Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words

Synopsis: From 1971 to 1973, Richard Nixon secretly recorded his private conversations in the White House. This revealing film chronicles the content of those tapes, which include Nixon's conversations on the war in Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers leak, his Supreme Court appointments, and more--while also exposing many of the 'blunt and candid' statements made by the President about women, people of color, Jews, and the media.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Peter W. Kunhardt
Production: Kunhardt McGee Productions
  3 nominations.
71 min

I don't come

from a political family.

I didn't think about

the possibility

of being President

of the United States.

My mother didn't take me

into her arms and tell me

"Some day

you'll be president."


My mother was a Quaker

and she was a very devout


As... as a good Quaker

should be.

My mother was quite

well educated for those times.

My father only went through

the sixth grade.

And he worked

in every kind of a job.

As a matter of fact,

he built the house that I was born in.


my father had

a small store

and my brothers and I

had worked in it.

We worked before

and after school

in order to help work

our way through school.

My mother was one

who had no enemies.

My father was argumentative;

he was combative;

he was competitive.

From him I got that arguing ability,

but from my mother,

more the dedication

to scholarship

at an early start.

And if it had not been for my mother,

it would have been very difficult.

My mother recalls

that I played by ear,

which I did, before I ever

took any lessons.

And I became

quite advanced.

But I think it really

came down to a choice:

would I concentrate on music

or should I move to debating

and other areas?

And I finally moved

in the other direction.

Sometimes I...

I rather regret it.


Testing testing testing testing testing.

One two three four five.

Five four three two one.

Test one two three four five,

five four three two one.

This is an audio test. Testing

one two three four five.

I remember the headlines:

"Nixon Bugged Himself."

Taping was done

for the purpose

of having it

for the historical record.

It was voice activated.

Everything was taped,

which of course

was probably stupid.

There has been a new release

of White House audio tapes

and documents

just out tonight

from the Nixon Library

in California.

Say what you will about him,

Richard Nixon

is one of the most fascinating

figures in American history.

Just when we think we know everything

there is to know about him,

we find out something else.

The recordings Richard Nixon

intended for his own use

continue to tell history

his uncensored story.

The problem is

that historians

are going to grab

an hour of tape...

when these tapes come out...

and if you listen to

a snippet of tape,

you're going to form an impression of

this man that's going to be wrong.

So sometime, hopefully,

there will be a historian

or a committee of historians

who will listen to all the tapes

and go into all the archives,

and then come out and say

"Richard Nixon was

the strangest collection,

the strangest paradoxical


of any man I ever heard of."

And they'll be right.

John Chancellor:

Mr. Nixon has always been a solitary figure,

protected by only a few

trusted associates.


We were obsessed with secrecy.

I was almost a basket case

with regard to secrecy.

We have to recognize

that this was wartime.

We were trying to prevent

a Communist takeover

of South Vietnam.


I wasn't thinking that much about

the tape system that we had.

My main concern was ending that war.

Harry Reasoner:

The Nixon Administration said today

that it has no intention

of permitting

a Communist military victory

in South Vietnam,

that the intensified American

bombing of North Vietnam

is an expression

of that determination.


Mr. Haldeman, sir.

David Brinkley:

It is said the new bombing of North Vietnam

is only temporary,

and the policy still is

gradually to end the war.

Nobody says when,

and nobody gives any persuasive reasons

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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