tv [untitled] June 18, 2012 12:00am-12:30am EDT
>> well, i think obama's speech in that way is similar. it vaults him to national prominence. michael's right. bryan had already achieved much of that. but the sense of party unity that both of them brought and to those speeches and the kind of sincerity and speaking across a broad range of the public and really speaking outside of their party as well. both of them are able to do that in those settings. they're different in other ways, but there is a similarity. >> william thomas is the chair of the history department here at the university of nebraska in lincoln. and michael cason who teaches history at georgetown university. you put the book "a godly hero" together when? >> i started doing research on it around 1996, about 100 years after, and it was published in 2006. >> we thank you.
our thanks to the staff here at the william jennings bryan home who have opened their doors to the c-span cameras and to the staff and administration at the bryan lgh medical center which makes up the campus that we are at, part of the bryan home often called fairview. we want to leave you with more of the words of william jennings bryan as we continue our look at his life and career. check it out online. the contenders series. in the words of william jennings bryan, what made an ideal republic? here's what he had to say. >> old republic, resting securely upon the foundation stone quarried by revolutionary patriots from the mountain of eternal truth. a republic applying in practice and proclaiming to the world the self-evident propositions that all men are created equal, that they're endowed with inalienable rights, that governments are instituted among men to secure these rights and that governments derive their just
powers from the consent of the governed. behold a republic in which civil and religious liberty stimulate all to earnest endeavor and in which the law restrains every hand uplifted for a neighbor's injury. a republic in which every citizen is a sovereign but in which -- next sunday, we continue our contender series, featuring eugene debs. you can watch it here on american history tv each sunday at 8:30 a.m., 7:30 p.m., and 10:30 p.m. through labor day weekend. each week, american history tv's american artifacts takes viewers behind the scenes at archives, museums and historic sites. the richard nixon presidential library in yorba linda, california, has a permanent exhibit about watergate. the library director gave american history tv a tour of
the exhibit, which chronicles events beginning in 1971 that led up to the break-in at the watergate offices at the democratic national committee on june 17, 1972. he discusses the aftermath of the scandal, the resignation of president nixon and the lasting impact that watergate made on our system of government. >> hi. i'm director of the library museum here in california. and it's my honor and privilege to be taking you today on a tour of our new watergate gallery. this was a challenge for us. i was asked to produce this gallery as one of my responsibilities when i joined the national archives in 2006. i'm a professional historian. we professional historians, we write books. generally we don't do museum exhibits. so this is a challenge in public history. in other words, taking information and making it
accessible to people who haven't had a chance to prep for an exam before they walk into a new gallery. and the other big challenge is we inherited -- the national archives took over the nixon library. it was a private library. it had been run from 1990 to 2007 by the private nixon foundation. so we became responsible for it, and one of our jobs was to make it a nonpartisan institution. we inherited a museum that was produced in the pre-web period. so it lacked the technology that we've all come to expect. if you think about the way in which we learn today, and it doesn't matter how old you are, we are more active learners. for those that grew up in a television age, you were accustomed to having the three main networks tell you exactly what you should be watching. now with the web, you can reach out and determine what you want to see.
