tv Nixon White House Recollections CSPAN August 25, 2017 12:56pm-2:03pm EDT
at least that's my take on it. thank you. >> one of our issues is make sure that the medical cannabis bill will adhere to its policy of having representation of minorities and women. this is an issue that we have touted, and we feel that it's very important and will be addressed in 2018 legislative session. >> "voices from the road," on c-span. now, jo haldeman gives an insider's view of the white house and the watergate scandal. her husband, bob haldeman, served as chief of staff in the nixon administration. she reads excerpts from her book, "in the shadow of the white house." from the richard nixon foundation, this is an hour. >> good morning, and welcome to
yorba linda and the new richard nixon presidential library and museum. i'm william barlbault, president of the nixon foundation and i'm glad you're here on an important day for the library. joining us is the president of the library and the blue coats of the gentlemen recognized today. thank you. before i introduce larry higby, who introduced jo haldeman, i want to introduce members of the haldeman family who are here, particularly three of jo and bob's children, hank haldeman, susan haldeman, and ann cot bee. thank you. two of our foundation friends who knew bob haldeman well are also here. first, my predecessor as president and now a board member
of the nixon foundation, sandy quinn. [ applause ] and a truly remarkable and very special woman who was at ucla with bob haldeman and john ehrlichman in the post world war ii years. when she graduated she took a train to washington, d.c. and in july of 1951 rose mary woods hired her to join the staff of a newly elected california senator, richard nixon. since then lloyd gaunt has been a mainstay of every nixon office and campaign, a friend to the nixon family, an important staff member and for many years the assistant secretary treasurer of our foundation board. lloyd's knowledge about richard nixon and career, her dedication, her intelligence and integrity have guided and inspired generations of her colleagues and friends. we're delighted that she is here
today. [ applause ] we're here this morning to welcome jo haldeman, the wife of president nixon's chief of staff bob haldeman and to celebrate the publication of her first book "in the shadow of the white house: a memoir of the washington and watergate years, 1968 to 1978." was that -- there's no sequel? [ laughter ] our good friend and board member larry higby will have the honor of introducing jo and i have the honor of introducing larry. larry is a native angelino and a true bruin, a ucla undergrad in business school. at the age of 23 he became deputy assistant to the president of the united states as the right-hand man to president nixon's chief of
staff, h.r. "bob" haldeman. after the nixon administration larry worked for pepsico, unical and the times mirror company. when he retired in 2008, he was chief operating officer of the apria health care group. in his retirement, although i think his wife dee might quarrel with the word, larry has been busy serving on boards, working on non-profits and keeping up with kids and grandchildren. under his chairmanship, the splendid new orange county performing arts center was built and opened. larry has been a board member and a chair of the new majority, a republican nonprofit think tank. among many notable honors, he's a recipient of the horatio alger award. as a member of the nixon foundation board, larry has played a prominent and generous part in opening up our new nixon library. it's my pleasure to introduce the honorable larry higby.
[ applause ] >> thank you very much, bill. and good morning. let me add my welcome to everyone here in the east room of the new nixon library. and a special welcome to our c-span audience all across america and around the world. i want to thank bill also for that very generous introduction. my job this morning is to introduce jo haldeman who is going to read from her remarkable book, "in the shadow of the white house" about her life and times with her husband, bob. "in the shadow of the white house" mostly covers the historic and dramatic nixon years from 1968 through 1974. it begins in the fall of 1968 with president-elect nixon asking bob to come to washington
and be the white house chief of staff, and it ends in the fall of 1978 with bob's release from prison. before i introduce jo, i thought it would be a good idea to begin by saying a few words about her husband, bob. although many years have passed, a reviewer wrote just last week in the "wall street journal," bob haldeman "invented both the modern presidential campaign and the modern white house." from his time in the nixon administration, "for the next two generations, the haldeman system helped one white house after another attain a level of professional excellence in staff work and efficiency and organization that met the growing responsibilities of government and the demands of global leadership." bob in a quote that quickly became famous described his job a little more succinctly. he said every president needs an s.o.b. and i'm nixon's.
at the time, many people took that literally, and it didn't help bob when watergate focused a national spotlight on bob. people who didn't know bob and only saw him as a tough white house chief of staff whose crew cut was as intimidating as his prose style missed the whole point. because far from being everybody's s.o.b., bob haldeman was one of the most thoughtful, human, and humane people i have ever met. he was a demanding but fair boss and he was a true patriot. bob was born in los angeles in october of 1926. he was an eagle scout. he was in the naval reserve at the end of world war ii. he graduated from ucla in 1948, and in 1949 he joined the advertising agency j. walter thompson. even before he reached the white house, bob had a life of impressive accomplishment.
