Friday, May 28, 1971 - 9:08am - 9:12am
Richard Nixon, Bob Haldeman
Oval Office

In a conversation about wiretapping and surveillance of Democrats, White House Chief of Staff H.R. "Bob" Haldeman tells President Richard Nixon about the "spot coverage" of Senator Edward M. Kennedy [D-Massachusetts].

Editors' Note: The quality of the recording is marred by frequent banging.

President Nixon: [505c|22:04] I think the best way to play these is to go after—that’s why I want, Bob, more use of wiretapping. And, you know [unclear] are we doing adequately the [unclear] candidates, the tailing and so forth? [Unclear.]

Bob Haldeman: We’re on and off on [Edmund] Muskie.

President Nixon: Well, it should not be on and off. I mean, that’s something we can afford. That’s better than to hire 18 more researchers, you know, or little boys who go over there and try to figure out what the PR line should be. We can figure that out. We can’t do any, we can’t get any information. Why don’t you do that? Why don’t you put your money—put a little money on that? [Unclear] find some pretty good stuff. I don’t know whether [unclear] candidate. Maybe, maybe there’s better targets, but [unclear] one [unclear] Muskie.

Haldeman: Well, we’ve got--we’ve—

President Nixon: [Unclear] [Edward] Kennedy.

Haldeman: —got, you know, spot coverage on Kennedy just because--

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: --you know, wanting to know what he’s doing.

President Nixon: Good.

Haldeman: And then we have access in on all of them through this guy that moves in and out of them, moving around.

President Nixon: Oh, yeah.

Haldeman: Chapman—1

President Nixon: Chapman [unclear] man, yeah. That’s right.

Haldeman: [Unclear] gossip and [unclear] sort of chit-chat. But we’ve got a fairly good fix on what they’re all doing.

Edit. The conversation continues on other topics.

  • 1. "Chapman's Friend" was the code name used in the White House for journalist Seymour K. Freidin, who was paid by longtime Nixon campaign operative Murray Chotiner  to provide intelligence on the Democrats. J. Anthony Lukas, Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon Years (New York: Bantam Books, 1973, 1974, 1976), p.219.

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