tv Nixons White House Wars CSPAN July 15, 2017 8:01am-9:32am EDT
>> good afternoon and welcome to the new nixon library. i'm william baribault, president of the nixon foundation and we are honored to have several members here today and a very special present council member join us today, shelley buchanan. [applause]. shelley actually started working for richard nixon before pat did has that ever been pointed out? look forward to it. we look for-- thank you. encourage civics and citizenship in our community and i hope everyone here today can consider becoming a president councilmember. i would like to introduce several people, more than we
might because it's almost a family reunion and he will tell when i complete how many alumni from the administration and people that were close to the president throughout his career are here today. first, larry higbee. [applause]. larry is a member of the board of directors of the richard nixon foundation and we appreciate his service and focus on advancing the legacy to richard nixon. thank you sandy quinn, also a board member and four-- former foundation member. sandy. we have one individual that i don't see here, but i really want to recognize. very special to the foundation. jack brennan. [applause]. >> colonel brennan is a vietnam
veteran and purple heart recipient. [applause]. jack was the first marine military aid to the president of the united states. you became close to president nixon and served as his chief of staff in san clemente from 1975 until 78. he was played by kevin bacon in the film that in. jack's treasured friend of the nixon family and a mainstay of the next foundation. i wish you were here. next to colonel brennan's honor judge james rogan of the superior court of california. [applause]. >> before sent to the bench jim represented california and house of representatives. under president george w. bush he served as undersecretary of
commerce and as the director of us patent and trademark office. for many years he has taught at the chapman university law school. overnight, ben stein became one of the most famous people in america because of his ability to repeat one word in so many inflections, bueller. [applause]. >> while he so often is noted for that, he's an author, actor, economist, eternity, tv pundit and he served in the white house as a speechwriter for president nixon and among his incitements was routing the healthcare message to congress in 1974. thank you. [applause]. i would like to recognize frank gannon who joins us today. frank was a white house fellow that became special assistant to the president and code lead the design and construction of the
new nixon library, which has received two national awards already and hopefully a third next month in new york. frank currently access special advisor to the richard nixon foundation. frank. .mac-- [applause]. >> when i write-- make reference to reunion, there are two other special individuals and want you to meet in honor. about the joint of the staff of senator richard nixon in 1951, working with nixon's loyal and loving personal secretary, rose mary woods. since then, mark jacquard and lou god have been mainstays and close friends to the nixon family. margin served in the white house as the assistant to rosewood though he was with the foundation the next library before its opening in 1990 until she retired in 2007. a treasure of the nixon foundation board work their
combined knowledge of richard and pat nixon in their careers, combined loyalty and dedication, intelligence and integrity have guided and inspired generations of their colleagues and friends. we are delighted that they are with us today. [applause]. >> now, the reason we are here today to welcome pat buchanan and his new book, "nixon's white house wars". the "new york times" has already recommended the book that we should purchase and read and it describes pads as one of the most consequential conservatives of the past half-century work to introduce pat we called on his nixon white house colleague and a longtime friend, kenneth khachigian. he joined in 1968 campaign while in new york at: the university
law school and the since he graduated he joined the nixon administration as a staff assistant and then as a speechwriter and special assistant to the president. had joined the former president committee to work on his memoirs and he was his chief researcher for interviews. in ronald reagan's 1980 presidential campaign he traveled with the candidate to enhance speeches and in the white house he was president reagan's chief speechwriter and among the many memorable and historic speeches can rope or president reagan with his moving farewell address to the republican national convention in 1980, can then worked in vice president bush's successful campaign and today he's a veteran of nine presidential campaigns. he's been an advisor, strategists were governors and jurists and many of california's most distinguished public service. he served for many years in our richard nixon foundation board
of directors and continues to advise and contribute. thank you, 10-- kenneth khachigian. he still lives in san clemente and remains active in law, politics and community life. we are delighted he and his wife, meredith, are here today and don't get me started on meredith's impressive biography. please join me in welcoming the great american, gray california and great friend of the nixon family and nixon foundation, kenneth khachigian. [applause]. >> 50 years ago i was a student and columbia law school. i had seen an article in the "new york times" about the staff that was surrounded the then potential candidate richard
nixon and among that was members of the staff was a fellow named pat buchanan. i had written-- so i wrote a letter to nixon asking if i could help of the 68 campaign and mentioning that maybe one of these fellows i could work with them and i didn't get a letter back the first time, so i wrote it again and meredith worked on wall street about three blocks from the nixon office, so she handcarried it there and so a few weeks-- it took a while, but a few weeks later i got a letter back from one of his assistants and that assisted happened to be pat buchanan. i have that letter here, pat. 50 years ago. [applause].
