tv Reflections on Richard Nixon CSPAN April 24, 2016 8:00pm-9:20pm EDT
this examines the potential for cyber attack on the u.s. electric grid. it looks how vulnerable the electric grid is to attack in which government agencies and electric companies are able to respond. >> the notions you are going to give over control of the defense of your industry requires that you give up an awful lot of information that a lot of these companies do not want to give up. there was a bill passed last fall in the senate after years of wrangling that has private industry willing to pass on information tohe government. but only after they have sanitized it. announcer: watch the communicators, monday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. discussionext, a with men who were at the center of the events known as
watergate. richard nixon's deputy assistant played a role in revealing the cover-up that destroyed the presidency. he reflects along with "washington post" reporter, bob woodward on his personality and they offer opinions on topics ranging from watergate to nixon was a policies in vietnam. policies in vietnam. this program is an hour. >> good evening. i want to welcome you to this conversation with alexander butterfield and bob woodward which will be conducted by my friend and colleague, director of the lbj presidential library. i am director of the center, which is pleased to be cosponsoring this evening's program along with the lbj library. bob woodward, as many of you
know, has a special tie to the university of texas. in 2003, he and his washington post colleague, charles bernstein placed papers at the university center. it was a historically significant acquisition, which was fittingly celebrated here, so together again this evening. much has transpired over the following decade. public,tity was made many hours of white house recordings have been released by the national archives, and the center continues to supplement its watergate work, most recently with the generosity of the papers of love and jerry -- legendary "washington post" editor ben bradley with research in 2017. in the intervening years, the
watergate papers themselves have also been heavily consulted by ,ur students and by historians while collectively, the country as a whole has continued to come to terms with that national impactand is continuing on her political life today. the watergate archives continues to give up new insight into the nixon presidency, and for years to come, it will continue to ground the histories and a historically verifiable record. tonight, we are not here to read documents, but to hear from an intimate participant in the day-to-day workings of the next white house. white house. he served as a deputy within the inner circle, and it was he who changed history by first double chain the -- by first dipole
exposing the president. we have a clip. the installation of any listening devices in the oval office of the president? i was aware of: listing devices, yes sir. >> where were those placed? approximatelyd: the summer of 1970, economical the precise date, but my guess is the installation was made between, and this is a rough guess, april or may of 1970 and perhaps the end of the summer or early fall of 1970. butterfield also,
of course, is the primary source for bob woodward's highly readable account of this history, "the last of the president's men." this will be a wide-ranging conversation in one without gaps, certainly not as long as 18 and a half minutes. [laughter] watergate, as we know, change the relationship between the press and the presidency. on events, the press may have exercised its greatest power on the eve of a digital revolution which is profoundly reshape the news industry. before our time, before the era of big data, before public debate over government surveillance, it was an era of magnetic tapes.
the public debates were about the separation of powers and the public interest in the workings of her democratic interests of powers. the notion today of executive authority in the public interest or profoundly shaped by the final years of the nixon presidency. the last of the president's men is a story of the pivotal time in american history, but i would add, it is also a deeply human story about the nature of the presidency itself, the loneliness of power, and of course the anxiety, fears and motivations of heour 37th president. please welcome them to the stage. [applause]
>> alex, bob, welcome back. both of you have graced this stage before. alex, you were here seven years ago, and bob you were here with your partner, carl bernstein, robert redford, five years ago when we celebrated the fifth anniversary of the film. i want to start with you, alex. we saw that clip of you revealing the white house taping system. mr. butterfield: i saw it sideways, but i recall the incident. [laughter] mr. woodward: it was you. i saw it. you want to tell them why you hesitated. >> there was a pregnant's there. mr. butterfield: i caused because, fred thompson said, are you aware? during the time of the
testimony, ahead already come to the faa which it been there for months, so i thought to myself, you might as well be accurate clue and i did not have a if they still had listing devices, so i just paused and said, i was aware rather than, i am aware. moment, that that very historic moment. how did you come to work for richard nixon? [laughter] i cannot beeld: brief. i will say this, i was in australia because the senior military officer in that country , and i just heard in 1968 when nixon snaked by human humphrey -- hubert humphrey to win the presidency.
