Writing For 37

Uploaded by NixonFoundation on 20.04.2011

Hello, I'm Jeff Shepard,
and I'm here to welcome
you today on behalf of the
Nixon Foundation to our
10th Nixon Legacy Panel.

We began these panels last year
and we have every expectation of continuing
them through the centennial
of Richard Nixon's birth in January of 2013.
We sponsor these in
conjunction with the National Archives
and my counterpart, the
assistant archivist, in charge
of all presidential libraries will be
here at the end to help us conclude today's panel.

Today's Legacy Panel is
entitled Working with 37:
White House Speech Writers
Remember Working With Richard Nixon.

You see, soaring rhetoric
alone can not sustain
a presidency, it takes substance.
But, substance without sizzle, can not persuade.
Every administration struggles with
a combination of substance
and sizzle to show presidential leadership.
How that was worked out
with our thirty seventh president is
the topic today and we
have an excellent moderator with
us that I'd like to introduce
right now, Lee Huebner.

Lee came, Lee?
Lee came to Richard Nixon's
attention in 1962 as the
co founder of the Ripon
Society at the University of Wisconsin.
And he worked with Richard Nixon
in what we call the wilderness
years when he was a private
citizen and successfully was
with him in the 1968
campaign when he was elected president.

So Lee became the youngest
member of the speech
writing team that started on
Nixon's White House staff and
he was by no means the least contributor.
He'd been with the man so
long he was a contributor from the very outset.
At the end of his White
House years, he then
became the long time publisher
of the International Herald Tribune and
when that ended he became a full time college professor.

He taught at Northwestern University
and here at George Washington University
where he only recently stepped down
as Director of their School
of Media and Public Affairs.
It gives me great pleasure
to introduce Lee Huebner a long and good friend.

Thanks, Jeff so very much.
It's wonderful to be here to see all of you here.
I should thank Jeff for the
wonderful job he's done
for steering these Nixon Legacy
programs over the last
year and a half and the series continues.
I know in good form.
Jeff's also been a leader in
keeping Nixon alumni in touch with one another through the years.

So our thanks go to him
and to everyone at the Nixon foundation
and at George Washington University who has
helped to make this
program by have it come together.
I'm wearing my George Washington hat this
afternoon and in that role
it's my pleasure to welcome you
all to the School of Media and Public Affairs.

So many students friends here,
and we're also so happy
to welcome those who are joining us on C-SPAN.

When I first joined the White
House staff, in 1969, there were
five of us writers,
and I think we'll
see a picture of that group here.
That picture actually hangs in my office, has been ever since then.
My office is now one floor above this auditorium.
And we're so pleased
that all four of the
people on that photo, who that
are still living, are with us this afternoon.

A lot of others joined
the staff after that point and
I think that we could have a
wonderful discussion with them some day as well.
But I'd like to add, in
looking at this photo, that first
of all you will notice that we
haven't changed much in 40
years, but let me
point out that Ray Price is
on the left side of the picture.

Believe it or not that's me next to him.
Then comes Pat Buchanan, and
then next in line, sitting
on the sofa, is the Chief
of Staff of the White House
Bob Haldeman, carefully taking notes as he always did.
Then comes Bill Gavin, he's followed by Jim Keogh.
Jim Keogh was the first Director of the White House staff.

A wonderful leader.
He passed away about five years ago.
Earlier executive editor of Time Magazine and later head of the USIA.
Ray Price took Jim Keogh's place as director.

Finally to right sitting closest
to President Nixon of course you'll
recognize William Sapphire who died
last, less than two years ago
and whom we all, I know,
this afternoon are thinking of with special affection.

And now, having introduced them through their photos.
Let me welcome them in person and
invite our White House
speech writing panel to the stage.
Very quickly, Ray Price, the
chief speech writer for much of Nixon's tenure.
Joined the New York staff in 1967.
He had served earlier as editorial page editor.

At the New York Herald
Tribune and later as
President of Economic Club of New York.
His memoir is called "With Nixon."
Highly recommended.
Buchanan was a journalist with
the Saint Louis Globe Democrat before he
became the first full time
adviser and writer in
the Nixon comeback efforts of the mid sixties.

He later went on to be communications director for president Reagan.
You may also have heard that he
himself has been a presidential candidate,
three times, I think, if I
remember that right, and you've
undoubtedly read his books and maybe have seen him on television.

William Gavin was a Pennsylvania
High School teacher who wrote
a fan letter to Mr. Nixon
in 1967 soon afterward became
a key writer for him.
Bill is about to publish a book called Speechwrite.
Write is spelled with a
WR to signal the
craft like nature, I think, of this calling.
Bill is the only one of what
he has called the original five that
went on to a long speech writing career.

Three decades, working mostly
for Senator James Buckley and House Minority Leader Bob Michael.
Ken Khachigian joined the staff after this photo was taken.
and in a sense
represents a lot of
people who came onto the writing staff in later years.
It might be a good program with all of them gathered together at some point.

Ken's now a lawyer in California, republican political veteran.
He's worked on, what I think are nine presidential campaigns.
Ken began at the White House in 1970.
Worked on President Nixon's memoirs
with the President in San Clemente
and was the first chief speech writer for President Reagan.

So, that's the group,
the panel and we're delighted they're
here and we welcome them most warmly.
I was asked if I would say
a few more words of
stage setting, and then we
can move on quickly and my
colleagues can pick up
where I leave off and correct
my mistakes or misimpressions, or
confirm, maybe, some of the things I said.

The White House, when Nixon
came to office, was involved
in what we might today call
'three forms of messaging', magic word.
Each was an independent operation cooperating closely with one another but reporting separately to the Chief of Staff, Bob Holderman, and thus to the President. Some historians have mixed up that point so I think it's worth clarifying.
Three units in, one
in the press office, which Ron Zeigler
headed, dealing primarily with the white house press core.
Two communications offices headed
by Herb Klein, which dealt
with long range media strategy and national media contacts.

And then there was the Writing and Research staff .
The first such group to
have that formal name and we
all dealt with the president's own
words, whether they were spoken or on paper.
This unit had several sub-tasks and
I may just tick them off to set the stage here.

Speech writing, of course, was
the most prominent, but that form
had two subcategories under it.
First there was the drafting of actual speech texts.
Normally the president would rewrite those quite heavily.
In fact, many historians say
he may have been
the most active of
all recent presidents in rewriting
and drafting his own speeches.

That was one part of it.
The second speech writing task was
what we called suggested remarks.
I wound up working on this form a lot.
Nixon normally preferred to speak without any notes.
He welcomed, however, research
and background material in the
form of what he would call
nuggets, if I remember the word right.

And that term included a vast variety of material.
Statistics, anecdotes, jokes if
we could do them, quotations, slogans,
parables, historical references, personal memories.
And we would often send
him nine or ten of
these little short items, maybe three of four pages of material.
Kind of smorgasbord.

We used to think of it
as a list of
tasty little morsels from which
he could then select a few
and weave them into his extemporaneous remarks.
And sometimes we'd hit the jackpot
and we'd use almost everything and other times we'd strike out completely.

So that was all part of the speech writing process per se.
Speech writing was only one part of it, however.
A lot of what we did finally appeared in written form.
One example would be the president
's long messages to Congress
where he would lay out and detail
the administration's legislative proposals.

And there were countless other documents.
Ken and I were talking about this earlier.
Announcements and appointments and
reactions and directions and
communicates and proclamations and
executive orders, books and
pamphlets and introductions to books
and pamphlets and letters and greetings.
A lot of words to be
massaged, or written, or
rewritten or polished as the days pass by.

Part of our staff as well,
for the sake of completeness, I should
say, involved presidential correspondents,
that was a whole separate section reporting
to the chief, the writing staff.

And then there was a very influential
daily news summary prepared under
Pat Buchanan's direction and linked to the preparation of presidential press conferences.
There was a very tenacious
research staff which helped to
produce all of the raw materials
for this process and to verify it's accuracy.
And I should mention that there
was a lot of writing as well
for other people, other members
of the administration and people, supporters around the country.