well, what inspired this gallery was an attempt to connect with people who are too young to know anything about watergate and perhaps even too young to know who richard nixon was. >> i gave them a sword, and they stuck it in, and they twisted it with relish. i guess if i had been in their position, i'd have done the same thing. >> so as we walk through this together, perhaps you can get a sense of our mission. and i'm not sure the extent to which this visit today will let you see how well we achieved that goal, but i hope this is an invitation for you to come and check it out yourselves sometime. all right. the gallery has really two main signs. on the left is a time line. and i'll walk you through that which basically takes you from the starting point that i believe is important for understanding watergate through
the president's resignation and his pardon, pardoning by president gerald r. ford. on the right-hand side, we're focusing on some key themes. things that we know that visitors will probably be really interested in knowing more about. we also have a watergate resource center where you can dip into the oral histories, many of the oral histories that we conducted in order to build this gallery. let me tell you a little bit about the preparatory work we did. i believed as i came here that it was really important that the visitor to the watergate gallery, learn about watergate from the people who were there, there's no better way to feel part of history than to connect with those who were important at the time. there are many people alive today who played pivotal roles
in the watergate story. and the number of them have spoken publicly before. some have not. and this was an opportunity for us, first of all, to gather information for art for scholars but also to give you, the visitor, a chance to hear them speak, whether it's george schultz or john dean or members of the house judiciary committee at the time of the impeachment inquiry. you now get a chance to listen to them explain to you what mattered at the time and why they did what they did. we also wanted an opportunity to highlight the vast resources of the national archives. after all, the nixon library is the custodian of the famous nixon tapes. and those really lay out a lot of the detail of watergate in addition to other important activities of the nixon administration. and, of course, we have
documents, lots and lots of documents. it's estimated that the nixon library has 42 million documents. plus we have the documents of the watergate special prosecution force at one of our facilities in washington, d.c., the national archives facility in washington, d.c. so we wanted all of that material where relevant to be accessible to you as you make up your mind about watergate and its implications. so let's start with the time line. it's divided up into five sections. as i thought about -- and i'm directed, but i was also curator of this exhibit. i had to conceptualize how it would be. if you think about the evolution of what would become watergate, you have to understand why the president would make the decision to cover up a break-in that occurred at the democratic national headquarters in june of 1972. although there's no evidence that president nixon knew in advance that this break-in would occur, the operatives were paid by the committee to re-elect the
president. but he didn't know about it in advance, but he does participate in a cover-up to make it very difficult for the fbi and u.s. attorneys to investigate who was responsible for the break-in, where the men had came from, and who ordered it. why did he care? why did the president get himself involved in that? well, to understand, you have to go back to 1971. you have to go back to the effect on the nixon administration of the publication in "the new york times" of highly secret materials known as the pentagon papers. these are materials that daniel elsberg had leaks to "the new york times" and "the washington post" and many other newspapers about vietnam decision-making. the nixon administration reacts to this in a very strong way. now, there's no question but that what daniel elsberg did was illegal. the issue was how should the
government respond? there are all kinds of legitimate and very important institutions and structures and processes to deal with of violation of the law. the nixon administration, however, chose to establish an intelligence organization within the white house to deal with this. and once they made that decision, there were very serious consequences that would ultimately doom the administration. well, that intelligence organization we know as the plumbers. we know them as the plumbers because they -- one of their co-leaders chose to nickname them the plumbers because they had an office in the basement of the old executive office building. not far from where the facilities managers and other people were located. they were also supposed to staunch leaks as plumbers are supposed to do.
what we lay out for you here is the many missions, the key missions that were given to the plumbers. not only were they supposed to investigate those behind the pentagon papers leak and to look for other possible -- for people responsible for other leaks, they were also asked to use the material that they found to discredit the president's enemies. and that's where the administration began to shift into actions that would later be termed abuse of government power by the house judiciary committee in 1974. now, on the wall, the key moments and players are described. if you like to absorb your history that way, then this is laid out for you. on the other hand, if you prefer to get your history the way you might get it on an ipad, on your iphone or any other smartphone, we have here a touch screen where you can listen to the
president on tape. you can also listen to interviews with people involved in the story. for example, you can hear rolondo martinez, one of the plumbers who broke into the office of dr. fielding, louis fielding, who was daniel elsberg's psychiatrist. you can listen to him talk about that operation. >> he went to check the house of fielding. >> and you might ask yourself, well, that, by the way, that break-in was illegal. again, in our country, you can go and get a subpoena to get information. the white house chose to use a group of its own, and they broke in illegally into dr. fielding's office. and that was because dr.
