senate is more liberal than the house, got it? all the votes count equally in the senate, because the
statewide numbers add up. if you're philly and your vote -- this is like some guy living in the suburbs where the vote is more important. you live in a big city -- never lived in a state that really was a close call. i guess -- the saying about florida? only three kind of people down here, those who vote, those who count and those who can't count. stupid joke. [laughter] >> always had a different number. always say, this thing called -- i'm sorry. gore. >> hi, chris. quick question, i guess, the last one. i'm a big fan of worldwide government, and -- >> what?
>> worldwide government. >> federal recallism. >> just a different government in different countries around the world, whether it be in israel, china, different places, watching their government work. >> i always think of that -- my career, ending gold to travel around the worldful see how democracy is doing in different cubs. >> the thing that confuses me about america is the two-party system. do you think we'll get to the place without a two-party system? >> it will be like in israel, one bloc has whole number of people that participate. libby is part of the government now. i like her. and you have lieberman, far right. so, you -- britain, you have the new democrats, you got two parties there. they have -- the torres and the middle of the road party. if you had three parties ubs one would gradually replace the
other, just like the republicans replaced the whigs and the laborites replaced liberals in britain. 270 electoral votes to win the presidency, and i you don't it goes to the house. nobody wants to house picking the next president. that's gotten scary. so, we want the voters to pick the president so take 218 to pass the house. i don't want do sound like yesterday but that's the system we got for our lives two parties, but the republican party could change a lot one way or the other. it could change radically. it could go hard right or go back, and of course i want tote go back to the center so i can have a choice. i love having choices, and it's -- i like this guy, christie. we'll see. i like him. something about him that seems real. but i will root for him until he proves to me he is not worth
rooting for, because i got root for something on that side, and i'll push him until he blows it, and i just think the country really wants a choice. they don't want hari d hash harry to get a cake walk. the only thing we like about the last election, most of us -- i went crazy. he said to me, at the president, he bumped into me and said, i'm going to mention you in my speech. boy, he did. and when he said chris matthews, and then -- nearly gave me a stroke. the stroke was the first debate last year. i have no idea what was going on there. but he's not perfect. accomplish he is trying, and he has the right values, and it's going to be tough. i wish he had more of a negotiating partner on the other side that were balancing this thing out. if boehner had the cajon
questions to do it. he seems like a nice guy but a weak guy. i don't get it. i don't know why he wants that job. you know? why want to be married to marilyn monroe if you're not married to marilyn monroe? why say it if it ain't sew. that what i meant. what do you mean? what do you mean? have to spell it out for you? i want to thank -- >> we're at the end of our program, ladies and gentlemen. >> the voice of god. >> a big round of applause. for chris matthews. thank you. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> this program was part of the 30th annual miami book fair international. for more information, visit miami book fair.com.
>> jeffrey frank recounts the personal and working relationship between president dwight eisenhower and vice president richard nixon. mr. frank reports that vice president nixon constantly south eisenhower's approval and president eisenhower was unsure of nixons a ability to assume the presidency. this is an hour and ten minutes. [applause] >> thank you. welcome to all of you, and to insomniacs throughout the united states. i have a -- it's my pleasure to introduce jeff frank. jeff frank is an accomplish it writer, those of you who buy the book today will be blessed in reading the prose. jeff spent 13 years at the "washington post." i'm not sure that's where you
learned how to write well but that where is you learned how to get a good story, and by the end he was winning the outlook section, and then he went to "the new yorker," and was a senior edit for 30 years, and that's where you learn to write well and help others write well. besides writing nonfiction, jeff has written four works of fiction. so this is someone who understands the importance of narrative and a good story and he brought those talents for some reason to the relationship between eisenhower and nixon, and i want to begin by asking you, jeff, why did you choose that particular marriage? toe be the focus? >> because it was a great story. it began with two people who really didn't know each other. one was an american hero of the sort we don't have anymore, five-star general. the man given credit for leading
the allies to victory in europe. 62 years old, and a 39-year-old orange county congressman who was -- eisenhower ran with nixon but didn't even really choose him as vice president. he wasn't even aware that a presidential candidate gets to choose his vice president. so he later was asked by james ruston, what really happened the night when nixon was chosen, and eisenhower said i had my advisor and six or seven people on the list and nixon was on the list. so so they got together some they had a very strange relationship that went on and on during eisenhower's presidency. it became closer when in the -- which nixon calls his wilderness years and then around 1966, eisenhower's grandson, david, who is going to amherst, began to date julie nixon, who was going to smith, seven miles away, and they completely were crazy about each other. a year later, when they were 20,
they were married. and so -- they became one family in november of 1968, they had thanksgiving together, the nixons and eisenhowers, and julie was an eisenhower and that was a great store from beginning to end. >> the topic of tonight's discuss is rethinking nixon. did this experience of writing about this relationship cause you to rethink nixon? >> guest: i thought about nix job a lot. i saw nixon -- never i'm not sure i saw him -- i wasn't doing the nixon presidency. i have an epilogue which deals with what came after but i really only deal in the book with two months of the nixon presidency when he was nag rated and two months later eisenhower was dead.