that was because of death to me, the extension. it seemed that way. i was eligible. i was going to come up on eligibility as a career officer. , admit i was fairly ambitious and if i was going to stay in australia, which is a wonderful place and great for my family, but it is not where you want to be when you're coming up for general officer or admirable in the navy. i was desperate. i did not know what to do. for some to new guinea social calls, mostly for him. i only had one call to make. a rainstorm came along, grabbed a paper and read it and it was about the recent election, next and's election -- nixon's election. , and i saw the name, they were talking about nixon winning the election, and i saw a name i knew very well, bob holder, at ucla together in
1946, and i thought, a light went off. i was stupid but i was not that stupid. ,ere maybe, if i can sum it up this is presumptuous sl, attach hell, if i could attach myself to this california i had worked during the johnson days and spent 20 hours a week in the johnson white house, so i felt almost a staff member there. i felt i had something to offer, so -- phrase,ad a wonderful being in australia it was not the smoke, as you called it, that you wanted to be in the smoke, which should be in vietnam or the white house. mr. butterfield: yes. bob really latch onto that term,
because i insisted you need to be where the smoke is if you want to be noticed. >> bob knows all about smoke. [laughter] mr. butterfield: anyway, it worked. i wrote a letter to bob and i attached all kinds of bells and whistles, and planned my trip to washington so that i would arrive roughly when the letter did, made a call to the richard nixon transition headquarters, hotelwas up in the in new york, spoke with his eight and got the point in with him two days later. >> talk about your experience in the white house in a moment, but while the clip is still fresh in your mind, clearly as steve said, that change the course of history. it also changed the course of your life. how did your life change after you give that testimony? mr. butterfield: well, i was an enigma in washington.
i lost a lot of friends. i understood all of this. i did not want to testify. i had come to like nixon a hell of a lot. i worked very closely with them which is how i gathered some of these anecdotes which i have passed on to bob. you would not have known this if you are not working with them pretty much constantly, all day and i did not go until 11:00 -- go home until 11:00 at night and i was there saturday and sunday, and even i saw some of these oddities or instances of paranoia, only one or three times in the three and a half period i worked so closely with him. i understood it. therery people are disguised. my revealing the tapes began this inquiry, and i was an
enigma. dropped me like a hot rock. i didbusy at the faa, so not let that bother me, though it did bother me, i hope i did not let it affect my work. use the word that enigma, and i think a lot of people in the nixon entourage and supporters did not think of you as an enigma but as a son of a bitch. [laughter] mr. butterfield: an interesting thing is, a lot of the meat every cigar your, -- meet your, and a lot of them still feel that way. i do not think i would be welcomed in that group. followed. us have mr. butterfield: thank you for mentioning that. [laughter] mr. woodward: just wanted to get
the record straight. mr. butterfield: bob, i think many of the nixon people think the same about you. you are a little more than just an enigma. many of us thought the epic story of watergate more or less ended with the revelation of the , mark phelps at the fbi. and then we get the last of the president's men which is really an epilogue to the story. talk about how this book came to fruition. mr. woodward: it was a number of years ago when we were here that you had redford for the movie discussion, and we chatted and i said, next time you are in washington, call me and we will maybea day together, and
i'm going to start calling you the enigma. the enigma said, there is more to the nixon story. so when i was in california i visited him at his apartment in , and what- la jolla blew me away going into your apartment there, you let all of these boxes of documents which you had taken out of the nixon white house. mr. butterfield: i did that for you. [laughter] mr. woodward: yes, i appreciate that. not only that, but he had lunch ready. [laughter] mr. woodward: a lot of the documents were new, and then you told stories. let me give an example, because you made the important point, you think history is over, and
what these documents and your personal story, the oddity in the -- odyssey in the next and white house, are many added -- nixon nixon white house are many added dimensions. you told me about christmas eve, 1969, he went over to the executive office building next to the white house with president nixon, and he saw some of the staff people had pictures of john f. kennedy on the wall, and then he came back and said .o you, this is an infestation this is disloyal. i want those pictures out, and so you launched an inquiry and you told me about this, and i kind of thought, well, you know, and then in your documents are these memos that you wrote to pride,sident saying with
