Thursday, February 26, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Nixon tapes released on resignation’s anniversary

By
August 06, 2014 |

YORBA LINDA — Almost a decade after Richard Nixon resigned, the disgraced former president sat down with his one-time aide and told the tale of his fall from grace in his own words.

For three decades, that version of one of the nation’s largest and most-dissected political scandals largely gathered dust — until this week.

Starting Tuesday, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation, portions of the tapes will be published each day by the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum and the private Richard Nixon Foundation. The postings begin with Nixon recalling the day he decided to resign and end Saturday — his last day in office — with the 37th president discussing his final day at the White House, when he signed the resignation agreement, gave a short speech and boarded a helicopter for San Clemente.

The segments were culled from more than 30 hours of interviews that Nixon did with former aide Frank Gannon in 1983. The sections on Watergate aired publicly once, on CBS News, before gathering dust at the University of Georgia for more than 30 years.

“This is as close to what anybody is going to experience sitting down and having a beer with Nixon, sitting down with him in his living room,” said Gannon, now a writer and historian in Washington, D.C.

“Like him or not, whether you think that his resignation was a tragedy for the nation or that he got out of town one step ahead of the sheriff, he was a human being,” he said.

Nixon, who died in 1994, had hoped that providing his own narrative would help temper America’s final judgment of him.

Perhaps with that in mind, he didn’t shy away from the tough questions, commenting on everything from the threat of impeachment to the so-called “smoking gun” conversation that included evidence he participated in a Watergate cover-up.

“This was the final blow, the final nail in the coffin. Although you don’t need another nail if you’re already in the coffin — which we were,” Nixon said in a segment about the June 23, 1972 tape.

Nixon said when he decided to resign, he faced such strong resistance from his wife that he brought a transcript of the “smoking gun” tape to a family meeting to show her how bad it was.

“I’m a fighter, I just didn’t want to quit. Also I thought it would be an admission of guilt, which of course it was,” he said. “And, also, I felt it would set a terribly bad precedent for the future.”

The tone of the tapes contrasts with the sometimes adversarial tone of the well-known series of Nixon interviews done in 1977 by British journalist David Frost. Nixon appears relaxed in the tapes. He smiles occasionally, speaks fondly about his two daughters and wife and seems emotional while recalling the final days of his fraught administration, as pressure mounted for his impeachment over a 1972 break-in at Democratic headquarters by burglars tied to the president’s re-election committee who were trying to get dirt on his political adversaries.

The decision to release these friendly interviews now, years after the fact, might not be a coincidence, said Luke Nichter, a Nixon expert and professor at Texas A&M University. With the passage of time, he said, every former president sees their legacy re-examined and recast, and Nixon may be no different.

“Watergate’s never going to go away,” Nichter said. “Nixon’s role in that and the cover-up is so well-documented. But I think what we’re trying to say here, 40 years later, is Nixon doesn’t have to be all bad or all good. He can be a combination of the good, bad and ugly.”

Nixon denied knowing about plans for the break-in beforehand, but an 18 1/2 minute gap in a recording of a post-Watergate White House meeting led many to suspect a cover-up.

Faced with impeachment and a possible criminal indictment, Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974, and retreated to his native California. The following month he was granted a pardon by President Gerald Ford.

In the final segment to be released Saturday, Nixon recalls his last day at the White House.

After a fitful night, he awoke at 4 a.m. and went to the kitchen where he was surprised to find a kitchen staffer already there.

The staffer told Nixon it was 6 a.m., not two hours earlier — the president’s watch had stopped overnight.

“The battery had run out, wore out at 4 o’clock the last day I was in office,” Nixon said ruefully. “By that day, I was worn out too.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Children tackle history during Wax Museum project

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

    Suisun Walmart to open March 25

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 9 Comments | Gallery

     
    Searchers find infant’s body

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

     
     
    Pedestrians hit by cars in 2 separate incidents

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 8 Comments | Gallery

     
     
    Legislative committee votes for earthquake relief bill

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

    Vacaville police clear homeless from area

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

     
     
    NorthBay Healthcare Group expands lease

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

     
    State to close part of I-80 to continue project

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

    Fairfield police log: Feb. 24, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    Suisun City police log: Feb. 24, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    .

    US / World

    Family celebrating one-month birthdays of identical triplets

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Dog owner lawsuit alleges food made his pups sick

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    What happens, and not, in Homeland Security shutdown

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Pet shop owner found guilty of arson

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Harris only Dem left after Villaraigosa exits campaign

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Regulators eyeing tighter cybersecurity requirements

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Technology might have prevented deaths in train crash

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Speaker has plan to help fund affordable housing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Massive I-95 pileup leaves 17 injured in snowy Maine

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

    CEO has plan for crime prediction system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Hungarian village available for rent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Journalists arrested in Paris for drone flights

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Afghanistan avalanche destroys homes, kills 124

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Polanski appears in court to face extradition

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Opinion

    Chinese economy may be stalling – and that’s OK

    By William Pesek | From Page: A7

     
     
    Time to put down the joystick

    By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

    Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 26, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: Feb. 26, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Feb. 26, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Horoscopes: Feb. 26, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    Gucci designer makes debut during Milan Fashion Week

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    People: Lindsay Lohan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Bay Area’s Semien in the mix for A’s shortstop job

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Clark says players against radical speed-up changes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Kings grind out 102-90 win over Grizzlies in Sacramento

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    McIlroy looking to keep momentum to the Masters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    IOC head quizzed about water shortages in Rio, golf course

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Thomas Browning

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Gabriel T. Traub

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Maria Kraszewski

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Felipe Mata Mislang

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Donald Grimm

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9