Finally, if I could just add
a personal observation, I think the
senior staff, and by
that I probably chiefly mean
Price, Buchanan and Sapphire played
important roles as general purpose
advisers to the President
in written memoranda and also in person.
So a lot was going on and it was exciting.
And we were dealing with a
lot of different people, a lot
of different issues, a lot of
different sections of the country,
different parts of the world.

We all came from very different backgrounds and outlooks.
I think most projects were usually
assigned to us individually, but my
happy memory is that
we always worked very well together.
And I know we all
feel very fortunate to have had
the opportunity to be there
at that time and it's really
great to come back together
this afternoon and have a
chance to talk a bit more about it all.

So that's the overview and let
me, at this point, then call
upon the first person to
join the Nixon's staff at this time, Pat Buchanan.
He came to the staff in
the midst of a rather incredible
period in American history, and
a rather remarkable moment in Richard
Nixon's life, because that
was the moment when he was really
beginning his comeback efforts.

Pat you want to set the stage for us?

Alright, let's...you go back
to 1964 and the Republicans, of
course, as you folks know, were
completely wiped out by Lyndon
Johnson, reduced to 140
seats in the House.
Richard Nixon was a two time loser.
He had been defeated in 1960.
Defeated in '62, partly
because of the Cuban Missile Crisis
interrupted his momentum.

I joined up in late 1965
and I was the
first full time staffer
other than Rosemary Woods in his office.
And our office was a tiny
enclave off from the Vice President's office.
We called him the boss then, the
Vice President's office, in whom
a lady who called herself
Pat Ryan helped out with the phones.

Pat Ryan was Mrs. Richard
Nixon and she worked
helping out with the phones and
I bummed an awful lot of
cigarettes from her over those
years, but let me take you up.
In 1966, Nixon was the
most avid campaigner for
the Republican party across the country.
He went to 80 states, excuse
me 35 states 80 Congressional
Districts and we won
47 House seats and
Nixon had predicted this victory
and all of a sudden he
was alive again as a
potential candidate in 1968.

Although most of the national media had written him off.

Let me talk briefly now about
that campaign of 1968, where Ray
Price and I and some
folks out here in this
audience, flew every day
and were with him every day of that campaign.
Ray and I started off on
a plane, I think it was the
thirty first of January, in
order to file in New
Hampshire on the last
day for filing in the New Hampshire primary.

There was a horrible snowstorm.
But when we got to
New Hampshire and Mr. Nixon
basically was put to bed
for the night in Nashua, you found
out that something going on in
Vietnam was known as the TET offensive.
That offensive lasted for
weeks and was a political
disaster in the United States as it was a military disaster for the Viet Cong. Walter Cronkite basically broke with President Johnson over the
war, because of the
Tet offensive and it completely
divided the country and inflamed the anti-war movement.

Within three weeks, after Nixon
had filed, our opponent George
Romney dropped out of
the race, the father of Mitt
Romney, because we were
leading him in our
own closet polls 7 to 1.
Then came the New
Hampshire Primary and the
startling perceived upset of Lyndon Johnson by Gene McCarthy.
Actually Johnson won the race,
49 to 42 and Johnson
was a write-in candidate, but
McCarthy's 42 percent was
so dramatic that everyone
said, the press said President
of the United States is in deep trouble.

Four days later, after that,
Bobby Kennedy, who had stayed
out of the race, he jumps into the race.
And I remember Murray Kempton,
many people were bitter about
that and said it was completely opportunistic.
And I remember Murray Kempton
said Bobby Kennedy entering this
race proves that St.
Patrick did not drive all the snakes out of Ireland.

That was, alright, he gets into
the race and then we got
Nelson Rockefeller who 's supposed to get in and challenge us.
He gets up and announces "I'm
not challenging Nixon in the primaries".
So we look like we got a wide open course.
Still in March we are.
At the end of March, Lyndon Johnson's going to give his major address on Vietnam.

He announces that he will
not run again for President of the United States.
Tremendously dramatic event.
Then Humbert Humphrey would be in the race with Kennedy and McCarthy.
Four days later, Martin Luther
King was assassinated in Memphis.
And I grew up in this town in Washington, DC.
There where riots up
the Seventh Street corridor, the Fourteenth
Street corridor, the city was on fire.

And all over the country there were riots.
It must have been a hundred cities; large and small riots.
That continued three or four days.
And then we came to
May and Columbia campus
was the worst riots on the
campus of all those in the 1960's.
And then came, after
we, one week after we won
the Oregon Primary with a
tremendous victory, Bobby Kennedy
was assassinated in Los Angeles
after he won the California primary.

Then came the Democratic Convention at Chicago.
Mr. Nixon sent me out to observe.
I was in what we called the
Comrade Hilton Hotel out
there when all hell
broke loose right down in
front of us in Grant Park.
Democratic party coming apart in the streets of Chicago.

We were after our convention and
Humphrey's convention, we were
leading Humphrey 43 to 29
and George Corley
Wallace was getting 23 percent of the vote.
That is how polarized
the country was and we
held that lead up until October
1, when Hubert Humphrey gave
his famous speech in Salt Lake
saying, I will create
a bombing halt, if I'm elected.

And the left-wing of the democratic
party and the democratic party and
all started to come
together, and it was twice
as large as our party in those days.
So Humphrey gained, and gained,
and gained, right up until
election day when Richard
Nixon won narrowly; 43-43.
So he took office
and came to town, and let
me complete on this thought, the
town he came to was
utterly hostile to Nixon.

It had loved John F. Kennedy.
It had cherished Bobby Kennedy.
Both had been assassinated.
Richard Nixon was loathed by a significant part of the press.

The bureaucracy was against him.
It had been built up against him
during the Great Society, New
Deal, Fair Deal, and it was predominately Democratic.
For the first time since Zachary
Taylor, both Houses in the
Congress were against the President
of the United States and as
I said, the media, loathed Richard Nixon.

A lot of them did.
And others of them did not like Richard Nixon.
Here was the problem, final problem
- up and down the,
if you go down the East Coast,
go to the Boston Globe, Providence Journal,
Hartford Current, New York Times,
Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, Washington Post.
Anti-Nixon all of them and three networks.

Two thirds of the American
people depended on the network
news of those three
networks as their primary
source of news information about the President of the United States.
All were hostile to Richard Nixon.
Thus, the imperative of Nixon
to communicate over, through, and
around this filter, which many
of us saw as distorted, in
order to communicate his ideas
and keep the country united behind them.

He did it by two things.
One the prime time address primarily,
and secondly, the national press conferences
he would have in prime time
which were adversary proceedings.
And it was in that environment
that he wrote his address
which my friend here was the principal author.

Do we have a little bit, it
was, it maybe that
one of the rhetorical high points
in the presidency came in its
opening minutes but the Inaugural
Address was widely perceived
as addressing, in the
right way, the kind of situation
Pat just described and I think
we have a little piece of it
to share with you right now.

The greatest honor history can
bestow, is the title
of peace maker.
This honor now beckons America.
The chance to help lead
the world at last, out of
the valley of turmoil and on
to that high ground of peace
that man has dreamed of since the dawn of civilization.
If we succeed,
generations to come will
say of us now living, that
we mastered our moment.

That we helped make the world safe for mankind.
This is our summons to
greatness. And I
believe the American people are ready to answer this call.

Ray, historians point out
a lot of people contributed the so,
know, a lot of people contributed passages to that speech.
But you were, right there with the president putting it together.
What, what's your recollection of all of that?

Should I get up and chat or?

You're welcome to stay there if you like.

It's true, he
was, he was his own chief speech writer.
I had the title, for
the last two years rather, being head of the writing and research staff.
But he, from time,
from his earliest
days on, he, he had
been a champion debater in high school and college.
He was more comfortable, always more comfortable, without a text than with one.

And my educated guess, from the
time that I ran the stop
was, shop, was that about
1 out of 20 speeches was written,
about 19 out of 20 were not, and he never used notes.
Different from what, most of what, you see today.
He would know what he wanted to say, he would have it well in his mind.
He would have planned it all out.