>> i showed it to shelley and i will give you a copy later. so, i met pads in his cubicle on fifth avenue before we moved to 450 park and told them i would like to do some research and among other things i was a law student, but i was raised on a farm in california and told them i knew farm issues. i got a-- when you start shooting questions to me and he asked me about obscure agricultural concepts from the harry truman years called the brennan plan and what i knew about it. i knew nothing about it. so i'd thought i'd messed up my interview and my chances on working on the campaign. not only that, i later found out it was because i was columbia that pat thought i was a spy from the rockefeller campaign.
to this day he still thinks that. so, he must have taken pity on me and told me to come on in and put me to work answering correspondence and the rest is history. that began a 50 year friendship as a colleague and workmate. that became my boss and mentor. i started working for herb in a communication shop and shifted to pat's office, but to give you some insight inside the wicks-- nixon white house, i had a title when i worked for pat. it was emanated from our good friend here larry higbee. larry higbee became a noun in the white house. he worked for bob haldeman, so those of us in the white house, the number two people that work for anyone in the white house
became a higbee, so larry's last name became a noun. so, john, assistant to todd holland was his higbee and howard was chuck colson's higbee and ron zigler had a higbee. she happened to be diane sawyer. even higbee had a higbee, gordon strong. so, i was buchanan's higbee and that became that 50 year long-term friendship. pat was part of a white house that was very unique. it was a part of a row of speechwriters that they have never had since. pat mechanic, bill safire who won a pulitzer prize, ray price who came to the nixon staff from the new york herald tribune and he had written interestingly enough they editorial that
endorsed lyndon johnson over barry goldwater and you had to journeyman speechwriters, bill gavin and we, the most remarkable speechwriting staff ever, i mean, then stein and i were in all of them as we were lowly speechwriters. pat became a remarkable career with nixon or as he effectually called him the old man. in 1965, when mr. nixon writer, researcher, researcher, traveling campaign aide and along with his current book, which i know you have all purchased, you hurt after by his other book, the greatest comeback which chronicled this remarkable time that patch worked with president nixon from 1965 until 1968 when he worked one-on-one with richard nixon
closely during this comeback period where richard nixon went from political dead to return to become president of the united states. really remarkable book. in the white house pat was not only a conservative conscious, but a premier political strategist for the president. no other single person, in my judgment, and the same shrewd, creative insight into the american political mind and able to capture the unique forces shaping american 60s and 70s as pat did. moreover, more importantly in terms of the white house he knew president next and better than anyone else because he had spent that time with him in those three years just one-on-one in such close contact at is site in the 60s, so you will find in this book we read it it's a roadmap to the great battles with the american left and the media as they were fought from
our white house and if you were in the white house at the time when we were there it's really a true insight into the years we were there. it was all done in the grip of a social unrest and the vietnam war and frankly the wreckage that was left behind by jack kennedy and lbj and the great society. it was the year before the computer keypad, by the way. of the computer keypad took away one of the great fun of writing speeches. the computer keypad has no noise to it. we had ibm typewriters back then. ibm typewriters made a lot of noise and some of the speechwriters like ray price could make the typewriter singh. when pat was working he could make the typewriter smoke. [laughter] >> i can remember because i shared the office with him the
last year and a half and i can remember next door when he was working on a speech because he had his speeches were always the one that were on the attack aside, that rat attack when he was building the strongest weapon in the world, his words. i was always trying to do more-- emulate that, but to hear that typewriter boom, boom, boom, you just knew pat was pounding out something i would be important. he left his mark of loyalty to the man whose name is on this building, deeply important he leaves loyalty and fidelity to ideas and personal conviction. of the old man enjoyed pat and when we were in san clemente and pat and shelley would visit the old man would be so happy to have packed in there and the room was full of laughter and all of the political cops-- gossip that pat would bring back from washington in the back and forth they would have in the stores of the great battles they
worked on in the insight and the president would ask pat what was going on and they would share stories. it was a lot of fun to watch the interaction, but throughout those years we had fun and it wasn't all work and that because of pat's humor enjoyed of life, he made it so, so pat, welcome to the west coast. especially glad to have you back in the house with the old man's name on it. maybe we can suit up one more time and turn this country around? [applause]. ♪ ♪ ♪
>> thank you. thank you very much. i can still remember ken coming down from columbia university up there on park avenue enacted the interview with me he was going down the hall and i did say, check this guy out. i think we have a rockefeller spy the rockefeller spy would on to be a strategist for the greatest political mind of the 20th century, richard nixon and a speechwriter for one of the greatest communicators of all time, ronald reagan. [applause]. >> i've been on a tour of the library now that frank gannon and others have really fixed it up and it was the first time i've seen it and i will say for the folks out here on the c-span audience everyone here, having worked with the old man eight and a half years, shall he worked even longer with him, that you can't watch that film
without having your heart torn out. its thing that this. i barely got through it. you ought to see it. let me talk now about the nixon and what was in the book, "nixon's white house wars: the battles that made and broke a president and divided america forever" kent has listed what was going on back in the 60s, so let me begin around 1968, the year before richard nixon took office. we took off january 31, ford new hampshire 1968. romney had been in the race for a couple of months not doing well. we flew to new hampshire and i remember teddy white asking me about the tet offensive which had just occurred. i had a brother in vietnam at