describing how you got all of the kennedy pictures out of the staff offices and the title of sanitization of the staff offices." [laughter] mr. woodward: and you went through what you had done to make sure there were no kennedy pictures in the staff offices and it had all been replaced by nixon pictures. to see the documentation of this and your firsthand story as , there, and in the book is incident after incident of behavior on angry the part of nixon. what really struck me and hit me emotionally, but also as a
reporter, you see this isolation who wallsthis nixon , timef off intentionally after time and the picture, which you describe of him leaving the white house, the oval office at night, alone going over to his executive office building, sitting there, keeping his suit jacket on, putting his feet up, having a his dinner alone, and you kind of say, gee, he can have dinner with anyone in the world probably, and who does he have dinner with? himself and his yellow legal pad where he is just sitting there. it is sad. mr. butterfield: pat was over at
the residence by herself unless the girls were having dinner tonight or one of them at the white house. >> we will talk about the nixon marriage in a moment. bob, you write in the introduction to the book about your experience with alex and the stories he told as well as documents he handed over to you. i have seen up close through his eyes and documents, nixon is both bigger and smaller. i think we have a glimpse of what he was smaller in moment ago, at how was he bigger in your view? mr. woodward: there were memos and incidents and you put it together, because we have the tapes and you can hear him talking about some of these things, and nixon knew how to bring people close. this is, alex describes and there are documents and
there is actually a tape recording of a cabinet dinner nixon had before the 1972 election in the cascade room and you listen to this nixon and he is actually funny, not something you normally associate with richard nixon. he is describing his chief fundraiser, marie stan, the chief fundraiser has this responsibility and he is accused of all kinds of legal activities and he is not guilty of most of them. [laughter] mr. woodward: and he said at the and the cabinet is there, and he said, we have helicopters out there for them to take you back to washington, get on the helicopters fast because those are the only four that have not been shot down in vietnam. [laughter] mr. woodward: so, he, you see he
knew how to charm people, actually, something he probably did not do enough of. wereutterfield: the jokes written for them and he did not tell them very well. [laughter] mr. butterfield: no, he could not. he did not. mr. woodward: he was very awkward. mr. butterfield: very awkward. intimateyou had moments with the present. you were the first to see him in the morning and the last at night. described in moments you saw. mr. butterfield: after the 11th month of the first year in november or december, the president called me in and bob and he thought we should change, and i was offices, bob's deputy from the start but
he thought maybe bob was getting sort of, what do i want to say, detoured during the day i all of the trivia which is a part of the operation of the oval office throughout the day and not able to sit back and think, as president nixon wanted them to do, to follow-up on big things and be an idea man, and the president even said, and i want you to be more like the assistant president, celeb alex take your office and deal with the minute to minute stuff, and bob, there is only one place to go for bob, and we had just given the sherman adams office at the end as a gesture to the vice president, the first vice president ever given an office in the west wing of the white house. the last thing you want to give an office to because he has a beautiful office up on the hill as president of the senate and he has one across the street, so
bob just went over and said, ted, we are going to have to take it back. [laughter] mr. butterfield: the vice president, he only used it for a few ceremonial things and was happy to offer it. bob was the grand mogul. mr. woodward: but you have the office right next to the oval office with a special door that went from your office to the oval office. mr. butterfield: right. through a little passageway in a small room that president clinton made famous, the private office, the oval office. [laughter] mr. butterfield: it is not even a private office. there is a cut in their and eight desk and a little hot desk and a little hot plate. it was private for president clinton. [laughter] mr. butterfield: it was always
private and you have to go through it with my office. it is the office on the west side of the oval office, so from late december, i guess on, for the other three years and a month or two into 1973, i have that office and that put me in very close touch with the president. now i am the first one to see him in the early morning every day, and i never one home until he went over to the residence to bed and he always did that ob.und 10:30 from the ee he loved that solitude, and we work much differently in the nex nixon white house. henry worked directly with the