He would have made a lot
of notes, and we would, we
would always provide him what he
called suggested remarks.
These always had to be limited in size.
But, it would include as, as
you heard the, some ideas,
some ideas, some thoughts, some
possible language, some anecdotal
material, which could help make his points.

But essentially his speeches
were his speeches, they were not our speeches.
I've dealt over the
years, since with, I belong
to a lot of these associations of
writers and so forth, and journalistic things.
I'm a journalist myself by profession,
and I keep running
into writers from other,
from other administrations who like
to brag about how they
got the President to, without his
realizing it, put forth their agendas.

I consider my, my, one
of my functions, when I was
running the staff, making sure,
that as we circulated
drafts and so forth for
comment, that what the
president would say, would be
what he wanted to say, not
what somebody else was trying to trick him into saying.
which happens too often, I
think, in that field today.

And, but, he had a phenomenal mind.
You can't understand the Nixon
presidency without understanding the
depth, and the dexterity, of his mind.
And he was always thinking strategically and always strategizing.
He would do it quietly, do it
by himself most of the time.
But, when we got into
the writing, into the
writing things, for things
that he was going to, for speeches
he was going to make, preparing our
suggested remarks, as we called
them, and coming up with things that might be of use to him.

It was always with that in
mind that we were not
trying to dictate what he would say, or what it would mean.
But rather, trying to provide him
with material that would help
him flesh out his own
ideas, and trying to
protect him, from having other
people's ideas slipped in, without his knowledge or approval.

Which was part of our job.
We also had a very
important unit of the, what
we called the writing and research
department, which we took
over the same three people from the Johnson administration.

The research department: three women,
headed by a woman named Ceile Bellinger.
And their job was to make
sure that everything that came
out in written or spoken
form from the White House was factually correct.

And Ceile Bellinger had come from Time Inc.

I had been at Life Magazine myself and so I was familiar with this process.
That is, they had red dots and dot- black dots.

Every word had to have a dot over it.
A red dot for most things,
a black dot for most things.
A red dot for any number
or name or anything that required
special precision, which would have had to be double checked.

And that was a
huge benefit to us, having
that skill, and those
three skilled women doing it,
to make sure that
we did not make the kind
o f mistakes that too
often gets, get, get made in Washington.
But, but again, the
writing process with him, I was
his principal collaborator on
both inaugurals and all State
of the Unions and his Oval
Office, Thursday night Oval
Office, address, announcing that he would resign the following day.

I would rather not have had
that, that final address
necessary, but as long as
it was, I was glad to be the one helping on it.
And, by the
time we got that one done,
we, we had pretty much
what, what he wanted to say for it.
And, I kept hoping that
he would, it had been such
an emotional final week for
him, that he would, he
would be able to
hold up delivering it, and luckily he did.

We'll see a bit of that speech, later on.
Going back to the inaugural address,
one of the other
key passages, which I think
had originated with your writing,
if I'm not mistaken, had to
do with, some people here may
remember, with the admonition to lower our voices.


And, that, that was in the
context as Pat has described
it, that, those words really rang
out much louder than you would expect.
It was the admonition to calm down and to think, and to listen.
If we start listening to one another,
rather than shouting at one
another, that would be a good thing.

I'm glad you're mentioning it,
because, I had meant to mention
that and I forgot to.

But, when we inherited the 1960's,
we inherited, as Pat
has, I think, spelled out
for our video, what I've often
referred to as, the second most disastrous decade in American history.
Second, only to the 1860's, and
the nearest thing to a civil war, since the 1860's.

You know, but
let me just say, yes, to lower our voices.
But, by October 15, you had
300,000 to 500,000 people,
surrounding the White House, with
buses going around it,
and the 82nd Airborne in the basement.

Why has this kept rising, and subsiding?
And, that's a good transition, actually, to
the next little clip we have,
which is from the address
Nixon gave in response to
that march on Washington that
fall, that gathering of people.

It later become known as the silent majority speech.
It was November 3rd, 1979.
I think it's an example
of a speech that Nixon wrote almost entirely himself.

I remember he retreated, I think,
to Camp David, and said he didn't want to be bothered by anything.

He just wanted to focus
on how to address that particular moment in American history.
And here's part of what
he said:

"Let historians not
record, that when America
was the most powerful nation
in the world, we passed on
the other side of the
road, and allowed the
last hopes for peace and
freedom of millions of people
to be suffocated by the forces of totalitarianism.

And so tonight,
to you, the great
silent majority of my
fellow Americans, I ask for your support.
I pledged in my campaign
for the Presidency, to end the
war in a way
that we could win the peace.

I have initiated a
plan of action which will enable me to keep that pledge."

And indeed, that speech was very well received, I think Nixon's...


...poll ratings went up into the high 70's.

Well it went up to the
I think 68, but it was
the highest he got in the entire presidency.
And frankly, that sustained him I
think, right through the four years.
I mean, the only time he reached
the same level is when
the POW's came home in
March of 1973.

It's a speech well
worth reading carefully, and I
think crafted largely by the President himself.
Six months later the noise
had risen again and, Pat, you
were involved then in...

let's show another Vietnam
speech, which had I'm going to say a slightly different tone.
Nixon wanted a different tone
and he asked you to provide it and
this is the speech on

That's why he didn't pick Ray.

I think writers
were really there not
so much because they specialized in
a style or even an
ideology but they...excuse me, not
so much that they specialized in a
subject, but because they each had a style.

And in this case Nixon clearly
wanted a tough speech and
this is a little
bit of what he got and then Pat You can tell us more about it.


This is April 30th, I think, 1970.

My fellow Americans, we
live in an age of anarchy, both abroad and at home.
We see mindless
attacks on all the
great institutions which have been
created by free civilizations in
the last five hundred years.

Even here in the United States,
great universities are being systematically destroyed.
Small nations, all over
the world find themselves under attack
from within and from without.

If, when the chips are
down, the world's most
powerful nation, the United
States of America, acts like
a pitiful, helpless giant,
the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy
will threaten free nations and
free institutions throughout the world.

Yeah, let me tell you
that's April 30th.
I guess I was called into the,
the President had the Oval
Office and the office next to it.
But he would go across the
street to the Executive Office
Building where there was a huge
office deep in there, right underneath the Vice President's.

And he called me in
there and he said
"We're gonna," and this was he
said, "We're going into Cambodia, with ground troops."
And he said, "Henry
sent me a draft and he didn't like it."

Henry Kissinger?

Henry Kissinger, I'm sorry.
And so he said, "I've got some notes here and here's what I want.
I want you."
And so I started taking notes
from what he said, and then
he would say, "And take this paragraph and put it in there."

So, you're taking all this, about 12 pages of this.
And he said now go back
and in about two or three hours give me a draft.

And so during the
course of this he said,
"We're not just going to
go into the fish hook and the parrot's beak.
We're going into all eight sanctuaries."

And so, I said, "All eight," and he said, "Yeah."

And I said...and he
said, "We're already bombing them."

And I said "You're bombing them?
Sir, they're gonna know we're coming,"

And he said, "Don't worry about that, Pat.
We've been bombing them for a long time."
And that's where I found out about the Cambodia bombing.

It was going on for almost a year.

So I went back to the
office and I got working on it.
My secretary was working writing
real fast because we didn't have those computers and things.

She was writing fast and then
so I got the draft and
I took it down to him
and I of course had
copies of it, and he said don't show it to anybody.

And so this is bad news.
You know Henry might be interested.
So, I went up and went
swimming at the University
Club and then they didn't have bathing suits.
It was all men.

So, I'm swimming, paddling along in
University Club and someone comes down
to the pool, "Mr. Buchanan, the White House is on the phone."

And so I go up there,
stark naked, I pick up
the phone and I hear, "Vere is dee speech?"

It is Henry Kissinger.
I said, Henry, I'm sorry,
the old man said to give it to him and that was it.

And so, that speech though,
what happened in the aftermath, of
course, it was an enormous firestorm
created, and I got,
had arthritis problem, so I went home.
But three days later my buddy,
Mort Allen, who ran the press
summary, he called me up
and he said four
kids were killed and nine wounded at Kent State.

And I said, where's Kent State?
And country exploded.

