tv 40th Anniversary of Nixon Resignation CSPAN August 8, 2014 11:48pm-1:56am EDT
story. i recommend you read that. faith, yes. the one thing good if you're feeling sorry for nixon. if somebody feels sorry when they see him leaving and being driven out, he knew politics was a blood sport. his goodbye was from roosevelts speech it's better to be in the arena and be marred by the dust and blood and sweat than be one of those timid critics. creatures that don't engage and sit on the side lines. >> nixon took his rez esignatios that is the price you pay for being a hard ball politician. he came back by writing books on foreign affairs. doing the frox/nixon interviews.
nixon was seen as a foreign policy sage. when he died, all the president came out there to california to be at his too many or his bur l burial. >> september 7th, 1972, 10:32 a.m. following the controversial shooting of candidate george wallace whether they were candidates for the presidency or not were offered tem pouporary secret service protection. you've got one u.s. senator kennedy whose a secondary factor in the campaign. you give him secret service coverage throughout the campaign. he said, i understand. i don't like to give him something but at the same time -- >> if he gets shot it's our fault. >> you understand what the problem is. if you the son of a -- gets shot
they'll say he didn't furnish it. we buy his insurance. after the election he won't get a thing. if he gets shot, it's too bad. >> there's the tough thing. he can't stand ted kennedy. he trails kennedy around. he said i will get a secret service guy but i want him to be a spy for me. he even uses secret service guy not to use. after the election pull the secret service guy and who cares if he gets killed. that's the kind of quote, parts of the tape that just damages nixon's representation terribly because, you know, a dead kennedy is not -- talking about it in that kind of fashion after we experienced j.f.k.'s death
and bobby kennedy's death for him to be that crude about it it doesn't look well. no mom or dad are going to say i want you to have that kind of attitude when you grew up. that's the kind of talk that ronald reagan would have never taken part in or franklin roosevelt. >> last call cam comes from sheryl in virginia. >> caller: yes, hi. thanks a lot. thank you dr. brinkley. ive was really glad to see you on today because i have been watching on cspan the hearings on congress about the impeachment and the attempt to impeach the president. i was struck, again, by how the demeanor during hearings basically there was so much more -- i guess you want to say people seemed to treat each
other with a manner of respect versus what i've been seeing in congress. iep i'm on older person. i've been watching for a long time. the snideness that i see and the comments and behavior toward each other in congress seems to be such a change in demeanor or maybe perhaps it was just the times. i'm not concern but considering how contentious this was, i was amazed. i h i h i had forgotten how well the members of congress could treat each otheri and respect each other. thank you very much. bye-bye. >> wonderful observation. american history since world war ii, particularly, a lot of bipartisanship. the legislation of the great society and all of 96on's accomplishments get done, horse trading, wheeling dealing.
drinks here in town. it was less of a cut throat culture. you watch the water gate hearings and you watch everybody behave quite well. you look at people like howard baker, republican being very tough on nixon. not tough but they are not taking a purely partisan view. these senators are concerned about obstruction of justice. rightfully they should be. >> today it would be much more of a circus and be for shrill and partisan. i mention once and i'll say it again. i just say because he was the darling the conservative. barry goldwater turns on nixon. this is not what we're about. i'm not backing my career and representation and my integrity on this kind of behavior. today, i don't know. it seems to me that everybody saddles up to their party to such a degree that it sort of
disgusts the american people and nothing gets done. >> doug brinkley on the front of the book. the nixon tapes. whose this third gentleman sitting on the opposite sofa from the president and henry kissinger. do you know? >> well i'd have to look but i think -- let me see. >> sorry about that. >> we picked that just because it's the nixon -- with kissinger and the king of jordan, king hussein. our publisher bruce nickels picked it out. he went with the yellow. one of the problems is that nixon don't a lot of shots. they are all in suits, standing. it was very hard to find colorful photos from the white house like what you'd get with a different president where you get the informal moments. nixon was very uptight.
in the case there with jordan and the middle east, in october of 1973, nixon very much backs israel and becomes a folk hero for abobacking them when syria egypt does the famous attack in 1973. nixon prized himself in being very adept in middle east diplomacy. carter said it was kissinger's shutter diplomacy in the middle east that really paved the way to the camp david accord. a lot of the thing that's get accomplished with ford and carter had their beginnings in the nixon years. >> anoted by, available now. professor brinkley as always. thanks for being on cspan. >> on the next washington journal, dion talks about the
latest regarding u.s. military strikes against isis forces in iraq. we'll also hear from dave levonthol with the center of public integrity to discuss his six month investigation into the irs's tax exempt division. a look at the u.s. doctor shortage and the potential impact on patient health with a doctor who serves as chief public policy officer at the association of american medical colleges. we'll also take your phone calls and look for your comments by facebook and twitter. beginning live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on cspan. >> this month, cspan presents debates on what makes america great. evolution and genetically modified foods. issued spot light with in depth veteran health care, campus 6 yule assault and student loan
debt. new perspectives on global warming, voting rights and fighting infectious disease and food safety and our history tour showing sites and founds from america's historic places. find our tv schedule one week in advance at cspan.org and let us not that the programs you're watching. join the conversation. like us on facebook. follow us on twitter e. >> 40 years ago, the president nixon announced he would be resigning from office. marking the only time in u.s. history that an american president has resigned. the announcement came august 8th, 1974 in a televised address from the white house oval office. next, 1974's cbs news special report with walter cronkite followed by president's nixons address to the nation.ç>í>
>> this is a cbs news special report. president nixon makes what seems will be his last address from the white house. he goes on the air and it is reported he will announce his resignation as president of the united states. that has seemed to have been the fact for the last 9 1/2 hours since he called vice president ford into the oval office in a 1.10 hour conversation with him. he has reportedly decided and will announce tonight on his resignation. george herman is at capitol hill for the senate view on the question that is now being asked on whether there's some sort of immunityoffered to the president against prosecution.
the discussion was of some interest because up here it's not viewed so much as a legal question as it is of a political question. i think members of the senate that i've talked to were more concerned with what they would call the practical political realities of the situation. some of them feel for example that if there was a sense of the congress resolution that the president should be granted immunity that most probably, most prosecutors, especially federal prosecutors under president jerald ford, most federal prosecutors would not prosecute not because -- but because of the practical politics of the situation. some of the members of the senate see the question of immunity as part of what i guess my colleagues plea bargaining. i don't know whether you can call it resignation plea bargaining. on that i think it's pretty clear they are doing old fashion
ed style saying publically that if there's to be a successful resignation meaning a resignation that leaves the country happy, leaves the country united or compare tifat ub united it must be a resignation that admits some degree of guilt object part of the president. he cannot simply say i am bowing out because of the good for the country or i'm bowing out because leaders in congress have told me that i have to because i'm going to be impeached coo e convicted. so they've been trying a little bit of the carrot and the stick. if he does not resign in that form that is to say with some admission of guilt, than the impeachment and the trial could conceivably could go on. in fact the senator thought it was too late. things had gone too far.
the trial should go on. the trial would have to go on. that's not a view that is generally shared up here but a lot of senators appreciate it that senator mansfield and the assistant democratic leader of virginia were sending that message to the president. if you don't come up with a resignation that was acceptable we still have this alternative. we still could go through this. that is not widely agreed to in the house. on the other hand, the question of immunity as i've indicated has many dimensions. the speaker fills that is not the business of congress. as i mentioned earlier, the senator feels it would be kind to take this burden away from the oncoming president jerald ford so that he would not be forces to make the decision of whether the man who made him vice president and subsequently
making himself so that congress could take this decision away from jerald ford and make it for him not in a fully legal sense but in a political sense to set the scene, stage, emotion of the nation. none of this, of course, applies to the question which was discussed applies to a witness but only to immunity. i think what you've seen is 2 1/2 days of body epg linglish trying to extract from the president the kind of re resignation they'd like to see from him. the republican members wanted to get the word to the president that his chances were virtually nil on the other hand they certainly did not want to fall into the trap of urging him to resign. that could be very dangerous t. would lead the president to say in his resignation speeches that
he wanted to stay on, he believed he was innocent but he was urged and pressured by his own party. that is not something he wanted to do. what you've seen is a very careful maneuvering and sending of signals. only time will tell whether they have succeeded or not. he'll just have to wait and see. have to wait and see. >> almost no way i can think of or have heard that i am muntd could be granted in this case, indeed it would be most unfair and highly equitiable to do so. and you couldn't legs late against the right of another citizen to sue, i should think. >> to the best of my knowledge
here in any fashion, i don't think it has come up at all. very legal possibilities have been discussed but almost all had to deal with forms of direct immunity. i don't think any group in congress wants to put itself out in on that particular limb which would be an awfully sticky one. >> we'll continue to wait for the president to speak. we've been around the country in a couple of our locations where they are waiting. and sandy gilmore in st. louis is waiting with some of them. >> shopping and entertainment center and one of anticipation relief and resentment. this is of course the show me state of missouri still say they need to be shown that the president is indeed guilty and not being railroaded out of office by democrats and also by the media. we've been hearing comments.