over the course of a 22-year career, he rose to the highest corporate ranks at j. walter thompson. he was the primary fundraiser for the building of pauley pavilion at ucla, he was the chairman of disney's california institute of the arts, he was a member of the state college board of trustees, and a regent of the university of california. all of this was done before he was 40. i met bob in 1967 when i was the vice president of the student body at ucla and he was president of the alumni association. these were very turbulent times on american campuses and the two of us were setting up programs to make sure that the communication lines between student and community leaders stayed open. unlike what was happening up north for those of you who happened to go to berkeley or stanford. on graduation day bob offered me a job working for him, which i
politely refused because i was determined to go to graduate business school. the result of that conversation and several more that followed resulted in a work hour for me that began with 30 hours a week working for bob and then working late nights on my mba. as i worked for bob, two things happened. first, we became very good friends. second, i figured out that he was far more interested in the opportunity to spend time in public service than he was to continue in advertising. we shared an interest in politics, and in january of 1968 did a careful study and concluded that richard nixon had a whopping 16% chance of winning the presidency. but by the end of that tumultuous year, things had changed, and richard nixon was the 37th president-elect of the united states. with that nixon victory and thanks to bob, i began an
odyssey few people have been able to experience as deputy assistant of the president, working in the office of the chief of staff. after nixon's victory in november of 1968, bob and the president-elect essentially had 60 days to organize and staff the world's largest corporation, the government of the united states. he did a great job. and, as a matter of fact, in essence, bob haldeman created the modern office of the president. on his first day on the job as white house chief of staff, bob was 43 years old. even more strange, i was 23 years old. [ laughter ] over the next five years, from 1969 to 1973, i became known as haldeman's haldeman, and i took that as the highest praise, although to be honest, i'm not sure most people saw it that way. i was privileged to go to china
and the soviet union and many other places as president nixon worked to end the vietnam war and set the world on a path to lasting peace. in addition to running the white house office every day, bob had a strong sense of history and his duty to it. he applied this extraordinary discipline in writing and later recording a daily diary of the events that he experienced and observed. "the haldeman diaries," which are now available on kindle, is increasingly considered to be one of the most remarkable and insightful windows into the american presidency. at first, bob wrote his diary in longhand and accountant's ledgers. this is what they looked like. here is the title page with the dates he filled in, january 18th through april 25th. and when he came to the last page, he began the next volume. here's what is typically clear and disciplined handwriting that
haldeman was famous for looked like. bob was also interested in developing technology in the movie cameras, which were becoming portable for the first time. he had one of the early east super 8s, kodak that was still experimental, and later a cannon. he used his total access to president to film everything from the "apollo" astronauts talking when they returned from the moon to the president of the united states walking on the great wall of china. bob reunited a unique archive of home movies. but in bob's house the home happened to be the white house. bob's movies became the main basis of an award-winning documentary, "our nixon." in 2008, the haldeman family donated bob's super 8 collection
of 25 hours and 20,000 feet of film to the national archives. they're stored right here below us now here in the nixon library. bob was president nixon's strong right arm, as well as being a wonderful family man and father. and that brings me to why we're here today, to meet jo and hear her read from her book, "in the shadow of the white house." as she writes, her book isn't bob's story or nixon's story. it's her story. and it's compelling and moving that she tells with great skill and subtlety. jo ann horton was born as a third generation californian, also in los angeles. now jo's best friend in high school set up a date with jo with her brother and that's how the 15-year-old jo anne horton met the 17-year-old bob haldeman. because her friend's greatest love was horses, jo and bob each mistakenly assumed that the
other was into horses. but once they got past that, they discovered they really did have some interests in common and that was the beginning of a wonderful 48-year love story and marriage. jo and bob have four children, susan, hank, peter and anne. in addition to being a full-time mom and the wife of a rising advertise executive, jo was always active in community and church groups. service was something jo and bob had in common. and when bob was working at the white house, jo volunteered a the the district of columbia city hall complaint center and as a caseworker assistant at juvenile hall. after bob left the white house and his legal case made its way through the courts, he served his sentence in lompoc. suddenly confronted with having to be a family's breadwinner, jo became a licensed real estate agent and was a successful associate in the hancock park office of coldwell banker.
