tv The Presidency Richard Nixons Legacy CSPAN February 26, 2018 12:00am-12:56am EST
copy of the landmark cases companion book. it's available at c-span.org. for an additional resource, there is a link on our website. >> next, the deputy as special assistant to the president in the nixon demonstration talks about his time in the white house. the nixon foundation hosted this program. under one hour.
>> ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the nixon presidential library and museum on this 150th birthday of president nixon's birth. it is a day like this that the family comes together and you begin to see many people that have relationships with one another. we are waiting for one to come up from san diego. and people that were connected to the president making it very special. if this seems a bit long it is because our family has grown over the years.
when i talk about special people , you are all very important to us. all of you here are vips. today, i would like to acknowledge of you people and if you could hold your applause until the end, we can get to our speaker. first, i would like to acknowledge our foundation treasurer and his wife, betty who are here today. also, marine nu -- maureen nunn and her husband, john. and mr. hamilton. wife of the late don vendetti. jim and sharon goodwin. two outstanding supporters of the next in foundation. from the city of yorba linda, first, i would like to welcome mayor jean hernandez and councilwoman beth henne. rare admiral cj james, retired. he oversaw the acquisition of the fleet of marine one helicopter's. something very dear to our heart. captain paul dale, representative of president trump at today's event. the commanding officer for the navy's largest sure installation. the national archives director of the library. i would also like to welcome a
number of presidential society members who are with us today , each of whom give annually to support the ongoing works of president nixon's foundation. you have our gratitude and our thanks. i would like to introduce a guest who is with us today named julie can. she is an official from the state department studying at chappaquiddick university. she is studying under the direction of dr. greg -- who is also with us today. she is the inaugural nixon fellow. the first student in a new partnership between the nixon foundation and chapman university. we look forward to officially launching later this year with chapman. julie is studying president nixon's foreign policies and spends quite a bit of time in the national archive research room right here in yorba linda.
when she graduates, she will return to her work at the state department and she will bring with her a new outlook of the world inspired by president nixon's vision of the more peaceful world and she is in a position to advise her superiors on such topics and in such ways. finally, we are hoping someone will join us -- i do not see her in the audience but i would like to recognize her. when she graduated from ucla she took a train to washington, d.c. and in july 1951, rose woods hired her to join the new california senator, richard nixon's staff. since then, she has been a mainstay in every nixon office. a friend to the nixon family and a staff member and a assistant secretary of the foundation board for many years. her -- years. her knowledge about richard nixon and his career and her intelligence and integrity have guided and inspired generations of her colleagues and friends as she inspires many of us working in the foundation today.
moving to this year being a 50 year anniversary, 50 years since the turbulent and trying year of 1968. this year, the library and foundation will be commemorating this unique 50th anniversary on a number of days throughout the year in a number of ways. there -- ways. there will be a special series of events. richard nixon announced his presidential campaign, 1968. march 12, he won the gop primary race in new hampshire. august 8, he was nominated for the presidency and delivered a personal and well remember speech. 1968, richard nixon was elected president of the united states. now to today's legacy lecture. what a speaker we have.
the honorable bruce her consent is a national treasure. he started his career as a box boy at routes. he founded his own motion picture company. he would often compose musical scores. he was appointed director of the ..s. information agency he is recognized as one of the 10 most outstanding young men in government in 1969 and was awarded the nation's second highest honor, the distinguished service medal. in 1969, he was appointed deputy special assistant to president nixon. his wide portfolio of duties included speechwriter not to mention presidential friend.
his lifelong media savvy afforded him the unique opportunity as a political commentator on abc and cbs. in 1992, he was the republican nominee for the u.s. senate in california. bruce has traveled to more than 90 countries and taught school at some of the most -- educational institutions in the u.s. including the claremont institute and he continues to teach as a fellow in peppered and -- in pepperdine university in malibu. he is the author of several works -- of several books. president nixon thanked bruce in his 1990 bestseller "in the arena." as one of a handful of friends who was always there and who lent frequent support and who never let him down. bruce is a tried and true friend of the nixon foundation and the nixon family. we are so pleased to welcome him back.