mr. nixon should stay and fight it out. i talked with a ward boss who owns a bar in st. louis city and said the regulars in the bar feel a resignation will hurt the country and the country was falling apart. what will the russians think? they will think we are weak. many people are still arguing indeed the president's guilt or innocence and if the president's statement tonight falls short of a confession, it it comes out to be as some people said another checkered speech, then many people here will still a say that president nixon has been unjustly ousted from the white house. this is sandy gilmore, cbs news in st. louis. >> the man who president nixon defeated for the presidency in 1968, hubert humphrey, and burdened with the vietnam war as his principle difficulty,
getting to the presidency himself of president nixon defeated him by 7/10 of one% in a very close race. hubert humphrey was interviewed in minneapolis by wcco tv. >> wishing to keep it out of partisan politics and says resignation is the right choice for nixon and the nation. >> i believe the nation needs relief from the tremendous tension under which it has been under which it's been for the last year, year and a half. there's a need of getting our country back together again, getting on with the business of government, tremendous problems facing us. the nation needs to be brought back together. we've simply got to get ourselves and restore our sense of confidence and trust in government.
how do you feel history will judge the nixon presidency? >> in the field of foreign affairs judged well. in the field of domestic affairs, poorly. in the matter of the conduct of the office, particularly in these recent months, i think it will be judged harshly. >> should mr. nixon be granted immunity by criminal prosecution by congress? >> that's a matter that has to have a very careful study. no need to hurry on this. the president will have suffered greatly simply by the resignation having to give up his office. i'm not one that wants to pin somebody to the wall so to speak. >> this is rod challenger in minneapolis. >> coverage continues throughout this evening. the president's speech due in 20 minutes from now. we'll be back with more of that special report in a moment. with president nixon's administration presumably on the
hours you have to run, the reports being very strong that he will resign when he goes on the air 15 or so minutes from now. we've had no con tra indications for the last 10 or 12 hours. what about this matter of presidential power? has the lesson come through and with a balance between the executive and legislative be greater in the next administration? >> i think it will, it's natural in human events in nature that a force going a certain direction keeps going that direction until it meets an obstacle and big one. this tide and high tide of the so-called imperial presidency has been going on since franklin roosevelt and carried to the ultimate extreme by mr. nixon. not no accident that his man said of course we have one man rule because he's the only nationally elected officer that was the state of mind. this has gone to the brink and over. i think you'll get a new balance
if mr. ford now becomes president. he comes in with one great advantage that people will wish him well. he'll have the sympathy of the country. all of that will be the case as has been before. the great disadvantage will be he'll be the first president not elected either as vice president or president by the people. and the man he picks as vice president the next few days presumably also will not have been elected. we've never had a situation like this. and he of course will have the congress against him politically in party terms. mr. nixon was thehóqjq;ut man t take over the presidency in his first term with both houses against him, first man for over 100 years. same will be true with mr. ford and he'll have maybe even a bigger democratic majority after the election in november. there will be a different kind of balance, at least for some time. congress is already restricted the presidential war making powers. it is also arranged for much greater authority of its own
over the budget making process as it goes along. that will make a big difference. it wants now to limit the size of white house staff, presidential personal staff and immunity from testifying before congress and all of that kind of thing. the courts have asserted once again their supremacy in the matters of law as to what the constitution means and what the law is. they say they shall determine it, whether it's the president, whoever it is that tries to act or think otherwise. the congress will have to, exert more thorlt and lead has to find new ways to conduct its day to day business and be much more efficient. >> we'll be talking about this much later on when we really know what happens tonight at the white house. we should emphasize, with all of this conversation we're going on the assumption that the president is going to resign. that assumption is based on
considerable fact from the day, the fact that house minority leader john rhodes said early in the afternoon shortly afternoon that president nixon would announce his resignation today. high white house sources confirm that to newsmen at the white house. president nixon has been closeted this afternoon with his speechwriter ray price, vice president ford after an 1:10 meeting with the president this morning and this afternoon met for two hours with secretary of state kissinger talking about foreign affairs and continuation of them as we understand it we have heard tonight that president nixon is planning to fly to san clem menty, and not in air force one but one of the vip planes made available to the white house staff. it all points to resignation tonight when the president goes on air about 15 minutes from
now. tonight's events are being closely watched, not only here, of course, but around the world as well. let's call in some of our foreign correspondents, bruce duning, for instance, in tokyo, japan. >> most statesmen expert if nixon resigns, kissinger would remain as secretary of state for a few months and that continuity is the most important issue for asian governments. the most worried about mr. nixon's possible departure will be the chinese government in peking, a resignation could undermine the man who invited mr. nixon to peking. no western observers agree on which direction this will take, they do no the man who led the turn towards the united states
has been seriously ill. some think the power is being eroded. the chinese government is questioning western diplomats very closely about the impeachment process and what effect mr. nixon's departure might have on u.s./china relations. as long as kissinger stays on, most aids yan governments should feel reassured that a resignation by the president would not be disastrous for the world situation. walter? >> after a new administration comes in, secretary of state kissinger will be on the wing again around the world reassuring our allies as well as those with whom we've been attempting to establish detant over the next few years over the continuation of the nixon foreign policy under his successor, president ford. maybe that the president ford himself will wish to engage in some sim met tri of nature. we'll learn that later as well. besides those watching from a distance halfway around the
world in tokyo, there are those with a close-up view right outside the white house grounds and bob schieffer is there in lafayette park. >> we were talking just a moment ago about what some of the effects might be of a transition, many officials at thing with are wondering about these days, what would be the effect of transition from a nixon administration to a ford administration. this afternoon question talked to several people about that and this kind of transition would be an easy one for the pentagon. they say that mr. ford's views on national defense are like those of mr. nixon. they also point out that mr. ford is well grounded in defense matters for many years he was a member of the defense appropriations subcommittee, when he was in the house of representatives, it was while he served on that committee among other places that he became a very good friend with the former secretary of defense melvin laird, also a member of that
committee. mr. ford is well versed on defense matters and gets regular briefings from members of the national security council staff. at one point, you'll recall, vrpt ford seemed to feel that the current secretary of defense james schlessinger did not have the political kpexpertise to se capitol hill and mr. ford when he made those remarks thought they were being made off the record. he was genuinely embarrassed when they showed up in print. since that time made a real effort to get to know mr. schlessinger and talks to him off and on the phone and has breakfast with him. the result, as that mr. ford has come to have a real appreciation of mr. schlessinger and his abilities. the bottom line of it all is, if
mr. ford does become president, he's now expected to ask mr. schlessinger to stay on as the chief at the pentagon and mr. schlessinger is expected to stay. >> if it becomes president ford, perfect ford's attitude all along has been on the economy, he goes along with the chairman of the federal reserve board, mr. arthur burns and believing that one way to bring the economy under control is to cut back very severely in government expenditures except for the president. he believes in maintaining a strong defense regardless of cost presumably. >> that's right, walter. time and time again on capitol hill. one thing that people at the pentagon were talking about today was they expect the pentagon to have a bigger voice at the white house. they expect more direct contact between the secretary of defense on a face to face basis and a president ford.
