tv Dwight Chapin The Presidents Man CSPAN March 20, 2022 1:00pm-2:01pm EDT
ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the nixon library. my name is jim byron. thank you. and i'm the president ceo of the richard nixon foundation, and it's my pleasure to welcome you here this evening. we have a truly terrific evening in store for you and let me begin by welcoming some special guests starting with larry higby who's a member of the board of directors of the richard nixon foundation. in sandy quinn a member of the board former president of the nixon foundation colonel jack brennan. the marine military aid the president nixon and his chief of staff in the san clemente years judge, jim rogan. thank you for being here, sir. jean hernandez the mayor pro tem of the great city of yorba linda. thank you for being here gene. i want to welcome dr. lori cox hahn, who is the doybee henley chair of presidential studies at chapman university and her colleague dr. luke nichter, who is the james? kavanaugh chair in presidential
studies, which is a new program at chapman university and we're joined by the dean of students, dr. jerry price as well at a new program at chapman that the foundation has helped to put together and we're really excited about so thank you all for being here. in addition. i want to thank all of our president's council members that are here tonight for their support which makes this evening and all of our evenings like this possible. this evening. i have the pleasure of introducing two men who are contributing mightily tonight to american history. and i'm very pleased that c-span is recording tonight's conversation for future broadcasts and the nixon foundation is broadcasting live tonight as well because this conversation will illuminate the richard nixon that these men knew and knew very well. today is the 50th anniversary of the day on which president mrs. nixon departed andrews air force base. on their way to china and that ensuing week would become known as that which changed the world. dwight chapin was on that plane
air force one 50 years ago today. and was experiencing perhaps the apex of his more than 11-year career working with richard nixon. dwight was born in kansas attended the university of southern california and joined the nixon for governor team in 1962 at 21 years old. he had caught the political bug. and his hard work and uncanny ability would take him to nixon's side throughout the entirety of the historic 1968 campaign and into the white house on january 20th 1969. dwight has written a terrific new memoir. the president's man, which you can see here to my left and much of it deals with his work with president nixon. the president's man is without a doubt one of the most important contributions to the understanding of the nixon presidency and president nixon as a person that has yet been written. dwight will speak this evening with frank gannon.
frank joined the nixon white house in the summer of 1971 as a white house fellow assigned to counselors to the president donald rumsfeld and bob finch. he then worked for john erlichmann on the domestic council staff. along with colonel brennan and a handful of other staff members. he was asked by president nixon to fly a board air force one on the final flight home to california on august 9th 1974. frank worked with the former president in san clemente for five years as richard nixon's chief editorial assistant organizing the researching and writing of his memoirs working with ken khichigan and diane sawyer. frank received his bs from the georgetown university school of foreign service a master's from the london school of economics and a phd from oxford. ladies and gentlemen, would you please join me in welcoming dwight chapin and frank cannon? okay.
good evening. ladies and gentlemen. what a great great group we have here. i want to thank you all for coming. this obviously is a huge occasion for me, and i am really honored to have frank here asking the questions. so we hope you enjoy it. we're going to have some q&a at the end and be thinking of any questions you might have as you listen to us. frank well again, thank you for being here and helping to launch dwight's a superb hook. it's quite a story. it's ranges over a whole period of history and a whole period and whole gamut of emotions from this little plenty of ecstasy, but there's a lot of agony. it's sort of goes from the kansas to the white house to the forbidden city to the lompoc
federal correctional institution. so it's it's a book for all seasons and it's book for young people who are you know, contemplating beginning a career and thinking about public service and for other older people who are sort of assessing or analyzing life's choices and and assessing a life, so, i begin with very pedestrian questions. why a book why this book? why now? why? title why this cover? okay, well. why now? well, the frank and i were involved in the renovation of this library. and that we completed that work about four years ago and it dawned on me as i was doing that work with frank that richard nixon was really only known for two things. china opening it or watergate.