the time and that, of course, cost of thousands of men-- american lives in many weeks. that was the first event walter cronkite came home and said war is basically lost. we went into new hampshire with a tremendous opening month campaign and the we take her back to florida to make sure he was rested and came back when after governor rodney. pretty hard because at the end of february governor romney-- raw meat topped-- got out of the race and richard nixon was alone and that was followed by rockefeller who was supposed to get in. he got out of the race and then began what we call crazy march. gene mccarthy 142% of the vote against lbj. people don't remember lbj didn't even have his name on the ballot. i don't know what political intellect thought that up, but mccarthy got 42 to lbj's 49 and
then the next-- after that happened we won a landslide and right after that happened bobby kennedy in the senate went to the same senate room where jack kennedy declared for presidents, declared for the nomination and around march 17, a few days after new hampshire and then richard nixon had me at the end of march had me waiting in an airport, laguardia to report on him on what lyndon johnson said on his speech on vietnam because we're canceled our speech and i'm waiting in that limousine and i'm listening to lbj and that's when he announced he wasn't going to run again and he's out of the race all of a sudden. four days later doctor king was shot to death in memphis. my hometown, washington dc, i had calls from friends, seventh street was burning up, 14th
street was burning up, federal troops on the nation's capital. this is what was going on in the spring. then came oregon, president nixon won six straight states. no one would contest him and get in again send my main fear was the fellow in california named reagan because as lies with the conservatives with us and nixon republicans no one on the left, could beat us. so reagan did not get in except late in oregon for about a month or so. he had a film up there, but he only got 22% of the vote and nixon got 70% of the vote, so shelley and i were at the benson hotel may 28, and i waited. we went down in the old man was having dinner celebrating because we want big and we won early. the interesting thing was the
first time it had been a kennedy was beaten in any political race since world war ii bobby kennedy was was coming up in california. shelley and i went down to the front of the benson hotel to watch him come in. at a dog with him. he came in i went down to a room like this and watched him give a beautiful concession speech to senator mccarthy insight we are going on to california. one week later i was back in new york when an aide of mine called me from headquarters and said bobby kennedy has been shot and so i called the president-- mr. nixon who had been awakened already by joyce and told about it. then, i asked the president that same year if i might because as a former journalist i thought it may be interesting if i went to the democratic convention, fairly exciting, more so than ours. so, i went out there and i happen to have a suite on the
19th floor of what we call the comrade tilted hotel. i had gone down in the street and went across the street and i was born, raised, you know catholic, jesuit school and everyone it seemed would point at me and yell fbi, fbi. [laughter] >> they yelled other things as well, so i was on the 19th floor watching the scene in the park. who walks in but norman with the heavyweight champion josé torres we heard a racket doubt in front of us and so i looked out in this line of police came down, turned to the right and grant part is across michigan avenue and they headed into that park and wailed on these folks for 15 minutes and josé torres was
cursing the police. i remained silent because i was rooting for the police after what those fellas had been doing to me, but then we saw the democratic party, part right there in the streets of chicago. historic event, you know. i did feel sorry for hubert humphrey coming out of their. dump the pump remain constant attacking him for the first five weeks he couldn't get speech is without having them disrupted and sure enough he gave his salt lake city speech and he started moving and i think larry higbee could remember that. he started moving and it was 434 next in the beginning of october 28, wallace was 21, seven points behind humphrey and by the end of october 43, 43 all. we had lost 15 points. people don't recall hubert humphrey had a phenomenal
comeback in the month of october 1968. so then we get in the white house. we arrive at the white house, america was coming apart after 1968. we had 31000 dead americans in vietnam when president nixon took office. know into victory in sight. the president was the first president since that retailer in 1848, to take office without either house of congress behind him. he had a hostile press corps, supreme court was led by the warren. not as-- the bureaucracy had been built up in the new deal and great society was complete with hostels there. that is the nation mr. nixon inherited. buck, if you look back at the president's inaugural 69, it is immensely consolatory. in other words he held out his hand to foreign powers, so ethan others and at home he said let's
listen to each other. let's hear each other and stop shouting at each other and i think that is what he wanted to do. in his whole first nine months i think were positive. he kept a lot of the great society, which i didn't agree with. he went on to successful early to work to gear up the european capitals. apollo 11, the first launch of astronauts into space came in the middle of july. i was at cape canaveral with him all i can remember was ray price saying we are were about 3 miles away. it was magnificent, this gigantic rocket. i remember ray price saying the noise alone was worth the 23 billion when that thing rose off, so that he went to guam and welcome to the astronauts. he gave a speech in guam and
talked about a new foreign policy where we helped our friends. the speech, i think, really far far ahead of its time and frankly as far as i'm concerned right on the money. then, in october, all of a sudden these massive demonstrations were forming up. it was the calm before the storm when the president had that successful summer. i know david broder is a leading liberal columnist of the day for the "washington post" wrote on the eighth, of october, he said we are about to see the breaking of a president's. it's becoming more obvious with every passing day that the man in the movement that broke lyndon johnson's authority in 1968 are out to break richard nixon in 1969. likelihood is great that they will succeed again.