And I hadn't even known where it was, I mean it was a small school.
And as a consequence
of that, I think Nixon
went down, and Bud Crows tells
the story in his book, he
got up one morning and he was tremendously concerned about that.

He went down to that Lincoln
Memorial and met with
the kids who tried to establish some sort of communion with them.
But it was an extremely dramatic
moment in the Nixon presidency.
And it was at that point he decided we can be only in for 60 days.
Then he pulled out.

And the troops did come out of Cambodia in 60 days.

But after that I will say that the American casualties in Vietnam.
They went up, spiked up during the Cambodian incursion.
But after that, they dropped by half.

It was a period of incredible turmoil.
And Now Kissinger in
his memoirs says, raises right
now, that you did
not work on foreign policy speeches after that.
Is that true?

Kissinger said that?


I don't think on major, I
don't know that he had, well, I don't recall.

I just wondered whether there was,
the speech, because the
speech itself was, Nixon at
his, with the bark off as he like to say.


He was tough.

Well, you know Nixon...

I mean
when he called me
in there, rather than
Ray, it was...
I mean, it was for a reason, he was ticked off.

We have somewhat different styles.

Not the most stylistic,
we could stay on that subject I may come back to it.


Speaking of different styles however, I
want to jump back in time
just a little and move on down the panel.
And to do that there's a section
in Nixon's acceptance speech in
1968, which reveals a
different side of presidential rhetoric
and one that was a little bit unusual for Nixon.
And maybe we can play that acceptance speech.

Tonight I see the face of a child.
He lives in a great city.
He's black or he's white.
He's Mexican, Italian, Polish, none of that matters.
What matters he's an American child.
That child, in that
great city, is more
important than any politician's promise.
He is America.
He is a poet.
He's a scientist.

He's a great teacher, he's a proud craftsman.
He's everything we ever hoped
to be and everything we dare to dream to be.

The passage goes on then, when,
and in it Nixon says, you
all will remember this
better than I will, I see another child tonight.
And then he talks about his own
childhood and how he
would fall asleep hearing train whistles
in the night and dreaming of far off places.
Bill Gavin contributed to that
whole sense of
heart, I think is the
word that's often associated with his
writing, so Can you
tell us a little about all of that?

Yes, I can.
Lee was kind enough to
mention my forthcoming book
as, Speech Write which
will be published by Michigan State University Press.
The reason I say that is first of all, it's a shameless plug.
But second of all, I have
spent the last two or three
years researching a lot
of stuff I did, I was
talking to my colleagues backstage
and all of us
are saying gee, I don't remember
it that way or whatever it happened to be.

And one of the
things I did was an
analysis of that acceptance speech.
I just want to speak about that
for a few minutes, because
it helped to solve a
problem and that's one of the
things I see speech writing as.
It's a technique of solving
a particular problem, it is
not, in my view,
an exercise in eloquence.

I think we've been eloquenced
to death and I
think that the search for
eloquence is the curse of the speaking class.
What our rhetoric needs,
and what Nixon did in this
speech, and so many of the
other speeches, is he directly addressed
a specific kind of a
problem, and in doing so,
he used every rhetorical tool he could.

Let me begin by
saying, the speech was
like any acceptance speech, a hodgepodge.
If people, Ray contributed, Lee
contributed, everybody threw something in.
But, he himself worked over
that speech at what, Montauk Point.


Montauk, yeah.
And, he worked over it.
And, the reason I know that
is, in order prepare for
the book, I got four
drafts of the speech, of,
of the acceptance speech.
And particularly, in that
part we, we just saw
here, he made the slightest changes sometimes.
I think one was, the original
was, I look at a face of a child.

And he changed the "at" into "into".
I looked into the face of
a child, which is a much a
much more warm way of
saying it, but in
order to understand why that
particular passage is remembered,
it should be because Richard
Nixon, in presenting that speech,
had to solve four or five problems.
The first is he had,
as Pat has pointed out, a
host of people who
quite literally hated him.

And one of the reasons
the old haters hated him
was because, he had nabbed
a man name Alger Hiss.
They never forgot that.

The second thing is he himself
had a reputation of as,
Tricky Dick, that arch
fiend who always manipulated people.
The third is he had
a reputation for what we
call "mawkishness" in his
rhetoric, the cloth Republican
coat that Pat Nixon wore.
With that little speech he
gave during the 1952 campaign.

And he himself was parodied by
a lot of people because
of the way he spoke, the out of sync.
He had to solve and make
sure that all of
those things were taken care of in his speech.
Anybody thinks his speech is, well, it's just words.
That's not true.
Words is, the whole thing
is him, projecting that.

I had been a high school teacher of English.
I wrote a letter to a
lawyer name Richard Nixon urging him that he run for president.
I got a form letter back a week later.
I didn't know anything about form letters.
I had no idea.
And then eventually I
got a phone call from a
man name Leonard Garment who said
that Mister Nixon likes
what you do and why don't
you start sending in one-liners?

In December of 1967, I
was still a high school
teacher working as a master
teacher at the graduate school
of education at the University
of Pennsylvania at that time but I was still a high school teacher.
We get an invitation to come
to Richard Nixon's Christmas
party at his Fifth Avenue thing.
I'm a high school teacher.

What, I can't believe it.
Is this a fake?
Is somebody kidding me, what?

So we went there,
we walked in, as you
walked in, you walked in
and the elevator, you know, you
didn't go into a foyer, you
went right into the apartment.
And he was he was standing
with his back toward us and
I think it was Dwight Chapin, I'm not too sure, but it must have been Dwight.

He came and he introduced
me to Richard Nixon and Nixon said to me, "Ah.
Gavin, the one-liner man."
He had me.
He had me.
That was it.
I'd go anywhere with him.
And so, I kept on sending those things in.
He eventually asked me to become a member of the staff.

And just a sidebar here,
I was at the University of Pennsylvania graduate school of education.
So I had to get
downstairs to tell them I was gonna leave few weeks early.
So I go the the Dean and I say you know, blah blah blah.
You know he said, Well Bill, why are you leaving?
I said, I'm going to join the Richard Nixon campaign.

He just looked at me as
if I had announced I had a fatal disease.
And he said 'What on
Earth are doing anything like that for?',
and I tried to explain to him.
but it didn't work too well.
I went up to New York, eventually
went down to Miami, and before
I left New York, Len Garmin
stuck his head in my little
cubicle and said, Did you
send your thing over for the acceptance speech?

I said, nobody told me to write anything.
He said, stop asking people to tell you.
Get it and get it over to me.
So I sent it in, went
down to Miami and forgot about it.

The night of the speech
I was was watching it on
television and he got to
this part and I wasn't
even at the convention hall, I
was back in the hotel watching
it on TV, well,
I leaped in the air danced
around, it's my stuff, it's my stuff.
The next day Nixon had
a goodbye to the
staff who had helped him at the convention.

And called me over
and put his arm around me
and uncharacteristic gesture from
a man who is not touchy
feely and spoke to
me for about five minutes at that section of the speech.
He said 'Now you saw what I did with that last night, you saw what I did with it.
I didn't say this but I said that.
And did you see the way the press.

And I'm going, yeah, I didn't know what to say to him.
So then he said, I want you
to come on the Tricia and that's what happened.

Tricia was the name of the airplane.

The airplane.
That particular part part of the speech is important.
Because if he got it
a millimeter wrong, it would have been mawkish Nixon.
It would have been the Nixon
that is satirized, the Nixon that is even demonized.
But he did it.
And you didn't see this but
when he finishes that passage,
that whole building rocks.

Everybody's cheering and he's
just standing there like this with this look on his face.
And I said to someone, it's
like a great baseball player,
Albert Pujols or somebody, when
he hits a home run, they
don't smile, they just trot around the bases.
"That's what I'm paid to do, baby."
and that was the look on his face.

He hit it right on the nose.
He also did that with the rest of the speech which worked.
It continued with much more political things.
When I was with Bob Michael, Richard
Nixon came back to the
House to give a speech to House Republicans.
And Bob asked me to greet
him at the door, the document door at the Capitol building.