fielding had not wished to share information about his client. he cited attorney -- he cited doctor/client privilege. so the white house breaks in. and the question is, well, what did the president know of this? well, we don't know what he knew in advance, but we do know from the tapes that he was informed that a domestic covert action had occurred in los angeles. here we go. ehrlichman, this is five days after the event. >> tomorrow we'll review all this stuff, try to view -- we had one little operation out in los angeles which, i think, is better that you don't know about. but we've got some dirty tricks under way that may pay off. >> in this period, the summer of 1971, the administration became so concerned about the president's -- the president
himself became so concerned about those he termed his enemies that not only were the plumbers given the responsibility to gain information on those who would leak to undermine the administration's vietnam policy, but the president also ordered the creation of what would become the enemies list which was a list of people that he wanted the irs to audit, to harass. and so we have, of course, we have on the wall some facsimiles of the documents which indicate, first of all, the president ordered that the irs be auditing these folks. and then the first list was created in 1971. in 1972, the list would grow to be a couple of hundred. but the initial list was 16. here you'll hear the president, informed by his chief of staff, h.r. halderman, that there is a tax list. they start by talking about daniel shorer, one of the president's, and then halderman
explains that daniel shorer, the late npr journalist, in those days he was a cbs correspondent, that daniel shorer is on the tax list. [ inaudible ] >> you come down. schorr is on our tax list. >> so the president is actually being told on the 18th of september about a tax list that was prepared and given to the white house on the 14th of september. so you can hear this being described to the president and the president concurring or believing that this is a good idea. and this is something that the u.s. government should do. well, in the house judiciary committee cited this in article 2 of its articles of impeachment and a bipartisan majority actually passed that article of impeachment in july of 1974. here you can --
[ inaudible ] >> so -- and then this is not just an exhibit about how the white house did abuse powers. this is also an exhibit that shows you where people in our government stood up and said no. this is not right. we should not do this. and you can listen to george schultz tell the story of how in 1972 he refused to launch audits on the enemies list that he was given by the white house. he was at the time secretary of the treasury. >> and an investigation, that's a very unpleasant thing to have happen to you. what should i do? and i said, don't do it. and he said, well, what shall i
tell john dean when he asks me how it's going? tell him that you report to me. if he's got a problem, he's got a problem with me. so they never brought it up with me, although on the tapes, there's discussion between the president and john dean about who do i think i am, holding this up? but it was an improper use of the irs, and i wouldn't do it. >> in the time line, in the 1971 portion of the time line, we also included an episode that some people don't ordinarily associate with the -- with watergate, but we do because it involves an abuse of power. it also shows the president's mindset in the summer of 1971. this is when the president ordered halderman to find out the number of jewish-americans in the department of labor's
bureau of labor statistics. and you can listen to the president ordering this from one of the white house tapes. and this led to a legal action which was an investigation to determine the ethnic background and religious background of members of the united states government. discrimination on the basis of religious affiliation is illegal in our country. and this form of abuse of governmental power was cited by the house judiciary committee when it described the misuse of power. we include it because it occurred in july of 1971. at the same time that the president was putting enormous pressure on the white house to go after his political enemies. this comes out of the same spirit and led, unfortunately, to the same kind of abuse of governmental power. those are the decisions that the white house made in 1971 that
involved the establishment of the plumbers, creation of the enemies list, the plumbers breaking into dr. fielding's office. the two main operatives in the plumbing -- plumbers operation were g. gordon liddy and e. howard hunt. remember those names because they're going to be important again. if you have the white house's overreaction to the leaks, now, again, let's be clear about this. leaking was illegal. but we have a way to deal with those crimes. the white house created this investigatory unit in the white house, and it didn't use subpoenas to acquire information. that's where the problem arises. here, a little bit later in 1971, the white house wants better political intelligence for the pending 1972 elections. the president appears was
concerned about his re-election. and so here we have information laying out for you what we know and what one can know about the extent to which the white house sponsored what was then called a dirty tricks operation to undermine the campaigns of potential adversaries and launched an intelligence organization that would use wiretapping and surreptitious entry to acquire information about the president's adversaries. the exhibit is very clear about what we know and what we don't know. in fact, there's a whole panel here that lays out based on the trial testimony, on the tapes, on the documents that the watergate special prosecution force and the house judiciary committee looked at and we've looked at, and materials that we had in our collection, that we were able to release in the last few years. the best evidence on what various members of the white