at that point looking at the demonstrations i wrote the president i think a significant memo, one of many that are in the book and we had been asked by halderman to name the eight successes we had had during the year and i wrote the president back saying this is like asking louis the 16th about eight successes he had in 1788. we are in the i ever hurricane and it was said that louis the 16th would have been a great king, but he inherited a revolution and it was about a day or two later that bob haldeman called me and said when you think the president should make the speech and i said we have two massive demonstrations coming up, the biggest in history in washington. we don't want to be spooked by these things and so do it midway between the two. sure enough the president picked
november 3, between october 15, demonstration and the one coming on november 15. to make his great solid majority speech. let me say that there's a lot of people that claimed credit for that, but the entire credit for that speech belongs to richard milhouse nixon. as far as i know, i have looked in my files, did i contribute to that speech. the present of the united states wrote that himself and sit up in the storm. he realized his presidency was in real danger of being broken by johnson's and he delivered it and called on the great solid to majority to stand behind him for peace with honor in vietnam. they did. the response was phenomenal. something like 70% of the american people supported the
policy, even the congress, 300 members of congress, members of the house of representatives endorsed the president's speech and i think it was the making of a president. that night, something happened-- something else happened. after the speech was over, the three networks trashed it. the anchors trashed it. they had inherited instant analysis and trashed it. one wrote trashing what the president had done as well. we got messages the next day or so saying call them and write letters and things, so i did send again a memo to the president that said in effect that it is now time to go public with the hostility and deal with the hostility and power of these networks. two thirds of the american people were getting there
primary source of information about the nation and about the world was three networks where you had about 12 men in new york and washington deciding what people saw and heard about their country and what they should think, basically in a lot of ways about the president's, so i told the president that we had to take a morning and i would be delighted to write a speech for vice president i do and we had a plan and send it over to bob halderman. he took it into the president and there is a of the memo back that has bob halderman's writing on it: he has seen. go-ahead. that means the present has seen, get the vice president and write the speech and we will delivered in a couple days, which is what we did the vice president went to des moines, iowa, and delivered a speech on the 13th , the speech was one of the greatest successes certainly
in the career of vice president agnew who had really been ridiculed for great part of that time. i can still remember it. after i finished the speech i went-- i was called by the president of the united states in the oval office and he was doing some editing on my work and i was a little concerned because i thought the speech was a political masterpiece and he had his code in taiwan. he had his glasses on, his reading glasses and he had a pan out and he would write words in. as he read on he said quietly in a murmur, this will tear the scab off those expletives. i broke out laughing and he did, also because we knew this was going to really set the country
on fire. the first president ever to take on national press, national networks. i will tell you, when i was done the speech and send the final draft to the vice president with two changes and the only two changes came from the president because i would not have sent any others up there and i remember, i got word because we had put something in the speech to bug them to say whether people hear what i say. abc decided to go live with the speech and then i would have two the university club a little nervous. women in the pool. sala, and said cbs and nbc are going live with this speech, so this will either be great for the unit my political career. the speech was almost as much of a sensation as was the president of united state richard nixon.
he gave a speech the next week which i helped him with to attack the post in the times. the president of the united states in his first year had tried to reach him up with the democrats, people who tell you he didn't i not telling you the truth. ray price worked about a nonrural edit was. what happened is they were going to break nixon as they had broken lyndon johnson, but it's the end of that year 1969, that divisive year in america richard nixon if you can believe it was at 68% approval in the gallup poll in 19% disapproval, astonishing. he was next seven years before had been written off as the biggest loser in american politics. we move forward now-- larry, do you have that water appear? thanks.
>> thank you. little more energy also in there, larry. we advance now to another event. april 28, 1970, i guide a call in my office in the executive office building looking out on 17th street and i got a call. and was the president of united states saying come to my office, so i did. i came into his office and he said quickly, we are going into cambodia. we are sending american forces into cambodia and we are going to clean out fish hook and parrots beak, both of them using one is a concept headquarters
for vietnam of the communist and the other was closest area to saigon where the north vietnamese would remain a strike into south vietnam and retreat to sanctuaries. he said we have already started bombing and i was taken aback because i said sir, if you started bombing they know we are coming. that's when i learned the secret of the administration. he said we have been bombing those guys for a long long time and this was the famous bombing of cambodia which were allegedly later they would try to impeach richard nixon, but they dared not do so. nixon gave me a draft from the national security council that he did not like. he said there's some good paragraphs in here, but it's dry and we need something else, so he dictated paragraph after paragraph to me i wrote him down this famous yellow pads and he said give them back and get this back to me in three hours and
don't tell anyone and don't give the speech to anyone, so i said i have to tell my secretary because she has to type the draft as i write it. he said tell her, but no one else. i knew this would make a problem for the individual who was the national security advisor, doctor kissinger. so i worked up the draft, to the to the president in about three hours after i was done with it and then headed to the university club where we all swam. all men's club so we swam with their bathing suits and i'm swearing up and on the pool and someone came in and said mr. buchanan you have a phone call from the white house and i go to the phone and i pick it up and it's a dramatic voice of our foreign policy adviser, henry kissinger. there is the speech, so henry and i were going back and forth fighting over this and the president did his final draft himself and of the speech was explosive for the reason that
most of the country assumed we just continued to move out of vietnam and he was going to clean out the sanctuaries, basically, so the american troops in vietnam would be secure or while we withdraw and reduce the casualties, but the country sort of exploded and to add to it the president went to the pentagon to get to report the next day on how well the troops were doing and when he came out there was a woman, her son or husband was in vietnam and she said thank you. so president nixon said those kids over there, though a man over there outstanding, traffic and then you take these bombs falling at campuses and he came back to the white house, so the bomb, it started to rise and two days later kent state, the national guard shot for students at kent state and a wounded nine the full story was that kent
ohio the crowds in the city of kent, or the town of kent had burned down much of the main street, the governor had come in they had called out the national guard and they burned the rotc building monday night on the campus and then on monday, the crowds got out there in the national guard were backing up the hill and pieces of concrete and rocks and things were thrown at them. there were four dead in ohio, as the song goes. nine were wounded. this-- campuses exploded. richard nixon was blamed. he was saying he called them bombs and then people shut the bombs. it was awful for the president had oppressed, that friday night and then saturday morning at the famous visit to the lincoln memorial where he got up in the mill the night and went over there and took manolo up to the
capital and over to the mayflower for breakfast and then two days later students at jackson state were shot, african-american students who had nothing to do with the riots that had gone in the streets, but the police fired at them. i mean, i saw him in those days and i think that was the yosemite if you will a president nixon before watergate broke on him. i had never seen him so down. i have memos from the white house staff divided, a country was divided. i have never seen the president have it so tough and how he got three: is remarkable tribute to the man because there were a lot of people who were even inside the white house let the president know that they thought he had not done the right thing.