>> host: what sense of the man did you get, nixon? >> guest: he before baffled me and complicated. i was rift vet by the different sides of him. he could be really vindictive and sort of vicious, even long before all the tapes we have all heard, he would refer to -- at one time he referred to his 1960 running mate, henry cabot lodge, you're a knuckleheaded gutless wonder, and yet he could be so kind to people. and so generous. and in ways he didn't have to be. always had a thing about the kens but when he was president, he invited mrs. kennedy and her can two children to see him in the white house. and he spent time with them. they played with the dog and they all wrote him the letters and he wrote personal thank you letters to the two children. they were so touched mrs. kennedy she wrote back, such a sweet thing.
she had that side of him and then he had this other side. he completely baffled me. >> host: what struck me is how mean dwight eisenhower was to richmond nixon. it's amazingly -- amazing how mean. you should give us some examples. >> guest: i think a lot of it -- eisenhower wasn't aware of it. he regarded almost everybody who worked for him as staff, and nix wonas lieutenant commander in the navy and eisenhower was a five-star general. to try to get a sense of that today, we don't have any. we have four stars, like david petraeus, but it's a different sort between sort of leading the expeditioner in force in the invasion of normandy or running the surge in iraq. it's a different magnitude. and eisenhower was so big, both parties wanted him to run. jimmy roosevelt, fdrs son,
wanted him to run as a democrat. and was talk he could run for both parties and have different vice presidents. he was so beloved. and i -- eisenhower was oblivious to his effect on people, and in some cases there was some deliberate cruelty, and start off in a very bad way. i'm sure you know the story of the crisis which began with his story in the "new york post" saying that nixon was supported bay group of millionaires, secret group of millionaires, and a lot of pressure to get nixan off the ticket, and eisenhower wanted him off the ticket. the long story short, nixon went on television, explained himself for the -- revealed all of this finances, talked about the dog named checkers he wasn't going to give back, and defied eisenhower's order to resign. he side right to the republican national committee, basically circumventing eisenhower's right to remove him from the ticket
and won. from that point on in some ways things were never the same. even though they did become closer and worked together. eisenhower -- when eisenhower did to him, nixon wrote was a scar that never healed. julie nixon said september 23rd, the anniversary of the clerks speech, her father was into, what day is this? the anniversary of the speech and never forgot. many episodes of cruelty. trying to get him off the ticket in 1956. he would do things like -- when nixon was finally given a vacation in the summer of '58. he was off with his family in west virginia. i thought -- dick, i want you to come back to washington and fire sherman adams. never any respite. he was not a really kind boss. he wanted his own way. i don't -- some of it was just sort of casual, casual indifference to the feelings of other people.