this has never been confirmed officially and mr. schlessinger would never comment on it officially. but we've determined that mr. schlessinger, until the cabinet meeting this week had not even talked with president nixon since well before the crisis in cypress. now they expect a much more open relationship. weech heard about the president's relations with most of the cabinet members and it is expected general ford will have a closer relationship with all of the cab met members and be much more open, the access will be to him by all of the staff. and speaking of his briefings by the military, in an interview in the new york times this morning, he said he felt entirely prepared to take over the presidency, that in the six months or eight months or so he's been vice president, that he has had regular briefings at the state department and from the cia as well as military briefings in which you spoke bob, that he's had weekly
meetings with the white house congressional liaison man, william timmons and conferred with every cabinet member and most of the aides and feels he's coming into the presidency fully prepared to take over. americans are waiting for that speech due less than ten minutes from now all across america as we've shown you over the last hour and a half or so. and that includes of course san francisco. san francisco has never been friendly to president nixon. most of the people here are tourists pretty much a cross section, to get away from it all. not all of them appreciate affairs of state like resignation of a president intruding upon a vacation. some people we've talked to who have been watching the news on television just now, were not
even aware of developments the past few days, as time approaches the clouds are growing almost like reading tomorrow's newspaper today, they know it's going to happen and want to see it. you don't sense either much joy or sorrow, just a kind of stunned suspense, as if it hasn't taken hold and all happening in some other country to some other people. sfl a little later on this evening for reaction after the president speaks, a speech due in eight or nine minutes. we understand that the speech of the president in which he's expected to announce his resignation from office will begin 45 seconds after 9:00, that's time to permit all of the twegs networks and radio networks to join in after the beginning of the hour. it will begin about that time.
one of the important elements of this whole dramatic story today, the reaction on capitol hill. the congress and executive branch of our try part tide system has played a major role in the downfall really of president nixon in the sense that it was the senate watergate committee that exposed for the first time to the public or confirmed to the public for the first time that exposure that has been taking place in the news media on the extent of white house involvement and watergate associated matters, it was the house judiciary committee that ten days ago voted to recommend to the house the impeachment of the president. roger mud has been at the beat here at capitol hill and probably close to the mood of congress as any man i know, roger. >> walter, it's very hard to forget that gerald ford said an
impeachment offense is what a majority of the congress at any one time says it is. and that definition can be filled out now by just reporting that it turns out that the impeachable offense that was committed by richard nixon on monday was in effect making fools of many members of congress. by releasing the transcripts of june 23rd, 1972, he in effect destroyed or helped destroy for a day or two the credibility of ten members of the house judiciary committee. and therefore members of the congress now are weary about going on a limb in defense of the president or in declaring themselves as being in favor of a grant of immunity. congressmen are really not aware of what public opinion is on a
possible jail term against the president. they are decidedly ambivalent about it and afraid to say that the president should be granted immunity and yet senator books so poignantly said tonight on the evening news, i don't want an american president behind bars. it's a very difficult position for a congressman to be in and trying to thread their way between the two shows, giving a blanket immunity or letting him stand his own chance. the heaviest difficulty the president faces is what he already knows is coming is that the watergate grand jury named him as an unindicted could con spir tore. if the president is not given a grant of immunity that would stay the hand of federal prosecutors, it is very likely that a federal grand jury could be reassembled and the president
of the united states, ex-president, could be indicted as a co-con spir tore in the watergate cover-up. politically the whole situation on the hill is very fluid because the democrats lose by this change of power. mr. ford is now a viable candid honest open president of the united states who immediately picks up an enormous reservoir of respect and good will from the public. democrats have openly admitted that they would prefer to have richard nixon stay because politically it would be much easier for them in 76. i don't know what this does to the republican for the presidential nomination in '76. charles percy, who obviously wanted to be president, i think he still does, said this afternoon that his candidacy would have to be put on the back
burner. i asked him, you're not turning off the stove, no, he wont turn off the stove. >> vice president ford said after he became vice president for some months there after, that he would definitely not be a candidate for the presidency in '76 but i don't think there's anybody that would really bet on that tonight. let's recount in the next two minutes before the president is due to speak, the events of the last few days. as you all know on monday released transcripts of a june 23rd, 1972 conversation, three of them, his aide in the white house which revealed he did indeed know the details of the watergate break-in long before he said he knew of it and had instructed haldman to see if he could enlist cia to try the cull
the fbi off from the investigation. it seemed to be an admission of what was included in the charges in article one of the house judiciary committee's vote on impeachment and that is a charge of obstructing justice in trying to cover-up the watergate affair. well, as soon as that happened, the leaders on capitol hill, his friends on capitol hill, his defenders in the house judiciary committee among others and those in the senate as roger mud reported to you a moment ago, began hour by hour announcements of their dropping away from his support. that was the beginning of the head long retreat from president nixon and the last chapter then seemed to be inevitable. that began developing this morning as vice president ford was called into the white house oval office and the president sat down with him for an 1:10, a private conversation. the reports began flooding washington that the president would resign tonight and it was announced he had asked for this
television time at 9:00 to make an announcement. it is never been officially said but either vice president ford or president nixon that the president would resign tonight but all indications have been that. we've even been told that the president has intention of leaving with his family for san clemente tomorrow. vice president ford it is reported would take the oath of office at noon tomorrow and go on the air tomorrow night with his first address to the american people as the 38th president of the united states. this is indeed a historic day, the only time a president has ever resigned from office in our nearly 200 years of history. you see the white house there and in the white house in just a few moments now president nixon will be appearing before the people perhaps for the last time as president of the united states. he is ready before the cameras and microphones now and we will be going in just a few seconds
into that room where the president will make his fateful announcement to the american people. we're standing by now for president richard nixon, 37th president of the united states. >> next president nixon announcing his resignation in a 15-minute address to the nation. it's preceded by five minutes of off-air wanter between him and those preparing for the televised announcement. >> is that hitting anywhere that you can see? i don't think tgs but it might. >> you're better looking than i
am, why don't you stay here. blondes photograph better than brunettes. is that true or not? you are a blonde, aren't you? red head? we're same. >> mr. president -- >> hi. >> i know. >> have you got an extra camera in case the lights go on? is that on nbc? >> this is a camera -- the primary camera and this is the backup camera. >> and that's an nbc camera, i presume? >> no, that's -- >> standard joke. get these lights properly?
my eyesores, you'll find when you get past 60 -- that's enough, thanks. my friend ollie always wants to take a lot of pictures. i'm afraid he'll catch me picking my nose. he wouldn't print that, would you ollie? you take a long shot but that's enough right now. i guess i can see it. yes, yes. good evening, this is the 37th time i have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shape the history of our nation. need any more -- each time i have done so to discuss with some matter that affected the national interest -- okay.
ollie, maybe the cbs crew now is to be in this room during this. only the crew. no, there will be no picture. no. after the broadcast. you've taken your picture, didn't you take one just now? >> yes, sir. >> that's it. because you know, we don't want -- we -- the press will take one. you've taken it and just take it right now. right after the broadcast, you got it. come on. okay. >> okay, fine. >> all right, fine. i'll make the other photographers mad by giving you too many. that's enough. all secret service, any secret
service in the room? >> just one agent. >> out. you don't have to stay, do you? you're required to? okay, i'm just kidding you. >> 15 seconds to air, please. >> two minutes and 15 seconds to air. don't we usually have more --? >> not when you speak in here, sir. >> i see. but better for the crew, is that
right? sometimes you talk to somebody and drive you nuts -- [ inaudible ] 1:30. >> i better get positioned. >> like you to move the pages away from the microphone. >> if i can. i'll try to. you mean, move them like this? >> yes, sir. >> would that help you? >> that's fine. would you mind checking my collar? it's n it's not ruffled up? >> good evening, this is the 37th time i have spoken to you
from this office where so many decisions have been made that shape the history of this nation. each time i have done so to discuss with you some matter that i believe affected the national interest. in all of the decisions i have made in my public life, i have always tried to do what was best for the nation. throughout the long and difficult period of watergate, i have felt it was my duty to per severe. to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me. in the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that i no longer have a strong enough political base in the congress to justify continuing as long as there was such a base, i felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional
process through to itsz conclusion. that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future. but with a disappearance of that base, i now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served. there's no longer a need a process to be prolonged. i would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever that personal agony it would have involved and my family unanimously urged me to do so. but the interest of the nation must always come before any personal considerations. from the discussions i have had with congressional and other leaders, i have concluded that because of the watergate matter,
i might not have the support of the congress that i would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interest of the nation required. i have never been a quitter. to leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. but as president, i must put the interest of america first. america needs a full-time president. and a full-time congress. particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad, to continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the
president and the congress. in a period when our entire focus should be on great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home. therefore, i shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. vice president ford will be sworn in as president at that hour in this office. as i recall the high hopes for america with which we began this second term, i feel a great sadness that i will not shall here in this office working on your behalf to achieve those hopes in the next two and a half years. but in turning over direction of the government to vice president ford, i know as i told the nation when i nominated him for that office ten months ago, that the leadership of america will
be in good hands. in passing, this office to the vice president, i also do so with the profound sense of the weight of responsibility that will fall on his shoulders tomorrow. and therefore of the understanding, the patience, the cooperation he will need from all americans. as he assumes that responsibility, he will deserve the help and the support of all of us. as we look to the future, the first essential is to begin healing the wounds of this nation, to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us. and to rediscover those shared ideals that lie at the heart of our strength and unity as a great and as a free people.
