Saturday, April 17, 1971 - 4:35pm - 4:40pm
Richard Nixon, Patrick Buchanan
White House Telephone


President Richard Nixon: Hello?

Patrick J. Buchanan: Yes, sir.

President Nixon: Well, you predicted the questions pretty good.

Buchanan: [laughs] Yeah, they went—

President Nixon: They were actually just as I thought, though, and that whole 55 minutes, about 70 percent were directly or indirectly on foreign policy.

Buchanan: Right.

President Nixon: And only about—well, the kid—the question about kids and the question about the economy were the only two that really were related . . . See, the Hoover question basically is foreign policy. It's national security and it . . .

Buchanan: Right. Right.

President Nixon: So, Hoover was pleased. He called me this morning.

Buchanan: Oh, he must have been. I heard the thing on the radio. It came over well.

President Nixon: He was of course just [laughs]—well, of course you had to defend him, hell.

Buchanan: Yeah. You did a good job.

President Nixon: You can't run the old man out of town that way, and they've got to know that, that the more they attack him the more he's going to dig in.

Buchanan: Yeah, yeah.

President Nixon: And everybody understands that, I think.

Buchanan: I think they do. I think—and coming to his defense personally, you know, and this guy's done all this, I think that's great, really.

President Nixon: And, well, he doesn't have the public support among many people, but Pat, people that are his enemies are never going to be my friends.

Buchanan: That's for sure.

President Nixon: Don't you think so?

Buchanan: I agree. I agree. You know, I was just talking to Moore,1 it's an interesting thing, they all talk about just the point you just made. They all talk about reordering priorities, we've got to worry domestically, but he said, too, all your questions are foreign policy.

President Nixon: You didn't have one on revenue -

Buchanan: No, no.

President Nixon: —you didn't have one on reorganization, you didn't have one on welfare, you didn't have one on Negroes.

Buchanan: That's right. That's right. They all say, well our main concerns are here at home, but they get in a press conference and they all ask you about foreign policy.

President Nixon: And they didn't have one on the environment.

Buchanan: No.

President Nixon: Not one. And we had – we were prepared in all those damn fields, and they didn't have one stinking question.

Buchanan: That's right.

President Nixon: So, I think that somebody ought to get that into [the] column.

Buchanan: How did—yeah, right—how did you feel about that hour long thing? I thought it gave an opportunity to go into more—you know.

President Nixon: Well, it was good for editors.

Buchanan: Yeah.

President Nixon: Basically—and the questions were the questions really that editors would ask. I mean, they weren't ones—you can't answer a question on what the hell do you think of at three o'clock in the morning. What I was almost ready to say was, I think of going to the bathroom.

Buchanan: [laughs]

President Nixon: That would have really stopped the show.

Buchanan: [laughs] That would have stopped it right there.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Buchanan: That's right.

President Nixon: You might, you might leak that out to somebody.

Buchanan: OK, I will.

President Nixon: You can say, the President said what first came to his mind in there—'‘what I first think – what I first think about is going to the bathroom.

Buchanan: [laughs]

President Nixon: On the other hand, a question like that, on what do you think about China and what about future of our children, and what do you think about [unclear], you can't answer those in 30 seconds.

Buchanan: That's right, that's right.

President Nixon: And also, another thing, in this kind of a format, where you've got 300 press men, you can flip off an answer, you can dig one, you can hit them, but with editors I think you have to be very—act as if every question is momentous and important, because they're in front of their colleagues and you don't want to embarrass them.

Buchanan: Yeah.

President Nixon: Don't you agree?

Buchanan: That's right, that's right.

President Nixon: I thought it was a pretty good format – it was—format for them, I mean, for editors.

Buchanan: Yeah. Well, it was—at first I was apprehensive about the radio, being on the radio because -

President Nixon: Yeah

Buchanan:—the immediacy, the necessity for the immediacy of response, but the delays in the answers that you gave, it really came off well, and if you start to laugh, and also the applause at the end of each answer really came over well.

President Nixon: Yeah, the radio builds it up.

Buchanan: Yeah, oh, yeah, it builds up the suspense, and -

President Nixon: [unclear]

Buchanan: When you answered that one question you delayed and you said, wait a minute there are six other guys on the panel, you know? And that came off very well and you get sort of a [unclear] in the background and it was really good radio.

President Nixon: How'd you like my answer on Agnew,2 when I said, you looking for an editor?

Buchanan: Yeah. [laughs] Right.

President Nixon: Yeah, because he's—that's the only way you can handle him, I've got to just sort of finesse it, rather than to come into a labored defense of him on everything.

Buchanan: Right, right.

President Nixon: Because they all know that, I mean that I'm not going to disagree with him.

Buchanan: Right.

President Nixon: And, uh—so he had no reason to feel [hurt], I think.

Buchanan: No.

President Nixon: I think it was a pretty good format and it actually, I think it makes a good radio program actually.

Buchanan: Yeah. Oh, it sure does. I mean, I was driving down in the car and I had to pick up right upstairs and cut it on. And it was really something, yeah.

President Nixon: A lot of people [unclear] on the radio. Well, at least the boys did a good job in preparing them.

Buchanan: Yeah.

President Nixon: OK, thanks.

Buchanan: OK, thank you, sir.


1 Richard A. Moore was a White House counsel. (↑)

2 Spiro T. 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.