Friday, February 23, 1973 - 3:29pm - 3:32pm
Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush
White House Telephone


President Nixon: Hello?

White House Operator: I have [Republican National Chairman] Mr. George Bush.

President Nixon: Yeah.

White House Operator: Here you are, sir.

President Nixon: George?

George H.W. Bush: Mr. President.

President Nixon: I had nothing of great importance--I know you're in Florida--but the thought occurred to me, when I spoke to the South Carolina legislature, I noticed a couple of very attractive women. Both of them [were] Republicans in the legislature.

Bush: Yes, sir.

President Nixon: And one good-looking and very--and they had won and so forth. I spoke to [White House Special Counsel] Harry Dent about it when he came in to see me the other day, and I said, "You know, some of these districts, if they can do it in the South, I'm rather surprised they were there. [Unclear] get some of these--I don't want to go through the Lenore Romney thing.1

Bush: Yes.

President Nixon: But I want you to be sure to emphasize to our people that, by God, let's look for some, because I--and understand I don't do it because I'm for women, but I'm doing it because maybe a woman might win some place where a man might not.

Bush: Good.

President Nixon: So have you got that in mind?

Bush: I will certaintly keep it in mind, sir. Fine.

President Nixon: And if you'll would talk to  Harry [Dent] about it, he'll tell you how they found these women.

Bush: [Unclear.]

Nixon: I don't know how they did. But these were two in the state legislature, you see.

Bush: Yeah. That's great.

President Nixon: And boy, they were good-looking and bright and they told me--the Democrat who's the Speaker, he said they're two of the best members of the House.

Bush: Well, that's terrific, and I hope this Janet Johnson, that she gets on board next week. She's young herself and attractive and we--

President Nixon: Right.

Bush: --need to get her folded well into the recruiting in the candidates.

President Nixon: Right.

Bush: Incidentally, sir, Reitz, [campaign aide] Ken Reitz is going start, I think, on March 3 or 5, and he'll be planning a while. That's--I don't know if [White House Chief of Staff H.R.] Bob Haldeman told you about my call regarding the Congressional Campaign Committee thing.

President Nixon: Yeah, I heard about that and I said--

Bush: And it may be fine.

President Nixon: [Rep. Robert H.] Michel's [R-Illinois] fine. He's a friend, and if you could get the two of them, it'd be great.

Bush: Well, I think that--the thing I wanted to be sure [of] is that it wouldn't cause you any trouble if it went that route.

President Nixon: No. We didn't offer--We didn't talk to [Rep. Clarence J "Bud"] Brown.[R-Ohio]

Bush: Yeah. Well, this would be good. And it will work one way or the other, and I think that'd be helpful.

President Nixon: Right. Right.

Bush: Well, I'm not disheeding your advice, but I was locked into a couple of these Lincoln days.2 But it finished today.

President Nixon: That's great.

Bush: So we'll back there on--

President Nixon: I'm sure they all love you. OK.

Bush: I don't know about that. But it's going good. It's going--I'll send you a little note on it.

President Nixon: Good. You're getting a good reception?

Bush: Well, I think so. You are. [laughs]

President Nixon: Yeah.

Bush: I'll tell you, you're going to win this--I was up in Rochester last night. They had 2,000 people, and that--

President Nixon: New York?

Bush: Yeah. And they had this whole group of all these New York state fellows, and the mayor came up and gave me a slight protest on the city stuff, but then I said, "Look, he's going to win this thing," and he said, "I know it." He said, "It's very, very clear to me." He said, "All I'm saying is, I'm a Republican mayor, and if there's any way you can help." I said, "Well, hell, maybe we can find something." But the thing that impressed me was [that] here was an urban, you know not the center city, New York City, but a big city and the mayor--

President Nixon: Yeah. And very socially conscious, too.

Bush: Yes, sir. And they think, you know, nobody tells me they think we're going to lose on this tack of taxes, jobs, and keeping the cost of living and it's, of course, damn clear what [unclear].

President Nixon: Of course, the other thing too is, George, that we are spending one hell of a lot of money. We're spending twice as much today on what we call human resources as we did four years ago. Now that's just [an] awful lot of dough.

Bush: Of course. And we're hammering on that. And I'm--

President Nixon: Good. Great.

Bush: I'm beginning to be feel good about it all.

President Nixon: All right.

Bush: OK, sir.

President Nixon: Good luck.

Bush: Thank you for the call.

President Nixon: Good luck. Have a good visit.

Bush: Thank you, sir.

  • 1. Lenore Romney was wife of George Romney, the former Republican Governor of Michigan and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Nixon Administration. In 1970 she had run for the U.S. Senate but had been soundly defeated by the incumbent, Democrat Philip Hart.
  • 2. Bush is referring to Republican Lincoln Day fundraising events.

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