by taking this action, i hope that i will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in america. i regret deeply any injuries that may have been been done in the course of events that led to this decision. i would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what i believed at a time to be the best interest of the nation. to those who have stood with me during the past difficult months, to my family, my friends, the many others who joined in supporting my cause because they believed it was right, i will be eternally grateful for your support.
and to those who have not felt able to give me your support, let me say, i leave with no bitterness toward those who have opposed me. because all of us in the final analysis have been concerned with the good of the country, however our judgments might differ. let us all now join together in affirmingér,pld÷ç that common ct and in helping our new president succeed for the benefit of all americans. i leave this office with regret of not completing my term but with gratitude for the privilege of serving as your president for the past five and a half years. these years have been a momentous time in the history of
our nation and the world. they have been a time of achievement in which we can all be proud, achievements that represent the shared efforts of the administration and congress and people. but the challenges ahead are equally great. and they too will require the support and efforts of the congress and people working in cooperation with the new administration. we have ended america's longest war. but in the work of securing a lasting peace in the world, the goals ahead are even more far reaching and more difficult. we must complete a structure of peace so that it will be said of this generation, our generation, of americans, by the people of all nations not only that we ended one more, but that we prevented future wars.
we have unlocked the doors that for a quarter of a century stood between the united states and people's republic of china and must now ensure that the one quarter of the world's people who live in the people's republic of china, will be and remain not our enemies, but our friends. in the middle east, 100 million people in arab countries, many of whom have considered us their enemy for nearly 20 years, now look on us as their friends. we must continue to build on that friendship. so that peace can settle at last over the middle east. and so that the cradle of civilization will not become its grave.
together we have made the breakthroughs that have begun the process of eliminating nuclear arms but we must set as our goal not just limiting but reducing and finally destroying these terrible weapons so that they cannot destroy civilization and the threat of nuclear war will no longer hangover the world and the people. we have opened the new relation with the soviet union. we must continue to vem and expand that new relationship so that the two strongest nations of the world will live together in cooperation rather than confrontation. >> around the world in asia and africa and middle east, there are millions of people who live in terrible poverty.
even starvation, we must keep as our goal turning away for production of war and expanding production for peace so that people everywhere on this earth can at last look forward in their children's time if not in our own time to have the necessities for a decent life. here in america we're fortunate that most of our people have not only the blessings of liberty but also the means to live full and good and by the world standard even abundant lives. we must press on, however, toward a goal not only of more and better jobs, but of full opportunity for every american. and of what we are striving so hard right now to achieve, prosperity without inflation.
for more than a quarter century in public life, i have shared in the turbulent history of this era. i have fought for what i believed in. i have tried to the best of my ability to discharge those duties and those responsibilities that were entrusted to me. sometimes i have succeeded and sometimes i have failed. but always i have taken heart from what theodore roosevelt once said about the man in the arena whose face is marreed by sweat and blood and strives val yantly and errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error in short
coming but who does actually strive to do the deed. who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions. who spends himself in a worthy cause. who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and with the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. i pledge to you tonight that as long as i have a breath of life in my body, i shall continue in that spirit. i should continue to work for the great causes to which i have been dedicated throughout my years as congressman and senator and vice president and president, the cause of peace not just for america but among all nations and pros perlt and
justice and opportunity for all of our people. there is one cause above all too which i have been devoted and to which i shall always be devoted for as long as i live. when i first took the oath of office as president five and a half years ago, i made this sacred commitment, to consecrate my office, my energies and all of the wisdom i can summon to the cause of peace among nations. i've done my my very best and a the days since to be true to that pledge. as a result of these efforts, i am confident that the world is a safer place today, not only for the people of america, but for the people of all nations.
and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than dying in war. this more than anything is what i hoped to achieve when i sought the presidency. this more than anything is what i hope will be my legacy. to you. to our country. as i leave the presidency. to have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every american. and leaving it, i do so with
this prayer. may god's grace be with you in all the days ahead. more now on the 40th anniversary of president nixon's resignation. with a recent discussion hosted by "the washington post." it includes journalist bob woodward, carl bernstein, elizabeth drew and ruth marcus talking about the scandal that led to president nixon stepping down and the white house tapes that provide further insight into his presidency. this is two hours.
welcome, everybody. my name is marty baron, executive editor of the "washington post." it is a real pleasure to welcome you here tonight. you can consider yourself all very special because when the invitation went out for this event it was sold out within a day. and ever since, folks here at "the post" have been telling people that there's no more room. and you can see that from the attendance here and the overflow crowd in the next room as well. there's not a single seat left for anybody. and there are many, many people who would have liked to have come. and it's no wonder that this is a sellout crowd as well and a must-have ticket because you have an extraordinary panel here today. individuals who loom very large in history and in journalism and revelations about the presidency. this defining moment in american history was also a defining moment for american journalism
and a defining moment certainly for "the washington post" and a defining moment in its own way for people like me. not that i want to make anyone feel old, but i was in college when nixon resigned. and the post was breaking its watergate stories. and it was that journalism that really helped inspire me to get into the field as it did with many others. i'm fortunate to be able to introduce your wonderful moderator ruth marcus. ruth joined "the post" in neap 84 and is now one of our most distinguished columnists. she's known for doing the hard reporting before offering her opinions but she has strong opinions, too. over the cors of her career she's covered every institution it seems in washington from the supreme court to the white house to congress, to the justice department and she's also deeply experienced on the campaign trail. has covered many campaigns of every type and few know washington as well as ruth.
so you couldn't help for a better journalist to moderate this panel. >> you might. >> what? >> you might but you got me. >> you certainly couldn't ask for a nicer person. so i'm going to get out of the way and turn it over to ruth who will introduce the panel. thank you to everyone for coming. >> thank you so much. thank you, marty. marty talked about making people feel old, and i don't actually have a lot of opportunity to do that these days, so i would like to trump marty by saying that i was going to my senior year of high school. sorry, guys. except for ken who we'll get to later who i'm a little bit bitter about. on the night that nixon resigned. and i have to say, not in my wildest dreams could i ever have
imagined growing up to be able to be here moderating this panel tonight with this incredibly distinguished group of folks. so this is not just a privilege for me. it's just an absolute hoot. it's particularly a hoot since i think maybe somewhere in this audience are my two daughters who are the age that i was when president nixon resigned. and i didn't even have to twist their arms to get them to come tonight. let me just say it wasn't to see their mother. i am going to start from that end and actually probably do bob and carl together because they in fact, are together in the public's mind as woodstein. this is the ultimate needs no introduction introduction in american journalism. bob and i, he probably doesn't remember this, we first met in
1981 when he told me i was very foolish to be heading off to law school and should just come to work for t"the washington post." he was probably right then but it all worked out just fine in the end. bob has worked for "the post" since '71 and teamed up with carl as everybody in the universe knows to start reporting the watergate scandal which has been called the single greatest reporting effort of all time. if there's one word to apply to bob, it is indefadigable. most of us would have sat back and rested on our laurels. woodward apparently does not have laurels to rest on because in addition to the two incredible pieces of work that he and carl produced "all the president's men" and "the final days," -- please buy them out front -- he's written 14 other books that pierce everything -- every institution in washington from the supreme court, which i
personally know how hard it is to pierce, to hollywood, to the federal reserve, to, of course, multiple presidencies. and if you just want to get a little bit depressed if you are me at least, he's written more number one national nonfiction best sellers than any contemporary author. so there you go. so i'm going to leap over ken for a moment because they literally are separated here but that's just to make them n to introduce carl. and i think only woodward could make bernstein look like a slacker. because if you look at, he has -- while woodward went after the supreme court, carl decided to tackle such easy subjects as the pope and hillary clinton. two venerated but impenetrable institutions. in addition, carl, this is a story you don't know.
