Sunday, April 18, 1971 - 10:13pm - 10:22pm
Richard Nixon, H.R. (Bob) Haldeman
White House Telephone


President Richard Nixon: Yeah.

Operator: Mr. Haldeman, sir.1

H.R. “Bob” Haldeman: Yes, sir.

President Nixon: Yeah, hi, Bob.

Haldeman: Hi.

President Nixon: You know, I was very amused by that—did you see the front page of the Post about the poll they'd taken?

Haldeman: Yeah. Three hundred people or something?

President Nixon: Well, in the District. But now—

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: The point that I make is, I'd leave out, and I think you have—I don't know, did they run, did we run our poll today?

Haldeman: We released—the ORC [Opinion Research Corporation] released it, yeah.

President Nixon: Yeah, they released it, fine. What did we release? We didn't release on demonstrations, did we?

Haldeman: I think we did.

President Nixon: That's too bad. What I'd rather do is to suck a few of these, uh, left-wing congressmen into the, well, the Post probably didn't run our ORC—

Haldeman: Uh, I haven't seen ours run; I haven't been all the way through the paper, but—

President Nixon: Yeah, yeah, it may not be. Well, we ran, but our demonstration thing ran, what? Sixty-five, wasn't it, or something?

Haldeman: Sixty-five against, yeah.

President Nixon: Or something like that. But in any event, you see this is, uh, this is by reporters calling, boy—I'll tell you what a phony that it is.

Haldeman: Oh, yeah.

President Nixon: Yeah. But of course in the District it would be much higher than any place else.

Haldeman: Although they claim they did it in the affluent suburbs, but—

President Nixon: Well, and it would be higher there as, actually—

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: —you know. You're running into that kind of stu—

Haldeman: But it wouldn't be as high as they got it. It would—

President Nixon: Oh, no. Bob, there's a hell of a lot of Jews live in the District, see.

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: See, the Gentiles have moved out.

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: And, uh, I'd say with, if they're affluent suburbs, it would tend to be half of it Jewish, and, you know, it's really loaded.

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: But nevertheless, nevertheless, my view is, uh, that's a good thing to let the congressmen get a little worried about, don't you think so?

Haldeman: Well, [laughs] in any event, they'll see that above, above ours because they gave it, of course, a front-page play.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Haldeman: And, uh—

President Nixon: Ours.

Haldeman: We've got a lot of congressmen out, out on the demonstration, anyway.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: An awful lot of ‘em that have, they've got, I mean, not a lot, but they've got more than they usually get.

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: And they've got Muskie, and, you know, some of the key candidate types—2

President Nixon: Right, right.

Haldeman: —McGovern.3

President Nixon: Well, fine, then it's just as well, probably, to let ours go, but I'd, uh, I'd be sure ours is ridden. I just wanted to que-, I guess maybe now it's just as well to let it ride and, uh, so a few—

Haldeman: The main point on ours was to get it out, so we could get it to our people on—

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: —on the support of the war.

President Nixon: That's right, that's right.

Haldeman: Uh, well—

President Nixon: Well, we got that around, and anyway so that our people don't—

Haldeman: And we may have left the demonstration thing out.

President Nixon: —and so that we, and, and maybe you're right, too. You don't want to have our people, uh, I mean, even though the Kennedys come out, we don't want to have Republicans get the idea, well, everybody's supporting demonstrations here.

Haldeman: Right.

President Nixon: And, uh, which, that's probably a good idea, probably a good idea. OK, well, I'd certainly get ours on demonstrations to the, to our, our friends.

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: [Laughs.]

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: I think, I think, if it wasn't, why, uh, you better put out a little separate one and let the, let the Post have, uh, that'll, that'll be a hell of a good thing for [clears throat] ORC to release probably about Thursday anyway.

Haldeman: Mm-hmm.

President Nixon: If they didn't release it this time. What do you think?

Haldeman: Yeah, I think it would be—

President Nixon: It'll sorta shake these people up—

Haldeman: —Thursday or Friday—

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Haldeman: —and get them—

President Nixon: What is our s-, the intelligence is still flimsy on the demonstrations, is it?

Haldeman: Yeah. The, uh, there's no evidence of any important radical involvement in, uh—

President Nixon: Oh, the radicals are not in it? I thought they were.

Haldeman: Well, they're, they're, they're in it that, some of the radical leadership is, but there's no, no evidence of any—

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman:—uh -

President Nixon: Yeah.


President Nixon: Right, right.

Haldeman: And that, the where, where it, uh, where there's a chance of that really is more in the, apparently, more in the May 1 to 5--

President Nixon: I see.

Haldeman: —period than, than in the—

President Nixon: The big one's the Twenty-fourth, isn't it?

Haldeman: Twenty-fourth—

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Haldeman: —is the big—

President Nixon: Mmm-hmm.

Haldeman: —march deal, and they're not—

President Nixon: How're they doing, how're they getting the colleges and universities, is that—

Haldeman: Well—

President Nixon: —[unclear]?

