Wednesday, May 12, 1971 - 5:29pm - 5:31pm
Richard Nixon, Leslie Arends
White House Telephone

President Nixon: Yeah.

Operator: Congressman [Leslie C.] Arends [R-Illinois] is on the line, sir.

Leslie Arends: Yeah.

President Nixon: Hello.

Arends: Hello.

President Nixon: Well, you won a close one.1

Arends: [chuckling] Oh, Mr. President.

President Nixon: Yeah, and I just wanted to tell you how pleased I was, and I've been trying to reach you earlier, but you were running around.

Arends: Yeah, yeah.

President Nixon: Where have you been? Out at Burning Tree?

Arends: No, no [laughs].

President Nixon: [Laughs.]

Arends: Not with that [unclear].

President Nixon: Well, that was a wonderful job, wonderful job.

Arends: [Unclear] real hard work.

President Nixon: Yeah, and it's great. Now, you know just get good conferees--”

Arends: That's it.

President Nixon: --”because we'll force that Senate. You know, even if we lose it there. You can't recede completely, can you?

Arends: Hell, no. No, sir.

President Nixon: No, sir. Never.

Arends: No, that's right. Now we've kind of got them on the hump a little bit.

President Nixon: OK. How do our guys feel now that they've won it? Do they feel good?

Arends: They feel, a lot of the boys feel real good about it. Yeah, and I think some of the boys who even voted against us are a little happy about it now. You know?

President Nixon: Great.

Arends: We changed four of them in Illinois. We got four boys from Illinois. [Representative Robert H.] Michel and [Representative Harold R.] Collier and [Representative Philip M.] Crane. And--”

President Nixon: Isn't that wonderful.

Arends: [House Minority Leader Gerald R.] Ford got them to withdraw their --œno-- votes and vote present. We got pairs for them.2

President Nixon: [Laughs.] Good!

Arends: That made the difference.

President Nixon: That's great!

Arends: Oh, yeah.

President Nixon: That's great.

Arends: It was great.

President Nixon: Well--”

Arends: Well, I'm glad it worked out.

President Nixon: Well, I appreciate it Les. Bye.

Arends: Yeah, I know you do, and gosh, we're on the team.

President Nixon: Bye. Right, bye.

Arends: Thanks, Mr. President.


1 The House had voted 201--“197 to resume financing the Supersonic Transport. New York Times, 13 May 1971, --œRoll-Call Vote in House on Financing of SST Project.-- (↑)

2 Arends refers to the parliamentary maneuver of --œpairing-- lawmakers who plan to vote opposite ways, thus canceling one another's votes out. (↑)

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