in addition to writing a book about his parents' experiences in the mccarthy era, many years ago, one of my colleagues came back from a trip to garfinkels and she'd given her credit card to -- some of us remember, it was a department store. this colleague gave her credit card to a woman behind the counter who said, oh, you work for "the washington post." perhaps she said you know my son carl bernstein, proving that behind every successful journalist is a proud mom. >> and she regularly waited on john early. >> is that right? >> who bought mean porcelain birds. >> carl has written for "vanity fair," "time," "usa today," "rolling stone" and "the new republic" in addition to being an abc correspondent. and welcome to him.
now it's so exciting to feel taller than somebody. thank you for doing this, elizabeth. elizabeth drew, whatever her actual physical height here is a washington institution. the washington journals she wrote were a citizen's guide to watergate and washington as the nixon presidency was unraveling. though i read them at the time and reread them some years later, i have been rereading them now, and they really fit the goal that she had which was to explain to people what was going on in a way that would be understandable and comprehensible and illustrative to them of what that time was like 40 years from now. she captured the anxiety and really the insanity of that era. and the thing that's really remarkable about elizabeth is she just never stops reporting. her 14 books about washington
rivaled bob. when i first started writing now many years ago about money and politics, her work was really the seminal work in that field and we owe her a debt of gratitude for her work. finally, ken hughes is a recovering journalist and a researcher at the university of virginia's miller center for presidential recordings. really a big shoutout to the miller center for all the work they do. a little bitter about ken because he says that nixon entered the white house the same year he entered kindergarten, which if you do the math which ken kindly did for me means when nixon resigned, he was only 10 years old. so he says in his bio, he had a lot of questions about the scandal. the biggest being how could this happen in america?
ken has added a really important chapter and piece of history to that understanding. he's got a fascinating new book out, also on sale out front, called "chasing shadows: the nixon tapes, the shen ault affair and watergate." he's going to tell us more about the origins of watergate later. in the age of really accessible video, we can't talk about nixon 40 years later without taking the opportunity to go back in time and actually see the events of that evening. so if we could do that, that would be great. it never works. we're going to give the sound ten seconds to work and then we'll --
>> he never resigned. >> if anybody can read lips and can tell us what happened. >> it's all a trick. >> so without that dramatic moment, some of us remember it. some of us have seen it on tv when the wireless feed did work. i just want to take a very brief moment, very briefly, for those who were immersed in the story at the time. elizabeth, carl, bob, just give us very briefly what that particular night of his resignation felt like to you. elizabeth? >> this is the night he announced he -- >> the night he announced he was going to resign. >> and it was the next day that was truly bizarre when he had a good-bye farewell speech to his sta staff, and it was kind of
embarrassing and he was reading from teddy roosevelt's memoirs. he associated with teddy roosevelt, the man in the arena and he never gave up and this sort of thing. and he was this sickly boy who became this big, strong figure and nixon had been a sickly boy and i leave the rest to you. he was talking -- he read from teddy roosevelt about when my dear wife died, what that was about. it was very weird. now i learned in working on this version of the book that at the same time that was going on he had a military aide in there stealing papers that he signed over to the archives but he wanted to write his memoirs, called r.n., like t.r. he was loading these documents into trucks and sending them out to san clemente. he'd been doing it for a while. then a ford person caught them
and said you can't keep doing that. it was a very strange event. they went out to the helicopter and who can forget that. the iconic scene of our era. >> carl, the night of the resignation? >> bob and i were in the newsroom. catherine graham, publisher of "the post" had come down from her office. ben bradley, the editor of the paper. there were surprise league fing people in the newsroom because we knew what was coming. and catherine actually said to the group of us, no gloating. >> how did that work out? >> and there was no need because my feeling was one of absolute total awe that it had come to this. finally, the country was going to be spared in an office and also recognition of the fact that those in the group had some
real role in what was happening. but awe, total awe. and the fact that the system had worked. >> i was sitting on the floor of howard simon's office. he was the managing editor watching this and this was before the bezos era. it was the graham era. they handed out sandwiches that night. i remember the very bad bologna sandwich i was sitting there eating and not only did catherine graham issue the no glo gloating rule but so did brantly. and ben and i went to the elevator because we were going to go down to get something to eat and the elevator opens and
there's sargent shriver who has somehow broken into "the post" security system. and shriver, who is head of the peace corps and the kennedy era, married to one of the kennedys. very much a kennedy person. he sees ben and goes, yea! blue the cover. ben is trying to cover and shriver wouldn't stop and said, oh, i had to be here this night with you. and i think if -- the moment was one of what's happening here. what does it mean, and that was 40 years ago. and to a certain extent, carl and i have spent those 40 years.
elizabeth, too, you know, what was watergate. what does it mean. what is its ultimate impact. and what's so fascinating is there are always more and more tapes that come out. aren't there 800 hours of tapes that the nixon library is going to release in a month or so? >> there's about 800 that they have no plans to release. >> somebody told me they're going to be available. so we'll be back with the headphone headphones. the headphones never go away. >> there are always more tapes and they never fail to astonish and revolt. did you want to say something? >> they don't fundamentally change the story. watergate is so critical. you get caught in the minutia and realize that nixon said, oh,
my god did he say that and talk to billy graham about the jews controlling the networks? yeah, he did. and it's not astonishing really of anything that comes out, but the basic outline of what it was about and what happened hasn't changed. actually nothing that says, it was all different than i thought. we have to be careful. >> that's the perfect segue to the way i'd like to structure this. i believe it is an unwritten rule of moderating watergate panels and it's incumbent upon the moderator to channel the very well known question from howard baker, what did he know n when did he know it? we see that unearthed every time. i'm not going to raise that question, but i'm going to rewrite that question as a way of structuring our discussion. so i want to do it in two parts. what do we now know about watergate and nixon, and why does it matter that we know it? in that regard, i think i'll
meet with bob and carl. you can bicker about who goes first. you wrote a few years ago, the watergate we wrote about. i have this type that says 1972 to 1974. it is not watergate as we know it today. it was only a glimpse into something far worse. by the time he was forced to resign, nixon had turned his white house into a remarkable extent into a criminal enterprise. so talk about that a little bit and address the question if you wou would, what do we know that you wish you had known and can tell people then? >> real quickly, what's interest ing is what started before the
watergate burglary. that's important to understand. when we did this piece and looked back at watergate, watergate burglary was in june of 1972. in 1970, nixon authorized what was called the houston plan which he requested. a top-secret plan to expand wiretapping, break-ins, mail openings and clearly illegal. in fact, in one of the tapes that is coming out in john dean's new book in 1973, nixon is talking to his new chief of staff al haig and he says on the tape, he said, i authorize the houston plan. it was to use any means available including illegal means. and then nixon with kind of a sense of, oh, my god, what did i get into, says, no president of
the united states can admit that. and so watergate start ed much before watergate because it was a mind-set of doing anything to advance nixon's policies, his political stature and there was no barrier, including the law. >> the notion that the nixon white house, and you hear it on the tapes. and i use the term advisedly, was a criminal madhouse. and the more that we learned, the more it becomes apparent and it goes to nixon. it always goes to nixon. never an those tapes do we hear nixon say -- and bob calls it the dog that never barks. never do we hear nixon say, what would be right for the country about almost anything? not just what's happening, but
what is happening is a whole presidency in which the focus is retribution on enemies real and imagined going back to the early 1950s. and that there is an assumption made that various institutions from the press to the democratic party to the anti-war movement are undermining the nixon presidency and the prospects of re-election. the tapes is about somehow finding a way, usually illegal, through criminal means to thwart those other democratic processes and institutions. you know, we thought early on and we wrote by october 10th, 1972, that watergate, the break-in was just part of a
massive campaign of political espionage and sabotage to undermine the very system of free elections in this country. to produce the nominee of the democratic party for the presidency through espionage and sabotage that would be the weakest opponent of richard nixon. when we wrote that story, we thought, ah, now it makes sense. now after 40 years it all makes much more sense about this huge criminal enterprise. >> and, ken, you have probably -- we were talking about this earlier. we have probably spent more hours listening to more presidential tapes than any human being in america. lucky you. you've been immersed in not just nixon tapes but lbj takes. what's your take, leaving aside your 10-year-old self, on what we knew now, what we know now about nixon that we didn't understand at the moment of his