president, that the other senior people had to work, i am sure they did not like this, they had to work through me, because nixon just does not like it. suggest she: can i tell the story about the state dinners, because once nixon said, i am so tired of the sobs sticking their face in mind and bothering me, and he had a solution, tell them what the solution was. mr. butterfield: is this ok? good --now, this is all oh no. this is all good. mr. butterfield: there is a big cocktail party in the east room for 30 or 40 minutes, making sure people are enjoying themselves, waiters are passing oninks entrees --
trays. and then you go through the .eceiving line and then people file write down through the cross hall to the state dining room, and they have dinner. when they come out of the state dining room, they go into the three rooms, the green room, the blue room in the center in the bedroom. mr. woodward: you see why he was such a great source, he has almost a cinematic memory of things. you do. negative the point. -- now get to the point. [laughter] so, he got all: excited one day. he hated that 30 minute period
after dinner and before the entertainment started in the east room. there is a 30 minute coffee period. congressman and everyone who wants to talk to the president, and people are sometime gas.cted of the state it was free unusual to see him animated, so he gets up with the guest list and says, and this is about 10 after 7:00 for an 8:00 state dinner and he is for you quickly about changing, tells me he has to go down to the locker room. henry is down there. theped he would get to point really fast because i have a lot to do before the state dinner. he said, this is what we will do . i do not want to talk to any of excepts of bitches
arnold palmer and i cannot think of the others. these are republican people some from california, some big businessmen, picked up five, and said i only want to speak with those five. and i said, you mean we start tonight? i didn't say that, i was just thinking that. i looked up the social secretary and i said send me five of your best social aids quickly. they looked fine and they are all alert, firstly tenets and captains, men and women of all services, i think even coast guard. tonight,o look, lieutenant so-and-so, on the palmer -- arnold palmer is your man. when they come in the door, stay with them so when they come out of the dining room later, you
know them and they know you and stay with them and bring them to the green room where i will be with the president. at that time, i was introduced guests tointroducing the president of the state dinner. i forget who the other people were, but i assigned someone to each of them and i kept my fingers on them and i called don hughes, an air force guy i had done in the air force, and brief 10 because he was going to be standing there looking uniform, butn his he did not introduce people but he stands there with the president like he is part of the presidency. thing thatamn works. it worked well. mr. woodward: the job, you had to elbow people out of the way. mr. butterfield: i was coming to that. i was coming to that. [laughter] mr. woodward: you were like a
group of linebackers, keeping people away from nixon. mr. butterfield: as they came and i said i will make eye contact. until i give you the knowledge. why give you the knowledge, come over. the timing wasn't perfect. i took them to the president and if someone was still there don .ughes woodward: here comes arnold palmer. some of these jokers would say hey there is the president. and all of a sudden they would get an elbow. at the end of the next day you did a critique with him of the state dinner. butterfield: i met with him
every sunday morning. he didn't know about the rough edges. we got good at that. then he said talked to pat. maybe she likes to do the same thing. [laughter] butterfield: i mentioned it to her and she said i can't believe that he really said that. i was crazy about pat nixon. very nice person. they didn't see eye to eye on many things social. quarks bob writes that you were the principal intermediary between richard nixon and mrs. next in. he quotes you saying i felt sorry for her being married to this guy. describe their marriage and what she was going through.
butterfield: i can't describe their marriage. helicopter on the and my position was that one of the two of us went on every trip. we sat right across from the president. you could hear everything. the secret service and the physician and the aids are in the back of the helicopter. so they don't hear any personal talk. she said ticket is almost christmas. what you just take off. we can take the girls up to new york. new york is fun at christmas. he is writing a yellow pad which he did constantly and she is talking all this time.
i cannot help it here. -- about here. she gets no answer. i wanted to say, got damaged answer her. that is upsetting. she had to undo or that kind of treatment. woodward: she kept saying we .ill go to a musical it is going to be fun. the whole time he does not look up he does not acknowledge her he does nothing. she goes through about three he doesn't say no. totally focused on his yellow legal pad. god knows what he is planning. butterfield: he loved her
dearly. he needed her in the worst way. >> you write about a memo that he wrote to her. butterfield: haldeman came upon that memo. my wife was charlotte. haldeman knew my wife very well. alex, can you see yourself writing a memo like this to charlotte? he read me the memo. nixon rights to pat. the president has been thinking about a bedside table. [laughter] if he shouldng have an oval shaped table or not.