ladies and gentlemen, the honorable bruce herschensohn. [applause] mr. herschensohn: thank you. thank you. thanks so much, bill. i thought what you said about lowey was particularly excellent and i hope someone passes on to her that you said the words that you did. absolutely marvelous. she is a magnificent woman. i believe that president nixon was the greatest expert in
foreign policy in knowing the world, the nations of the world, the chiefs of state of the world that changed so very frequently. he knew them all and do them -- knew them better than anyone else in my lifetime. and i am tempted to say probably in anybody's lifetime and i do not think that i am in any way saying something that because i say it it should be true. there are many chiefs of state that have said that. many ambassadors. many foreign ministers. and surprisingly enough, i know of many noted democrats who say that. and they say that privately. [laughter] but there was something that anyone new but did not know how to precisely put their finger on.
why it was that they would rather be talking to president nixon than anyone else including the current president. no matter who was president at the time. and what i want to talk about -- i want to talk about foreign policy, naturally, because that was the key pursuit of the president -- to know everything he could about foreign nations and foreign leaders. and i will get to that second. i want to mention another great talent he had. he was an absolutely magnificent teacher. and i will tell you what i mean by that. and it has to do with anything, not just foreign policy. if you are a doctor, a lawyer, a plumber, a fireman -- no matter what it was, he had great, great advice that he never, or at least rarely gave unless you asked.
and he would say that he thinks one of the most important traits of anyone of any craft or profession or passion is to think. very few people take time every day to think. give it time. he tried for and at times was able to get two hours in a day when he did nothing but think. he said the way that you do that, first, you have to realize that knowing all a lot of little things is something good. there is nothing wrong with that. but of the one thing that you love, the one passion that you may have in life for a career, for the way that you want to live, that you have to study continually for and you cannot be content with knowing a little bit about it.
you have to know everything about it. not just everything about it. but, you have to recognize that you want to be the best in the world at that particular craft. and he was an example of doing exactly that. and he said -- when you think, do not sit down. stand up. and the older you get, the more likely if you are sitting down, you will go to sleep. [laughter] and he said, if you stand up, that is pretty difficult to go to sleep. and i would suggest and
recommend that you pace while you do your thinking. at any rate, i did ask his advice on any number of things and one of them was i was offered a job to do debates with senator john tony. john was on the democratic side and i was the republican side. i did not know the senator. i knew of him but did not know him. and so president nixon said -- you are going to like him. he is a good man. and he said -- i want you to know that he is a first senator that asked for my resignation. but he is a good man. and he said that a lot of people on the opposite side are very good people. and then he says -- his father -- of course i knew who his father was, the world champion of boxing, undefeated. and he said -- i admire that man so much. look, at the beginning, you may be mad at the senator for something or another but you will end up liking him and you will be very good friends. that was 40 some years ago. john and i are still best friends.
the president was exactly right. a marvelous guy. and we had a great time debating with each other and there was never any thought of doing something that the other person would not like said. that was just the way that it was. and the president then started with the advice. if you ever debate with people, and even if you do not, keep some of this stuff in mind. and when any friend of mine ran for a public office and he was really a friend, i would tell them what president nixon told me because it was so blessed and valuable. first he said what are you going to call him? and i would say -- senator. senator for california. and he said -- yes, of course but call him john.