and through the renovation process it became we learned so much more about him. we knew it but it kind of flagged it in our minds. and so i i felt after finishing the project that i had an obligation to history to put down what i saw and put it into my words one of the unique things about my book is most people writing these memoirs do it 10 minutes after they leave the white house. i i had been out 50 years. and so i i had a sense of perspective and i was able to take and to put that apply that on what we had witnessed. so one of the main reasons was for history. another reason was i have grandchildren and i wanted my grandchildren to know what had happened to their grandfather and what happened to president nixon. alive put forth as honestly as i
could what happened with me, and so it's a combination of things that led to the book being written. why this title? the title the title of the book came from my publisher. i at first thought oh, this is to ostentatious. i mean the president's man to me was bob haldeman or henry kissinger or john ehrlichmann the more senior men, but then they added they came back to me and they said but we're going to modify that and say the memoirs of nixon's trusted aid and that that made me feel a lot more comfortable and i became happy with that title. we have a few slides here tonight some that are from dwight's copiously illustrated book illustrations, which is rare in a book both in black and white and in color and but i'm going to begin with one that is not in the book. that's a favorite of mine in case there's any doubt about who
dwight shape. i who do i shape in his or the role? he played pictures worth a thousand words and this picture tells me this is the this was the phone. the president's desk. so it has the white house number four five six one four one four, and then it has a couple of outside lines. it has a signal core line and that has chapin and haldeman and then up above it has chapin rosemary woods and bob haldeman. that's the buzzer and the buzzer when the president pushes the buzzer. you go in asap if he pushed the line button, then he it's a direct line to your desk. and then this less that leaves any doubt, this is a part of the diagram of the ground floor of the west wing and so there's the cabinet room the oval office and then of course the real center of power is dwight's office, which is which is right outside. yeah. we put mine right in the center there. you can see that and so this is there's this cover.
i know that you had some choices. that this was the this cover was the the result of deliberation this was another another choice. i called this your j crew catalog and i think that's i think that's that's where it can be now seen but what was the rationale but this is actually the picture that i wanted on the cover and this was taken at the balboa bay club in september of 1969 and nixon was going to go out on the columbia, which was a sailing vessel that had been in the us cup races and we are getting ready to board here and he's talking to me and i i liked the casualness of that but my publisher felt that the book would be much better accepted and would be better in terms of
the marketing and believe me folks. it's all down to the marketing. so we moved from this cover to the one that city of us in my office that that cover on the book. this is my office which was between the cabinet room and the white house and this door here goes right out to the rose garden so i i was in i had some very valuable real estate. to begin at the beginning briefly. this is your family. this is my kansas my mother and dad. that's me. i was 13 years old. i almost had my full height by that time my sister linda and we lived in kansas on a farm. and this is you want a farm. this is a horse on a farm. this is my horse pat and i'm proud to say that we won the white ribbon in the barrel racing at the local
rodeo. i spent a lot of time on my horse. i spent a lot of time with friends writing around the kansas plains and you can tell it's the kansas planes. do you see any tree at all? moving right along because we only have a short time and everyone should read the book to fill in all the backstory and the in the meantime you begin moving up to the campaign. actually. this is moving way ahead because this is moving to 68. yeah. you arrive at 20 broad street, which is the nixon law office and and campaign office. what was the lie of the land like there 20 broad street? yes. well when i moved from i was living in southern california had gone to usc and i got moved to new york city and when i got to new york city bob haldeman who was had been my boss at j.