>> we're seeing tonight for some reason all of you decided not to watch the state of the union. but somebody in the country, some people are watching the state of the union, and we're watching now, of course, a dialogue between a resurgent re-elected president and a divided republican party. you wrote about quite a different republican party. >> it was different party. there were sort of -- there were -- the party was totally different. when nixon was -- and eisenhower, it was the civil rights party, the party of lincoln, and the democrats -- >> jackie robinson. >> guest: and so did martin luther king was a big mixon supporter until they had a bad moment in 1950 when nixon didn't come to his aid. and nixon -- the eisenhower administration and -- with nixon
in the senate, lobbied for a stronger version of the 1957 civil rights bill, considered a landmark bill at the time. and the two wings of the republican party, a liberal wing and a conservative wing, but the liberal -- the conservative wing were people like oft -- robert taft. an isolationist but supported old age pensions and there were outliers. and senator mccarthy but they were outliers. they didn't speak for the party and in fact eisenhower was eluck tenant to take -- reluctant to get anything on directly, he wanted to get mccarthy excised from the party and put nixon occupy it to. >> host: one of the challenges for somebody writing about richard nixon is that we have an ocean of information about him
as president. largely because he decided to leave it for himself. he didn't expect the public to have access to it. don't have as much about him as vice president. how easy or hard was it for you to get to the inner nixon? >> i give a lot of credit to timothy, who was the director of the nixon library. a lot of stuff was open and you could go down there and go through the -- go in the archives and find -- the more time you spend the more thing outside discovered. i became fascinated by the notes that nixon wrote on the famous yellow pads. he would write down -- he was like an a-student. everything he did and saw he would take notes. eisenhower did him a big favor in the fall of 1953 of sending him through asia, and you into see his notes in vietnam he met the emperor and said the only ones that would run -- commies
can run a country. he saw the future. didn't like it, but he could see it. and you can see nixon reflecting on -- being resentful when he saw that eisenhower was trying to get rid of him in 1956. he was writing down things like, it's the president's choice, for the good of the party. writing his own sort of death speech. he never said it but you could find all these things, and it's all there but you have to keep looking. the other thing that is so important -- and tim can talk about this -- there's a barrier between the nixon library, which is run by the national eye cifs, and the nixon foundation, far more celebratory part, and i had to wife, them, too, and they were terrific to me. they were -- they decided they were going trust me to be fair, and i hope i was fair, and they put me the touch with one person in particular i was talking to tim about it earlier, woman named marriage acker, the says stance to rose -- rosemary
woods, and she was with him when the crisis we spoke about came in the news and nixon was under great pressure. on a train going from northern california to oregon, and major was -- marge and from the foundation side, and the library while tim was there was terrific, open, hopeful. professional archivists. i made eight or nine trips to yorba linda. i saw enough of the olive garden. >> there are other places. >> guest: there were. actually there's a very good sandwich shop nearby. >> host: i've spent a lot of time there.
for a celebration of richard nixon's career, historians are problematic and you did a very good job of navigating the shoals and talking to everybody. you interviewed a number of folks who would have been interviewed by the library in the first year or two, but after a while, decided they didn't really want to talk to us. but they talked to you and that important. i would have to say that standing back, the darker side of richard nixon we know from the tapes, do you see hints of that in the '50s or are you among those who believe there was a change, this man actually was traumatized? >> guest: i thought of that a lot. i think i believe there was a change. i don't know where it dates from but probably dates from the very beginning of his relationship with eisenhower. i think he was under constant
strain. very much like any employee hired by a sort of really top level corporation and really didn't know whether he has -- whether his job is safe. it wasn't until the 1956 election when nixon realized he had what you would call tenure. except there was still -- eisenhower still had a thumb on him because eisenhower -- needed eisenhower's support to run for president, and after eisenhower's heart aknack 1955, which -- heart attack in 1955, the first time people talked about nixon as an heir to the presidency. this was unusual. vice presidents were not considered heirs to the presidency. no one thought of john nance garner or harry truman. >> vice presidents did not have an office in the white house. >> guest: eisenhower did nixon a great favor trying to keep him informed. he attended cabinet meetings,
when eisenhower was there he ran them. the same thing with the national security council, and eisenhower sent him abroad on trips insuring asia. and nixon became close to john foster dulles after eisenhower's heart attack, and dulles suggest nixon should visit africa. so tried to get mixon up to speed. i don't want someone who is just going to bang a gavel in the senate. >> host: you think that -- there are people who will argue that with the experience, the searing experience, of losing such a close election to john f. kennedy in 1960, that was the trauma. you're laying the foundation for an argument it's ike's fault. >> guest: no. no. >> host: ike was father figure and he couldn't please him. >> guest: i'm not getting into psycho analysis.
>> host: but it's fun. i don't think richard nixon painted himself in the bathroom. >> guest: no. we were talking about that. wonderful line that we thought he was under the influence of dick cheney but it was actually freud. i agree with tim. 1960 election was hugely traumatic on all kinds of levels. one, i think nixon, who had always regarded kennedy as a friend. he liked kennedy. one of the things that i found -- after nixon's nastiest campaign, his california race against helen douglas, and democrats would forever turn game them. after that kennedy spoke to students at harvard and said i'm glad she lost, wouldn't want to have to work with her. kennedy supported his membership in a country club, and jackie
invited the nixons to their wedding, when jack kennedy was laid up with a bad back, nixon helped in the reorganization of the senate and protected him. i won't call them friends. they were politics. no one is really friends in this business -- >> host: tip opeel and ronald reagan were friends. >> guest: right. they were friendly. colleagues, roughly the same age, and suddenly kennedy was playing rough. nothing was held back. and he felt he was really being roughed up by the ken kennedys. a really rough campaign and furthermore, the thought when it was over it had been stolen. he thought he actually on it and people still argue about that. if he had won illinois and texas, johnson he would have won. he always felt that he was really -- got royally stiffed in that election.