i looked very hesitant at the president. and he said -- look, when you are away from him refer to him as senator at when you are with when you are with him call him he is going to call you bruce. you do not have a title. that i am debating a guy who is your representative in the u. and tell them that every few minutes. you are debating him. put him -- put yourself on the same plane as he is. and that is when he told me how much he really liked john. the station provide you with a researcher? someone who does research. and i had no idea. i don't know. and he said -- well, if they will, reject it. and i asked why. and he said -- because, if they
give you the research, you will probably. maybe into the next day, maybe not. if you do the research yourself on the subject, you're going to remember it for the rest of your life. and he was right. and in those days, doing the research yourself meant for me going to the public library and using the dewey decimal system and all of that stuff. and finding someone who had an associated press machine and upi. much more troublesome than it is today. was the next thing that he told first of all, it was researching. you going to be allowed to have
notes? and i said yes, very informal. i said the senator will be sitting next to me and i will be sitting here at the table. the anchors will be asking us questions after we debate. and i am sure we can have notes. there is no formality. and he said -- excellent, do not have any. and i looked at him questioningly. and i asked him why. and he said john is going to have a yellow pad because he is a lawyer. and i said that i am a lawyer and i have a yellow pad here. and he said -- that is what we do. we all have yellow pads. and he said you are going to be sitting next to him. and you are going to be able to look over and see that he has seven or eight subjects. and he will look at you -- but he cannot look at your head until everything -- anything. everything will be a surprise. that will work to your benefit. and then i said -- look saidand
and he would say -- well, i will say this about that. it was of no consequence. of course he would say this about that. because it gave him time to think when he said that -- he would draw it out. the ability to take time to think means everything in a debate. and that it was like having a crutch. you had that in your mind. you had the device if you needed it. and one thing he told me was -- he said, never make -- never say what you are going to do in numerals. don't say -- i have three things i want to mention to you, john.
because what happens is that you are sort is that you are sort of an emotional guy. you will know one and two and when you get to three you will forget what you are saying. i wish i'd happened to mention this to him. i could have saved him from political disaster. it was a silly thing. but it happens to people. marvelousabsolutely teacher. he didn't do it unless he mastered it. them about debates. vietnam.t to
and aeans own great deal lot of current things are going on in vietnam. president trump visited vietnam. there is the corporation for public broadcasting. i'm going to see the things that make me angry. i didn't want to see it. but it's taken a great deal of precedents. a lot of young people were not born in this is what they know. i can't say am going to quote with any real precision. he was saying that president nixon was using it as a political device. knowf the four people i accords were peace
made with enough time left before they were actually going to take effect. i don't know if that is accurate or not. he is the only one who said it. it would not be surprising to me if when he said it was political, he thought it was political. and that is what president nixon was doing. and that is not what he was doing -- that would be one of the most false representations of history. the president decided that what he wanted to do was engage in what we called the paris peace talks because he had the document already in his mind.
and what a document it was. they did not come under lbj. they wanted to know the dimensions of the table and whether it was going to be round or square. and what the president wanted to do was in fact, and i am using my words, not his -- i want to emphasize that. he was in fact using the device of the paris peace accords as a surrender document. i say that because of this. within the peace accords -- they stated that if first, if there should be any cheating, if north
vietnam takes aggression against south vietnam after signing this accord, we will resupply everything that is lost. if it is a bullet, we will resupply a bullet. if it is a helicopter, we will resupply a helicopter. they will get it from us immediately. secondly, north vietnam -- incidentally, and he said the soviet union can do the same for their side. he said that -- i think it will put it this way. almost everyone in the white house was submitting what they considered should be in that peace document including everything that is in the bill of rights of the constitution plus any number of other things. it ended up being -- the freedom of free enterprise.
that was never in the constitution. it was just everything. and they had to sign a document. this was the card that really did it. if they wanted the president to stop bombing the military and the industrial complexes in hanoi, -- we were really bombing to the point that when it came to christmas, the president was thinking of just stopping the bombing for christmas. and new year's. and he asked some people on the staff --should we stop the bombing for christmas? he did not even mention new year's at the time. i was the one that said don't stop.
it is an atheist nation. not a christian nation. secondly, they always bombed the south vietnamese on their holidays. the tet offensive was on tet which was a sacred holiday in vietnam and in a lot of asian nations. when i say sacred i mean there is a religious connotation. it's a very large holiday. and i said they will probably only use the bombing pause to come down the ho chi minh trail. i was opposed to it. they weren't going to do anything because we were being nice guys. he went with his own instinct. and it was obvious that it was his instinct or he would not have asked. his instinct was to have a bombing pause on christmas because it was christmas.
period. and we did have it. for 36 hours. christmas eve and christmas. and then schedule the same thing for new year's. and made it a public announcement. and that we would start bombing again after the 36th hour. the north vietnamese came to the table to stop the bombing. and when they came to the table, they agreed that they would sign the paris peace accords. in later memoirs from the officers of north vietnam, they did feel that it was their own surrender. they did it. they initialed it on january 23
of 1973. and we signed it four days later on the 27th. signed it -- signed by the secretary of state and by the foreign minister commensurate with the secretary of state of north vietnam. and then, we had 11 nations including the soviet union and the people's republic of china bear witness to the signatures, what had happened, and what it said. there were 11 nations, andre gromyko, the official from north vietnam. and our secretary of state who signed for the president. and when anyone signs for the president, that is it. that is the united states speaking.
