Monday, July 23, 2012

July 22, 1972

Three segments of Nixon and Haldeman, who are talking at Camp David in the afternoon.


President Nixon: Anything new on Watergate that you have? You don't know yet how Magruder will react to the problem?
Haldeman: The lawyer said he did extremely well, no problems. We don't have the [FBI] interrogation report, but the lawyer sat in and said he did extremely well.
President Nixon: Is he going before the grand jury now?
Haldeman: Not as of yet.
President Nixon: What the hell is the grand jury going to do? They're going to keep, keep, keep investigating? Is that the whole point?
Haldeman: (unintelligible) they well.
President Nixon: As far as I'm concerned, that's the best of both worlds. Let it go.
Haldeman: Let it go until after the election.
President Nixon: Dean is talking to whom on this?
Haldeman: To Ehrlichman and me on our side, to Mitchell, and the two lawyers and Peterson at Justice, and Gray at the Bureau.


It's worth mentioning what we're looking at here: Nixon is actively engaged in monitoring the cover-up and knows exactly what is going on. Also: that the White House is getting copies of FBI raw reports (they don't have the Magruder one yet) and is otherwise being informed of exactly what's happening in the investigation by the Justice Department. Which, of course, helps them in making sure that everything they say to the FBI and, soon, to the grand jury is consistent.

OK, the second segment is mainly interesting because Mark Felt turned out to be Deep Throat.


Haldeman: Well, this guy Feldman is pushing hard. Is that his name?
President Nixon: Felt.
Haldeman: Felt.
President Nixon: Yes.
Haldeman: Is pushing to try and be our boy, obviously.
President Nixon: Hoping he is our boy. You know, (unintelligible) our boy, and I'm not going to screw around on that score. But you see, if you take him out of the Bureau it's very hard for anybody to piss on him.
Haldeman: We ought to throw some tests at Felt. We could put some real sticky wickets to him and see how he bounces...


Well, I guess we know how he bounced, although Haldeman and Nixon died without knowing.

Meanwhile, a little thing like Watergate wasn't enough to get them to change their stripes:


President Nixon: I don't suppose there's any way we've got any line on the McGovern camp through their Secret Service?
Haldeman: No, we don't.
President Nixon: We can obviously try.
Haldeman: We sure ought to try, but I don't know how to do it.
President Nixon: I'm sure they've tried on us.
Haldeman: We've got several of our -- we've got some potentials....To my knowledge, we're not using them, and I'm not so sure we should. If we get caught at that, that would --
President Nixon: Oh, no, no. I just meant if somebody volunteered information. You know, they sometimes volunteer.
Haldeman: Yes. Somebody might...


Nixon, despite an "it would be wrong" moment at the end there, clearly can't help himself; whatever he can think of, he immediately assumes it's being done to him, and wants to do it to the other guys. Nor is there the excuse that Nixon and his men had six months earlier. By now, it's overwhelmingly likely that Nixon will win: his approval ratings are up, and the Democrats really have nominated a very weak general election candidate after a literally not-ready-for-prime-time convention (although the final blow is still three days away, when the Eagleton fiasco would begin).


  1. Excellent job, as always, on these Nixon posts.

  2. Really interesting to see a cricket metaphor being used by Haldeman. I'm referring to the tern 'sticky wicket', or does that mean something else to American's? Really enjoying the series. Also does the above mean that Haldeman ended up inadvertantly pushing Felt to become the informer? Or was he already informing Woodward by this point?

    1. "Sticky wicket" doesn't mean anything else in particular to Americans. It's pretty clear that Haldeman just wasn't very conversant with cricket.


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