walder thompson said i want you to call rosemary woods who was nixon secretary and and tell her that you're available to come down. volunteer so i would go to i would go to my work at j walder thompson and then after work i would get on the subway and go all the way down to wall street and and help out. so what they did is they assigned me to a woman who was in a conference room like three or four floors down from where president or at that time former vice president nixon's office was in the law firm that and the woman that was training me to answer the male. was that lady patricia nixon and so mrs. nixon is the one that taught me how to answer correspondence and how to how to handle it the the significance of that in my opinion and i talk about this in the president's man was that she got to know me
and she got to know my about my wife susie and about our daughters kimberly and tracy and and she would ask me. questions and and out of that became a trust because the role that i ended up being in was the denominator was trust and so i think she communicated to mr. nixon that this young man had some of the elements of trust that they were looking for and that's what led to my getting the position that i got. we did skip a little or i skipped a little bit ahead here because the first time you came across nixon candidate nixon was in 62 so can to go back from 68 to 62. can you described the first time you saw him the first time you met him what that 62 campaign was life in 1962. nixon had come back from washington dc where he had been vice president and he decided to
run against pat brown for the governorship of california and there we are campaign headquarters was wilshire boulevard and we were told to all assemble on a given day. i think it was in an august of '72 of 62 and and in came mr. nixon and and the thing about it. that's this interesting to me is he had been congressman senator vice president for eight years and he had about him this mystique. i mean in a former president a vice president and so he came in and he went around and he greeted all the staff and shook hands ask us some questions. i like to point out that there was one young man standing there talking to him who ended up being mayor of san diego congressman senator governor of the state of california. it was pete wilson, and he was with us that day.
and then but that was sort of just a grip and grin with nixon at that point. you didn't because also there was hr bob haldeman who was your mentor and boss at jay walter thompson and who introduced you into nixon circle because i think the story of how and why he had to do that tells a lot about richard nixon's personality, right? i i always had to have a summer job my parents insisted on it and i didn't have a job in summer of 1962 and dad arranged for me to go down and interview at the nixon for governor headquarters. i went in there and a young lawyer from usc by the name of herb combock some of you may know interviewed me and he left the room and he came back and he said i wanted to take you down the hall to meet someone and it
was bob haldeman. he was 35 years old and bob became probably the single most important man in my life as it relates to all of this nixon history and i write in my book. i ride in my book and i mean it that was the day. that my life changed for the better. forever and how was it that he slowly brought you into nixon's circle into nixon's ken well, bob. had i i don't know that he had a plan, but he got to know me and he unliked like mrs. nixon. i think a trust relationship developed and the one of the most significant aspects of it. was that when nixon ran for
governor in night. pardon me when goldwater ran for president in 1964. nixon went to that convention and he held an event with mrs. nixon on the sunday before the convention started and the purpose of the event was to thank all of the delegates from 1960. it was a very shrewd calculated reception very nixonian in the thought process of how it happened and and bob positioned me right next to mr. nixon. i'm the this young kid and i'm standing there and then next. is the former vice president and then mrs. nixon so as all of these delegates came in for hours, i mean everybody came so i would introduce myself and they would say their name and nixon here is kind of listening for that name. many of the people he knew but
it helped refresh his memory and then they would pass on to him. so you know, he was hey bob nice to see you again or harry or whoever it was so but that was the first time that i really got involved directly with working with mr. nixon and mrs. nixon and as you say in the book, it was him getting to know you and to trust you because the jobs you did were well done that made him at ease with you and it was that ease that sort of characterized the relationship and and the closeness of it. yes as the clock goes ahead here and you'll find this in the book. after in 1967 as i after i become his personal aid, it's just the two of us traveling all over the country. no, no other aids or anything occasionally pat buchanan might go if there is a big speech or ray price one of the other speech writers, but for the most part it was just the two of us
criss crossing the nation doing political events and so forth and for a young man, like myself who at this time is 26 years old at that juncture, you know, it was just one phenomenal education. today that role is sort of known white and well known as a body man. i think in those days when the media was just travel was becoming easier and politics was picking up into a media enterprise the role of the young assistant was new then so i don't know that you were present at the creation, but you were among those present at the creation of that. and working with him and observing him was really it was a master class both in psychology and in retail politics in the book you talk about some of the rules he had like about dinners and introductions and the time hats and i did a schedule one time and this is the buzzer went off.