period. that is the u.s. talking. and we won that war on january 27, 1973. and we knew it and you will notice that there was no celebration in any way except -- and we knew it and you will notice that there was no celebration in any way except the white house and the department of defense -- at the white house, we called it a victory in vietnam day. just like we have the j.d. but congress was not happy. they had made the semi-occupation of talking against president nixon having a hand in vietnam. so many people were opposed to president nixon that they opposed the peace plan that was as good as gold as a surrender document of the vietnamese -- of the north vietnamese.
the media, we did not use the term fake news but "un-news." it was the stuff they didn't print. they called it the christmas bombing even though they know we did not bomb on christmas. to this day, if you get a book that was written about vietnam probably in the index, if you look under c, you will see the christmas bombing, but we did not bomb on christmas. they wanted it to sound horrible in terms of what the president was doing. and so it did and it still does to many people. we speak right now of fake news. it was going all the way through the nixon administration to crazy degrees. there was one report on nbc and
it was a report that the president wanted federal workers, crowds, at a speech he was giving in huntsville, alabama. tom brokaw. that he was giving a speech in huntsville, alabama and he wanted big crowds. i am paraphrasing. i'm not reading anything. and so they put it on tv, and there were the federal crowds. and that was the narrative that the white house gave them, the federal workers, the day off. what nbc did not say was that indeed that was true. the federal workers were given the day off but it was not just to huntsville, alabama. it was any federal worker in the united states because it was the celebration of george washington's birthday. and the president chose -- he just happened to choose to give his speech in huntsville. of course they were let off. nbc did not correct that for three months because they were bombarded with the correction on a daily basis. they were inaccurate. it had zero to do with giving the federal workers the day off to see the president. it had everything to do woth -- to do with george washington's birthday. tom brokaw, to my knowledge, wanted to correct it immediately but i do not know what goes on at abc. i don't know. tom brokaw is a pretty good fellow.
that was just one of the pieces of what we called "un-news." they would not tell the complete story. a part of it would be accurate but not the whole thing. let me get to something that i think is always on people's minds because they know that i worked for the president. that is watergate. there was no former president alive during the period when watergate became a national scandal. truman had just died before christmas. after that, before the second inaugural, lyndon johnson died. and he was alone. i am convinced, now this is just me saying this although there are those that would agree. i am convinced that if any of
them were living at the time they would have supported the president. and i am talking about jfk and i am talking about lbj and of course, ike, president eisenhower. i believe they would have supported him, because there was nothing that was done in the administration by anyone that had not been done by all of the presidents in my lifetime, from fdr forward. that was politics. it was accepted as the way you do politics. that was all. it was not a big deal. take the recordings. every president since fdr had a recording device of one thing or another that they just recorded the conversations. fdr ended up with a wire machine which is like a tape machine that it was a wire of the
recording itself. prior to that, they used plastic or wax. they used, what else was it? 35mm soundtrack type of device. then, for later presidents, it was dictabelts, and finally to magnetic tape. i am leaving some out as i don't recall but they were all recording devices. i realize there was no former president that would say -- look, we all did that. boy, what a difference that would make. i will tell you one thing that bothers the devil out of me is that the people that were alive who worked for those presidents did not come forward when they knew it. you will notice right now that you can go to amazon -- if you want to get recordings written down or transcribed by jfk or lbj, there are books. caroline kennedy wrote the forward to the one on jfk.
the reason it took so long to tell them that they had it was that they did not want to do it to defend president nixon. but they all did it. and in terms of expletive deleted, president nixon talked tough when he talked to a guy or a number of guys. he never said even the word "hell" or "damn" to my knowledge and to others who the president well, ever said in front of a woman or a child. but the special prosecutor told , all of those people who hated him -- i am just rambling and i realize it but there was a film called "frost nixon." i am talking about something petty compared to the film itself.