>> host: there was a interest in richard nixon and i caught some of this when i was in -- at the library, because of george w. bush, because people were looking back to richard nixon and saying, you can have a good government republican, republican who actually wanted the government to be efficient. didn't have to grow, although under nixon it did go to some extent. the republican party is so different now. this was the argument -- because there's no room for good government republican, so there was much more interest in richard nixon's domestic agent. everybody has been interested obviously in the foreign policy side, the opening to china and the end of the war in vietnam. but in the -- i noticed this in the second term of the bush administration there was more interest in richard nixon's domestic policy. it's real problem for historians because on the tapes, richard nixon is not always very happy about his domestic policies.
i was wondering, since you were back and looking at the old ever period for richard nixon, would would you put him vis-a-vis the new deal? would you say he is interested in a continuation of the new deal? has he begun to doubt the new deal? what role does he see government playing in society? >> guest: i think he certainly had no desire to undo the new deal. even as a congressman he was very much aware and in favor of some sort of catastrophic health plan. when nixon was growing up, his family wasn't poor bud he had two brothers who tied of tuberculosis, so wasn't very good healthcare. one brother was seven, and the his older brewer died when he was 25. so he was -- so he was very much an internationalist. a big supporter of the marshall plan and voted for it. and he was a lot of his domestic -- even if he didn't
love someone, he certainly supported them. the environmental protection agency began under nixon. he brought in pat moynihan to try to -- nixon backed away from it, certain standards were set about the welfare system that you have to give nixon credit for. the philadelphia hiring plan for minorities and so on. so he was a pretty good domestic president. i talked to a guy named paul musgrave at the library. he said the first have to month of the presidency was like other golden agement all of the stuff going on, new policy and new ideas and nixon was interested. if you read the new rub -- new new-pieces, they would sit around for hours loving it so a whole different side of nixon. then it all stopped. >> host: he stopped. he stopped. >> guest: he lost interest it in.
>> host: makes him such a puzzle. i'm not suggesting you do this but was getting over a cold over the weekend, and i was watching on c-span some clinches from nixon's state of the union address. i'm not suggesting that this is a way of becoming healthy, but i did it. and i noticed him talking again and again about the environment. and how proud he was that his achievement in cleaning the air and cleaning the water. and he said it, and he was proud of it, publicly, and yet on the tapes, you have him grouse about -- grousing about it constantly, identifying environmentalism with liberals, saying we made a mistake, we shouldn't do this, and if i ever get a choice between jobs and environment, i always go with jobs, and don't ever forget and it fire people who say we should good for the environment. it's so hard to understand.
on the one hand he is -- what he said publicly in the state of the union address, not opposite but the times that i listened to -- was what you would want and actually expect bill clinton, if not president obama, to say. but privately he is grousing. now, do you see in the '50s a man who is at war with himself over what he believes? >> guest: i didn't see that. one of the most interesting things i got -- i kept following this thread of nixon and civil rights. i mentioned his trip to africain' 1957, and -- africa in 1957 and that's where he met dr. martin luther king, who was 28 years old at the time, and nixon was -- and they got along, and king had been trying to see nixon to lobby for civil rights in the administration. wanted to get to eisenhower. nixon said, sure, come see me. and they met in washington. nixon's office and stayed in
touch regularly, and king really felt -- they had a correspondence. king admired him, and nixon had a certain sensitivity about this. the one black man in eisenhower's white house was fred more row -- morrow, and he fell completely alien -- alienated, and nixon said to him, fred, i don't think you should always be talking about jobs and issues that affect black people. i think you should -- that demeans you, and appreciated the sensitive. baffles me in so many ways but the public nixon was pretty good. the only thing i can say -- i can't explain later ten tapes but presidents vent. the job is terrible, horne, and they have so much pressure on
them. harry truman would use the n-word regularly, referred to jews as kikes but there were no tapes going. and you forgiving them for it because it's what they do, what they do that counts. the quote -- the famous john mitchell, watch what we say, not what we do. and i give him pass about the grousing about the liberals wanting more. >> grousing about liberals. the challenge is venting over -- it's the president of the united states, after all, and the president sets the tone. but it's acting on some of the venting. actually acting on this. anger, which is i think when you draw the line between the two. >> guest: to me, the acting -- to me the acting on the anger is
vietnam. vietnam and watergate. they were getting into the end to the self-destruction of this presidency, which is not my subject, fortunately. >> host: let me ask you. if he had been election fled 1960, historians say -- counterfactuals, we love them. >> guest: love them. >> host: dinners, conversation, anyway. if he had been electioned in 1960, did this -- who knows. >> guest: would we have had a vietnam war? we wouldn't have a kennedy assassination. it was probably the most -- i think the most traumatic domestic event in the 20th 20th century. still haven't recovered from it in many ways. did a review of the book, he had an interesting counterfactual, digression, saying of what if eisenhower when he had his stroke hadn't recovered? nixon and eisenhower would have been the first from resign and then nixon at age 44 as
president. what would he have been like? we'll never know. but he wouldn't have been the traumatized, beaten up watergate deluged president we got. >> oo i was going to say that -- >> host: i was going to say i don't think we would have had the cuban missile crisis. i think nixon, who was supportive of the cuban operation -- it was really vaguely formed before the election of 1960 -- i don't think that he would have let the bay of pig goes the way it went, and i am also pretty convinced you can make a strong argument he would have intervened in laos because he had had a long-standing interest in indo-china. so i think that u.s. military intervention in southeast asia would have started in 1961, actually i can tell you exactly when, when it all collapse inside about march of 1961.