bob later became a senior executive in the murdoch association. in 1986, jo and bob retired to santa barbara, where they enjoyed church work and spending time with their extended family of kids and grandkids. we're proud to have more than 70 members, 70 members of the haldeman family here today with us. i think so. [ applause ] after bob passed away in 1993, jo continued to do church work and devote herself to her family and grandchildren. and she decided to write a book about the time when the haldeman family had a rendezvous with richard nixon and american history. working an average of 12 hours a day for all those years as i did, i also became a member of
the haldeman family. jo was and is a remarkable and inspiring person. during those white house years, with their good times and bad times, jo was supportive and strong and refreshing and capable of absorbing whatever joys or sorrows the days dealt, as she supported bob and raised four wonderful children. jo haldeman's strength and faith played a central part in bob's life, and therefore, in the life of our nation. i am proud to call her my friend, and it is my privilege to introduce you to her this morning. please join me in welcoming jo haldeman. [ applause ] >> thank you for the lovely introduction, larry.
bob was a hard task master and i have always taken his complete confidence in you as the highest compliment. you referred to bob's diary and i would like to share his entry from the administration's first full day in office, january 21, 1969. "lots of last-minute getting ready at the white house so we can move in with minimum disturbance. things appear to be pretty well set. all plans working" -- excuse me. "all plans working out reasonably well. higby really snowed with office assignments, equipment, phones, et cetera. tough job for a 23-year-old. he is doing great." [ laughter ] [ applause ]
i'd also like to recognize the richard nixon foundation for sponsoring this event and the richard nixon library for hosting it. i want to specifically recognize bill baribault, frank gannon, larry and all of the incredibly kind and helpful people who make things happen so smoothly and graciously here at the library. so thank you, all of you. [ applause ] last but not least, i'd like to thank my wonderful supportive family, many of whom are here today. so, thank you. [ applause ] welcome. when my now 34-year-old grandson, who is here today, was in the seventh grade, he
offhandedly mentioned that his class was studying watergate. 22 years later, here i am presenting the result of his remark, my memoir. it has been a long haul, but i was determined to give bob's and my grandchildren a fuller picture and appreciation of our life and experience in washington than what they would get from their textbooks. my story covers, as you've heard several times now, the ten-year period from president nixon's nomination in july 1968 to the day bob walked out of prison on december 1978. in december 1978. it was a turbulent time in our country's history. the generation gap was widening and counterculture values were replacing past social and moral
codes. growing frustrations over the vietnam war and racial and gender inequalities divided our nation. we lived in a world without cell phones, computers or the internet. we had no voice mail, caller i.d., let alone texting or e-mail. a gallon of gas cost 35 cents, a double cheeseburger 49 cents, and a luxury lincoln continental sold for $6,046. what i have written is not bob's story, nor is it the story of our family or an explanation of watergate. what i wrote is my story. today i'm going to read several selections from the book. the first one takes place two months after the first inauguration.
bob was immersed in his new job in washington and i was still living in los angeles with our four children until they completed the school year. susan was in the ninth grade in high school -- pardon me, susan was a senior in high school, hank a sophomore, peter in the sixth grade, and anne in the fourth grade. bob was 42 and i was 40. this was my first visit to washington to see bob, who was living a few blocks from the white house in the jefferson hotel. while in d.c., i planned to look at houses and check out schools. the first excerpt is titled "first ladies' dinner party." on the evening of friday, march 14, 1969, bob and i attended two different functions.
while he dresses for the gridiron dinner, where members of the administration are traditionally roasted by the press, i dress for mrs. nixon's dinner honoring the white house wives. this is new to me and the protocol is intimidating. i wished bob were going to be at the white house with me. i ask him for advice. just follow the other ladies, he says. do what they do. i'm sure you won't be the only one there for the first time. dressed in white tie and tails, bob leaves first. when the zipper in the back of my dress gets stuck, i have to ask the doorman at the hotel to zip me up. [ laughter ] a white house car takes me to the south entrance of the white house, where we wait in a long line of government limos that look exactly like our black mercury sedan. we inch ahead.
then suddenly, my door is opened by a uniformed white house social aide. stepping out of the car, i silently repeat bob's words like a mantra -- follow the ladies, do what they do, just follow the ladies, do what they do. swept up in a steady stream of elegantly dressed women, i enter the diplomatic reception room expecting to see others who are obviously here for the first time. i'm disappointed. no one looks lost. for a moment i feel terribly alone. i check my fur stole and as i start to climb the stairs to the entrance hall, a woman breezes by me. isn't it fun to be here without your husband for a change, she asks, in a bubbly enthusiastic voice. sure is, i reply, attempting to
sound blase. halfway up the red carpeted stairs an attractive woman with reddish hair taps me on the shoulder. would you mind zipping me up, she asked, pointing to the back of her dress. jerry had to leave before i finished dressing this evening. i smile. i'm happy to help her. when i discovered that the woman is betty ford, wife of the representative gerald ford, i realize that sometimes it makes no difference who you are or where you are, certain situations are universal. on the upper landing, i'm given a card with my dinner table number on it. i'm delighted to find that i'm seated next to julie nixon eisenhower. effervescent and gregarious, julie is a good hostess at our table for eight. as she talks, she gestures a lot and her dark hair bounces on the shoulders of her white lace dress.
