Wednesday, April 7, 1971 - 9:42pm - 9:49pm
Richard Nixon, Rose Mary Woods
White House Telephone



President Nixon: Hello.

Operator: Miss Woods, sir.

Rose Mary Woods: Hello.

President Nixon: Hi, Rose?

Woods: Hi. That was absolutely great.

President Nixon: Yeah. How's the distaff side reacting over there, the girls?

Woods: Well, let me tell you that it was tremendous from everybody's point of view. The whole thing, the sincerity, the—I'm now lumping a lot of calls together, but when you put your papers down and just talked, I would doubt that you had a dry eye in the audience.

President Nixon: Well I didn't—I felt a little wet myself.

Woods: Yeah. I know that, and I remembered, I was thinking myself of that woman you saw at El Toro who was—

President Nixon: That's right.

Woods: You know, it felt, it was—

President Nixon: The little boy that saluted—

Woods: Yeah.

President Nixon: I remember when he saluted me, boy, I almost broke up.

Woods: well, that's great, because Jack Mulcahy called.

President Nixon: Did he?

Woods: Yes, and he was—he's down in Florida and he—Bergen and O'Hara were around, and they just thought it was absolutely tremendous.

President Nixon: Oh, well, that's nice.

Woods: And he said that it was the first time he's ever listened to any president and had tears in his eyes.

President Nixon: Did he?

Woods: Yes.

President Nixon: Even old Jack.

Woods: Yes, he thought it was sensational.

NARA Excision
Category: Personal Returnable
Duration: 10s

Woods: And all of those came on, you know, Bergen and O'Hara.

President Nixon: [Unclear aside] build the fire. [to Woods] Well, excuse me, yeah, I'm sorry, Bergen—

Woods: Bergen came on and he just thought it was a great speech. It was magnificent.

President Nixon: Well, it was a nice little speech, actually.

Woods: It was.

President Nixon: It was 19 minutes and 40 seconds, but it was one of the hardest ones I ever did.

Woods: Oh, it was very difficult.

President Nixon: You know, we have no support. This goddamn cabinet, except for [John] Connally, and I must say Bill Rogers to his [unclear], not one of the son-of-a-bitches in the cabinet called me, not one.1

Woods: Yeah, yeah, let me tell you what Bill Rogers called. I'll get to him in a little but. The vice president called. He would like to talk with you.

President Nixon: Well, did he call?

Woods: Peter Malatesta talked with me and said that the vice president thought it was—they all thought it was just marvelous, but that he, you know, he really would like to talk with you, so I'll give the operator that number if you wanted to give him a call back.

President Nixon: Well, maybe I should return his call.

Woods: Secretary Rogers was at the Luxembourg Embassy.

President Nixon: So he didn't see it.

Woods: Yes he did. He called, and he said it was great, tremendous. He said everyone thought it was, and he said that he thought it had “the same impact as the Fund speech, that it had one hell of an impact.2 And that he just thought the last part was absolutely beautiful.

President Nixon: Well he suggested that, you know. He didn't—no, he didn't suggest what I'd say—

Woods: No.

President Nixon: But he said, throw away your notes and just talk a little while at the last—

Woods: All right, well, he was just, he was tremendously [unclear].

President Nixon: But this little story about Kevin I've told—I never told before, but—

Woods: Well, that was beautiful, that little Kevin thing.

President Nixon: But, you know, the little boy saluting, wasn't that something?

Woods: Yeah, it was beautiful. And the attorney general called.

President Nixon: Oh, did he?

Woods: Yeah.

President Nixon: What'd he say?

Woods: Thought it was great. He thought it was one of your very best, one of your great—

President Nixon: That's nice.

Woods: He said I thought it was one of his greatest performances, personally.

President Nixon: Mmm-hmm.

Woods: And he said that he's been working, talking with people, very hard problem, but he thinks that you have really, you know, touched the people, and he thinks that, you know we just have to move ahead with the project of selling some of the idiots.

President Nixon: Well, they're most of them in the establishment, yeah.

Woods: Well, that's [unclear].

President Nixon: Well, I'm glad. Rogers was pleased, then, and the vice president? Yeah.

Woods: Oh yes, very much so. Very much so.

President Nixon: Where—is [Spiro] Agnew out in California with-—I don't think I'll [unclear].3

Woods: Yeah, Agnew—I'll give the operator the number. It's area—

President Nixon: Yeah, maybe not. I don't think I should call him up.

