Tuesday, January 23, 1973 - 10:44pm - 10:47pm
Richard Nixon, Raymond Price
White House Telephone

Having delivered from the Oval Office a nationally televised speech announcing a peace agreement with the North Vietnamese, President Nixon passed on some feedback from his daughter to his speechwriter, Ray Price.

President Nixon: Hello?

Operator: Mr. Ray Price, sir. Here you are.

Raymond Price: Yes, sir.

President Nixon: I thought you'd be interested to know that my daughter Julie was--gave me an indication that we must have been successful. She said she had never seen the CBS crew, said Dan Rather, Eric Sevareid, Marvin Kalb, were just dying. They thought--I mean, they said they--no, thought it was a horrible thing that peace had come, and they were so sick about it and so--You know what I mean? And she was really--it pleased her because she realized that with the line they had taken that we'd really stuck 'em in the groin. [Price laughs] But the press--Ron [Ziegler] says he's never seen the press room so depressed. Never. The worst he's ever seen them. You remember, just what I told you they'd be. The photographers, no, but the writing press because they can't stand--as I tell you, Ray, the intellectual can't stand to be proved wrong.

Price: I watched, as you know, but I caught part of the CBS commentary afterward, and they were sort of just floundering, really.

Nixon: [laughing] I know. But they--as Julie said, they looked green. And that's a [unclear] reaction. But on the other side that, she liked--she thought the speech was beautifully written and concise and so forth, and she got all the points, so that's good.

Price: Well, I thought it came off superbly. I really did.

Nixon: Well, anyway, the point that I wanted to say is that you--

Price: [Unclear] that it was done from the Oval Office.

Nixon: Oh, listen. Listen. Let me tell you. We did exactly the right thing. I could sense when I briefed the [Congressional] leaders. They were so bamboozled. You know, [Mike] Mansfield sat there with his mouth open and Tip O'Neil, of course, [unclear]. And they would have been, they would have been a hell of a time. And it's the wrong thing with [Lyndon] Johnson.1 But here we could talk--you could talk about the POWs. You see, talking to them, talking to the North Vietnamese. You couldn't have done that from the Congress. You see? And I--we made exactly the right decision. But let me say that the language of everything, getting this in these simple terms--as a matter of fact it's the same, I feel, I felt it had sort of the same simplicity and leanness that the inaugural [address] had.2You know? Didn't you think so?

Price: Yes. Well, in many ways, I liked this, in many ways, even better. I think just because it--I thought the inaugural was very good, and it came off. This, I thought, was superbly fitted to the occasion. I really did.

Nixon: Right.

Price: [Unclear].

Nixon: Well, take a little rest. OK. Thank you.

Price: [Unclear.] Thank you, Mr. President.

  • 1. Former President Lyndon Johnson had died the previous day.
  • 2. Three days earlier, Nixon had delivered his second inaugural address, another speech that Price had helped write.

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