And he came out and he shook hands etc.
And we went upstairs and
Bob says, " How do you
like being with your old
speech writer there Mr. President?"
and he looked at me and he said, Gavin?
We raised Gavin.
And of course, it was true.
My story is not much
too sad to be told but
it's so improbable that if
I didn't live it, I wouldn't believe it.

It's a wonderful story, Let me just add something.


I was at that staff gathering that
Bill describes and I haven't heard him describe it.
But I've described to people, and
I said we were all there and
Richard Nixon, an astonishing gesture
came over, puts his arm
around Bill Gavin and he
walks apart from everybody over
there, talking to him personally for
five minutes, and what he
was telling him and we
just said it was just a
grace gesture by Nixon, but
what he was saying is, you
did a tremendous job for
me and I want everybody
here to know it and it was a very moving thing to watch.

Thank you for bringing up just one last point.
He didn't have to do that.


I was, he was one of the most famous men in the world.
I would need an entire K
Street public relations firm to
bring me to the level of decent obscurity.
Three quarters of the people who
were on the staff didn't know who I was.
Who the heck is this guy talking to Nixon, with the plaid jacket on?

And he was kind
enough to do that and I
don't present this to the court
of history as extenuating circumstances or anything
like that; but that was part of the man.

For sure.
Great sense of personal consideration.
I think we all agree with that.
And I think the less important
you were, the more considerate he was in a certain sense.
I mean he saw life
from the perspective of someone who'd
finally come up from a small town.
Small horizon roots
and was able to listen to the
train whistles in the night
and dream and then suddenly he was there.

And I think he always had and
empathy for people and saw life from that perspective.
He cared about words.
I think that's one thing that comes through.

He really cared deeply about words.
He was afraid of being corny and
I think a lot of it went back
to the Checkers, as you said
Bill, the use of a
little dog Checkers in 1952, for
which a lot of people, to this
day, can 't possibly forget about him.
Let me pick up
though, where we left off, with
some of the promise
of the first year
of the administration becoming, dissolving
in the conflict and confrontations
of the 1970 period, campus
unrest, the economy is
stagnated, the setback in
the even reelection
for Nixon looked like a daunting prospect.

At the same time, however, a
lot was going on
and a lot of other fronts.
We know that the China initiative was being planned right in that period.
We can talk about that later.
A lot was happening
on the domestic front and I
think this is one of the areas
where history more recently,
but even the public record
at that time didn't really reflect
the level of imaginative initiative
that was wrapped up in
the domestic program and I
wouldn't even try to tick off
the ten or fifteen or twenty

We had a panel here on this
stage last summer about welfare
reform, for example, and the
whole new federalism and the war on cancer.
And so many
other areas of domestic
initiative that tend to be obscured.

I think one of the
problems, Nixon himself would say,
one of our problems is we don't
have a great theme, we haven't found
an overriding slogan, we haven't
found a way to package all
of this, I want to get Ken's
thoughts on this because he was
very much involved in the effort to do that.
But before we do, if we
could just look at a little bit
of the State of the Union address in 1971.

This was after the mid-term elections.
And I think it was one
of the better efforts to you find
a phrase that might summarize
some of the domestic energy
that we felt was
there but wasn't always getting through to the public.

In these troubled years just past,
America has been going through
a long nightmare of war
and division, of crime and inflation.
Even more deeply, we have
gone through a long dark night
of the American spirit.
But now, that night is
ended, now we
must let our spirits soar again,
now, we are ready
for the lift of a
driving dream.

"Lift of a driving
dream riting the State of the Union.
Do you remember anything about it?

I don't remember much about it.
I think it was mine,
but I couldn't say for sure.

It's his.
No I mean, really I'm
sure, he used that when
we announced in 1968, we
went to New Hampshire I talked about that
was in the conference speech.
You wrote in the opening speech of the campaign.
And lift of a driving dream,
I remember Teddy White talking about that.
But let me just say briefly about the '71 speech.

This was clearly a move
to get back up on a
higher level, because it was
felt that, I was
out with Agnew in the campaign of 1970.
What we called the
seven weeks war against the radical liberals.
And Richard Nixon went out.

I don't know that phrase Pat, but

Richard Nixon went out
also and he became,
Agnew was supposed to carry
the hod, be the bayonet of the party.
But Richard Nixon went out himself
and began taking up some
of the themes we were using with the Vice President.
Saffire and I were out with
him and he came
off as exceedingly harsh and Ed
Muskie had that famous Cape
Saint Elizabeth address on national
television where he was very
calm and statesmen like and
said they say we're for
crime or you know that
is a lie and they know it's a lie.

And so, clearly we were looking
for an up, positive thrust
and put that election behind us.

John Mitchell even said the
70 campaign and looks like running
for sheriff and that
was backing away maybe from
some of that harsher rhetoric.


Ken, you came to the White House
just at that time, and you
were involved in trying to rally a lot of people on behalf of that cause.
What do you recollect?

Well, I rise in tribute
to the junior speech writers at the Nixon White House.
You had the murderer's row
of Buchanan and Sapphire and
Price and you had Lee
and Bill Gavin just under them.
And then you had a whole
tribe of us who were
really junior speech writers, who
never got to work on all the big speeches.

But our job, and that State of the Union speech.
I'm remembering that as when we announced six great goals.


And so, one of the
jobs we had was constantly
to provide background material
to push the agenda
that we had for the administration.
So that meant writing fact
sheets and talking points.
And we just didn't write
for the president, we wrote for Cabinet Officers.
We wrote for Senators.
I was Senator Dole's speech writer.

I was the speech writer for the Republican National Chairman.
I wrote for Cabinet Officers, and
I never knew it, because we
would, we would, draft segments of speeches.
And, referring to Congressional members,
we'd write one minute, we
called them cheer speeches, that we
would flood the Washington, DC.

And, it goes back to this hostile
atmosphere that we had, that
we had to overcome this constantly,
by generating, on our
own, a massive amount of
communication, of the White house.
I actually started doing that in
Herb Klein's communication shop,
and then through the political campaign of seventy- two.

And then, afterwards, we continued to do it.
Now, whether it was a war
on cancer, or revenue
sharing, and some of
the other great domestic programs we've had...

We'd have wage and price controls, at one stage.

And, and, we...

Harder to defend it.

...well we had, we had the
great controversial moments, of
the Nixon Presidency, of the
wage and price controls, August of
1971, and then in, in
72, may Before he
went to Soviet Union on a
big foreign trip, the President ordered the mining of Haifong Harbor.

Against all advice, I think.
It was a gutsy, gutsy move.

It was a huge, gutsy move.
They said he had taken leave of his senses and
it turned out to be a phenomenal foreign policy move.
You had during the Easter
offensive of 1972
in Vietnam, so you
had these great seminal moments
when there was great national controversy
and the December bombing where
President Nixon ordered the
B-52's back into the air because the
Paris peace talks were going nowhere.

One of our jobs was to
provide this backup material to
help flood the media,
our supporters, our surrogates all over the.
And I think we elevated to an art form.
And it all basically came down from the top.

It was an active effort, things
did go better, Nixon went to
China, he signed the
first the biggest arms control agreement of the nuclear era in Moscow.
The economy picked up I
think, and he won a record landslide in 72.
And then by
early '73 all the troops were out of Vietnam.

POWs came home.

And that as you said was another record high.
Nixon talked about it this
way in another State of the
Union address which was early '74 actually.

America is a
great and good land.
And we are a great
and good land because we are
a strong, free, creative people.
And because America is the
single greatest force for
peace anywhere in the world.

Today, as always
in our history, we can
base our confidence on what
the American people will achieve in
the future, on the record
of what the American people have achieved in the past.
Tonight, for the first
time in 12 years, a
President of the United States
can report to the Congress
on the state of a union
at peace with every nation of the world.

Because of this, in the
22,000 word message on the
state of the union that I
have just handed to the Speaker
of the House and the President of
the Senate, I have been
able to deal primarily with
the problems of peace, with
what we can do here at
home in America, for the
American people rather than with the problems of war.

