In spirit, if not directly
More than 35 years after he left office in disgrace, a stash of recordings has been made public confirming the popular view of Richard Nixon as a lying, venal, foul-mouthed, paranoid conspirator.
In the 198 hours of recordings and 90,000 pages of documents released by the Nixon Presidential Library, the late president discusses his 1972 election landslide, the Vietnam peace talks and “Christmas bombing” campaign. But mostly he urges staff to use all means necessary to discredit opponents.
“Never forget,” he tells national security advisers Henry Kissinger, above, and Alexander Haig in a conversation on December 14 1972, “the press is the enemy, the press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy, the professors are the enemy, the professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times.”
[Click to read more of Recordings reveal Richard Nixon’s obsession with predecessors guardian.co.uk ]
and I wonder if Still-President Bush defaced the photographs of Clinton? Nixon was a lot more insecure than GWB though, despite being a much more intelligent and accomplished man.
Nixon was also obsessed with his predecessors, instructing his chief of staff Bob Haldeman in July 1971 to organise a covert raid of a Washington thinktank to uncover information it might have about John F Kennedy.
“I want a son-of-a-bitch. I want someone just as tough as I am [to carry out the raid] … I want it done. I want the Brookings Institution cleaned out and have it cleaned out in a way that has somebody else take the blame.”
Documents released alongside the recordings detail the progress made by his staff in carrying out a presidential order to remove all pictures of past presidents from the White House.
An office belonging to a junior civil servant in which he had seen two photographs of Kennedy, one bearing a personal inscription, particularly offended Nixon. “On January 14,” wrote White House staffer Alexander Butterfield in a 1970 memo, “the project was completed and all 35 offices displayed only your photograph.”