he keeps talking about himself in the third person. it is hilarious. it is a real memo. the man was serious. it is our and wants this and that. this is a memo from nixon to his wife. >> it is a bit of an understatement to say nixon was introverted in an extrovert's business. what drove him? you've been covering them for 40 years. woodward: watergate and all of said,crimes as sam ervin it was a lust for power.
this is the tragedy of nixon beyond the crimes. he almost developed a sense of entitlement. was entitled to be president. he could do anything including watergate and sabotage and the espionage and the break-ins and the wiretapping and so forth. that he was immune. at the same time, the thing that really blew my mind was in your files this memo. to kissinger. >> this is a note from nixon to kissinger. totale had 10 years of
control of the air in laos and vietnam. the result equals zilch. there's something wrong with the strategy for the air force. woodward: that this is a failure. the night before nixon had done an interview with dan rather. nixon said the bombing was very effective. the next day in his own handwriting he tells kissinger they have achieved nothing. not only during his time as president but when time as well. 10 years of failure. at achieved zilch. vietnam and itf turns it on its head. here he is.
2.9 million tons of bombs were dropped in southeast asia the first three years of nixon's presidency. kissingerhis note to at the beginning of 1972 when he is running for reelection. and we went over that. it is mind-boggling. thisresident would think he continued and escalated the bombing. another 1.1 million tons of bombs in southeast asia. butterfield: the polls showed his popularity went up when he was bombing.
the public didn't know it wasn't working. the supplies continued to come down the ho chi minh trail. so he double down. woodward: presidents make mistakes. misjudgments. ate person's look this and said this is the definition of evil. would do this and continue this and make this assessment and we now know that the bombing, he was right. it achieved zilch. except to kill lots of people.
there is this next and who wanted to retain power all cost. it thata component of we will escalate and borrow our way to victory. that is equivalent to the crimes watergate. butterfield: your question was what possessed him, what drove him? nixon was not stupid at all. all his life he had been put down. you are poor. he couldn't play football and yet he went out getting knocked over at practice. i don't think he ever gotten the
game. he was not one of the boys. he knew what whittier was compared to the bigger and better schools in the east. he knew what other people said. he knew deep down inside how ike really felt about him. which wasn't highly complementary. he was a capable guy and i can knew that and gave him credit for it. ike was not in love with that guy. nixon picked up on that stuff. steve bull and i to ourselves , hed say that nixon was presented an aura of how get those pastorates. -- i'll get those pastorates. even on the day of this is reelection, by an vote, he wasn't happy at all. we were all celebrating and he called a meeting and he said now the gloves are coming off. now we're going to get them.
all those sons of benches that put them down. he was possessed by that. he showed them. he never mellowed. he was just as intense when he was the president as before. now he had achieved the ultimate but is still mad and he is going to get them. woodward: don kendall who was a big supporter of nixon was in the oval office with him. telling him when i was congressman and senator and vice president and then i went to work at this law firm in new
york. , did any of bitches of them invite me to play golf at the clubs? he just goes on and on about it. butterfield: it is on the tapes. with a visceral hatred that was demonstrated there. but i called the secret service and after that. i didn't tell you that. woodward: you didn't. [laughter] history is never over. butterfield: i heard it again and that is how i remembered it. that is one of the few times in
all those three and a half years that i was so close to him. he was a very well contained disciplined man. he knew how to keep a secret. but he would erupt again when he was talking to don kendall. he hated them for it. those people that had not given it to him. those who go to harvard and galen princeton brown. >> bob, you talked about the sense of entitlement the next and had. woodward: he struggled through everything any attained to the presidency. the sadness of it is he didn't realize when he was elected president of the goodwill that people even democrats felt. we want the president to succeed because when the president
succeeds people succeed. he could not leverage that goodwill which was out there. if you spend time listening to the tapes it comes up again and again nixon is using the presidency as an instrument of personal revenge. score settling. rewards for people who give lots of campaign contributions. the day nixon resigned in august 1974. and you're watching this from the faa. it was televised live. he had no script and his wife and two daughters of his sons-in-law were standing behind them. he is sweating and talking about
his mother. butterfield: it was painful to watch. woodward: it was a psychiatric hour all the way. the poorestned lemon ranch in california no one will write a book about my mother. there has been a book about kennedy's mother. this is one of the most stunning moments in the nixon presidency. he waves his hand. always remember, others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. and then you destroy yourself. and think of the wisdom in that.