and he i walk into his office and he says dwight. it says here that after dinner. i dance with this lady. only candidates for sheriff dance so there were rules like this never a hat. no kind of hat because they'll try to take some crazy picture of me and so forth. so it he had i i learned all these rules and of course he had this phenomenal secretary rosemary woods who had been with him since he was in congress and and she was of immense help. she was a tutor of mine and and really helped rose was one of the most brilliant people and the role. she played in his career was far
beyond secretary and confidant and she was so close to the family. well when i started working in the law firm there were five filing cabinets in front of pat buchanan's desk. we were in a room pat buchanan and rosemary woods and myself and then these five filing cabinets where anybody that did any correspondence or had any role in the nixon campaign from 60 or 62? everybody is in this filing cabinet. and rose had me do all the filing. and i thought why am i here? i mean, you know the the this is crazy, but the brilliance of it was that i had to do all that filing and learned the names of everyone across this country that was that ended up in one way or another being involved in the campaign. and so it it was a knowledge enhancement exercise that turned
out to be very important. once you had established this truck's trust with nixon and he knew you could get things done as you describe in the book. you had a couple of baptisms by fire and one involved in eastern shuttle. from new york to washington. oh, this is a great story. so so what we're going to go from, washington? to for yeah from washington to new york and the eastern shovel went ran every hour and so we get on the eastern shelf. he is by the window. i'm by the aisle. i'm always by the aisle to keep people from coming for autographs or whatever and we pull out and we go to the end of the line. it was a very stormy day. and the pilot comes on and he said we're going to be here about two hours. and he turned to me and he said get me off this plane.
alright, whoa, what do i do? so i i do not know where this came from, but i got up and i walked up to the and i said, mr. nixon has got to address the un and we need to get off this plane now. needless to say he was not going to address the un, but that's the thing that it popped in my head. so so after a few minutes the pilot announced that we were going back to the terminal to let mr. nixon off. and as we got off the plane. there was all this hissing people hissing at us, but the good news was they let them get them back in line at the right place. there was another version of that event was i want to speak to ev dirksen. who was the everett dirksen would have been then been the
republican senate minority leader. a very influential man in washington for all those years. yes. he was and so we had gone we we had gone out of the airport. we went back we checked back into our suite at the mayflower hotel and he said get ever dirksen on the phone. and then he went into the restroom. so i dialed i rosemary woods had given me all these phone numbers in a book. so i call dirksen's office and talked to him and mr. nixon came back out into the suite and he says where's dirksen? and i said, well he wasn't there and not available. and he said dwight. i didn't need to talk to everett dirks. it's much more important if i talk to the secretary if i talk to the secretary everybody on the hill is going to know i
talked to her and she will tell everybody and she will tell everybody that she had a pleasant conversation with me and that was like politics 101. you write in the book you have. a nice turns of phrase at many points. you say nixon train me to be the person he needed me to be. what is what does that mean? well, i i did not innovate. what nixon needed or how it would all work? the this was a practiced art form that led back into 1960 are our mentor. bob haldeman had been very active in all this he had tutored me. we were not in the business of reinventing how nixon would campaign and how he would be dealt with we were in the business of implementing it the way that he wanted and and that
you might say. well, what does that mean? and you we're talking about an incredibly smart man here that wanted to have in his schedule time for thinking he wanted to have things regimented. he did not want any surprises. so all of the habit patterns of how people work or in this case how the former vice president work became the rules by which i was expected to follow and as i said in an interview yesterday, you know that became my credential my if i had to put something on it my credential became the ability to understand what he wanted when he wanted it and to deliver. this is another this is another photograph. that isn't in the book the photographs in the book are terrific and as many of them so in a way, i don't know why i
chose this except to me. it doesn't really illustrate any of the points you want to make but illustrates for me the point of what you were doing. so, there you are. this is early in the campaign. the candidate of course is being the candidate, but you're standing there. you're carrying two brief cases. there's some papers on top of the one briefcase and you've got a briefing book under your so and he smiling you look intent dwight dwight's carrying everything. i don't have to worry but this would be a very typical shot. i mean particularly in the days when we were traveling just the two of us. the the campaign begins and then very shortly. a national an early first week of april and a national tragedy. murder of dr. king and the nixons had met the kings in ghana in 1957 during the
independent celebrations there and had become quite close both the wives and the the men and nixon who was vice president invited dr. king to meet him in washington. which dr. king did and so when that happened when dr. king was killed nixon wanted to go and pay his respect before the funeral two coretta scott king. and so you got to go on that very sad, but and very poignant but really memorable trip. and this is will tell the story that led up to this. yes and let me add to what frank just said. dr. king had wanted to meet general eisenhower and nixon acted as an introductory role there. this is a picture taken in dr. martin luther king and mrs. king's bedroom. we flew down there. first of all.