so, he would have had -- no cuban missile crisis but disof different crisises to deal with, and the issue for students of presidential biography, is whatever demons he had in him that come out when he is under pressure because of vietnam, and watergate, in the 1970s, were those demons there so when he would have been under pressure in laos in 1961, that they would have come up? at a certain point the public gets tired of war, and the president has to deal with it. you have to be able to dewith some ekwan him in. i love counterfactual history. the think you leave out eisenhower would have been alive and vigorous in 1960. the cuban invasion, would have gone forward in eisenhower style, overwhelming force. eisenhower hated the idea of the ground war in asia.
he would have said, dick, don't do it know, same way he kept us out of any real involvement in indo-chinain' 1954. did send money over there, and some arms and probably helped prop up the regime, about whether he would have gone -- i can't imagine, i can't imagine 550,000 american soldiers fighting a gradualist war under anyone except lyndon johnson. >> host: i agree with you at that point. i think 1961 would have played out quite differently had richard nixon been president. fortunately we have the history we have. >> guest: we do. >> host: you think that the kennedy assassination is a major turning point for richard nixon. >> guest: i do. i think the assassination was the worst thing that ever happened to richard nixon. he had a really traumatic loss in 1960. he ran for governor in 1962, at
the urging of eisenhower. terrible mistake on his part. nixon wrote a long memo, shy run north run? the cons won the argument but he was -- you could see the temptation, rockefeller is governor, if could be governor, rockefeller was his chief rival in 1960. i could be the governor of the second biggest state. he lost in a big way. but in many pay people say it wasn't that big a day for him. he didn't care about the water supply in los angeles. this wasn't his thing. he wanted to think about big world issues. so, the kids -- he had taken on -- to his credit he had ten on the john birch society here, and he had -- and the primary he defeated a man named joe shell who is not a bircher but a conservative republican who was a rose bowl hero and so his
kids, nixon's kids, julie and trisha were being teased bid the kid of birchers. they moved to new york and nixon got a perfect job offer. didn't have to practice much law, can give speeches and be a named partner bringing in business at this wall street firm. and he was -- things were -- they were happy, going to musicals. they were eating at the best restaurants. nixon was having lunch with tom dewey and all these also-rans. walking checkers along fifth avenue, trisha and julie were going to the tape in school in february of 1964 -- >> host: soundses like a frank cap -- cap -- capra story.
>> guest: nixon was a happy new yorker in february of 1964, jack parrs daughter got tickets for julie and trisha to see the beatles. and then suddenly kennedy was killed. he met with the republican national chairman the weekend after kennedy is shot, and he told drummond, a big columnist, i'm not going to run again in 1964. i won't run in 1968 or 1972. and anybody who seeks public office again is out of his mind and he meant it. pat nixon was thrilled to be in new york. he would have been bored and restless and an elder statesman but would have had a normal, prosperous, elder statesman life. and then it changed. >> host: but he was in dallas. >> guest: he was -- >> host: no.