when the army's strolling strings pause at our table to play "laura's theme," i get goosebumps. the feeling being surrounded by 20 violinists playing my favorite song in the state dining room of the white house is surreal. the only thing missing is bob. after dinner, coffee is served in the main hall, where i notice a stately, older woman standing alone. sensing that i finally discovered someone else who might be here for the first time, i introduce myself. i know who you are, my dear, the woman says, extending her right hand. i'm mrs. warren. it's nice to meet you, i say. is your husband part of the nixon white house? no, dear. he's the chief justice of the supreme court. mrs. warren smiles pleasantly
and drifts away. the next selection takes place in november of 1969. at that time, demonstrations against the vietnam war were growing in size and becoming a nationwide movement. the scene begins with the launch of the apollo 12 mission to the moon at cape canaveral, florida, which our family attended along with the ehrlichman family as guests of nasa. this chapter is called "shades of gray." the rocket moved slowly, struggling to gain the tremendous force it needs to break free. when the sound catches up with us, the powerful roar causes the grandstand to tremble. little puddles of rainwater dance and jiggle on the asphalt below. on the launchpad, the scaffolding collapses, and "apollo 12" climbs steadily upward.
its mighty roar turns into a deep rumble when it is swallowed up by the low-flying storm clouds. soon, only a dull glow is left in the leaden sky. as soon as the launch is over bob and john ehrlichman leave to join the president on air force one for the return flight to washington. they are concerned about the peace march that will take place tonight, as well as the demonstration tomorrow. a second car takes jean ehrlichman and me to patrick air force base where we board nasa one with eight of our children and the director of nasa and his wife. shortly after takeoff, a violent thunderstorm surrounds our gulfstream turboprop, and there is silence as wild gusts of wind, rain and hail buffet us on
all sides. when one of the children asks for a throw-up bag, jean and i tried to reassure everyone by reciting the lord's prayer out loud. unfortunately, this has the opposite effect and only conveys a greater sense of doom. the skies clear on our approach to washington. looking down, i can easily identify the capitol and many government buildings. it's a beautiful sight made more spectacular by a long procession of twinkling lights. a serpentine line stretches all the way from arlington cemetery to the white house. it's the march, tom ehrlichman says, with his head glued to the window. they're carrying candles. nasa one lands at andrews air force base, where two white
house cars wait for the haldeman and ehrlichman families. our driver asks if the children and i would like to drive past the arlington memorial bridge on the way home. you'll be able to see the peace march up close, ma'am, he says. it's quite a sight. will we be safe, i ask? and our driver assures us that there won't be a problem. as we draw near the single-file procession coming across the bridge, our car slows down to keep pace with the demonstrators. i expected to see angry hippies with clenched fists shouting obscenities. instead, i observe a great variety of people. there are peace symbols and crosses, colored beads and gold jewelry, tie dyed t-shirts and button down oxford cloth shirts, beards and shaved faces, long hair and clipped haircuts.
each face is lit by a flickering candle representing the loss of an american life in vietnam. the line moves in silence and all i hear is the muffled sound of shuffling feet. the impact of the scene is overwhelming. up until this moment i have generally regarded life in terms of black and white. i considered the anti-war demonstrators a bunch of hippies whose cause and tactics i did not support. to me, the march was unpatriotic and disruptive, therefore, it must be bad. in contrast, the moon launch was patriotic and unifying. therefore, it must be good. tonight, however, i see the hippies as individual people expressing great sensitivity and compassion. i can no longer define life so
simply, and my thinking changes. i now view the protesters in shades of gray. the next excerpt takes place about a year later. it's titled "heroic swim." january 20, 1971, is the second anniversary of the president's inauguration, and bob steadfastly maintains that nixon is capable of becoming one of history's greatest leaders. the president has a brilliant mind and an unbelievable grasp of global affairs. bob believes in him and serves him with his whole heart. on january 29, i accompanied bob and a few white house staff members on air force one to the virgin islands, where the president will spend a long
weekend at knievel kin yeel bay, the rockefeller resort. in the meantime, i had been invited to join our friends george and kathleen bell on their 45-foot yacht. during the day, the bells and i sail from island to island, swimming and snorkeling in the hidden bays. at night we anchor in the shelter of a cove and sleep on the boat. sunday afternoon bob and his assistant, larry higby, join us. bob is on call and the army signal corps will contact him via shortwave radio if he's needed. he and larry are both eager to take turns skippering. and soon the five of us are flying along on a run with billowing sails. suddenly, a lot of static and a garbled message comes over the radio. i make out the words "search light," nixon's secret service