Haldeman: they're, they're trying to use, uh—

President Nixon: High schools.

Haldeman: —high schools—

President Nixon: Well, that might be [unclear].

Haldeman: —as their recruiting thing, which may work—

President Nixon: May work.

Haldeman: —may get a lot of kids that way.

President Nixon: You remember, high schools, uh, well, they'll do, you remember how the high school kids all go to Balboa and—

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: They might, this might be their kick—to come to Washington

Haldeman: Well, but that's the way to play it down, too. I mean, if it turns out to be a lot of high school kids, it's, it's not gonna have as much significance—

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Haldeman: —and we can make the point that it's just a spring vacation outing for—

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: —for them, instead of a—

President Nixon: High school kids aren't as likely to get rough, are they?

Haldeman: Oh, I dunno, they still . . . they use pot, too, so they—

President Nixon: Well, I see, I see.

Haldeman: The roughness pretty much gets related to the drugs. They get—

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: —doped up, you know, and they—

President Nixon: They get doped up, then they bust the windows.

Haldeman: That's when they cut loose.

President Nixon: I want them to break those windows up at the Capitol, I think.

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: That's the best thing that can happen to those congressmen, ‘cause the way the Washington Post is, uh, well, has really completely submerged the [laughs] the, uh, you know, the damage done in these demonstrations.

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: My God, this'd, this would really shock them, wouldn't it?

Haldeman: Yup.

President Nixon: OK. . . .

Haldeman: Plus there's apparently no, no interest in this thing in, uh, doing much at the White House. The veterans are going to come and leave their medals at the White House or something, but that's about the only, all the marches are going to be, um, down, down to the Capitol rather than by the White House, and there seems to be no—

President Nixon: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Haldeman: —no focus here.

President Nixon: Fine, fine. Oh, well. We'll see what happens. I don't know, I can't believe that they can have that damn much steam in it, you know, at this point, that's all there's, this, uh—

Haldeman: Well, they're not—

President Nixon: —except it's the, except it's a ni-. . . it'll be a nice time of year. They're, they're at a damn good time of year.

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: That's the one thing.

Haldeman: But it's, you know, it may catch hold, but there's sure no, uh, like before there were enormous build-ups. There's a lot of activity, a lot of chartered buses, and—

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Haldeman: —all that, and now there's, they've got one train chartered from, from—

President Nixon: New York.

Haldeman:—New York or someplace, and 10 or 15 buses from New England, but that's, you know, that's—

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Haldeman: —maybe a thousand, two thousand people.

President Nixon: I see.

Haldeman: That isn't gonna accomplish anything.

President Nixon: There's a lot more than that before, wasn't there?

Haldeman: Oh, yeah, there were hundreds—

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Haldeman: —and there maybe, you know, maybe they've go something else—

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Haldeman: —something else going, but, uh, and maybe there'll be more when—

President Nixon: Oh, yeah.

Haldeman: —they—

President Nixon: Well, we don't—

Haldeman: —come down this weekend.

President Nixon: —don't—not gonna worry about it. Let's just be a, um, I still think people gonna be turned off by them, ‘cause they'll do something, some, don't worry, there'll be enough roughness.

Haldeman: There usually is. They get, you know, it's just the usual rock concert—

President Nixon: And also they look dumb.

Haldeman: —[unclear].

President Nixon: They're gonna look bad, too.

Haldeman: Yeah, oh, yeah, they look—

President Nixon: Put them on TV, the press ‘ll put ‘em on TV.

Haldeman: Yep.

President Nixon: Yeah. Speaking of press, how did they handle the press thing on the news? Do you know? Last night. Or you haven't I haven't seen it in the news summary yet.

Haldeman: I haven't see it, so I don't know.

President Nixon: I was just wondering what they ran. I imagine they had quite a bit on the radio, because they had that [unclear].

Haldeman: There were huge chunks on the radio all day.

President Nixon: Yeah, yeah, well that's good, that's good, that's a good way to . . . I think, you know, that turned out extremely well from a standpoint of using the radio, you know, because at first, as Zeigler says, everybody's calling it a press conference. And second, the radio deal, in other words, it doesn't have the impact on the nation because you're not seeing the TV thing, but we've had a press conference and now you do something else. Now we're all set to do a TV one without having overloaded it.

Haldeman: Right.

President Nixon: Don't you agree? That that's—this radio thing was—of course, we can do that if we ever do anything in the office again, we'll certainly have it on the radio.

Haldeman: Yeah. Well, I sure think so.

President Nixon: Yeah, it's worth doing. All right, thanks Bob.

Haldeman: Right.


1 H.R. “Bob” Haldeman was White House chief of staff. (↑)

2 Edmund S. Muskie was a Democratic senator from Maine, the 1968 vice presidential candidate, and a candidate for the 1972 presidential nomination. (↑)

3 George S. McGovern was a Democratic senator from South Dakota and a presidential candidate. (↑)

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