let me move from their two politics. can talk about briefly the political grand strategy of the next administration, why i think he ranks right up there as a success politically in the 20th century with fdr who created that new deal majority that got five straight presidential elections and nixon ranks up there. let's go back, 1962, after nixon lost to jack kennedy and got beat by pat brown badly during the time the missile crisis. howard k smith at abc ran a documentary the next weekend, political obituary of richard nixon and invited them to testify on what a loser nixon
was and he was at the bottom of his career. by 1972, richard nixon was back and had won the greatest landslide in american political history. how did he do that in terms of political strategy? basically, when i went to work for nixon in 1965, i argued that i know all about the pack of fifth avenue with rockefeller 1960 when nixon tried to bring together the nixon republicans, rockefeller republicans. we would have been strong enough, i think, together to beat john f. kennedy and rockefeller of course behaved badly and the president didn't take-- didn't get him his vp and i told him by 65 because the center of gravity of this party is shifted. i said we have just seen a bunch of outsider conservatives, student types and the joe shall types in california taking over the republican party national.
at the same time you are mr. republican. you have the center of the republican party locked up. if you can marry these conservatives to the center of the party and forget about the rockefeller wing. we won't beat anybody anymore, but you have to get these two together and you have a nomination. this basically was a strategy nixon took and was-- he did put together this coalition to keep oregano from coming in against him successfully. that won him the republican nomination. when we got into the white house, the question was, i said it was 43 all paired we were tied up. at the end of the race with humphrey coming back and so we needed a strategy to build a majority and so you have heard an awful lot about the southern strategy and there's no doubt there was a southern strategy, but there was also a northern catholic strategy.
i grew up catholic in northwest dc and you could call it a ghetto, but basically it was a community and they loved harry truman and they weren't much for doing and people like that, but they liked nixon. nixon was an anti-communist, middle of american and had a lot of things going for him. at they didn't have the hostility to nixon you found in the new york elites who despised old man, so i said the thing we can do, there's two huge blocks of the democrats who we can get on a variety of issues. one is the northern catholics, folks like the people i grew up within the other obviously is a southern protestants. mr. nixon had a solid position all along and sported every civil rights bill. we didn't change our position on civil rights. we had some new issues. it was a time of wrath and anarchy, so we were going to be
the lawn order party in back of the cops and we did that. there was a time the revolution, sex on drugs, rock 'n roll and so nixon was a traditional culture and he stood up for it. he had blessed be in the white house. it was not woodstock. so, we did that. traditional culture versus counterculture and then you had supporting the troops in vietnam most of the working class, middle class folks are the ones that have their sons over there, so nixon stood behind the troops in vietnam for peace with honor in vietnam and against the demonstrators and against the radicals, against the guys who the new moratorium in 1969 had spun off from the crowd on the monument lot 10 conover and try to a salt of the department justice and raise the vietnam-- be it can't flag in place of old glory right there on
constitution avenue. john mitchell i remember was on the fifth floor looking out and he told his wife, martha, it looked like the russian revolution down there. we stood with those folks unabashedly and on the issues of elitism mr. nixon stood with populism, not a harsh population, but the average guy, with middle americans. he was with the forgotten americans, the silent majority, all of these folks, which were then the broad majority inside the majority. we stood with them and all these folks started moving out of the democratic party or away from the democratic elites like bobby kennedy in the government and the rest of them in a number of democrats, i have a piece in their about a book in 1970 and the real majority said democrats better wake up because these folks like agnew and they liked nixon and they like the views they have and they don't like
all of this radicalism. so, the country was basically we dividing the country differently richard nixon in the republican party amazing were winding up with a larger half, which was astonishing when you consider and 64 when goldwater lost we had less than one third of the house and the senate, less than one third of the governors. republican party was flat on its back. richard nixon had rebuilt in 66 and now he was proceeding to make it the center core of a vast new majority, which would do what? when a four or presidential elections in coming years and all four of those would be 40 state majorities with one, 49 state majority. that was the strategy that next and had and then you have to get into where ken and i i must say we had some opposition work.