house staff and the president himself knew and did not know about the illegal intelligence operation. again, if you would prefer to acquire information through audio visual means, you've got a nice screen that you touch here. and you can listen to the president himself who was interviewed after he left office, not by us, but by the private nixon foundation. he talks about dirty tricks. >> this sort of thing happens in campaigns. i don't particularly like it. particularly when it happens to me, and i don't like to see that be interjected in what should be particularly a high-level presidential campaign. but it's going to happen because people are human. >> you can hear his chief of staff, h.r. halderman, inform the president of a dirty tricks
organization that had been set up for the '72 campaign, in a sense informing him of what would become the sigretti operation. although his name doesn't appear, the description is quite here. you can listen to g. gordon liddy's attempt to discredit teddy kennedy by discrediting john f. kennedy through the creation of a cable that would lead to the death of the south vietnamese president in 1963. here you can also listen to charles colson talking to the president about the work that e. howard hunt was doing with some cubans. cubans who were, by the way, involved in the plumbers operation and were brought back by the committee for the re-election of the president to be involved in the secret intelligence surreptitious entry business in 1971/'72. this is going to be the hardest thing for the president because he knows who hunt is. and he knows -- and we know this from the tapes -- he knows that
hunt is involved in sketchy activities, if not illegal activities. for colson and the re-election campaign. also here, we have president nixon himself ordering a violation of the campaign laws by setting up -- coming up with the idea of a fake write-in campaign for ted kennedy in new hampshire. ted kennedy was not running. he was not an announced, declared candidate in the 1972 election. the president wanted to siphon off votes from ed muskie, senator muskie of maine, who was in late 1971 and early 1972 considered to be the front-runner. and so the president orders the setup of a fake write-in operation which the white house will pay for. >> so that may help us.
wall in 1971 has reappeared in the story of these illegal activities. well, that sets you up for the break-in and the consequences of the break-in because the hunt and liddy team get a $250,000 budget to engage in surreptitious entry and illegal bugging and dirty tricks for the '72 campaign. and they break into the watergate. the watergate is where the democratic national committee was. the break-in was a successful break-in. they put in a couple of listening devices. but the take isn't very good. and so they decide to break in again on the night of june 17th, 16th, 17th, 1972. they're captured on the early morning of june 17th. now that you sort of have a sense of who hunt is, who the cubans are, what liddy's up to
and the extent to which the white house -- not just the president but those around him -- are linked, you get a sense, then, of how terrifying for the white house this break -- the failed break-in would be when these cubans are captured. and the question is, will the fbi and the u.s. attorney be able to make the connection between that group and hunt and liddy. and of course, if they make the link to hunt and liddy, can they make the link back to the committee to re-elect the president? and if they make the link to the committee to re-elect the president, can they actually link hunt and liddy back to the operations of the plumbers unit including the illegal break-in at dr. fielding's office? and can they link hunt to the operations that a president ordered chuck colson to undertake, and colson used hunt for some of them. that's the challenge for the white house. and that's why, as we lay out
for here -- lay out for you here, that's why the white house undertakes a cover-up. we quote from president nixon's memoirs where he writes, "if the cia could deflect the fbi from hunt, they would thereby protect us from the only white house vulnerability involving watergate that i was worried about exposing. not the break-in but the political activities hunt had undertaken for colson. this time line lays out for you what the president meant and the vulnerability that existed for him as a result of the failed second break-in of the watergate facility. again, you can follow the evolution of the cover-up on the wall where the white house attempted to limit. what they would say limit the damage so that the fbi only, you know, stopped their investigation with the five burglars. as it became clear that the fbi was discovering other links, the
white house then had to say, well, maybe we can make just g. gordon liddy and hunt responsible. then when it was clear to some extent that there was the hope that you could stop the investigation with john mitchell who was the head of the committee, with john mitchell's deputy, jeb stuart mcgruder. could the investigation hold there? what the white house didn't want was for mitchell and colson to be indicted. so again, you can listen to the cover-up as it evolves. these are hard to hear, so we provide you with transcripts. here you can hear the president being told that e. howard hunt has disappeared. the president knows who e. howard hunt is, of course, for the reasons i described before. so here, h.r. halderman, three days after the arrests, talks to
the president about this. [ inaudible ] [ inaudible ] >> you can see, "we can undisappear him if we want to," but he's planned for this day all along. so it was key for the white house that the fbi not talk to hunt because he could reveal all the other operations that had occurred. and that would pull the white house directly into the watergate scandal. now, the president is being told about the fbi investigation