hate was the piston here. it was as if he understood what it happened. >> gerald ford said later if you only given himself that advice earlier on in his presidency the course of history might change. woodward: what a great lesson for all human beings. in politics or out of it. hate does destroy you. you have to get over things. you have to move on. nixon could not move on. isterfield: a good example ps taubman two we have a list of those reporters were going on this china trip, they are
getting a good deal. holloman said the i have a list. with relish he takes it. assigning people to say dinners and all. he gets to the eighth or 10th name and he looks at bob and he of a bitchs this some of thn doing here? he rubs it out in tears the paper. haldeman runs around to check the name before his demolished. he says he is the bureau chief now it someplace. dam. as i don't give a article heer that wrote during the gubernatorial campaign in 1962?
he didn't forget. the hatred was still there. woodward: was smart. he had immense capacity. to not let go of some of those things. there's incident after incident like this in the book. you were kind of the secret sharer. you are witnessing this and it is going on. resigned, people were in the audience crying.
speech, id about that cannot believe that people were crying. it was said. but justice had prevailed. inside i was cheering. butterfield: i need to say one thing in my own defense here. during that three and a half years when i was so close to next and and getting closer every day. it was a good relationship. i got to like him a lot because i felt sorry for him. it seems odd, feeling sorry for president. stuntedwas so socially that i really do feel sorry for him. i tried to help him do things.
i did see myself getting in trouble there. i saw the potential. i asked to leave the white house. they assigned me to the faa. i was an aviator. when i testified about the tapes, and he had a lot to do with that, no one outside the white house really understood that i was the sole deputy white house chief of staff. half of the offices they reported to me.
i had adhered to haldeman's advice on the first day of the next administration. we want a silent staff. we don't want any stars. the president is the star. we are the silent advocates for the president. i had always believed that. in the military is the same way. kissinger, andy ron zigler, the rest of us are going to be silent. i adhered to that. woodward: disclosing the tapes on one hand was kind of the obvious thing it was necessary you were called before the .fficial body
your wife believes you wanted to tell. you were determined to do it. as an outside observer, having spent decades trying to fromstand the white house that center obama. what happens to most people in the white house is they get co-opted. they become part of the system. they are not, they lose their independence. they lose their intelligence. for you to disclose the taping system. nixon had told you no one is to ever know about this. this is the biggest secret we have. nixon and his memoirs wrote that
he believed it would never be revealed. is, whenesting to me .ou made that decision that was an act of courage. you knew how was going come down on your head. history shows that it was in the national interest that we know what happened in the white house and the extent of the corruption , i the extent to which always said i wrote another book on nixon the title would be the wrong man. butterfield: before you interrupted [laughter] that in route to saying .as called
nobody know. when john dean testified in june world and they said was complicit in watergate, he was the first person who it said that. that was huge. the members of the working committee, fred thompson, sam dash, they were trying to find support johnould dean's statement. the nation believed the president and not this young 32-year-old upstart who is accent because he's just been dismissed
unceremoniously on april 30 just two months before john dean testified before the watergate committee. i have been haldeman's deputy for four years. bob is calling his friend on the committee. armstrong andcott says this guy butterfield he has had something to do with this. dash and he sam says we don't have time. in a way that served me well. not being known. they call you on a friday afternoon. because you insisted. if there is any hero worship to be done, i can swear to you i
never would've volunteered the information. i had almost escaped because i was leaving the day after the testimony to go to the soviet union from three weeks. you are the guy [laughter] woodward: i didn't know as people on the committee were the satellite witnesses who will either verify or refute what john dean had said. i said one of our sources had said there is a guy named butterfield who is in charge of internal security. which in a way you are. you had liaison with the secret service. lots of the security functions. i went to your house one night and knocked on your door. no one came to the door. someone was at the drapes.