no. no. i'm not suggesting that. no. no. just -- because i'm wearing black doesn't mean i'm going in that worm hole. but he gives the press conference in dallas before the assassination, of course, and the criticizes kennedys leadership. that's strange for somebody who is enjoying walking his dog in new york. >> guest: he was going to be a big spokesman for the party. he spoke in washington and he was happy to criticize kennedy for the bay of pigs invasion. but it wasn't as if he was running for something. he was a good republican speaking out against the opposition. so, was happy doing that. we would meet with eisenhower, they would just -- eisenhower loathed it. he had contempt for kennedy as truly a young whipper snapper who didn't know what he was doing. >> host: what effect do you think the '60s had on nixon? >> guest: by the '60s --
>> host: let's say -- mark the start of the 1960s with the assassination of john f. kennedy. what do you think the effect of vietnam mounting involvement up to 550,000 troops and then the antiwar demonstrators -- what effect that has on his understanding what it means to be a lead center. >> guest: that was the third -- the other thing that really affected him. he felt for fromme the moment he was inaugurated he felt under siege. his inauguration was never -- never happened before. people were throwing tomatoes and smoke bombs. and then when his president say -- the pentagon papers came out and even though the so-called secret history about the war. nixon felt threatened by it, felt it was a breach of security. and so -- and all -- certainly
the counterculture, he had no -- he just didn't get it. something alien to him. i don't -- didn't affect him. i think the 1968 democratic convention, he saw it as a great political opportunity. he didn't have much contact with the counter-cull tour and his children didn't, either. they didn't -- david had friends at amherst who were part of it, but they made fun of him, and julie had friends another smith but it was not part of their lives. so hit him like a stun gun when he was president. >> host: did a good job on laugh-in, though. >> guest: he was coached by a guy names paul keys who nixon met when he was on the jack parr program, and keys was this the outlier in they world of comedy. a real one -- republican. you seek the outtakes, nixon saying, sock it to me, and
finally, sock it to me. might have helped him win the election. >> host: one of the things that you had this period of immense domestic turmoil and foreign turmoil, and it would be natural for a leader to feel the -- as you said, i'm wondering how much of that he brought with him? i'm thinking back to, again, the story you lay out so beautifully. he doesn't seem to have a lot of friends in the 1950s. >> guest: no. his friends were -- his california friends, the drowns, and i think bob and carol finch were very good friends, even though finch -- when we worked with him, he was pushed out. but he was sort of a friendless, lonely man in many ways. and particularly -- i think the key to him, the key to his
failure as a president -- two things. having great power, which never had before and you can see him beginning to exercise it after he was elected. you can see these loany -- loony memos he would send out. to mrs. nixon from the president. >> host: loving. >> guest: he suggested that someone should talk about the most maligned politician in american history or the great comebacks in history. and where is this coming from? and so you can see the -- this combination of great power and great insecurity. and that's a deadly combination. and i think that's what finally brought him down. >> host: one of the things we did at the library, we started an oral history program because the library had been run privately and the federal government had kept all of president nixon's papers in washington. one of the outcomes of
watergate. and my job was to bring it to together and have a federally funded and administered library in california, with the papers. so we started this oral history project 30 years late. it's much better when you get people when they're just out of the administration in one sense, in another sense talking to them years later they had time to reflect and maybe more candid. the really older gentlemen i entered for the library had been with richard nixon in the '50s and you mentioned something about him pushing them out. without exception the men that had been with him in the '50s he pushed away from him when he got to the white house, and he brought close to him younger people. enjoyed having younger people around him. younger people he could mold and shape. and a lot of the trouble that arose was that these younger people were willing to do what he wanted them to do. whereas the older people, the
numbers we interviewed, wanted to say no, don't do this. what i'm wondering is, why would he push away the people from the eisenhower period, who might have been a very healthy and mature influence on him when he becomes president? >> guest: he would push away people from the early nixon period. the saddest thing. i talked to a man named don hughes, air force general. wonderful man 0, who had been nixon's militated and loved nix -- military aide. he resigned before watergate, and he said, things were changing you cooperate get -- orders would come down, why there is no catsup, why is this steak overdone? come from hadderman or a deputy but clearly from nixon, and he felt this horrible atmosphere, and they all cleared out. the only one who stayed at the end was rosemary woods.
so they went to the eisenhower people who knew nixon and had been with him for yours. don hughes had been with him since the early years of the vice-presidency. rosemary woods when he was in congress. herb cline was his press secretary and they were neutered and pushed away, and nixon let loose his worse side. ray price, was the editorial -- editor of the herald tribune. he was nixon's good speech writer, the good side or the generous side, and pat buchanan, who came in, who had been -- worked as a conservative editorial writer in st. louis, was the other side. pat buchanan wrote the speech, nixon0s most notorious speech before in the invasion of cambodia, the helpless giant, and started shootings at kent
statement julie and david couldn't attend their own graduations, and ray price always had the lights on -- until the lights went out but at the end of the presidency, the dark side was clear a -- assentient. >> host: on that happy note we're opening for questions. >> there are two of us going around with microphones so ray your hand if you have way. say your first and last name before your question. we recording this for our web site that will be available tomorrow morning and also c-span is here so you'll see yourselves on national television probably next month. anyone with a question? first question in the back. [inaudible question] >> -- what -- i'm zack ritter.
