Politics

JFK, LBJ, & the Midterm Elections of 1962 and 1966

We've compiled some new transcripts from the 1962 and 1966 mid-term elections.

President Nixon and Bob Haldeman on Fred Malek

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Richard Nixon, Bob Haldeman                  
Introduction:

Fred MalekIn June of 1971, unemployment dropped sharply from 6.2 to 5.6 percent, excellent political news for the Nixon administration. But the president was angered when Howard Goldstein, the assistant commission for labor statistics, said during congressional testimony, "How much of the total drop in unemployment is real and how much is the result of statistical factors, we can't say at this time." Nixon resolved to remove Goldstein. He did not stop there. He ordered his chief of staff, H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, to have the White House personnel chief, Fred Malek, to "see what we can do about" Jews in the federal government.

Senator Edward Kennedy and the JFK, LBJ, and Nixon White House Tapes

We have posted a collection of transcripts of conversations involving and directly related to the long Senate career of Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy. Drawing from the JFK, LBJ, and Nixon tapes, it includes calls between the newly elected Senator and his older brother, President John F. Kennedy; calls with President Johnson during the 1964 election campaign while bedridden recovering from a broken back suffered during a plane crash; and President Nixon's efforts to spy on Kennedy in the leadup to the 1972 election.

 

LBJ and Hubert Humphrey on the Democratic Party

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey                  
Introduction:

Six hours earlier, Johnson had met with Minnesota senator Hubert Humphrey, a man widely perceived as a front-runner for the vice-presidential nomination who had emerged as the administration's most effective defender in the upper chamber. After that early afternoon meeting, Humphrey, the Senate majority whip, gave a rousing pro-Democratic statement to the press. Now, pleased with Humphrey's response to GOP attacks on the administration, Johnson phoned him, encouraging him to continue his rhetoric and told him to "every day . . . to say, 'The Democratic Party is the one party left for America, because the other fellows don't stand for anything.'"
This segment picks up two-and-a-half minutes into the call.

LBJ on Ted Sorensen

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Lyndon Johnson, Abe Fortas                  
Introduction:

Ted SorensenLate in the evening, the President recorded a lengthy call of over 22 minutes with his confidants on the Bobby Baker scandal, in which an insurance salesmen had testified that he had given Johnson a kickback-a hi-fi stereo set-in exchange for Johnson purchasing a life insurance policy from him. The full conversation offers a sense of Johnson's relationship with his closest advisers, some of the ways he arrived at decisions, and his administration's complicated relationship with the press. In this edited snippet, Johnson worried that making public statements on the matter was a mistake, a sentiment echoed by Ted Sorensen. A few days earlier, Johnson had made a statement in a press conference, then left. Several reporters claimed he fled the room to avoid further questions. In the following clip, Johnson explained that Sorensen thought they were "the biggest damned fools he's ever dealt with" and that Sorensen "told me tonight he just thought I was a big, fat, cigar-puffing, potbellied numskull by following the advice to get out here in front of the press."

Beating McGovern

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger                  
Introduction:

On November 7, 1972, Richard M. Nixon won reelection in the biggest Republican presidential landslide of the Cold War, getting 60.7 percent of the vote compared to Democrat George McGovern's 37.5 percent. He won the electoral votes of every state except Massachusetts.

Kicking Nixon Around

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: John Kennedy, Pat Brown                  
Introduction:

Richard and Pat Nixon at a news conferenceIn this telephone call, the only two men to have ever beaten Richard Nixon in elections compared notes. The call took place the day after the November 6, 1962, mid-term elections.

Pat Brown, a Democrat, had won re-election as Governor of California, beating Republican challenger and former Vice President, Richard M. Nixon. In publicly conceding on the morning of November 7, Nixon had blamed the press for his defeat, famously declaring to gathered reporters that "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference." Political commentators regarded Nixon's political career over.

Note: The audio quality of this recording is poor. Frequent skipping of the Dictabelt needle has resulted in frequent repetition and difficulty in rendering a coherent transcript.

LBJ, Nixon, and John S. McCain, Sr., Jr., and III

John S. McCain III, (1936-) currently a Republican Senator from Arizona and Republican nominee for President in the 2008 Presidential election, was a U.S. Navy pilot during the Vietnam War. In October 1967 he was shot down over North Vietnam, taken prisoner, and held captive as a prisoner of war for five and a half years. His father, Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., was Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command (CINCPAC) during much of the time his son was a POW.

We've compiled transcripts of the most substantive mentions of the McCain family in the LBJ and Nixon recordings. Given the time period the tapes span, most of these discussions relate to the Senator's father, Admiral John S. McCain, Jr. (1911-1981), who became a four star admiral in the U.S. Navy and served during the Vietnam War as CINCPAC from 1968 to 1972. Senator McCain's grandfather, John S. McCain, Sr. (1884-1945), had also been an Admiral in the U.S. Navy.

LBJ on Choosing a Vice President

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Wagner                  
Introduction:

In this July 1964 call, about 3 weeks before the Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, LBJ asks Robert Wagner, a former Democratic Senator from New York, to leak to the press that the party leaders support the President's right to choose his running mate and that a divided party is something to be avoided.

LBJ suggest that he say, "that they don't want the president to be required to sleep with anybody he doesn't want to sleep with. And he ought to have a man with vice president that he trusts and likes and can work with him. We oughtn't to have a divided ticket to start, and therefore, you expect to support the man the President selects . . .  I just don't think it can do us a bit of good to have a divided thing there, a divided party."

LBJ Appoints Gerald Ford to the Warren Commission

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford                  
Introduction:

Of all the congressional members on the Warren Commission, Ford was the least known to President Johnson. He had been first elected to the House in 1948, the same year Johnson won his Senate seat. Ford's first and only intensive encournter with Lyndon Johnson had occurred in 1957, when both men served on a bipartisan House-Senate committee formed to draft the legislation creating NASA.

Nixon and Haldeman on John Kerry

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Richard Nixon, Bob Haldeman                  
Introduction:

In this conversation, Bob Haldeman updates the President on recent press coverage of pro-administration veterans countering the anti-Vietnam War protests of John F. Kerry.

Nixon and Chuck Colson on John Kerry

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Richard Nixon, Charles Colson                  
Introduction:

In April 1971, as John Kerry led a demonstration of Vietnam Veterans Against the War in Washington, DC, the Nixon White House sought to discredit him. In this conversation, Nixon aide Chuck Colson told the president that in his opinion Kerry had turned against the war out of political opportunism after he returned to the United States.

Nixon, Kissinger, and Haldeman on John Kerry

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Bob Haldeman                  
Introduction:

In this Oval Office discussion, Nixon and his advisers discuss recent press coverage of the anti-war group, Vietnam Veterans Against the War. They were particularly impressed by the performance of John F. Kerry before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the previous day.

Kerry's testimony had included sharp accusations of what he said were war crimes being committed on a daily basis by U.S. troops with full awareness of officers at all levels of command.

LBJ and Martin Luther King, Jr., on the Republican Party

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Lyndon Johnson, Martin Luther King                  
Introduction:

King had called Johnson to discuss the voting rights bill. In the discussion, the President emphasized the importance of gaining Republican support, and then offered his assessment of the Grand Old Party's prospects for the future.

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