That last little bit I asked
to be added because it gives me
a chance to talk about just one
thing that I was involved with, with that speech.
That 20,000 word message he
mentioned, which he had
handed physically to the
presiding officers at the beginning of the speech.
It was a message I'd
worked on because it was
his effort to reconcile two
very differing obligations
that a President has in the
State of the Union Address, Ray might want to speak to this.

On the one hand, this is
a great State occasion, a great ceremonial occasion.
Diplomatic corps is
there, the congress is there, the
military officers are there,
and it's a chance to
speak, in a ceremonial way,
to families gathered in living rooms across the country.
On the other hand, there's an obligation
to the administrative role of
the President, as the leader of the federal government.

Bringing in, and sending
out again, signals from every
department, and agency, and bureau,
for what's called the State
of the Union message every year,
which often turns into what is
popularly called a laundry list.
And, Nixon is the only president who has done this.
I don't know why, it's
a schizophrenic assignment, I think,
but he decided to do it in two parts.

Ray worked on an
inspiring speech to the country.
And some of us, and I
, I think I had a lead
role on this, at that moment,
worked on a twenty- thousand word,
carefully drafted, detailed message to the Congress.
And, he had it both ways, he
had a 2 tier communication approach.I
think you two thought that was an idea that one.

Yeah, yeah, it was very good and
actually, what made
it possible was what the
Constitution, the state of the union is provided
for in the US constitution.
But what the constitution
says is that the
President shall, from time to
time, report to Congress
on the state of the union.
Does not say anything about format.

In the earlier years of the country, these were written messages.
Eventually sometime probably around
the advent of television, it became
common for a president to make a State of the Union address.

Woodrow Wilson was the first one to go.

To a live, to
address the Congress.
But these things could be awfully ponderous things.
If you had to listen to one,
you might fall asleep several times.
And they'd be good if you're
trying to sleep at night trying to read one.
And so Nixon decided
to have the best of
both worlds, and he started
this practice of having
two versions, a spoken version, and a written version.

They would, the spoken version would
be covered by stuff in the written version.
The written version would be much more spelled out in detail.
And would be a
sort of a sophisticated
analysis of why the things
he was asking for in the spoken message should be done.
And, it worked well.

As he would, he would take
the two written copies, hand one
to the Speaker of the House, one
to the President of the Senate,
Senate, and then he would deliver the address.
And, it was, I think, a very helpful innovation.

You know, Lee, I worked
on one earlier, and I
was going to mention this, but, words?
That's a little over done.
I worked on one myself, after
one of Ray's speeches was delivered by the President.
And we had a 6,000 word address.
And, what you would get
there is various departments had
policies they desperately wanted to get...


in the State of the Union.
And, we said we can't
do it, because the President wants to deliver a speech.
And Lyndon Johnson would get
up there, and we're gonna
do this, and we're do
this, and we're gonna do this...

Bill Clinton went for an

hour and a half...

Exactly and they're
listing all these things and
so President Nixon said
put all those in the message
it will have the same standing,
so that people can point to it.
This is White House policy and
this is administration policy, and
get it all written and we'd start that up.

I wrote one. Mine with six thousand and I never thought we got to twenty thousand.

The written message got to twenty thousand deck early.
So the President said "I
think i would finish it about
eight in the morning and went home to bed".
And the president had,
I wasn't signing these
things with a signing pen
and one of them I still
have somewhere here definitely
designated for me and when
I wasn't there because I was
home sound asleep he was
said to have said "Oh, did we kill him in the process".

And maybe it came close.

I wanna make two observations based on what we have been seeing here.
First of all you listen
to all those speeches that you've
been watching, he's not using
a even the state
of the union speech, the inaugural
speech and all those
major speeches he did not use a teleprompter.
So we've transitioned significantly over
the years in fact, President
Reagan didn't use them that often either.

If I didn't mention it, Ken was
the key speech writer on
President Reagan's first inaugural address, and they had a speech writer at that time.

The second observation is
that what you've heard today is
that how Vietnam permeated so
much of what we did in
the White House, until 1973,
when the war ended.
Theoretically ended.
And it's just dominated everything we did.
In fact dominated probably half
of what I did as doing these kinds of things that I did.

We had, against all
odds, trying to get
public opinion to continue to
support these very difficult policies
even though we were withdrawing troops from Vietnam in huge numbers.

We had in the national security staff,
working for secretary, Henry Kissinger, three
people in sort of a
Vietnam war room, Dolph Droge,
Hans Van Kramer, and Don Bruster.
And they worked in annenimity,
and I'd be up there probably
once every two or threes day
because they collected vast amounts ofspeeches
and communication, whatnot, but
Vietnam just dominated everything
so much, until we got to have Watergate dominate everything.

You mention 1974.
You're talking January then, that
is after the Saturday Night Massacre.
That is after the Irvan
committee hearings had gone
on and had been
concluded, gone on for a
couple of months and then concluded,
and by then I
think the whole impeachment process was
underway, so I think
you see a little more
stress and strain in the
President of the United States
there, than you saw earlier.

You got to see those contrasts.

While my friends were solving
great geopolitical problems in
rhetoric, I was doing what
is known as rose garden rubbish.
And rose garden rubbish
was the contemptuousness name they
had for these things that Lee was talking about before.
There's just so many things
that the president is asked to
speak on or write something about.

And most of the
time, those things are
forgotten almost immediately after they
are said, but they have to be done.
So, while all of
these world shaking events
were going on, I was doing
like Saint Patrick's Day stuff.

Especially the Saint Patrick's Day stuff.

I knew that, yeah.
And Arbor Day, and the,
one good thing was the Duke
Ellington medal of freedom.
I worked on that.

But the point, and Lee
made it right at the beginning
is, there is
no end to the things
people want presidents to do
and when I hear even
scholars sometimes say is,
"Why do these presidents have speech-writers?
Why don't they write their own stuff?"
Well, one reason is if
they did that, they'd never come
out of the Oval Office, which in
some cases might be good,
but you've got to have
people and he put together,
and again Lee stressed this,
he put together a staff
that had different styles.

And I once read a
criticism of that, in which
they said, that just makes
the President one day
he's Ray Price, the next day Pat Buchanan, whatever it happens to be.

And the answer to that is,
you can get it from art or you can get it from your own life.
Presidents, like anybody else, have many dimensions to them.
They have many sides.
They have many ways of communicating.
And when you have people
on your staff like fellows like this.
It makes it easier for you to do that.

Speaking of being multidimensional,
Richard Nixon was surely, surely that.
The end of that speech we just
saw, I guess Pat was implying,
he sort of left
the formal part of the speech.
And said I must add a word about Watergate.
The first time he used that word to the Congress anyway.
And he talked briefly
about how the business of the country would go on.

And eight months later, of
c ourse Ray was called in and
asked for a thousand words
of something to say to you.
And we all
have heard this segment of
rhetoric before, but I thought
we should also share it now.
This is the resignation speech on
a Thursday night, in August of 1974.

August 8th.

August 8th.

I have never been a quitter.
To leave office before
my term is completed is
abhorrent to every instinct in my body.
But, as president, I must
put the interests of America first.
America needs a full time
President, and a full time Congress.
Particularly, at this time,
with problems we face at
home and abroad, to continue to
fight through the months
ahead, for my personal vindication,
would almost totally absorb the
time, and attention, of both
the President, and the
Congress, in a
period when our entire
focus should be on the
great issues of peace abroad,
and prosperity without inflation, at home.

Therefore, I shall
resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow.
Vice President Ford will be
sworn in as President at
that hour in this office.

Ray, can you tell us about that experience?

One lead up to it I'll
throw in there that the,
on I guess
it was on Tuesday before
the Tuesday of that week,
we had the, Al Hague
had convened in his office many
heads of departments to strategize
the battle ahead, and went
all through all sorts of strategic discussion here.
Just fighting the impeachment
battle in congress.

And then that ended and we were
scattering and Al's secretary came
and asked me to
come back in and Al said "That was all a sham.
We need a resignation speech."
And, so I started
on that on Tuesday, he delivered
that address on Thursday evening,
it was a very busy couple of days.
I was sorry
it had to be done, and I
was gonna be the one doing it.