what was taken away from the tape enactor that was rerace -- reerased in i've heard maybe there war some things about the kennedy assassination and people -- that's why he -- partly why he wanted to break in to watergate. >> guest: timothy has heard many more of the tapes than i health i don't think there's any truth that. >> host: we don't know what's on the 18-1/2 minutes. i tell you the national eye cifs -- first of all, court tried to figure out what was on the piece of tape, long piece of tape...
but he did them out the nature of their conversations. that day. so we know from his notes they talked about watergate. we know from what is gone from the tape is almost exactly covering the period they were discussing watergate so it is brilliant if it is an accident. [laughter] from the goats and they were never designed to be a transcript we have a sense of dixon discuss a how to fight back. that is all we have. so the tape itself has provided no new clothes. so with that spectral analysis to see if there is another page ripped out your
smiling. people try to figure it out. but nothing the. >> you don't take it is beyond what we already knew? >> what struck me about that tape out it had bid to build was my job at the national archives i wrote the new watergate galleries at the library i had a project analyzing tapes in the way. a unit has turned down this particular tape from june june 20th, the t-72, the first time that dixon and haldimand are talking in the white house. they had talked before in florida but this is the first time next to atp
system. that went to cuba david where it was worked on the president's secretary also to keep this gave. there was a number of people who could have been raised its not just richard dixon. my sense is the person who might have done it because it went to florida. what was it to win their? there is no secret evidence i never sought eddied that is a major issue was available. i wish there was more so i could give you speculation but it is just wine. >> i would not ask about conspiracies but it is probably safe to say americans say it is a lot
lower over from that 50 years ago how much of that do you ascribe to watergate the end vietnam's? >> i think the credibility gap the whole concept is not of the nixon the johnson administration. and robert mcnamara to thank for that because the white house briefings or pentagon briefings about the situation in debt you have halberstam who are on the ground that it was not going that way. so the public, not that it was naive but will leave to certain level of honesty. and that is johnson. now with the loss of both
will shock people about the nature of our political system but i know that is part of its but it is watergate and vietnam. but president nixon 1973 makes a statement where he denies lots of things. one year later evidence comes out that contradicts almost completely what he wrote a 1973. it did not even take a year. as a citizen when during about john said agent max mara now i am lied to about the process in our government's commitment to privacy by nixon who were both democrats a and a republican why should i believe anyone? >> i was that in the event a year and a half ago and
bernstein was exercised about the life long after he left of by house to eradicate the list of things that he did. what about your prospectus how good a job he did to make us forget the things he did? >> at his funeral bill clinton said let's not judge there will be a time by his one thing he was in public life 50 years so to take a broader view, it was johnson's war he was so cold warrior it was the tragedy with 50,000 americans died and those dying under nixon the president.
but i don't think that he became a valuable counselor in some ways people will never forget what he did. i don't think eradicate is the right word but we will begin to see him for all the darkness the farther away we get with the perspective of the more interesting view. >> i disagree slightly. [laughter] i think there was an effort made to alter public perception. i do believe that richard nixon had a lot to offer president on foreign policy one of those things i have to say about richard nixon is he believed in the of big play or the hail mary pass. he was willing to take huge risks.
title was a huge risk so he had a lot to offer but i do believe that there was an effort to make it difficult for the tapes to become available. richard nixon by the way was totally in his right to assume that the tapes belong to him because the national archives did not know that there were kennedy tapes until the nixon tapes were released in the kennedy family said you know, that space in the warehouse? there are tapes their the national archives did not know. president kennedy johnson that the tapes they were making would belong to them.
when the accident, ed deal with the overseer of the national archives to get back the tapes to the story within five years congress intervened nixon library is the only library government by one of the preservation act of 1974 that stipulated first of all, that members of the public had the right to get information about abuse of government power and abuse former nixon suited it was a long struggle it took years to the fact only now are the tapes coming out when i was there we really 630 hours there is another to above material this year and it has taken years because of richard nixon in his estate they did not want these tapes to come out. the save with the papers
nixon sued the national archives said it would drag out there were 35,000 pages put in there because they were afraid of the reaction but the fact of the matter is richard nixon put too enormous pressure legal ample medical on the national archive in a that drag out the process. i will say one thing, if you care about access to government information then i did not work for them anymore support the national archive it has varied little public support for political support it is important richard nixon is not the only president to put pressure on the national archives to make things difficult. >> i totally agree.
i was not talking about the ending to suppress but the p.r. campaign. we really should give nixon but henry kissinger was an old european. but nixon was from the west coast traveling through asia when he first took office. this was all nixon. >> i will read my question i want to get a correct. you mentioned his relationship with moral perhaps more relevant is the relationship with the other two african-americans to serve in congress during his term. who actually to be did nixon
in his years as vice president according to an autobiography how the black delegate rose through the administration that was a consistent pattern is very selective powell ever all three were democrats and obviously but that has been the first choice. with the tape time and racial politics to be limited in a circumstance like that to have one of the color -- the divisive how does that affect a legacy of the man who is very divided with the other things that he did.