code name, and "welcome," bob's secret service code name. bob tenses up. he considers a call from the president urgent and he asks george to return to kineel bay immediately. george jives the seraband and reverses course. the boat heels and we're doused with saltwater. bob's fingers drum on the deck while larry's right leg nervously jiggles. when we enter the protective cove of kineel bay, the wind dies. drifting 100 yards offshore, becomes frustrated and decides there's a faster way to make it to land. he thanks the bells, walks to the bow of the boat and dives into the water. larry follows. [ laughter ] swimming as hard as they can, they finally reach the beach, where they run for their parked jeep. they speed away and disappear
into a grove of tameran trees, leaving a billowy cloud of dust. kathleen and george are speechless. i am often asked how we learned about the watergate break-in, which brings me to june 1972. this chapter is "the watergate break-in." on june 16, 1972, the first lady leaves for a three-day campaign swing through texas, california and south dakota. while she's out of town, the president will spend the weekend in florida. it's his last chance to be in key biscayne before the water gets too hot and humid. and, her best friend, and i accompanied bob on air force one. june 18 dawns warm and windy. after celebrating father's day
at breakfast by the pool, the four of us return to the villa. although the president is at walker's cave with b.b.riboso, bob explains that something has come up and he needs to spend time on the phone. armed with the sunday papers, i settle on the terrace while the girls swim in the ocean. buffeted by the strong wind, i cram the papers i'm not reading under my chaise to keep them from blowing away. the lead story in "the miami herald" is about the withdrawal of troops from vietnam, and there's a feature article on george mcgovern's campaign. when i see that the watergate complex is mentioned in a small story in the middle of the front page, i'm interested. the watergate. that's where mother and i stayed with bob while he was decorating -- while we were decorating our new home. under the headline, "miamians
held in d.c. try to bug demo headquarters," the article describes a burglary that took place after midnight yesterday. on june 17, five men were arrested for breaking into the democratic national committee headquarters in the watergate. dressed in business suits, they wore rubber surgical gloves and carried burglary tools, surveillance equipment, walkie talkies, and cameras. four of the men are from mime miami, but the fifth is a former employee of the cia, presently working as a security consultant in washington. the story is weird. i'm curious to hear what bob has to say about it, but i don't want to interrupt him while he is working. peering through the glass doors, i see him seated on the red,
white and blue striped couch in the living room. in front of him, the white house phone and a faux marble replica of the washington monument sit side by side on a white glasstop coffee table. i wave to the girls and go back to my reading. two hours later, bob steps out. blinking in the bright sunlight, he sits down on the chaise next to me. what's the deal about this crazy break-in at the watergate i ask, without wasting any time. the whole thing's ridiculous, bob says, i can't imagine why anyone would want to bug the democratic headquarters. it's the last place in the world to get inside information. have you talked to the president, i ask. yeah, he and b.b. just got back. i don't think he knows about the break-in yet, unless he read it in the paper. bob stands and stretches, and i suggest that we eat lunch by the
pool. on the way out, i toss this morning's papers into the kitchen wastebasket. frequently, i find an article that i want to save, but today there's nothing special. little did i realize where this crazy break-in story would take us. the story did not go away, which brings us to almost a year later, april of 1973. after two weeks of agonizing back and forth on whether john ehrlichman and bob should stay, take leaves of absence, or resign, we finally have the answer. this chapter is called "resignation." on sunday morning, april 29, i retrieve the "washington post" from under the azaleas in the patio of our townhouse on our
street in georgetown. i should explain, there was so many reporters lingering at our front door, it intimidated our newsboy, and so, he would go around the alley and throw our paper into our patio, where it invariably ended up in the azaleas or something. so, anyway, rather than getting the paper at the front door, i had to pick it out of the plants in the patio. using my apron to wipe off bits of dirt, i read that john dean reportedly is ready to swear that he gave both ehrlichman and haldeman progress reports on the cover-up, and there is more speculation about removing bob and john. boy, bob says at breakfast, as soon as the president reads all of this stuff, he'll want john and me to come up to camp david immediately. what do you mean, i question.