the president was torn he he wanted to be president of all of the people. but he did not want to take on a political overtone like it was being used some way. it was a very touching moment and i described this quite quite thoroughly in the book. but we mr. nixon and i got on a plane on a saturday morning just the two of us. bob applinelf went nixon's great friend gave her the point giving us a point and we went down and we had sent one advance man. nick rui down there. and nick got a car and we went over to the king house. and we pulled up. nobody knew we were coming. we had told the king family to please not publicize that we were coming and the president.
candidate at this point not president the candidate went up the walkway into the screen porch and and these little kids dr. king's kids were there. and he shook hands with each one of them and had some words with them a private word. and then we went down a hallway. and i i actually walked in when this moment was happening. and he took her hand and he said i'm you know, i'm so sorry and i had by that time turned to god back out and spent the remainder of time that he was with coretta scott king. i was out with the kids and then about 10 minutes later. he came back out and talked to the kids for another eight ten minutes and then we got in the car and we went over to martin luther king's father's home.
he was a minister also and the thing that floored me, i mean it we we pulled up there there were many cars front door was open we walked in there's kind of a entry hall thing and you would look through and there was dr. king senior. and he saw nixon. and the two men started to want to one another and through their arms around each other. i did not know that nixon had known dr. king senior for years. and they had this incredibly touching moment. and i must say and you'll find this in several different parts of the book the these are the moments that we never hear about and these are sides of richard nixon. we never hear about and it's one of the reasons that i wanted to write the book.
we come to election night. and you made a you you i mean, we're really jumping forward. so this this was early in the campaign and then election night. you're in the nixon the candidates suite and the waldorf astoria hotel, very small group of people the president of the candidate nixon has a suite the family has a sweet down the hall. uh, you're keeping watch it went very late in the night and you made some notes and one of them if i can find i transcribed it is at 4:30 in the evening in the morning. and essentially you say well what he says is that nixon kept at 4:30. nixon said to have an open door that this whatever staff was still up. i think that we're all up at any rate could come in and and hang out and watch the television and wait for the for the final word
and he mentions price ray price. when garment a number of people and then h&c is called at the end is holderman and you and he says, you know, the people poured in and out and you say rn nurse had a beer which he nurse for about an hour the sweet the sweet was very small. the the president was in a bedroom and he was meeting in there with haldeman and mitchell and ehrlichman. and in the main part of the suite was larry higbee. and myself and and we watched that evening unfold but but nixon for for relief, i think for himself and for the family at 4:30 in the morning wanted to kind of have this open house or whatever invite people in for food. it was incredibly long evening. we're gonna show a picture here
in a minute and you'll see the light coming through the window. it was full morning by the time he knew he had one this the next picture which dwight took is the case of not just the importance of being in the right place at the right time, but having a camera which in those days nowadays, of course, everybody's got a camera, but in those days it was and so you took this picture. i took this picture. this is a i was the only one with one of these little kind of a nikon cameras and you can see that look on his face. he's looking at tv screen. it happened to be turned to abc again. mentioned the light coming through the window and that's john ehrlichman's hand going up in the air kind of as a victory thing and it was a very poignant moment and i think one of the things i remember most about that is that mr. nixon said we're going to go to florida and
put the government together. and larry was there and bob haldeman and so forth and and john mitchell was standing there. this is a incredibly strong man, he'd run the campaign. he had done a phenomenal job. and this tear starts down his face, and he says first time i ever heard this he said mr. president-elect. he said i've not going to be able to make that trip to florida. i've got to go up to connecticut to connecticut and take care of martha. and we all know that many of us know that martha had a abuse problem and she was in a not an institution but in a treatment facility. and he loved her. and that's where he went rather than going with the president to, florida. and you were the you were the