And we went back and forth.
The president and I went back and forth through.
We numbered several drafts, as we
did with anything like that, we
prepared it, pared it down and
worked it over until he had
what he wanted to say the way
he wanted to say it and
he was satisfied with it, which
he was.

Then delivered the address Thursday night.

Most people who remember anything
about the television of this time.
What they remember is his emotional
farewell to the staff from
the East Room, which was very dramatic.
because he delivered this resignation
address Thursday night to the nation on television.
But then, they assembled some of the staff in the East Room on Friday morning.

Then he came in.
Going over there, I
didn't know much if
anything was gonna be done, I thought it was just a farewell.
He delivered a more informal talk here.
Everybody was trying to keep their eyes dry and so forth.
And then, we gathered on
the south balcony, to
wave goodbye, as they
left and got aboard the helicopter to take them out to California.

And one, one of
the things I remember about that most
is, we were all pressed
tightly together, on a balcony, waving goodbye.
And, the woman, on
my right, had tears streaming
down her cheeks, was Barbara
Bush, George Bush's, senior's wife.
And, they climbed
aboard the helicopter and went
back to San Clemente, and that was, that was the end it.

I mean if I can, the, what
led up to that was, Ray
was, and I, and
Al Hague, and Ron Ziegler,
and Jim St. Claire, came in
on Sunday, and we went to Camp David.
And, there was a,
they were talking about the tape of June 23rd.
And, we didn't
know exactly, what was, you know, what it contained.
but that's what being demanded and
we call Steve Roll and he got the tape of the 23rd.

And we found out the tape of
the 23rd contained statements
that seemed to contradict what President Nixon had been saying for three months. And the President himself had heard that
tape three months before
when he said, "I am not going
to send it over to the special prosecutor."

And so that, led us
to believe that when that
tape was dropped there would
be a preceived credibility crisis.

That was called "the smoking gun"?

Smoking gun, and so what
we decided up there that
the tape was fatal
and that what we should do is
we should go back to the
White House and proceed to drop the tape.
And when the tape hit, the support
that still existed for the President
which were considerable in the
senate, frankly, the bottom
will drop out, and then
our friends and
our lives and the
present supporters would see
that it was not survivable.

So that it was not some
kind of staff pushing the
President out or, pushing
him to do something, they just
d rop something in it, and
it was like something fatal had hit, and everybody knew that.
And as Ray has written in the
New York Times, I believe it was.

Barry Goldwater and
Huey Scott and Congressman Rhodes came
over to the White
House and they were on the
lawn, I guess it was Wednesday of that week.
And the mythology is
that they went in and talked to
the President and the
resigning, but that was
nonsense because Ray Price
was already working on the
resignation speech when they came to the White House.

Yes, it was.
But it was a
secret from them, but they took credit for it.

We had some slides of
the Presidents' reading text.
And on a happier note, I think, we even page or two of the inaugural address.
So maybe, if we can
have those on the screen, we'll just take a quick.

Now this mark on
the left hand says, therefore
I shall resign the Presidency. And
then the double line for the
bottom marks of pause.

This very much Nixon's call to himself.

Just for that happier note
is the inaugural slide also
available, seen, get a
glimpse of...It's fascinating to go into the archives.

The national archives are very
much a part of this event today,
but it's fascinating if you look in some of these documents.
It`s part of the inaugural adress.

First inaugural is it?

First inaugural adress, yeah.
We want to have some time
for audience questions and so on.
Maybe this is a good time to move to that.
There's a microphone, I think,
somewhere and we'd love to have
you participate in this discussion.

Just before you get to that
I want to make
one observation about the process.
We didn't have computers and Microsoft Word in those days.
And when you did speeches
and they had to be
edited, they had to be
actually retyped, and edited and retyped.
And so, this a
tribute to those secretaries in those days.

Well that's good for you.

Who worked in all hours of the night but we worked on those IBM typewriters.
And then you corrected them
and you edited them onto the
sheet and then rewritten several times.


It was a whole different technology.

Nixon himself never learned to type.

Yes, I think I can see
faintly through the lights, if there's a question in the back of the room.

I do have a question.
This has been a fascinating forum, and
I thank all the participants for being here.
I must also observe that it
has been informed that Nixon might
love, Nixon's mother might
love but it's also taking place at a university.
And so, one of the
questions I have is this,
the title of the panel
is `Writing for thirty seven`
And so Nixon has been presented in a certain kind of way.

We might reflect on certain
aspects of the controversies of the Vietnam war.
The bombing of Cambodia is not
something we perhaps want to be laughing about.
Nixon did prosecute a war for four more years.
Got the same peace deal he could have gotten in 1969.
Nixon was someone who inaugurated
the racial strategy, the southern
strategy, in American politics using race in a very ugly way.

And then we have Watergate, an umbrella
term for a wide range of criminal activities.
The smoking gun tape did not
reveal a preceived credibility gap.
There was a huge gap.
The elephant in the room
here, as the distinguished
gentlemen in the forum, are implicated in this.
What's it like to write for
a President who should have been driven from office?

That would be fascinating to reflect
on now we've had some,
what 35 years to think about that.

Well, I for one simply would not accept his premises.

Go ahead, Ray.

No, when you said
that... I fought
the battle with him throughout that
because I, we believed that,
and I still believe, whether you
do or not, that we were on the right side of that battle.
If I had not believed it I would not of been there.
I did believe it and I still believe it and I think you're wrong.

Well, let me say with
regard to the war in
Vietnam, when General
Eisenhower left office and Richard
Nixon left office in 1961,
there were six hundred American advisers
in South Vietnam.
When we arrived back in the
White House after a democratic
decade, democratic overwhelming control
of both houses and of the Presidency of the United States.

We had 535,000 Americans
in Vietnam, and Richard Nixon
said "I'm going to end the war with honor".
He did not promise to cut and run.
He worked tirelessly.
He worked hard and through
all that period of time,
with demonstrators in the street
against him, he did not start that war.
He supported it, but he never said we're gonna cut and run.

And so all those four years, I'll tell you who's responsible.
Take a look at the
best and brightest who took us in there.
Take a look at the wise
man, take a look at
the New York Times and Washington P
ost and all the
others who cheered America into
that war and suddenly when
Richard Nixon enters the White
House, it is Nixon's war?

He simply wanted to end
that war with honor
and in 1973 we had all the
POW's home and the
South Vietnamese were in control
of every provincial capitol.
He had won the war basically.
What happened was Congress then
began to cut off all the
military equipment until the
North Vietnamese said: "Nixon..." Be
in the Congress forced the South
Vietnamese to fight a poor man's war.

It was not Richard Nixon
who marched us into Vietnam but
he tried to get us out
with honor and he succeeded in
doing so, quite frankly, against
the opposition of a lot
of people who were responsible
for having all those guys over there.

The controversy continues.
It's useful to be reminded
that this was a terribly controversial time
and that there were many advocates on the other side.
The people that have been gathered here
were all, at one time or another, advocates on one side.
So it's natural that you've gotten a certain interpretation.

I suppose there was a larger question for speech writers.
And that is, how do
you assemble a coalition of
speech writers who have different
views, and how if you
are a writer, do you
always agree with the principle your writing for?
When you don't agree, how do you handle that in your own mind?
At what point do you leave?

At what point do you...

Gotta bring it, give that to Bill.

...stay silent?

Bill has written about this.

Yeah, I've written speeches longer than anyone here.
Not as good as anybody here might write but longer.
And I used to speak
to college audiences, and they'd always ask me this question.

It's a good question once you put the question.

It's a big question with college kids.
When do you get off the boat here?
And I always said, if it's
a serious matter of conscience,
and this happens very rarely,
but it's a serious matter of conscience,
you follow your conscience, you'll leave the job.
That's it.
You can't do that.
But on a certain issue.

What is it?
Maybe a moral issue, an
issue of policy, whatever it happens to be.
And you just got to
ask yourself the question.
Is this the best
way for me to keep
on helping this person,
man or woman, I'm working with,
even if do not agree with him or her?
Let me give you an example from my own background.