Woods: I think you should.

President Nixon: Well, he called me, did he?

Woods: Yes.

President Nixon: Well, then I should return that.

Woods: He said, he called and said “I would like to talk to the president.”

President Nixon: And—all right, fine.

Woods: That you came, he said that, you know, you came through magnificently.

President Nixon: I can talk to him, I wouldn't need to talk to—I shouldn't talk to Mitchell [unclear].

Woods: Most of the others you don't need to.

President Nixon: Rogers, you think I should call him or not?

Woods: They don't want you to bother. Rogers said don't bother, he's at the Embassy, and so forth. Hobe Lewis thought it was—

President Nixon: Did he call? What'd he say?

Woods: Yes, he thought it was the greatest ever.

President Nixon: He really did?

Woods: Yes. He said it tears him apart.

President Nixon: I might return his call because he never calls me, I mean, he never calls me to give me, to bug me.

Woods: Yeah, he never does—

President Nixon: What'd he say, though?

Woods: He said anyone would have to be convinced by that. He thought it was—you had an unbeatable position, the record was great, another hundred thousand on top of what you've done. He just thought it was marvelous.

President Nixon: Good.

Woods: Leonard Firestone called.

President Nixon: Oh did he? Len?

Woods: Yes.

President Nixon: Oh.

Woods: He was in Palm Springs, and he said that he was with a whole group of people.

President Nixon: What'd they say?

Woods: And they all were so thrilled. They thought it was just . . . I'm reading from notes now: that it was great, the record, the leadership, the delivery, the poise, the everything of the delivery and every—

President Nixon: And the conclusion, of course.

Woods: Everyone around there just, their consensus was that it was great.

President Nixon: The conclusion, though, tell me about the people in your office, they were moved by it, the kids?

Woods: Well, Margie [Acker] even called me. And Dwight [L. Chapin] called me. Dwight called me when it was over. Dwight said that “I haven't ever cried before.” And Marge. Everybody. It was just beautiful.

President Nixon: Well, I was practically crying when I delivered it.

Woods: I know that, I know that from watching you.

President Nixon: Because I remembered that poor little kid, you know? Four years old.

Woods: And, Senator [Bob] Dole had just gotten to Cali—to Florida.[Robert J. Dole was a Republican senator from Kansas.^]

President Nixon: Dole? Yeah.

Woods: Yeah, and he has—he said he has an author crowding out—cranking out—some statement that, you know, so far . . . He thought it was very good. He's going—he said he's going to put out a release in terms of the carping Democrats, and I said what are you going to do about our own people?

President Nixon: Yeah.

Woods: He said, we didn't limit it to Democrats.

President Nixon: That's right.

Woods: But he just thought it was great. He's down there to do five fundraisers [unclear].

President Nixon: Well, good, he'll [unclear].

Woods: Now, out of all those people, I think the only one—

President Nixon: Is Agnew?

Woods: —really, would be Agnew, because I didn't speak with him [unclear].

President Nixon: Well, I might call Rogers for only a reason that he suggested throwing away the text at the last.

Woods: Yeah, well, he's—if you want, I'll tell the operator where he is. He's at the Luxembourg Embassy.

President Nixon: Fine, all right. You can put those two through.

Woods: And I'll give her the vice president's number.

President Nixon: Fine. You think I should call Hobe Lewis?

Woods: I think that'd be great because, as a matter of fact, there's so many calls I got cut off from Hobe.

President Nixon: Fine, all right. Put those three through. Fine. All right, fine. OK.

Woods: I'll tell the operator to get them for you.

President Nixon: Fine, all three.

Woods: All right, fine.


1 John B. Connally was secretary of treasury. William P. Rogers was secretary of state. (↑)

2 Woods is referring to a 23 September 1952 televised speech he delivered. Better known as the “Checkers speech,” because Nixon mentioned the cocker spaniel that a supporter had given his family, the speech was a reply by Nixon, then the Republican vice presidential candidate, of allegations that he was the improper beneficiary of a “slush fund.” Text of and audio of Nixon's speech, 23 September 1952. (↑)

3 Spiro Agnew was vice president. (↑)

Original tape courtesy of the Nixon Library. This transcript is a working draft. Please let us know if you find important errors.