he'll want our resignations. i thought you said he wanted you to take leaves of absence, i comment weakly. things are moving too fast in the other direction, bob says. either way, i'll be out of the white house. he stands and walks over to the kitchen window where he looks down at the reporters mingling on the sidewalk. it's time for me to tell our families that i might have to take a leave of absence, then they'll be prepared in case i have to resign. as usual, bob has covered all his bases. his decision is clear to him and he's in control. however, i feel lost and empty, as if i've run out of gas. i'm glad that we're going to church this morning. i need to turn to a greater power to sustain me. true to his word, as soon as we get home, bob calls our three out-of-town children, as well as
our parents. i try not to think about the future, to keep busy. i make bob's lunch, cottage cheese, canned pineapple, rye crisp and iced tea. the white house phone rings and i instantly assume it's that dreaded call from nixon. the conversation is surprisingly brief. the president wants john and me to chopper up to meet him at camp david at 1:30 today. bob's steady eyes and unruffled demeanor are reassuring. when the white house phone rings again, i fight to stay composed. that was ron ziegler, press secretary, bob says. he's at camp david, too. the president now feels very strongly that john and i should volunteer to resign. my heart does a nose dive down to my stomach and my voice is
weak. is this it? i'm afraid so, bob confirms. ron said that the president figures we'll be eaten alive if we take leaves of absence. he puts on his blazer and turns to me. our eyes meet. he gives me a tender hug and we kiss. stepping out of the bedroom, bob nearly collides with anne in the hall, wearing faded jeans and a baggy sweatshirt. she's clutching a basketball and is in a hurry to leave. i'm going to the park, she says. hey, awful annie, wait a minute, bob says, using his nickname for her, a play on little orphan annie. i'm taking off, too, and i want to tell you something before i go. anne stops on the landing and bob walks over and puts his hands on her shoulders. there's a good chance i'm going to have to take a leave of absence at the white house.
are things that bad, anne asks? yes, they are, bob acknowledges. they're pretty bad. bob leans down and wraps his arms around his daughter and the basketball at the same time. my heart is breaking as he follows anne downstairs, father and daughter step outside together. the press surrounds them. putting her head down, anne charges through the crowd and makes her way down the sidewalk. bob climbs into the waiting white house car and is driven away. i'm alone. even the press is gone. i anticipate a long, agonizing wait, so i try to keep busy with mundane chores. i clean up bob's untouched lunch, pay bills, catch up on the ironing, walk the dogs, sew a button on bob's shirt and sweep up the trash left by the reporters. in the late afternoon, i'm
straightening up the living room when the ring of the white house phone startles me. i reach for the receiver and then draw back. standing motionless, i eye the white instrument on the table in front of me. if i don't answer it, i won't hear any bad news. on the fourth ring, i give in. gripping the receiver, i slowly bring it to my ear. good evening, ms. haldeman, the voice of the white house operator is both cheery and respectful. mr. haldeman is calling from camp david and would like to speak to you. all of a sudden, bob is on the line and my heart is pounding. he tells me that he just finished meeting with the president. it's just what i expected, he says. the president asked john and me to submit or resignations. there's no turning back this time. keep talking, bob, if you expect me to say something. i don't think i can. keep talking.
i'll come home before long, bob continues, as if this were any normal day. will you call the children and our parents and give them the news? of course, my reply is steady by my hand is shaking. i'm so sorry, bob. i hope you're all right. i love you. is that all i can say? there's so much more. so much more. after hanging up, i stand and stare at the phone. tonight, this constant intruder into my life has finally had the last word. in march of 1974, bob was charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice, and three counts of perjury in connection with the watergate cover-up. along with four other defendants, he went through a
55-day trial that fall. the next reading is at the end of the trial after the final arguments have been made by the prosecution and the defendants when the prosecution gets to have the last word by making rebuttal arguments. susan has been attending the trial, and peter and anne are visiting over the christmas break. this chapter is called "jar of jam." december 27, 1974, trial day 52. friday, the courtroom is packed. anne and i have to share a small space on the bench while peter sits in one of the chairs that have been set up in the aisle. after lunch, the government presents its rebuttal. i can feel my heart pounding as richard stands. for some reason, bob has been
singled out, and the 31-year-old assistant prosecutor will be delivering a separate rebuttal only against him. jim neil, the chief prosecutor, will follow, taking on the other four defendants. i'm on edge. his cockiness and self-importance annoy me, and i don't want susan, peter, and anne to be suggested to his degrading remarks about their father. taking his place at the lectern, ben-veniste deliberately pauses to adjust his glasses. in a voice ladened with sarcasm, he compares bob to a little boy who gets caught with jam on his face. here's the jam, ladies and gentlemen, he exclaims. it's on mr. haldeman's face. it's on his hands and he can't get it off. every time ben-veniste cites more evidence against bob, he repeats the story of the boy and