person who told the candidate nixon that he was president nix. i was well, he was the bedroom with john mitchell and bob and john ehrigman and i according to him it's in his diaries at 8:30. i went storming in and i said abc is declared you the winner and he leaped out of bed. and that was the start of the next impedance and that was the point at which he went down to tell the family. they had one went down the hall to mrs. nixon and the girls had another sweet right down the hallway to have some privacy and julie had done a cruel of the presidential seal and she gave that to him and he brought it back. he was in his bathroom. he's in his bathroom here and he showed it to us, but she had been working on that for the
whole campaign. so then you're in the you win you're in the white house in the oval office, roughly what's happening there or what's happening there? this picture has been shown god only knows how many times. because it has all of us characters. i guess it's got the president john or lakeman myself and haldeman i'm standing in front of the desk. he's giving me some kind of an instruction. it was not an abnormal picture. i mean this this. probably happened several different times. you can see the rose garden out through the windows and that was us in working mode. that's one knows that's early because the photograph on the wall was the one that had been taken in december of 68 just before he became president by the astronauts circling the north country of the moon on the right there the picture of the
moon was taken by frank borman at christmas time of 1969 and frank had autographed it to the president. frank was a great friend of richard nixon's and in fact, we brought frank in on the moonwalk and several other things. he was kind of our conduit with nasa. we're going to pass over this because we don't have time. this was my introduction to dwight chapin. i was it was a white house fellow was the gave peripheral a new meaning. i it was just an outsider where dwight was the innist of the inner circle. so when the trip to china was announced i tried to finagle a place on the plane and so i wrote a memo and this is so this was my first contact with dwight chapin and he says unfortunately even though your arguments are meritorious. there's a chance in hell that you're gonna be on this plane and more diplomatically and having never met him but
received this memo we met in the mess and you said to me words that i will always treasure nice try, you know and and all of us that were involved in this i mean the idea of going on the trip to china. there was no one in the white that did not want to go on that trip to china. so it was it was very dicey trying to you know, picking the right people to go and so forth. these are the iconic moments as you said or is jim said earlier. this is this 50 years to the day that they left the south lawn and headed first to hawaii and then to guam and then to shanghai and then to beijing and of course the the two handshakes with joan lai and at the airport and then with chairman mao immediately after these are what remember but are what remembered and these are the iconic images, but behind this was a lot of hard work and a couple of
earlier trips setting it up and that's where you come in and this is interesting this this was your commission will tell the story of when you were issued this so that i was issued this and the beginning of october of 1971 and it was part of a credential that there weren't very many issued, but we used it in terms of our trip to beijing. i went with henry kissinger in october of 1971 and and we used that kind of to give ourselves a little more cachet with the chinese and then so this is part of the planning. this was in hawaii. but this includes colonel brennan who's here? yeah. this picture was taken up general hague went in january of 1972 ahead of the nixon trip in february, and there's jack brennan is sitting there myself general scowcroft general redmond, and then my absolutely
spectacular secretary nellie yates, and this was one of our planning sessions on the way to chant at china. and then this is air force one. this is where air force air force one. this is you see a picture there bob haldeman and next to him is his chief lieutenant larry higbee and they obviously are drilling me with questions and hold them and has a skeptical look on his face. like are you kidding me and to his left is dr. henry kissinger and in back is winston lord who later became ambassador to china julie pino one of the secretaries and kissinger aid william howe and on the far back on the right is mario hartley who was a kissinger secretary and and we're working we we were always working. i mean it's almost impossible to underscore the amount of energy,
we put into everything that we did. 24/7 this is a meeting of my we picked up some chinese leaders on the way into beijing and i am sitting at a table aboard air force one going through what would be our plans upon arrival and beijing? and here's the president this this is a great shot because it's so so representative of what this man was all about. he's got the briefing books in front of him. he's working. he's studying this picture is on air force one, and he i find it. he's in that blue sport code and he would always take off his suitcode and put on a sport coat or something when he when he was in work mode in your book you you write nixon worked as a