after 1970, was over it was january 20, 1971 and nixon sent me-- a scented memo to me and wanted to know why we weren't hammering muskie harter. that's one thing we must agreed on. the most dangerous adversary nixon could face in 1972, was ed muskie. can tremendous present his vp candidate in 1968, 1970 when we ran a pretty raw campaign he had given a nationwide's speech which condemned nixon and agnew and mccarthyism and all of the rest of the press liked him and his positions were ideally suited as an moderate liberal. he was a catholic, real threat to our catholic strategy, so i wrote a memo to the president that said in strong terms of saying we are going to have to go after him and take this fella down. is the main one and teddy
kennedy can't beat us. humphrey can't beat us and scoot jackson beat us your guy said we ought to go down to the candles and turn all the dogs loose. three years later i was explaining that memorandum before the watergate committee. [laughter] >> but, president nixon was constantly prodding us. even billy graham was telling mr. nixon, sir, you know muskie is strong in the south and the president would send a man no-- memo, what you do in buchanan, that you're supposed to handle this. we had an interlude there and i have to tell you a story. it was the pentagon papers after trish got married in the rose garden. the next senate the "new york times" full of memos from the department, seeker, classified put altogether. they were from the nixon administration, but kennedy
johnson administrations and there were-- they were clearly designed to damage work effort. clearly designed to point out that we were lied into war in the "new york times" had supported the war and they turned against it as opposed to the rest. henry kissinger was outraged. the president was outraged by it and they turned out to be a fellow i guess with daniel ellsberg. mr. nixon and i don't pick it was a wise idea, but pushed them to get an investigation going of ellsberg and run it right out of the white house because hoover, ellsberg's father-in-law, former father-in-law apparently was very close to hoover and hoover was not doing it so they said the president wants you to do it, buchanan, the investigation. i said i'm not eliot ness. i don't know how to investigate anything and so they kept
pushing me to head it up and get together a team, so i said i will go talk to these investigators and people they had gotten together from various departments and who knows where. i went into this meeting with these characters. they had sideburns and guns and none of them had jackets on or anything and i'm supposed to head up this group and as i understood it not only to get-- tight ellsberg to everything that was done which would not be difficult. the fbi was doing that, but to dig up anything on his background which would discredit these people. one of these guys gets up and says, buchanan, not sure of this, but i've got reports that may have been engaged in orgies. i said orgies? >> he said yeah and i said look, ellsberg's at about 5% of holes. you guys let that out and he will shoot right up to 15%. [laughter]
>> these guys come on the cowboys started laughing. i went back to the white house and said i'm not doing this job. are not doing this job. regrettably, my good friend took it over. otherwise i would have been in charge of gordon liddy. anyhow, then the muskie saying i will say as an adversary strategy of opposition research and ken and i were in on this work in the it was as effective as anything i have seen against muskie. muskie got going and was doing extremely well. he looked like the nominee and then up in new hampshire, someone-- to my knowledge we do not do it. to this day, c-span is listening, we did not write this letter. this letter arrived where muskie lapped at an insult.
of course, french canadians many of whom i found out later were living in new hampshire were not amused and my friend the publisher published this and announced muskie, so muskie shows up in front of the union leader and breaks down in tears in front of the union leader and this is all filmed and so what happened after that is muskie one new hampshire by about 10 points over the governor, but it was a small amount considering muskie came from next-door and so then he goes down to florida and muskie is wiped out by george wallace who swept every county in the state of florida on the anti- bush seen issue and wiped up the floor with six liberal democrats including muskie who ran for. muskie was pretty much out of the race. you know, i had-- can and i had written to put it into my notes here when i wrote exit a memo after i did an analysis for him,
muskie, humphrey, kennedy and scoot jackson, long analyses with thousands of words and researched all of the press clippings and everything we had at the rnc and i had it done and i left the president this note, muskie, kennedy, jackson, humphrey are the only credible ones we see a democratic candidates. as no president is so virtuous as to be granted george mcgovern to run against. we had gotten in june, 1972, george mcgovern. let me move now to the watergate thing and watergate events, the breaking of june 17. let me deal with it this way. the whole thing up watergate lasted 22 months from the break-in until the president's resignation.
again, i got a call from ken on june 17, after they broke in saint five people broke into the watergate headquarters at the dnc and i knew instantly it was probably our folks, almost surely from the committee to reelect. that preceded and it was not too huge until the spring of 1973 and then through the time we decapitated the entire white house staff, the president did and then we went through in the tapes were repealed in the watergate hearings that i testified for five hours before the urban committee because of a pack of lies was released that we had run dirty tricks, which we had not. it came to october, one reason i went to mention this is because it was brought up in the firing of james comey. everyone-- i told folks i did not arrange to have the firing of james comey. [laughter] >> had the president announced it the day my book was published
on the chapter of the saturday night massacre, but i had been belabored about this. let me tell you again, to put this in some perspective of where the president was. october, i just testified for the watergate committee. the president said come down and take a couple days off and we were down there and on october 6, the egyptian army crossed the suez canal and the surprise attack and moved in and shot the american f fours out of the sky, killed a thousand israeli troops punching through in the sinai peninsula and they were breaking through and it was a defense minister caught by surprise because it was jewish holy days. he was said to be preparing to fix nuclear weapons on his aircraft and he said this may be the end of the third temple, so you had this war started in the
middle east and going and then you have the vice president resigned october 10, and then you had the great argument in the white house over who should replace him. then we worked out a deal with the special prosecutor that we thought we had worked out a deal to turn over the subpoenaed tapes to the special prosecutor. here's what the deal was, we would provide some watergate material in the tape, but not the tapes themselves. democrat from mississippi senator would validate they were complete and accurate regarding watergate and that then they would be provided to the watergate committee, provided to the judge, be provided to the prosecutor's. elliot richardson, i was told aboard with the deal, howard baker was aboard, senator durbin was aboard. everyone was aboard and so we weren't sure archibald cox the special prosecutor was aboard. ..