the jam. as the jurors turn to look, i know they visualize bob smeared with bright red strawberry jam. ben-veniste paints a vivid image that captures the imagination and i'm chagrinned. do our children really have to hear this? at the end of half an hour, ben-veniste concludes his rebuttal. with a self-satisfied expression, he slowly turns and walks back to the prosecutors' table. during the break, a crowd gathers in the hall, and i have trouble getting past it. when i see what the attraction is, i'm sickened. standing in the middle of an admiring group of journalists, richard ben-veniste is grinning. obviously enjoying the attention, he raises his right hand high above his head for all
to see. in it he holds a jar of jam. late in the afternoon, it's jim neil's turn to deliver the rebuttal against all of the defendants. hunched over the lectern, he addresses the jury. it's no fun casting stones, he says, but to keep society going stones must be cast. people must be called to account. speaking for four hours, the chief prosecutor varies his tone of voice, soft and deliberate on some occasion, at other times loud and vigorous. as always, he's a spellbinder, but compared to his final argument earlier, what he says today seems somewhat confusing and rushed. everyone blames john dean, neil concludes, but mr. mitchell also blames mr. colson,
mr. ehrlichman blames the president, mr. mardian blames the white house, and, he pauses, mr. haldeman really can't recall enough to blame anybody. people around me snicker under their breath. after 52 days, everything has been covered -- the opening statements, the testimony of witnesses, 22 hours of taped conversations, the final arguments and the rebuttals. some of it was boring, some of it was fascinating, and so much of it was frustrating. at last, it's over. on monday the case will go to the jury. leaving the courtroom i feel weak. ben-veniste's stinging accusations about the jam and neil's exaggerations stay with me. i take them personally and become obsessed with one objective, to get out of this
building as quickly as possible. desperate to be alone, i give no thought to bob and the children. putting my head down, i plowed through the crowd. mrs. haldeman, jim neil calls out, stopping me in the hall. he extends his hand and locks eyes with me. i want to wish you well, no matter what the outcome might be. the heartfelt message from bob's adversary catches me off guard and puts my emotions over the top. fighting to hold back tears, i'm more determined than ever to get away. once outside, the tears come. i can no longer hold them back. by the time bob and the three children find me, i have my emotions under control. it's been a trying day and no one feels like talking. the five of us pull into our borrowed car with one thought in mind, to get home as quickly as
possible. bob turns the key in the ignition, but nothing happens. he tries again, but the engine won't turn over. people ignore us as they get into their cars and drive away. winding his scarf around his neck for protection against the bitter cold, bob leaves to get help. an hour passes before he returns. and when he does, we can't believe what we see. dad is in a cage, anne exclaims. he's a prisoner! obtaining the assistance of two policeman, bob has returned with them in their patrol car. unfortunately, the only seat available is the one in the back behind a plate of steel mesh. his doors have no inside handles and an officer has to let him out. the two officers jump-start our battery, and at least, we are on
our way home. halfway across the 14th street bridge, our car stalls in the middle of a lane of heavy rush-hour traffic. with cars whizzing past us on both sides, it's too dangerous to get out. there's nothing we can do expect to sit here and wait to be rescued. remember, there are no cell phones. anne prints s.o.s. in large letters across the fogged up back window. after a short wait, a small pickup truck approaches from behind and slowly pushes us over to the center guardrail. he drives away and once again we wait. eventually, a tow truck with blinking red emergency lights comes to our rescue. attaching a huge hook to the front bumper of our car, the driver uses a crane to hoist us up to a 45-degree angle. with our front wheels completely
off the ground, the only thing we can see is the hook and the flashing red lights. eyeing her father sitting helplessly behind the wheel, susan smiles. this whole day has been ridiculous bob responds. i have been smeared with jam, imprisoned in a police car and hauled away by a tow truck. the car gives a lurch and our heads bow in unison. without the bizarre scene suddenly becomes hilarious, giving into our pent up emotions the five of us burst out laughing. bob ultimately was convicted and sentenced to serve two and a sentenced to serve two and a half to eight years in federal prison. he ended up spending 18 months at the prison camp 150 miles north of los angeles where we were living. the next scene is my first visit
to bob at the camp. i had driven him up the day before and left him. now i'm returning with his mother, whom we called non. this chapter is titled handleman, you a visit. arriving at noon we parked the car and followed this stream of families carrying picnic baskets into the visitor center. she is upbeat and excited about seeing her son. bob is notified, handleman, you a visit. he didn't get the name right. i recognize bob as one of the
men waiting patiently at the gate. he is coming over here. it's the same elated tone she used whenever she spotted her son at a white house event as soon as bob steps inside the room he identifies himself to the guard. haldeman, number 148963v. i cringe. we push forward to greet him but bob is distracted, guiding us towards the door on the opposite side he tells us to hurry if we want to get seats at a table in the patio.