resignation? >> first off, i just want to talk about how honored and what a surreal experience it is for my former 10-year-old self to be sitting here between woodward and bernstein talking about watergate with all of you. but that said, in between then and now, i have listened to an awful lot of tapes. and i think the biggest thing that i've learned about watergate from the tapes is that nixon had little choice but to launch a cover-up. once the watergate bugulars who are rested and the investigation went to the so-called masterminds of that break-in, nixon had to obstruct the investigation because the investigation of the crimes would lead back to his own. the white house hired liddy to be part of this secret illegal unconstitutional special investigations unit that nixon
ran out of the white house. he had put it together, we now know, for illegal reasons. one to engineer a break-in at the brookings institution. the think tank not too far from here, to gather information about his enemies in the anti-war movement in the democratic party through illegal processes, through the grand jury investigations of the pentagon papers leak and use that information illegally to destroy his critics. so people say, you know, it's not the crime. it's the cover-up. nixon had too much criminality to really allow any sort of investigation to go forward. >> and why don't you just take a moment to tell us about the chenault affair and what that was and the role that played in the criminality that resulted in
watergate. >> which is your new book. >> which is for sale outside. >> thank you all. the chenault affair occurred during the closing days of the 1968 presidential campaign. a close race between nixon and vice president hubert humphrey. less than a week before election day, lyndon johnson ordered a halt to the bombing of the north vietnam. the public knew that in return for that, he would get the peace talks to begin involving the north vietnamese and the south vietnamese will be able to take part in those. he had two military conditions as well, which were that the north vietnamese had to respect the demilitarized zone dividing vietnam and refrain from shelling civilian populations in south vietnam. the chenault affair was the nixon campaign's attempt, a
successful one, to make sure that those peace talks didn't start before election day. nixon feared the beginning of peace talks would help hubert humphrey and possibly ruin nixon's last chance at the presidency. so through a republican fund-raiser named anna chennault, the nixon campaign transmitted messages to saigon saying, hold on, we're going to win. we'll do better by you once we're elected. lyndon johnson found out about what chennault was up to for a variety of reasons. the national security agency was intercepting cables from the south vietnamese embassy to saigon. the cia had a bug in the president of south vietnam's office, and -- >> imagine that. >> what a surprise. >> when i said it a few years
ago, there would be a few gasps. now we know. and lyndon johnson had the fbi put a wiretap on the phone in the south vietnamese embassy. november 2nd, three days before the 1968 election, and chennault calls up the ambassador of south vietnam and says, i have a message from my boss. hold on. we're going to win. so johnson knows that the republicans are interfering with this peace talks but he doesn't have the goods on nixon. he calls the senate minority leader everett dirksen. goes into a tirade. sort of implies he has the goods on nixon. the next day he talks to nixon and nixon kind of gives him an evasive assurances that he would never do that. and make a long story short, nixon never really knew how much the federal government had collected with regard to the sabotage on the bombing hall.
j. edgar hoover at his meeting following the '68 election said to him, not only did we have a tap on the south vietnamese embassy phone. we had a tap on anna chennault's phone with the fbi requested, and a bug on your cam pan plane for the last two weeks of the campaign. so nixon -- if that had been true, then -- any interference that nixon personally did with the peace talks would have been in the fbi file. so nixon takes office obsessed with getting his hands on the file. he has h.r. haldeman work on it. houston says, we've looked at the -- it doesn't make johnson look good. doesn't make us look good. huston comes up with a strange story in which he says there's a complete bombing halt report with all the documents from the
time at the brookings institution. and it was prepared by clark clifford's defense department. his top aides. and this is exactly the sort of thing we need. probably going way longer than i should. >> if you want to know the rest, read the book. there, that's fair. >> elizabeth, one of your dispatches you wrote about a time in which the unfolding story, quote, began to take on the characteristics of a russian novel. someone we had never heard of suddenly emerged as an agent in activities that were almost inconceivable. and that really resonated for me because i was always unable at the time to keep any of these characters straight but, of course, the main character was richard nixon. and complex and impenetrable and not understandable but you've
done about as good a job as anyone of trying to understand the kind of tortured mind that led us to this national crisis. and to look at nixon's activities even post watergate as a way of interesting him. so tell us a little bit about nixon and what compelled him to do these things from your point of view. >> some talk about when did wattergate begin? was born in this little town in yorba linda, california, where he was born. i think he was trapped in his own personality, in his own hang-ups. and hang-up is too light. but i don't do any psychobabble. this is a man who all his life felt that everybody else was getting a break and they all had more advantages than he did and he had to show them that he was going to be -- he went out for
football. he couldn't run or throw. he didn't care how much he got banged up. high school, he rebelled against the most important distinct classy fraternity and started his own. he was always resenting and feeling that others were having advantage over him, and he had to show them. and he was going to get even in some way. it's not hard to see how this evolved when you get into the oval office and you have all of this that you are controlling. by then it wasn't -- he confused political opponents with enemies. his idea of foundation presidents or university presidents or newspaper publishers or anybody who wasn't forhim, not his opponent or his critic, his enemy. and he felt you could use the
instruments of government. and watch presidential candidates or certain governors. do they use the instruments carefully with boundaries? with these people, there were no boundaries. they said -- somebody testified that they put the houston plan away. they didn't. it was never really put away. the break-in at the watergate was one in a series. but the cover-up had to happen because things that happened before. they had broken into -- this is the big one. the psychiatrist. daniel elsburg who leaked the pentagon papers. they went berserk on the pentagon papers. he ordered the study n these two people had worked on the study. their understanding was that two chapters were still sitting in the brookings institution. and you hear nixon on the tape saying go in there and blow it up and get that safe. and -- >> fire bomb the god damn place he says.
>> i want it done on a fevery basis, he says at one point. >> go in and get the files. he is one of my favorites because he was always doing something extremely stupid. there's questions whether he got stopped by a guard. they had no files. they had no papers, nothing but these things grew up in their minds and they had to act on them. when the burglars were caught in the watergate, what haldeman and nixon talked about was, oh, there's all those other things they did. and it was really worried. nixon was more worried, the way i read what they said and talked to people about the break-in at the psychiatrist's office. nixon had standards. he knew that was such a blatant
violation of the constitutional right. fourth amendment. right to privacy in your home and place. to go in and get somebody's psychiatric files, well, once again, there were no files. one thing that might have saved us all is the burglars, the cubans, the plumbers. they messed up everything they did. that's how they got caught. they actually had been in the wattergate office building as you two know, memorial day weekend before then. they got in but they put the tap on the phone wrong and the pictures were blurry. they took it to john dean and john mitchell, the chairman of the re-election committee is supposed to have said, i doubt that's the word he used. go back in. now i don't know how stupid you have to be to go back in. the tape comes out you put it up. they tried four times, okay? the first time they were going
to -- they gave a dinner. they did a banquet in the watergate. they were in the building and got caught in an elevator. for the night. then they got up there and, oh, we don't have something to undo this lock. so one of the cubans went down to miami to get the right thing to do the lock. then they got in -- it was like the marx brother goes to a constitutional -- but my real point was it wasn't a constitutional crisis. was deadly serious. it was nervous hilarity while this is going on because you couldn't believe it. what was going to happen next and who were these characters. but it was whether a president will be held accountable to the courts, to the congress and really to the people. and they did everything they did -- they could to not only avoid that but to defy the other institutions. and the other part of it which carl talked about was to
interfere with the inner workings of the opposition party to try to maneuver who their nominee is going to be. and i exaggerate not when i wrote these are bully boys. not quite the ragstown fire but in that area of immorality. was a very scary and still is, the system where there was a lot of cowardice that went on. also a lot of greatness. it was not clear, really, until you can look back and say, obviously, he was going to get caught but it wasn't obvious at all. >> i want to pick up from that point. and imagine a kind of thought experiment of what if we had richard nixon today. what the watter. >> guest: -- watergate story would have been like. and i want to do this in two stages. i'm just going to throw it open to anybody who has thoughts
about that. the first is, you guys might have noticed, in fact, the room that you are sitting in used to have presses. we literally in the good old days when -- had newspapers, hot literally off the presses down here from upstairs to the fifth floor newsroom. times have changed. journalism has changed. what would watergate have looked like in an age of twitter and the internet and 24/7 cable news? would it have simply evolved more quickly or would it have evolved differently? you hear some of the folks here during the wattergate era talk about the good old days when they couldn't wait to get to the end of the driveway to pick up "the washington post." >> you make it sound like we're dinosaurs. >> we are dinosaurs. >> we're still here. the dinosaurs aren't.