if i could just go on with this one thing and then i will close. and i am sorry because i am going on longer than i anticipated. but, there was something that was used as an ad for "frost nixon." it was david frost talking to president nixon. if adent nixon was saying president does it, it is not illegal. if very strange remark, i thought. but then frost seemed to agree with the president and went on to another subject just like this. of course he had a phrase in his lap and wanted to leave it there, because these were going to be cut tapes that were on from week to week. he had this all set up. be,end of it was going to when a president does it, it is not illegal. and boy, it made headlines but
they did not go on to explain anything. i had asked president nixon about that. we were going back from the interview with david frost because i thought this was going to really hurt him. he said it is about foreign affairs and we were talking about the houston plant and what the dissenters were doing to our actions in southeast asia including cambodia and vietnam. and he said it was national security. and that we were also talking about the pentagon papers in the houston plant and the houston plant was of extreme national security. not about our administration, but about the lbj administration and about the jfk administration. and he said -- so now -- and i will just leave you with this. he told me about something that i did not know about. in 1936, there was a supreme court decision that tells the duties of the president in terms of national security.
in peace and war. but, there is one commander in chief, not 535 of them in the congress. one. he can do whatever he wants. it was not illegal. it is not even illegal to not tell the congress. if you don't want to tell the congress, you don't have to. if you have a secret you have got to keep, you have got to do it. that was part of that decision. it is called, if anyone cares to look it up, 1936, u.s. versus curtiss wright export corporation. curtiss spelled "curtiss." worth reading. you will be amazed at the president's powers. and even presidential nominees don't even know about it. and that is why they say -- on day one they are going to do so and so. the president's duty -- he has
free reign over foreign affairs. and you saw this in front of you, if you are old enough to remember bush 41. the first bush. he wanted -- let me go a little more recent. it will be more memorable. president clinton wanted health care. we called it hillary care. never got it because the congress would not give it to him. he realized by the time of his second term that he could do whatever he wanted in terms of foreign affairs. he did not do anything earlier. what he did do, either way -- we had military action in bosnia, in kosovo. he sent the navy to haiti. he bombed saddam hussein's iraq for two days and two nights. he realized he could do all of this. do you think he told congress about this?
date all agree that he did not. -- they all agree that he did not. for kosovo, there was not one congressperson that said they knew anything about it. more recent from that, bush 43 could not get social security reform. he could not get immigration reform. but if he wanted to send troops to afghanistan, he did that. if you want to do have military action in iraq, he did it. i will just conclude with one thought. and that thought is that i believe that everyone should think because he was right in thinking for himself. and secondly, if you had your choice during those days of taking a round the world trip for six months for nothing, it
would not cost you anything. or, instead of six months, going around the world, you had six hours with president nixon. i would choose six hours with president nixon because you would learn a lot more. thanks. [applause] thank you. thank you. [applause] i appreciate that. i very much appreciate that. if you have questions or statements or disagreements or whatever you may have -- >> we do have time for a couple of questions. i will come around with a microphone. if you have one, raise your hand. our first question will come from chapmans own professor. >> good afternoon, sir and thank you for your comments.
i am from chapman university. we recently had an event here at the library that focused on the president's public remarks. you mentioned the importance of thinking. clearly, there is a difference between thinking and articulating your vision. we saw in the public speeches on vietnam that that was part of a much larger construct on foreign policy. the nixon administration was dealing with withdrawing from vietnam, establishing better and different relations with china. strategic arm negotiations with the soviet union. middle east policy. what advice did he give you about articulating the foreign policy to the american public, given how multifaceted it was and given his concept of reconceptualizing the entire american foreign-policy within the larger cold war construct? mr. herschensohn: i sort of lost you on the question. i heard parts of it.