>> eisenhower administration they had no owe 74 brown vs. board of education. that is disruptive when it is a crisis eisenhower did follow the law agent with a five-star general does but he hated the whole thing and he thought powell was a demagogue and they actually liked each other civic the issue was he was influenced in order to make pay a decisive exclusion not to include him so do you feel as though his personal politics toward african americans were negatively affected during bad
administration? >> you're talking about president not vice president. >> i am talking about president nixon but under his vice presidential. >> i am not aware. i am sorry. >> i think there's did -- richard nixon attitude to african-american were based by genetics and race with his assumptions which he speaks of on the tapes. it is useful for someone how he thinks about race and how he applies his own genetics and i found it unpleasant.
>> the attitudes were not unpleasant but in this case to support those aspirations he wanted african-americans to succeed in in a society but he assumed a ceiling. >> but if he did come itt did in the tapes show that the you would never express it publicly. >> id give shape to the welfare policy. guy came to that conclusion listening to the tapes to see his correspondence with daniel patrick moynihan. i take one way to look at his welfare policy is that way. >> thank you for sharing. >> i am wondering what you discovered about the relationship between richard nixon and ronald reagan during those years? >> there was not much.
they -- nixon did not have much respect for begin in did not the key was that a bright. i don't see it he did much the he was more involved with other administrations. i had a personal experience with nixon at "the washington post." this is when the first george bush was president and said maybe he is not getting the arrival of yeltsin he said he will never write for the "washington post" but he wrote a piece and it was pretty good. we called his office the next were warning -- the next morning that he was up all night working on it to and apparently i was told that brent scowcroft white
the peace and had an effect of his policy. >> good evening. i have a question about it during the time of the watergate hearings the information as far as the office and not know if it made into it or not but going into the future with the patron actaeon legislation how little of what he got in trouble for now would be legal? [laughter] >> i will tell you agree no about the salzburg bird three. what we know is the president was told by a john
who was his chief domestic adviser battles the head of the plot -- the plovers that there had been an operation in los angeles. it was part of what the plumbers were doing. the type b of this call correlate exactly with the operation here. the president himself was not sure if he and other -- never authorize this because he has the action officer if he authorized it. later he set of whether or not he thought it was right because he thought there was
a conspiracy leaking information. the patriot act does not allow the government to break kid without a warrant. the area where the patriot act in some of what richard nixon did overlaps was wiretapping there was a period when it was legal to wiretap for national security purpose is without a word to but it had to be. the debate over richard nixon wiretapping did he do this for national security reasons because people who were on the staff. warrantless wiretapping is the reminder not just richard nixon that other
presidents could wiretap without a warrant it as a result congress and president ford said president carter signed bills to give more privacy is the patriot act that was the post watergate phenomenon so it seemed we were going back to that period that we did not like when presidents could do this will lead billy. >> that territory is don't buy so reporters to say this was the public life for 50 years the other interesting things to look at. >> i do get into watergate's
but there is no point to kick that aren't any more. >> is it the same man? here is the problem. we have almost everything this man did in the white house from 1971 until july 73. imagine in your life under that kind of microscope there is nothing like that for him as vice president the only parts of the diary are that we're in his memoirs. that is not accessible to the materials that we have. >> if you go to the yellow pad of the meetings is also there was interesting section when i tried to get
him off the ticket window you take a cabinet post? why a at he thought it was much harder he was writing notes to himself how he would get off the ticket and i do it for the good of the country that was revealing by not knowing but you could find the notes the way he presented himself to talk to the cia you could see the way he would see himself as a did a particular job. he was in the legislative branch a and the executive branch so it is very interesting that there are
all lots of files. >> bass said 42 million pages but i did not count. [laughter] >> we have time for one last question. happy hour is about to start then you can ask more questions. also the favorite bookstore. selling books so please join us and picked up a copy and now our last question. >> this is fascinating i always thought with the predecessors of eisenhower isn't johnson and in my experience is seen as the first year he had a permanent campaign model where he with the politics and foreign