>> to get the latest chapter in this unfolding story. just talk for a minute, whoever wants to tackle this, what it might have been like if watergate were happening today. >> let me try one thing, and i don't believe that if history works incident. at the same time, i think that there's an aspect of the journalistic part of this that gets ignored too often. yes, we have twitter, and yes if this story were covered today there would be a lot of misinformation and disinformation out there. there would be -- we had the advantage in this build iing. and the support of maybe the greatest puppet show of our time and we were not -- out there alone.
we had an institution that systemically was brave, courageous and conservative. about what would go in the paper. and we had to be right. we made some mistakes, but we had to be right. and i think in today's atmosphere, you don't need watergate to see how much information out there every day it gets an the evening news. it's on twitter. that we absorb all the time is not right. but one of the things that's totally different today is that a consensus evolved in the country, political system and we can talk about that more. based on the best obtainable version of the truth, which is really what good reporting is, and the people of the country came around by reading and knowing the best obtainable
version of the truth that nixon was a criminal and had to go. today, i suspect, that those -- if you look at who -- why people are seeking out information, it's no longer predominantly for the best obtainable version of the truth. it's for partisan and ideological ammunition to reinforce what they already believe. their political beliefs, religious beliefs, ideologies. so we have to look at a different country where the citizens themselves are not open in the same way to the truth that they were at the time. >> real quickly on that, obviously, the internet environment is driven by impatience and speed and when we were working on this story, carl and i could work for two or three weeks on one story. we would write it on things some
of you may remember. typewriters. and there would be paper that produced six copies and the drafts would go to the editors. they would look at it. they would say, well, what about this or get more sources. work harder. dig into it. ben bradley, the ultimate editor was a -- carl is right. certainly probably the greatest editor of the last century, but it wasn't just for what he'd put in the paper but what he'd keep out of the paper. and there was a kind of patience and real quickly, tell the story about catherine graham who is the publisher and the owner in january '73 after carl and i had written this series of stories that essentially said, as carl points out, is a criminal
enterprise in the nixon white house. one of the problems we had, most people did not believe it. it was thought inconceivable that nixon or the people had conducted this espionage and sabotage operation that there was all this illegal money. $700,000 in a safe in cash for undercover activities. at the time that was lots of money. and so catherine graham invited me up for lunch one day. it was a day when carl had to go to a funeral. and i remember walking in. she had supported the publication of these stories. we knew her a little bit. and she -- when we sat down, she started asking me questions about watergate and blew my mind with what she had followed and read. i think at one point she read
something about watergate in the chicago tribune and i remember thinking, why is she reading the damn "chicago tribune" for? no one in chicago does. world's greatest newspaper. i read as a child. and she had absorbed all of this and it was a kind of management style of mind on. she had intellectual control of what was going on but hands off. she didn't tell us how to report, the editors how to edit. and then at the end, she, like a great ceo, she had the killer questions. she said, well, when is all of the truth going to come out? when are we going to find out what really happened? or when are we going to find out that we've got it right. and i said to carl and i was there was an active cover-up going on there was not a strong investigation to say the least
by the federal government that they were paying the watergate burglars for their silence. the answer is never. i remember looking across that luncheon table and she had this expression on her face of -- she said the following. never don't tell me never. i left the lunch a motivated empl employee. >> let me add something. >> but she was not -- i'm sorry this is a long anecdote, but it captures the essence of what she was doing and what she said with that was, look, we are in the newspaper business. we are -- if it is a moment of peril and we're not believed and one of the secret strategies of
the nixon campaign was to challenge the very valuable fcc tv licenses that "the washington post" company owned, but she said, look. keep at it. this is the business we are in. and i was 29 at the time. i remember walking out thinking, it's great to have a boss who understands the business we're in, is supportive of it and it doesn't get wobbly when the pressure in the denunciations were visited upon us as they were. >> carl quickly and then elizabeth. >> he's made the point of what was at stake with the licenses. there's another part i'll tell later on. >> these guys did a fantastic job of summoning the tenor at the time. you had the luxury of observing and reporting an a weekly basis
which seems amazing now. >> i want to -- >> but nobody has really done the thought experiment that i asked you to do. of imagining in the age of -- in the age of twitter, would this have all come crashing down and nobody would have been able to be diligent enough to get it out or what would have happened? >> i think i'm very glad we didn't have that. now we have what seems like a stately pace but then you had the morning paper, the radio, an awful lot of, did you hear? did you hear? you won't believe this. they've lost two tapes. they erased 18 1/2 minutes. something was always going on. but at least it wasn't being made excessive amount about. i think it was carl who said, the country came along. that didn't just happen. and there's a very underreported, underestimated
chapter of this. what happened when they -- the question went to the house of representatives. it was -- this is very important to understand. it was a long time before -- impeachment? you don't impeach presidents. nobody had been impeached since andrew johnson after the civil war and then he wasn't convicted in a sense. this was a really rare, frightening thing to talk about. remove a president from office? these people, they are talking about removing people from office. it's a whole different thung. they very much cheapened and undermined the rather, very important constitutional concept. and it wasn't just about crimes. what the constitution says is, you can be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. that house judiciary led by peter. he had just been elected. short italian from new jersey.
he must be mobbed up, but he never was. >> as a jersey girl, i'm trying to think whether i want to take offense at that or not argue with the premise. >> that was white house stuff. they put that junk out there. what happened was this ordinary group of people in this judiciary committee and they hired a committee counsel john dore. then bobby kennedy was civil rights hero. nobody could question his fairness. and another person named francis o'brien who was 27 and was rodino's administrative assistant. nobody knew how to do this. there was a book. but it didn't say, how do you impeach a president? nobody knew. so, look, for the country to accept it, they kept their eye on the ball. it could not be partisan and it cannot appear to come from one
way or another wing. they pushed it out. the very far right that way and the very far left members over that way. sorry, we're not going to have something about the cambodia bombing because that's a political question and we're not going to impeach on a political question. and they took a long time. they had hearings, and that's what brought the country around. by the time that committee voted, people thought, yes, this is fair. and it came from the committee. there were some democrats and republicans who formed a coalition at the core, at the center of this committee and if you listen to john dore, you know this was no lynch mob guy. it was carefully done. interesting communications that went on there, ruth, which was mr. o'brien who thought of everything at 27. i don't want cameras, all the television cameras. i want all the people to be able
to see this. he made the networks go outside the room and open little holes in the wall. open holes in the wall. they could put their cameras through. then to go back and try to remember that it was just us and you and the country watching on television without these instruments and things in between. it had a very interesting effect. but you knew they were serious. they voted the first article of impeachment on a saturday neat. c-span is running these now. it's fascinating. very slow. very deliberate. nobody was -- i went out on the white house lawn of the capitol and cried. it was such a dramatic thing. there was no, oh, we got him. article 2, this is important. you're right. there was criminal enterprise. but they went over and above that and said the president is accountable for these things. you do not have to prove. howard baker's question was a minimizing question. he was trying to narrow the question. he was working with the white house.
i hate to disillusion you but that's the truth. if he says you have to prove the president knew and when he knew it, probably -- we still don't know what he knew. it doesn't matter. we know that this all happened under his aegis with people he hired and he set a tone and had goals of destroying the enemy and there were no boundaries. that's how it happened. this was all drawn together and the public accepted it. nixon would have been impeached had they not found this little piece of taper later.&zfñ+9!> let me pick up on that, if i may. and that's about the republicans and about the difference today. >> that is in fact, my next question. when i say the system worked and where it didn't work. had to be a smoking gun which was absurd.
pardon me? >> that was also because the republicans didn't really want to have to vote -- >> early on. >> no, at the end. >> let me just go through what the republicans did and how heroic many republicans were. first of all, the senate watergate committee was -- and think of this today. it was created by a 77-0 vote of the senate. imagine the 77-0 vote in the senate today for anything. >> post office. the post office. >> you couldn't get a post offi office. then you had a judge in the district -- u.s. district court who had been appointed by a republican president. who had been reading our stories and forced in his courtroom from the watergate burglars their confession that they, indeed there was a cover-up going on. but they were being paid for their silence.