the guys told me outside is the best place to be, he explains. the three of us step out into a small grassy area which is enclosed on three sides by the l-shaped visitor center and the camp chapel. the fourth side is open to the road where a painted white line runs along the edge of the asphalt. bob doesn't relax until we are seated at one with of the picnic tables. as we ate, bob and his mother are both at ease and animated, while i feel restrained and out of sorts. sharing stories with us he describes an overly strict guard. he talks about one of the guys who tried to blow up his mother's plane after he took out life insurance on her. bob tells us that he lives in a
multistory dorm with over 400 other inmates. he is assigned a cubicle which he refers to as his house. a five-foot high partition defines his personal area which contains a bed, desk, chair and cupboard. bob is subjected to inspections, head counts and demerits or shots. tan khaki pants and blue oxford shirts are the camp uniform. these are issued each week along with shorts, socks, towels and sheets. a washer and dryer are available as well as a paid laundry service. requests for certain personal items from home such as clothing, books, sports gear or toiletries must be in writing. all letters and packages will be approved before they are distributed. before long i'll be assigned to
a job, bob says looking pleased. in the meantime i have a temporary assignment at the power plant. i bet they put you to work in the office, she speculates. you're such a good manager and you're so organized. i won't tell you where bob ended up working. you have to read the book. before we know it our three hour visit is over. the air is cooler and fog is starting to creep across the patio. along with the other families, non and i follow bob to the edge of the lawn. this is as far as i can go, coming to an abrupt halt at the white line on the road. i'm not allowed to step over that. bob's words tell it like it is. the line is a blunt visual reminder of where he is. non and i tried to put up a good front as we kiss him good-bye, but it's difficult. clutching our leftover picnic
supplies, we join a stragly procession of mostly women and children on their way back to the parking lot. behind us bob stands with his feet firmly planted on his side of the white line. my story ends on december 20, 1978, the day that bob was released from prison. i will conclude today with an excerpt from my epilogue. summer 1994. i have a small sailboat. it's a salbot and there's just enough room in it for one person. my legs are cramped as i grab the tiller and push away from the dock. it's summer and back at bay island where nothing seems to ever change and yet everything this year is different.
eight months ago bob passed away. the wind causes my little boat to heal as i cross the channel. i'm alone with my thoughts and my mind goes back in time. this is where it all began 26 years ago. it was a journey that took bob and me to unbelievable heights as well as to the deepest depths. it gave us a second chance. after being released from prison, bob became president and ceo at the hotel operation of murdoch development company. when he retired seven years later, we left los angeles and moved to santa barbara. using our guest house as an office, bob mentored small start-up businesses. he gave talks in the community, grew fantastic roses, rode his horse sam, on the beach, and took walks with his dog rufus. he was an enthusiastic sunday
schoolteacher through the years bob stay until touch and occasional visits. he doted on his grandchildren. keeping a promise he made in prison, bob took me dancing every year on our anniversary. through the years bob stayed in touch with president nixon through infrequent phone calls and occasional visits. bob had a remarkable lack of animosity and an exceptional ability to except his destiny. with full confidence with what lay ahead, he did just what he had always done, held to the positive and moved forward. as soon as i entered the main channel, a blast of wind fills the sail. if bob were here he would be on the windiest part of the bay healing and going as fast as possible. without thinking i find myself look looking for him.
tonight we'll visit 17 state capitals from across the country including the capitols in richmond, virginia, austin, texas, sacramento, california and albany, new york. it is part of a special weeknight edition of american history tv starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3. coming up this weekend on american history tv on cspan 3 saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern on reel america, the 1947 u.s. war department film "don't be a sucker" about hate filled speech. >> i'm just an average american, and i'm an american american. and some of the things i see in this country make my blood boil. i see people with foreign accents making all the money. i see negroes holding jobs that belong to me and you. now, i ask you, if we allow this thing to go on, what's going to
become of us real americans? >> on sunday at 6:00 p.m. eastern on american artifacts, we'll tour the presidential vehicles collection at the henry ford museum in deereborn, michigan. then at 8:00 p.m. eastern on the presidency, herbert hoover scholar george nash talks about the relationship between the 31st president and calvin coolidge. >> just four days before the election, coolidge, ever the party regular, finally gave hoover an extraordinarily effusive public endorsement. hoover, he declared, had shown his fitness to be president. hoover said coolidge was able, experienced, trustworthy and safe. >> american history tv, all weekend every weekend only on c-span3.
c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies, and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. next on american history tv, historian scott harris talks about the life of the fifth president, james monroe. he discusses his experiences in the revolutionary war, his legal career and his presidential legacy. mr. harris is director of the james monroe museum and memorial library. his talk at a conference in leesburg, virginia, is 45 minutes. >> our first speaker we are privileged to have here today is scott harris who is the director of the james monroe museum and memorial library. he has been as such since july 2011.