[laughter] there is nothing you can do about the acoustics and an ear that is sort of fluctuating. could you repeat? what is the direct question? >> what advice did he give you in terms of how to speak to the american public to get support for such a multifaceted foreign policy? mr. herschensohn: i don't think we ever put it that way. it wasn't a pursuit of what he should do to straighten out his own period of time in office. it was never that. as a matter of fact, he did tell me of the day prior to the announcement of his resignation. he said, and i am quoting with precision. "never attack the former presidents to defend me. mrs. kennedy and mrs. johnson are alive and they are lovely women.
i do not want to hurt them. they both seem ill. many people have been hurt in all this." i agreed, and i have never attack a former president sense. since. i think the president and he was right in doing that. it was awfully big of him. he was not telling me what he was going to do what it became obvious -- i should not say obvious. but worrisome. he said regarding that brezhnev would be likely to take advantage of him staying in office that it would affect the united states and all three branches of government. very likely for a few years to come. not just weeks or months. but certainly the executive branch, certainly the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. they would all be engaged in this and brezhnev would be
take advantage of it. and he said -- that he could hurt his own presidency by doing something like a resignation. but he could hurt the united states by staying in office. that was quite something. i don't know if i answered your question but i probably did not. and i apologize. i did not quite comprehend it all. >> next question to your left, sir. >> hello. thank you. i was wondering -- richard helms, the cia director, was an important part of the whole watergate puzzle. and he was someone when i am reading about watergate -- i said to myself it would be interesting to know more about richard helms. and someone like you who has personal knowledge of the president, you have known him, do you recall anything that the president said about richard
helms? it would be interesting to know more about his character or just even about his role in watergate. mr. herschensohn: something nixon said about what? >> richard helms. mr. herschensohn: not to me. no. i will tell you something i would love to ask the director. not the current director of the cia. i think he is terrific. but the former director of the cia. he appeared before congress and the question was -- the question was -- will you tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? and he said i will. the director had taken an oath to the american people that he
would never reveal anything confidential to anyone. period. so, he should say no. i am not going to give you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. certainly not nothing but the truth. frankly, i would hope that you would not answer my question of what i had for breakfast. someone would note that i am not married and i go out to a restaurant close by. so i will not tell you what i had to eat. the idea of him saying -- of him saying yes, he would tell the truth, the whole truth. anyone who becomes affiliated with the cia or any intelligence agency is not going to tell anybody anything. period. that is all i can say.
>> the last question to your right. mr. herschensohn: i'm sorry? >> to your right. mr. herschensohn: there you are. oh, mitch. good. >> how would you describe the faith of president nixon? mr. herschensohn: how what i described the what, mitch? >> the faith. the religious faith. mr. herschensohn: oh, religious faith. i am sort of glad that you asked that. we did not talk much about religion. i was talking to the chaplain earlier. there was something -- i don't know why i brought it up but i knew that in the bible it said something about there being a time for dancing and a time for tears.
he immediately jumped on that and he said that is -- it begins with an "e." i told the chaplain about that. i told the chaplain about it. i said that because i saw "dancing with the stars." there was a woman on it whose father who passed away and she was not on the episode. when she came back -- poor girl. she said in the bible it says in ecclesiastes that there is a time for grief and a time for dancing. then, president nixon said the whole thing. that thing is the chaplain told me that it takes about a page and a half.
so when so and so and so. and it goes into the opposite things for each one. and i said that he was not looking at a book. he wasn't looking at anything. it was all in his head. he knew a great deal about many religions. i will mention two chiefs of state. two that i believe and they believe he was the greatest voice in foreign-policy. i am talking about anwar sadat and golda meier, who were very religious in their own separate religions, islam and judaism. they fought a war against each other in 1973. they both thought of president nixon as their president. they just thought the world of him. so, i know that he knew a great deal about religions, but he did not want to make a case for the president of the united states
talking about it. we also had our biggest airlift since the berlin airlift in airlifting supplies to israel during that war. >> thank you very much. ladies and gentlemen, please give him a round of applause. [applause] >> that concludes our program. thank you for coming out for president nixon's 150th -- president nixon's 105th birthday. enjoy the library. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> you are watching american
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>> next, legal historian, college president, and author paul finkelman gives a talk on three of the most influential pre-civil war era supreme court justices. robin taney, joseph story and chief justice john marshall. in a talk on his new book, "supreme injustice: slavery in the nation's highest court," he argues that rulings by these three justices prolonged slavery in the united states. this event was hosted by the national archives and is about one hour.