non-stop machine work was his hobby. yes, i believe that that sports. he loves sports and he would go with dave and i said, how are his son-in-law to to baseball games? and but but for the most part. work was not work. it was it was a combination of loving what he did. and loving being a strategist. and being an incredible patriot. we i want to have we want to have time for questions. so we're going to have to just move on in the book you write at some length and at very moving the length about your time in prison. and and after and about about nixon and about the the which is
so important the staff system in the white house that was set up by bob haldeman, which is one of the lasting legacies because the white house staff system that he set up then in terms of organization and management exists today still exists today. yes, i i met with six previous chiefs of staff i've asked them about the procedures that bob haldeman put in place. bob and i would accentuate larry higbee here. they put a the system in place for the running of the modern presidency and i spend a great deal of time in the book detailing this and the importance of it and and it is still used today. so i in order it would take too long to try to to detail it here, but i believe readers are going to really get a lot out of
that and particularly in comparison to what kind of i mean the the way that he solicited thinking and ideas and and so forth and one one wonders whether or not we need to be doing more of that in today's world in terms of the prison aspect. let me let me hit that in a little bit different way. i made a mistake and don segretti my wonderful friend and i suffered greatly because of the mistake that i made. but the important thing is to realize what happened to richard nixon and we detail in the back of the book. we have an appendix where we have transcripts of tapes from the oval office and my wife terry put in there. she went and found the web address and you can go on there
and you can go to one of the sites where the tapes reside luke nichter who is here had helped put that together or did put that together and you can read the transcript and you can listen to the voices of john dean and nixon in the oval office and it is a unique experience and i encourage all of you to give that some consideration. you've got to go back into the appendix of the book to do it, but it is incredibly revealing and the most revealing part of it. is that that break-in happened in june of 1972. and as far ahead as march 1973, nine months richard nixon was not told the truth of what happened in watergate and that is what led to the fork and the road that really led to the
cover of so i encourage you to read that. this is frustrating. i got so many more pages and so many more pictures, but we should go to the to the questions so our library colleague naseem ben yellin is going to gentlemen. thank you so much. please give it up for the moderators for today. calculus we are now going to open the floor direct quote for questions director for dwight chapin if you would like to ask a question, please raise your hand signal to me and i'll find you but first we're going to start with our first question from dr. lori. cox han thanks for the presentation dwight. my question is about the fact that there's no shortage of nixon scholarship available. but as a presidency scholar. what do you think that academics like myself get wrong about
nixon? and where would you suggest that we go with future research on the nixon residency? yes, i i i think what? we get wrong is not exploring what the man was all about. we get we go off on these tangents, you know when i went into the national archives. to listen to some tapes the first thing they asked me is would you are you here to listen to the abuse of power tapes? well that that the abuse of power tapes are the sexy ones where you know, he uses some language that's not good and it gets into the watergate step, but it is a tiny fraction of all of the tapes and and we need that we need our historians and the people that are going to explore this to dig in to some of these other aspects of
richard nixon and i think that's one thing that my book is going to accomplish. i think it raises enough questions of that they're going to be other things explored. what one of the key ones is? what was the relationship of the cia to the whole watergate matter? i mean bob haldeman identified early on that. we only know a little bit about watergate. it's going to take years for this unfold. this is the 50th anniversary coming up. we're going to learn new stuff at the 60th and the 70th. anniversaries perfect. thank you dwight to your left right here. hijoint a question about the 68 convention miami beach. and how governor agnew became the vice presidential nominee, but as part of that i've got a question from a green bay packers friend of mine who wants to know if in slombardi was
actually under consideration. that's lombardy. no. i i don't know. i don't know many things definitely, but that one i would think i know. agnew was a agnew. was governor of maryland he was tough on a law and order issues. he appealed to a lot of the governors and he was kind of a neutral. i mean there were nothing really pro about him, but there was nothing negative and that decision. i think i think was made in montauk the week before the convention and it was made with nixon and john mitchell and bob haldeman and and bob finch all