and then you have the watergate committee in which republicans -- and she's right. howard baker originally was a kind of white house plant almost on the committee. as the evidence accumulated, he, too, was open. not mere ideology or party. he was open to the truth. and then when nixon would not turn over his tapes and the saturday night massacre occurred and he fired the attorney general of the united states. and the deputy attorney general resigned because they wouldn't carry out nixon's orders on the tapes he was trying to with hold. the question eventually went to the supreme court of the united stat states. nixon expected the chief justice
was going to save him. and yet whatever reluctance berger may have had, he also was intent that there be a unanimous decision by the supreme court that nobody, including the president of the united states was above the law. n then at the very end when nixon did not want to resign, a delegation of republicans, this is after everything is known and nixon thinks that he might be able to survive and win in a senate trial where you needed two-thirds, a vote of the senate to convict, barry goldwater, 1964 nominee of his party, the great conservative, leads a delegation of republicans to the white house and sits down across from nixon and nixon asked barry goldwater how many votes do you think i have in the senate? and goldwater looks at him and says, well, you don't have mine,
mr. president. and indicates he's going to lose and that's when nixon really, realizes he cannot survive and will resign. >> so this is the ultimate thought experiment, right? it's not knowable but it's never stopped us from speculating before. what if we had watergate today and the age of darrell issa and ted cruz instead of barry goldwater. >> there was newt gingrich in 1996. we've been there. and that was the stepping -- that was when impeachment got cheapened and ruined. >> but that was -- but impeachment cheapened and ruined whatever you think about president clinton's activities and what level that they rose to. if we had a world in which there was nixonian conduct, do you think the political parties, whatever the opposition party is, could summon the statesmanship and outrage?
>> here's the point. peter rodino made it possible for the republicans to be -- by push aside political questions. and departisanizing it. it didn't just happen. he had to make enough of them comfortable in voting for the articles of impeachment. by narrowing them, keeping them inarguably the case and the big one was to say, you don't have to prove he was in on that crime or this one. he was accountable. that was article two, which was the big one. i agree with you. this wasn't just valor on the part of the republicans. they didn't want to go through this trial. nixon still had a base, 30, 35%. something in there. and they were very strong for him. you had the midterms coming up. there's always a midterm. and they were terrified, rightly so, because the republicans just got washed out to sea. 70-something watergate babies
coming into the house as democrats. so there was greatness and cowardice. it was a mixture of not wanting to really confront it. just get it out of here. a lot of republicans talked to me that way as i kept my journal. i just talked to people all the time and then divide it up into sections, seasons and periods. they just wanted to be done with it. they hated it. they'd go home. how are you going to vote? and his people would turn up. it was not the obamacare of the time, but it was unpleasant and they were scared and just wanted to get him out of there to save their own skins. >> this is not a knowable -- the answer to this question isn't knowable so you may imagine with the rest of us. >> what's central and unique to watergate are the tapes. and carl and i spent some time looking at transcripts,
listening to tapes, taking the work that ken hughes did. has done at the miller center. and what expelled nixon from office, carl is right, was the republicans, but they listened to those tapes and heard the transcripts and there was a kind of rage in nixon. there was a sense of -- he said it in a very self-revealing moment the day he resigned. that speech elizabeth was talking about which was very strange. i mean, he was sweating. he had called all of his senior staff, cabinet officers and friends into the east room. had his -- this was published -- this was broadcast on live national television. and nixon's closest friends were worried that nixon was going to be the first person to go stark
raving mad and bonkers on live national television. i mean, he was just talking about his mother and his father. but at the end, in a moment of clarity, he kind of waved his hand like this is why i called you here. and he said the following. he said, always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them and then you destroy yourself. and that's exactly what happened. the piston in the nixon presidency is revealed particularly on the tapes is hate. it is the driving force. and he realized at that moment he's leaving that the hate in hating others he destroyed himself. and it is precisely what happened in this case.
>> did you have anything -- >> talked about that later, too. >> i want to shift to the second half of whatever the motivation was, the baker formulation, which is why does what we now know about watergate matter. in other words, the question i want to think about is this. is watergate a matter -- when i say mere historical curiosity, it's one of the central episodes of american history. or does it also tell us something about the political system going forward? so, carl and bob, you guys wrote that watergate was a brazen and daring assault led by nixon himself against the heart of american democracy, the constitution, our system of free elections, the rule of law. so anybody in the panel can take off on this. do you see this as an event that's capable of repetition or was nixon a one off, a figure so bizarrely gifted and tragically
flawed that we don't have to worry about his like again for some of the reasons of hatered. >> the tapes are so important. when i was doing one of my books on president obama, i went in to interview obama and broad two tape recorders, because i didn't want to have an 18 1/2 minute gap. his press secretary said, yeah, tapes, oh, you know, we know a lot about tapes. [ laughter ] i reminded them that if you go to the next on library, they have a little doll house mockup of the oval office and it says, press a button here and a red light will go on everywhere there's a microphone. press the red light and the oval office lights up like a christmas tree.
there were five maybe six microphones on nixon's desk. there were microphones in the chandeliers in the oval office. so i mentioned this to obama. obama said, i better get somebody to check those chandeliers. [ laughter ] but then he said -- he turned to his press secretary and he said, can you imagine if everything we said in here was taped? my thought was, i hope so. [ laughter ] and if you get to this -- it's exactly the right question that ruth is asking about, where does this fit in? and it clearly is unique. what is -- ken is the expert on the tapes. what always struck me is nixon
as elizabeth said is resenting anyone who had any privilege, oh, yeah, the moment there's a tape which you gave us where nixon discovers that somebody in the -- his white house is meeting with all the ivy league presidents. he goes bonkers. he just says, what? who is meeting with those ivy league presidents? and then he goes into one of his rages. he said, they will never again be in this white house, never, never, never. >> from there to the jewish ivy league presidents. >> that's a little redundant, right? >> he said jews were all psychiatrists. >> let's take about what you are asking about now then. as i said, i don't think we can know about if history -- what we do know is, one, that it was the accident of that break-in at the
watergate that enabled us to know what we know. the second accident was the discovery of the tapes. otherwise, forget about it. what all of this shows is how we need to know about what happens in our government and our presidents. and if you want to go to the day and look at twitter dominated news and look at the 24-hour free-for-all, what is so apparent is we are not learning what's really going on. and it's particularly true of the presidency. take a look at bob's work. in watergate, what happens here, our books and continuing in bob's other books about the presidency, if it hadn't been for those books, we wouldn't know much about the succeeded presidents. we would know very little about the truth.
and i don't want to -- i did a book on hillary clinton and discovered that, oh to understand the clinton presiden presidency, you had to understand everything about her and her role. you didn't see that reflected in the coverage. >> i think just to pick up on this, that to find out what's really going on takes time. >> that's right. >> it takes months or years. if you take carl's book "woman in charge" about hillary clinton, it is long, exhaustively reported. if you read that book, as i have, it is -- at the end in the final chapter -- i'm sorry. he's my pal. i love him. but this is a wonderful book. and it is so relevant right now, because i think hillary clinton is in the news every now and then. >> really? >> at the end of the book you
quote one of her associates who is a supporter who says, you know, i think about hillary running and, you know, bill as the first -- whatever he would be, the first husband. and this person says, i'm not sure i want the circus back in town. [ laughter ] and i think that's a question everyone should ask. the clintons, both of them, have very strong points. but it gets-uóóó[ñ mutilated by news system we have. you don't get the details. and the point carl makes in this book at the end, which sh incredibly balanced account, goes back to her childhood, the difficulty she has dealing with the truth and reality. but in the end, you make the point which people should
understand is, we're now thinking about whether she is going to run for president, whether she should be president. you say that hillary in a way is her own worst enemy because she's misrepresented herself, that she has so caught up in the ho politics, the secrecy of things that the better side of her, which is religious -- am i right? >> yeah. >> somebody who has a really large heart and cares about these issues has been masked by the way she presents herself. if you look at that book, you look at -- pardon? >> finish the point. i wanted to go back to a few watergate points. >> okay. but that's -- this is watergate. this is watergate.