Personal Life and Personality

Tricia Nixon's Wedding

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Richard Nixon, H.R. Haldeman                  
Introduction:

The first outdoor wedding at the White House occurred on June 12, 1971, when President Richard Nixon's eldest daughter, Tricia, wed Edward Cox in the Rose Garden. As Nixon killed time in the Oval Office with his chief of staff, H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, the Quaker Peace Movement bore on his mind. Five members had obtained permission to demonstrate during the wedding in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House. "There is no anticipated problem in this regard," White House lawyer John Dean had informed Haldeman, but that wasn't enough for the president, who had grown up attending a Friends Meeting with his family in Whittier, California.

Nixon: "The Jews are Born Spies"

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

Conspiracy theories, as Richard Hofstadter noted, can target any demographic group. Nixon's targeted three: Jews, intellectuals, and Ivy Leaguers. Nixon privately called all three groups "arrogant" and said they placed themselves "above the law." By telling himself that Jews, intellectuals and Ivy Leaguers were immoral, even criminal, Nixon gave himself permission to do immoral, even criminal, things to any Jew, intellectual or Ivy Leaguer whom he feared could cause him political harm.

NB: This clips contains expressions of opinions that many people will find offensive.

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."

LBJ's Work Day and Agenda

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Lyndon Johnson, Walker Stone                  
Introduction:

In this call to Walker Stone, editor in chief of Scripps-Howard newspapers, Johnson was still bubbling over positive coverage of German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard's visit to the LBJ ranch in December and was inspired by a letter received from J. Frank Dobie, a renowned Texas folklorist, University of Texas faculty member, and guest at the ranch during the visit of Chancellor Erhard. According to his secretaries, President Johnson would carry Dobie's letter "around in his pocket" for another week. Dobie's letter praised Johnson's "start" as one that combined "nobility with effectiveness" and recommended that Johnson seek the counsel of Walker Stone because "no other newspaper man I know knows as much and thinks as soundly." Here, Johnson asked Stone to spread another glowing report.
After exploring that issue, Stone asked Johnson to take things more slowly and not take health risks, to which the President complained about having his personal life restricted by the presidency. Then Johnson took the opportunity to prepare his old acquaintance for the upcoming State of the Union address. In a pithy section, Johnson defended his proposed poverty plans to this Oklahoma native by emphasizing that the programs would encourage work and improve productivity among poor African Americans, Mexicans, and Appalachians. After this call, Johnson followed up his concerns about Black Americans by taking a call from Whitney Young of the National Urban League.
The segment below is divided into two parts. The first covers the talk about Johnson's work pace. The second explores the state of the union address and the War on Poverty.

LBJ and Lady Bird on Texas life

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Lyndon Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson, Richard Russell, A.W. Moursund                  
Introduction:

In mid-evening on New Year's Day, President Johnson's attention turned to one of his most valued advisers in the Senate and arguably the most influential southerner in Washington, D.C., save for Johnson himself. While visiting with several Texas friends, Johnson called up Georgia senator Richard Russell, a man considered by the President as his mentor and by the President's children as "Uncle Dick." The group revisited old times, discussed the whipping that the University of Texas's national champion football team had put on Roger Staubach and the Navy Midshipmen in the Cotton Bowl, and engaged in the rituals of ribbing and bragging associated with serious deer hunting. In between those moments, Johnson explored policy toward West Germany, wheat sales to the Soviet Union, aid to Indonesia, and the defense industry in Georgia.
The call lasts for over ten minutes. For this transcript and audio clip, there are three segments from that call, each offering a sampling of discussions between the President, Lady Bird, Senator Russell, and A.W. "Judge" Moursund about drinking, football, family, and deer hunting.

LBJ Orders Some New Haggar Pants

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Lyndon Johnson, Joe Haggar                  
Introduction:

President Johnson called the Haggar clothing company to order some new pants, providing specific (and sometimes graphic) instructions on how they should be customized for him.

LBJ and Jacqueline Kennedy

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Lyndon Johnson, Jacqueline Kennedy                  
Introduction:

Jackie KennedyThis call between JFK's widow, Jackie Kennedy, and LBJ, took place about 10 days after President Kennedy's assassination. At the end of the conversation, Johnson told the former First Lady that she still had a valuable role to play in American society, especially by giving him "strength" to conduct his affairs. Citing something he had "told my mama a long time ago," Johnson recounted the boost in morale that the women in his life had provided him over the years, especially his narrow 1948 Senate election. This call was the first recorded conversation between the two in LBJ's presidential recordings. 

JFK Orders "One of Those Blue Pills"

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: John Kennedy, George Burkley                  
Introduction:

President Kennedy suffered from extraordinarily poor health throughout his life and was read the last rites by a Catholic priest twice before he had reached the age of 30. Among his many afflictions was Addison's disease, a potentially life-threatening condition. Later in life, he suffered from chronic back pain. The combination of illness and pain required significant doses of medication. In this telephone call, President Kennedy asks White House physician Admiral George Burkley to "send up a little extra medication."

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