peeking through. i don't know if it was you or charlotte. sbutterfield: you got the wrong house. [laughter] let me go back to august 9, 1974. nixon's farewell speech. you had ignited the spark with there was the downfall of the most important person in the world. what was that like for you? butterfield: another day at the office. [laughter] then bradley said,
what have you got for tomorrow? [laughter] that was the atmosphere. my thought was quite honestly what we know about nixon. go back and look at the experiences. if we had known this i would argue he was the wrong man. he should not have been in the presidency. he abused the office. he had to resign because of the media or the democrats but because of the republican party. party in then person of barry goldwater went to him and said it is over.
what i am haunted by quite frankly is what we don't know about presidents. if you talk to people in the country and in washington they will say we didn't know enough about nixon. about billnow enough clinton before he became president. know enough about george w. bush before he became president. we didn't know enough about barack obama. in march 2016 the obligation on the shoulders of exhaustives to do an biographical of itation, excavation
looks like it's going to be trop, and hillary. 16 parts, 18 parts. go into every part of their background. talk to as many people as you can who dealt with them. butterfield: would you put them on a gurney? [laughter] woodward: you would do all the research and then go to them and to hillary or trunk, we have some questions we want answered. i did this for george w. bush. four books i wrote on him. i interviewed him exhaustively for hours and hours. cheney said this. : powell took this position. was theplan for iraq following.
presidents and candidates will answer if you want to go about it in a neutral way. i think we have that obligation. i don't want, speaking for the washington post where i am still one of the associate editors. i don't want anyone to go to the polls in november and say we really didn't get the full story on these people. the lesson from nixon to obama is that we have an obligation to find what current bernstein and the bestcalled obtainable version of the truth. butterfield: would you start these campaigns another half year earlier? [laughter] woodward: no. we have a lot of work to do.
the new order of the washington post, jeff basu's, has made it clear that we will have the resources to do our jobs. and not get dazzled and and theked by polls speeches and the policy positions. the best index. when charlie rose interviewed vladimir putin couple of months him you were a kgb officer. once's a saying that you're in the kgb or always in the kgb. that a stage of our life passes without a trace.
the most interesting way for vladimir putin to say yes. not a stage passes without a trace. it is our job to track down everything. >> if you look at next and, he was on the national stage by the time he became president we know a lot about xm. he been in congress human vice .resident he'd gone through vicious campaigns with jerry voorhees and helen gahagan douglas and the pumpkin papers. and the hiss case. we knew as much about that said woodward: no.
we missed the story. the story was character. in the first weeks of the next white house would haldeman starts telling you things about next and that he is weird. he doesn't know you're here. don't let them see your face it will spook him. there is a picture of you standing next in the day the whole staff is being sworn in and he is looking at you like who the hell is this? maybe he didn't know. maybe he suspected this is the guy who was going to do man. [laughter] i've got ton says introduce you in a way when he is in the right mood. you are running around hiding behind pillars because you are afraid nixon might see you.