divisions are moving towards the field and we've got the forces oforce ison heightened alert. i cannot have my attorney general successfully defy anyone you're watching the reaction going on. i have no choice but to do it. i think they did the right thi thing. the circumstances are all lost and went over to throw everybody out of the special prosecutor's office when they were doing such a great job. let me talk about the
achievements of richard nixon. this library has it's done magnificently. an editorial editor of the "washington post" said i think we belong to the next generati generation. we've never known a time likely in our lives differ to a time when there is no debate or discussion. and i think that's right. he's a democratic strategist worked in the campaign and said richard nixon was the most consequential political figure of the second half of the 20th century. bob dole in his famous eulogy
said consider only two men in american history have been on the national ticket, richard nixon and fdr. richard nixon set the record for being on the cover of "time" magazine 55 times from the alger hiss case to the senate race, the vice presidency to his own presidency and beyond. iin foreign-policy what did he achieve, he promised to bring all u.s. troops home from vietnam and he did. he negotiated the greatest arms limitation agreement since 922 which had been sealed for 25 years in the korean war.
richard nixon was the best friend we ever had. even at the end of his presidency he brought egypt out of the block in the western ca camp. he created epa and we have helped elect and they were working on the clean air act when we get finished with this thing the only thing that's going to be able to move in america is a small pony.
what else did he do, he indexed social security to protect against inflation and elevated and declared a war on cancer, and other justices to the supreme court including one president and one chief justice and the segregated the schools. even though democrat and columnist from "the new york times" wrote a book called one of us and believed it was his greatest achievement and moved the nation to the gold standard. a lot of these things are historic events rivaled by fdr and prepared the ground frankly for ronald reagan.
one time he pulled me aside and said mr. nixon had a pretty good foreign-policy. so who was richard nixon? let me tell you a story writing good things about richard nixon he wanted an interview and got to me and i told mr. nixon you should do it. writers don't take notes, they just sit there and listen and re-create it. if he would have been a new dealer rather than when heated in the postwar era affected who
he was, he wasn't against government action, didn't believe they should rely on it and use the government that needed it. so nixon came to power in the gop in 1946 in the cold war these were the issues that initially made him and defined him from the alger hiss case, the battles against adlai stevenson. in 68 he had moved on to a much broader vision of the world and i do think that it was a touch of woodrow wilson this idea that he could create a generational
piece. he generally believed that and so in the domestic policy for the issues like epa if he felt it could do good for the people, he was not adverse to that and a lot of the programs will see indicate that. he was not a libertarian, nixon was also an internationalist when he is going of he's going e and he and jack kennedy both supported the marshall plan and nato and containment of the soviet union.
i think it's fair to say in the strategies and tactics he was anti-elitist, representing those that are underrepresented in his own way in the combination of those three things i think were the things that gave him that landslide in 1972. socially, culturally he was a traditionalist. i did the briefing books when i went to work with him and 65, 66 and so nixon pretty soon during the campaign of 68 during all of the presidency if he would go over to his office and i would
want the briefing by such and such day i would go through the papers and get all the questions out, go through the briefin the, get the questions asked, called the major departments. give me a heads-up if you are after something and after a while it got so i could predict almost every question that was asked at the press conference and sometimes i predicted every single one. i have gotten every question and so he recalled after heated in the press conferences i noticed that you predicted every question that the press asked and i said yes, sir.
there's other questions that were not asked. [applause] one other time, and it dates to the presidency of 1992 i decided to take the lead from crossfire ten weeks before the new hampshire primary and so my sister and i put together an organization that was about at 70% and i was at 15 and duke was at five. sure enough, we cut it down but it was only 51 to 37 so we got that in ten weeks and i went to georgia and we did as well.
but it became super tuesday and there were eight primaries and that was one time in old age. so i said ten for ten, not bad. he said you are the only extremist i know with a sense of humor. [laughter] thank you very much. [applause] pat has agreed to answer some questions but before he does i wanted to plug the book.
they are available for order. >> during the first four months of about nixon's speech when he said things like those that hate you don't win unless you hate them and then you destroy yourself. and also uses never be petty and he was telling people like monica crowley at the end of his life why did i go through the fire if others were not going to learn from my mistakes. are you afraid that the current president is doing things so that as nixon said to cos frost.