advisors and so that i that's what i know. i you i'm not an expert on that and you might want to dig in with somebody else on that. who? yes. perfect. thanks to wait center albert. we have a question right over here. hi dwight. you mentioned early on that the nixon administration was known for two things, but they accomplished so much. both domestically and with regard to foreign policy what was left on the table that was not accomplished because the second term was so inundated with watergate. well, i'm standing up here. and very honestly the person to answer that is in the first row, and that's larry higbee, but i me try. nixon had a plan underway to completely reorganize the
federal government. he had a commission called the ash commission. they were going to come in and they were going to take that government apart and put it back together in a more logical way to run it and it was one of the great tragedies of watergate that they were not able to implement that plan. perfect. thanks to white center allegan over here. yeah. congratulations first on the book dwight and it takes me back when air force one left andrews 50 years ago. i actually left on a plane the night before from andrews air force base and frank. they're probably would have been some room on that plane for you. it was a c-141 cargo plane and we were part of the white house advanced communications team that covered the refuel stop of air force one.
returning from from china to anchorage, alaska we actually left before the presidential party left. and it was about a six-hour stopover in anchorage. so we actually were the traveling white house and we answered the switchboard the anchorage white house once air force one touched down at elmendorf in anchorage. i just thought i'd throw that in as a side light. i i would like to mentioned something today march 17th is the day that richard nixon walked out of the diplomatic entrance of the white house? all of the members of the leadership of the bipartisan congress were there to wish him well, and he goes out to andrews air force base. we get on our plane we go to our various staff tables. and the stewards had taken and
put a little tv on one of the tables. and on that table was the picture of the plane that we were on. and you see it taxing down. and turning and getting ready to take off it was it was so heavy because it had to go all the way to honolulu. and so the plane started on the runway. and you hear this german voice by you can guess who henry kissinger? and he says this is amazing. i've never watched myself christ before. a very humorous moment. thanks to dwight. this is are going to be our question right over here. um, mr. chapin, i've always been a little confused about the
president's relationship with the internal revenue service. you give any light? what is attitude was towards them? well i do i i cannot speak. to the relationship of the president to the internal revenue service. there were i will say this that as the watergate thing got more heated there were incredible leaks out on all kinds of weird things. and in looking back at that based on everything we all know now. i believe. the deep state was well activated at that time and there were bureaucratic people into
these various slots that were trying to undermine the president. but i cannot speak to the legitimacy of any complaint of the irs or the but it's just my my intuition. i mean the deep state did not get invented with donald trump. you you when nixon interview deuced his cabinet and had a meeting with his cabinet at the first cabinet meeting. he said me tell you. you've got 30 60 90 days to get in there and get your department reorganized before the bureaucracy takes you over. so he knew what his people were up against and that deep state existed then. you were very young man who went into government. what advice as we close? what advice would you have for a young man or woman thinking about contemplating going into government today? yeah. we have a very good friend.
gordon strawn who testified at the watergate hearings? and the last question that a senator asking was what advice do you have for young people about coming to washington? and gordon said stay away and that to me was one of the most disgraceful. statements that any friend of mine could possibly have made and john ehrlichman who i quote in my book had a different view. and he said come. make a difference. do what's right. get involved. one of nixon's favorite poems was teddy roosevelt's the man in the reena? you know it talks about.
the man with the sweaty brow that has gotten into the arena and fought for what he believed in and done his best. and he makes the the poem makes the point that it's much better a much more credit to the person gets into the arena. and the fights for what they believe in they're the people we should honor and i believe it's imperative that we get new blood young blood and great people into our government. ladies and gentlemen let's thank dwight chapin and frank cannon.