butterfield: i was going from pillar to pillar. [laughter] about the haldeman diaries. i have some doubts about them. haldeman says i took butterfield in to meet the president five days after the inaugural. columnsding behind until february 18. and this is a diary the right daily. i don't think so. history is never over. >> let's go back to 2016. have we ever seen anything like the presidential race today? woodward: it is interesting. the things going on that are gathering lots of attention. instead of bringing our hands arethe editorial writers
having a nervous breakdown about trump. they are so worried. there certainly is grounds to worry. you have to say what is our job? our job is to explain who these people are. i feel very strongly about that. i was talking it, to some people about trump and new york real estate. worldw york real estate makes understanding the cia easy. [laughter] it is complex and god knows how many deals he was in. hillary clinton. life, what did she do
in the senate? what did she really do a secretary of state? what is this whole e-mail thing? >> it is said we get the government we deserve. you talk about the job the media has to do. with the current crop of candidates. what should we as voters do? woodward: you should demand a lot of the candidates. debates and food fights but also discussion of policies. know who these people are. butterfield: we have a pretty uneducated
electorate. that is one of our problems. it is ashamed to say it. woodward: the job of educating alsoroviding the facts belongs to the media. a big burden. >> any predictions about the election? woodward: yeah i have it written down here. oh i forgot to bring that piece of paper. [laughter] i called one of the elders and the republican party. he said there are no elders and the republican party. i found another elder in the republican party. everyone would know who he is. not to be quoted on the record. possible that there would be a deadlocked
convention? said in 2016 anything is possible. >> let's end the evening where we began. 37th president. over four decades since he left office. two decades since he died. what will nixon's legacy be? butterfield: it is a shame to this but some of the criminal acts that occurred during his administration are going to carry the day. it is a shame. in so many well
ways. especially domestically where he was known as more of an expert in foreign affairs he also did great things on the domestic side. the gets married. had so many good ideas. if you read some of the papers that were written during the transition. .rior to him being sworn in things he wanted to implement. the second branch of the government. of those ideas. give the 18-year-olds the boat. he had so much promise. that is the tragedy. he tripped himself up. woodward: then you listen to the tapes. there are thousands of hours of tapes.
in my them on cassettes car. i don't listen to the radio, i listen to next in. [laughter] it is stunning. again and again. the defendant, the hate. let's get the fbi on so-and-so. butterfield: let's firebomb the brookings institute. woodward: there's a tape of nixon and kissinger and haldeman and there is a bombing study from the johnson administration that supposedly the brookings institution has. nixon wants it. he says let's get this. haldeman and kissinger say well we can't get it. nixon says, break-in.
below the safe. below the safe. butterfield: blow the guide them safe. woodward: he won't let it go. butterfield: i don't care what it takes he says. woodward: do it on a thievery basis. he says who later is going to do the brookings? who is going to break in? he is on fire about it. we had president to make mistakes. i am hopeful that barack obama as president is not ordering the break-in, the firebombing of anything.
i'm against that. this is the great mystery of this democracy. about whatow enough goes on. in spent years and years this library with all the documents. we know a lot about johnson but they're still mysteries about them. still things that are unanswered. the secrecy, the hidden nature of government. that is the thing we should worry about. as much as anything in this country. in darkness.ie butterfield: i went from not
himng nixon then forgiving when i saw what he could say to me. not have that romance. about thestified tapes, that next year i saw another nixon and i changed my mind and by the time i testified before the impeachment inquiry at the house judiciary committee exactly one year after, july of 1974 i was a different mindset and it was primarily because he exploited the loyalty of the people that loved him dearly. by letting haldeman and when he dismissed john dean and kleindienst. haldeman seems to take it like a soldier. ehrlichman never forgotten. he died shortly after that.
all these young guys. terrific eyes. young and eager and they thought the president hung the moon. he couldn't have cared much because he was self-centered. i just saw a difference in as much as i like them before i ended up not liking him. where were they when he was saying let's firebomb, let's break in, let's go sabotage the muskie campaign? butterfield: they were in their offices. they weren't privy to that. woodward: lots of them were involved. where were the no votes from the staff? saying, john mitchell
had the watergate meeting in his office at the justice department , one of theiddy strangest people ever to put on a pair of pants. [laughter] brought these charts that were made by the cia to spend a million dollars on wiretapping and sabotaging people. mitchell was sitting there smoking his pipe. his objection was it was too expensive. so when he brought back a $500,000 plan. and mitchell said it was too expensive. isn't this alld, illegal? isn't it corrupt? plan washe 250,000 approved. and that was watergate. there is such a
thing as the glitter to the presidency. , iot of people, even i caught a little of that fever. all these other people excited to be there. they just won the campaign. they are going to washington. they were ensnared by the glitter and the deception of the nixon presidency. that is proof positive that the last word of history is never written. i would strongly recommend the last of the president's men which only increased my great respect for alexander butterfield and bob woodward. please give them a hand. [laughter] [applause] [applause] [applause]