>> i do think president trump has . the first four months of his presidency there's no question about it. the things that have broken so far in terms of substance this is no watergate and it's unlike anything i've seen. i don't don't you sustain this kind of intensity and hostility it's only been four months so i
don't know how this is going to end. i do think the president is in danger of losing the critical cities to do what he wants to do. i supported him for one reason and frankly it came down to the issues on borders ready, staying out of the wars that are none of america's business, trade arrangements so we don't have a deficit with the chinese taking all these factories out of the country so i supported him. i do think quite frankly we didn't call the press names when
we had a major speech. president nixon thought he was getting the term but he contained himself, he was disappointed but self-discipline isn't the first phrase that comes to mind when i think of this president. [laughter] question in the backgroun back. >> i'm a young individual concerned about the massive immigration and i just want to make sure what can we do to modify and repeal the immigration law that has infected this country and has had a huge impact in california and what is your thoughts on wall street? i worked in mr. nixon's office
on the 1965 fact. i was an editorial writer in st. louis and i don't recollect even taking a position on it. i don't even think that he mentions it in his memoirs. i looked it up on tim one time d couldn't find it. i agree with you this is one of the issues i ran on in 1990 for the moratorium took up the numbers down to a certain level so we can acclimate everyone. over those years they came from eastern and southern europe and then had a period of low immigration 97% of us spoke
english and had the same culture and tradition. but to your point when you talk about the 65 fact i don't know i'm not sure president trump would go with it and that's the problem i think of western civilization. [applause] >> can you tell us to your recollection how much he was inspired by wallace and getting the white working class democrats to vote for him?
>> wallace had torn out democratic primaries and did tremendously well in wisconsin, indiana and maryland and won a majority of the vote coming out as a governor and it started off as basically anti-civil rights laws. in 68 wallace ran as a democrat. he had an enormous appeal but nixon recognized and the longer wallace was around, the more he added to his repertoire.
they would say i know some four letter words. he was starting to move people on those wines and there's no doubt the votes wallace got for the votes we wanted to get. what was best for us was to lose the democratic nomination. shot in 72 he was leading the democratic party and votes and he won michigan and maryland the next day so he was a powerful force but wallace could not win a democratic nomination or the general election.
basically he siphoned off votes. i did look after the 72 election where wallace had gotten 173 votes nixon got 172 of them. he didn't go to george govern so this was the whole bringing them both but to do that as a third-party candidate rising and he hired he couldn't do it but in a way nixon couldn't compete with them. we send spiro agnew down because he competed very well and frankly ther there's a quote iny book where lyndon johnson told mr. nixon on the ride up to the inaugural where everybody was
praising what a wonderful job he had done and johnson didn't think anything about it. but north carolina, tennessee and states like that. >> do you speak a lot about what he inherited in vietnam and next monday is memorial day. looking back at hindsight are there a couple things president kennedy, president of them nor nixon might have done to change the outcome of the war or speed up the country? >> obviously since my brother was over there i was supporting the war from beginnin the beginm the time i was in journalism school put the 16,000.
my view george wallace in 68 wasn't all wrong when he said the slogan was win or get out. the united states of america that had reduced the japanese empire, the greatest empire seen in four years could have won that for that i think what happened is the american establishment was broken on vietnam and lost the will and would take the measures necessary to win the war and therefore when president nixon came in he decided we have to get out and he had to know the consequences could be bad. my view was he talked to me after he left office and said he should have gon done in 69 whate did in 72 which was bombed hanoi
and unleash full power of the united states to win the war or break the north vietnamese. i don't know why he didn't do that. i don't think you can blame kennedy but it was raised to 500,000 troops into the new national security adviser i just read yesterday in the book he wrote a book about 20 years ago which he blames the johnson mcnamara and the other is as having behaved dishonorably during that war and not realizing what the outcome was going to be. so that's something if you have a microphone i would like to hear your view on what was going on. >> we have time for one
question. >> yes sir, go ahead with us your comments? tinthe president, the cambodian thing was a success on the standpoint that it cost a lot of people that the casualties were shot straight down from cambodia, tend to state all the way to the end of the war but then they were losing guys at 200 to 300 a week. >> we have time for one more question and i want to remind everyone book is available for purchase in the colonnade into the bookstore and he will sign books for you. the final question. >> it is an honor to ask you this question. you have been my idol since i was a kid.
my question to you how would we go about bringing younger millennialist to the cause? [applause] as they se say on tv that's a gt question which means i need time to think of it. [laughter] it is hard to say because i've written a number of books and i think the 60s was a time when a part of significant slice basically over the ideas that animated the country and its growth through all the generations previous to them on culture, morality come issues of race and things like that. that ideology has spread and
deepen to the point where we could win 49 states. we can't do that anymore. the country has changed and the academic community has changed and the school systems are so changed and the values are so changed that it is tough if you were running to our site you would be running to the republican party doing okay at the state's local level exceedingly well, but i'm a believer that and a bit of a pessimist if you've read any of my books, i am a believer that things that have changed are not coming back again and if you talk politically about those 18 states and the district of columbia that before 2016 went democratic that is growing demographically it is very
difficult and we need to see how the republican party at the national level has any greater longevity especially to the gentleman's question of the continued mass immigration that depend heavily upon the government and we don't understand the ideas of the smaller government programs. i remember when i was running in 92 i was in a gym working out and a hispanic american said what are you going to do for education, it is by and large estate responsibility and the federal government only spends about six or 7 cents on every education dollar so you need to focus on state and local. what are you going to do for education, because that's what i care about. i think republicans have a very difficult time reaching these folks there's no question about it.
and his argument that they are disadvantaged economically by political capital. most who have risen economically have done so with little or no political influence and groups that have enjoyed success tended to rise more slowly so it's not that you can't take the political route. you can, but chances are you will rise slower than if we were taking other routes. [applause]