When I was with Senator Jim
Buckley -- great man that
he is -- Jim as
you all recall, gave a
speech, asking President Nixon to resign.
It was a heart rending thing. It
was just so difficult for him to do.
Before he gave the speech
he had it drafted by I
think it was Jim Burnham of National Review.

National Review?

Yeah, I think so.
Before he gave the speech, he showed it to me.
So there I was, you know, I had worked for Nixon.
I don't want Jim to be giving this speech.
What I said to him, you
give this speech, you're not
gonna get reelected first of all
and second of all you know
but I helped
to clarify it a little bit.

I didn't think that was a matter for me for resignation.
But each speech writer
has to make his or
her own judgment as to
when that bright red mark comes up.
And believe me, in my
experience in it, very rarely
is it a matter of complete conscience,
of war and peace, whatever it happens to be.
Almost always it's a matter
of policy and then you
have to say to yourself, do
I go along with this policy
and make it as analytic
and good as I can in the
pros, or do I say to the guy I can't do this.

That's it. I
think there were a
couple of other people
who wanted to ask a question.
Yes, I'm having I'm having difficulty seeing hands raised.

I'm Brad Patterson I have the honor of being one of your colleagues on the Nixon staff and I was also a Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Eisenhower.
I had a question.
How did President Nixon
handle conflicts among his
staff on issues on messages or speeches?
I can think of an example.
In March of 1970, the
Supreme Court has said, you're
going to have desegregation of
the schools, the southern schools, and
you're going to do it now.

And this was a very controversial political
and some kind of
controversy across the country and for the President.
He asked my boss
to do some research on this.
I was put your
hand to one of the
great state papers of the
next administration in March
of nineteen seventy and message to congress on school segregation.

It's a very complicated and controversial subject.
And which as I remember
he asked the Congress to appropriate
sums of money to help
the southern districts go through
this terribly difficult process.
But there were people on
this staff, I think Pat you were one.
Bryce Hallow was another.
So there was difficult, there was a controversy on the staff.

And in the Eisenhower's times, and I was there and can give you an example.
I would have a cabinet meeting.
My understanding is, in general
President Nixon didn't like to
have meetings in people face
to face with long controversies
face to face in front of him.
And a cabinet running at the time.
But I think he took
this message to his thinking
room over in the executive office
building, and made his own decisions.

But to my query is, how
is that or other controversies
how were they handled in the
Nixon White House?

Well, I think Brad, I recall being in that.
It was a very
tough series of meetings.
Secretary, excuse me, Attorney General
Mitchell sort of chair
then, Vice President Agnew was there.
I was there.
You were there.
Brice Harlow was there.
I think there was real
conflict in there and
I think at the end
was Bryce Harlow, was it
not who was asked
to draft the statement
that was being made on.

Basically let me say
this, the whole issue was desegregation of the southern schools.
In terms of what was done when
we arrived, ten percent of the southern schools were desegregated.
When Nixon left, seventy percent were desegregated.
But there was a huge battle over
the issue that had come out
of the Charlotte decision of court
ordered busing which would
take people, kids from one
district to another in order
in achieve racial balance where Nixon
was opposed to that but he was in favor of desegregation.

But my recollection is that
battle basically was won
by those who argued for
going forward and with
the tough decisions, getting the money and getting it done.

And one P.S. on that,
which is not a speech writing matter.
But how this was done?
What made, why Nixon was
able to do successfully what everybody
had said could not be done successfully?
George Shultz was the key to this.
And George he was our Secretary
of Labor and then Secretary of the Treasury and so on.

But he had been a leading
labor negotiator, moderator and
so forth beforehand in his
present life, a brilliant man.
He set up a
program which we had.
We had committees in the
various southern states, each black,
mixed black and white committee.
They had clear mandate, this was going to happen.
The schools were going to be desegregated.

They could be desegregated and saved,
or desegregated and ruined.
It's going to be up to you
to work it out in your state by state.
How, Len Garwin was of
course a key player in this too, as you remember.
And what you make
it work so we set up
these committees, black and white, and each state had one.

And then started doing
it, state by state.
Finally he invited the, I'll
try to shorten this up but,
he invited the members of the
Mississippi delegation, I think
George organized this,
to come up to the
White House and be put together there.
And they all came
together first in the Roosevelt
Room and then the were
moved to the Oval Office to meet with the President.

It was a
very emotional thing for them and for the President too.
And finally they just,
I think the leader of
the black group and kind
of the guy who was the leader of
the white group got together and
they finally just said to one another,
if you and I can't do
this, nobody can.
So they took it on themselves
to make it happen and happen right.

It worked in Mississippi and then it worked throughout the rest of the south.

That's quite a story to hear.

I'd be interested in the style.

Different style.

In Eisenhower's style.

It was indeed, and
Brad Patterson's a great witness to so many of those things.
Not in big dramatic speeches in
this case and a lot
of small careful conversations and that's
another part of leadership.
It also speaks to the issue that was made earlier about race and minority affairs.
Tom Whitaker, thought to be a
rather liberal New York
Times correspondent writes, A book about one of us.

Wrote a book on one of
us in which he says that more
progress was made in about
a year and a half in desegregated
schools on the Nixon and
most of us, most of
saw different ways at going at this and different ways of evaluating it.
Can we take one, perhaps one or two more questions, again I cannot quite see, I'm short.

I have a question that sort of goes back to technique.
You talked earlier about the substance and the sizzle, but there's also the delivery of the speech.
I worked as a speech writer.
One of the things you always had to worry about is the delivery of the person you're working for.
Was there a challenge with that?

Did anyone, was there any advice ever given to Nixon on how to deliver a speech or did you just work around the way you did?

You know the answer to that, from what Ray said earlier, I
mean, some speeches I
worked on, we went through
8 or 9 drafts, and by
the end of it, I couldn't find
two words put together that belonged to me.
They were all his.
He turned it into his
words and his formulations and
his way of saying it, that he was comfortable with.

So that made it frankly, relatively easy.
There were some cases when you
were on campaigns and even
in Reagan where you might
have to give a President one
draft to the speech that he has to read.
But all the big speeches that
Nixon gave were his
own and when he gave the written text.
And obviously when he spoke
from notes, or no
notes rather, it was all him.

So it was relatively easy.

We all complained that he spent too much time writing speeches.


But it was probably a good
judgment in the end and that's
a good point to make.


And he knew how to deliver.
He was a lawyer, he
had been a champion debater from high school on.

He insisted on two
things that were kind of interesting that go right to the point.
He would say the speech doesn't happen until it's given.
You can't talk about a copy of your speech.
The speech is out there in the mind of the audience.
He would insist that the writer
go along on any assignment
that the writer had worked on, which
took us to far flung corners
of the world sometimes because we
had worked on, he wanted us
to hear how it went.

Secondly, he did a thing
at one stage where he asked us
to underline in every
text, the part that
we thought would be the lead
in the evening news or the next morning's newspaper.


Because he knew that unless
we had a sound byte, it
wasn't, the press wasn't going to
pick it up unless we had the
capsule well honed, it
was less like, the message was less likely to get through.
I think it was just too little indications,
i think, of his sensitivity to what happened in the mind of me.

Whether it was a big
national speech on national
television or Rose Garden
remarks or proclamation, every speech writers name was on the top.


Of the speech, or the draft, or the remarks.

That's a really nice.

So he know who did it.

Point to remember.
Yes Lee, I've snuck up behind you.
We have hit our hour and a half and we could go all afternoon.

Glad you're keeping track Jeff.
You sure could.

I want to thank the panelists for
putting together fantastic forum.

Thank you.

And I would, I would
leave you with one thought
one of the nice things about
the Nixon administration was how many young people there were.
Here we are 40
years later and we're doing
these panels with veterans of
the Nixon White House and
Nixon administration who can
tell you about what it was like to be there.

And we have almost
the full original staff of speech writers.
We are gonna be talking about a
lot of other but
it is because there was a very, very young staff.
And we have matured quite nicely.
You saw the colored hair
in the beginning of the slide
and we look across and we do not have that any more, sure.

Thank you all for coming.