Segments in this Video

President Richard Nixon (04:00)


Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president to resign from office. During a period in his presidency, he secretly recorded all of his private conversations, and the recordings are now being studied.

Recorded Associates (01:45)

Read a list of the twelve associates of Nixon's who did not know they were being recorded in private conversations with him, including his wife, Pat Nixon. Others like Nixon's Chief of Staff, Deputy Assistant, and Special Assistant, knew they were being recorded.

Vietnam and Veterans (03:43)

Nixon speaks about the independence of South Vietnam in a public speech. In recorded phone calls with National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, Nixon says he doubts South Vietnam will survive.

Pentagon Papers (05:11)

Secret government papers regarding the war in Vietnam were leaked and published in the "New York Times" during Nixon's administration. Daniel Ellsberg of the Rand Corporation was found to have published the papers, and Nixon is recorded calling Jewish people arrogant "born spies."

Supreme Court (04:19)

Nixon makes religiously biased and sexist remarks when choosing candidates for the Supreme Court. A highly qualified female candidate is pushed aside by Nixon because of her gender, but he says in a public address that there will be a female candidate in time.

Mexican American (03:05)

Nixon recommends Romana Banuelos for United States Treasurer. She owns a food truck business; US Immigration Officer George Rosenberg goes on television to report that she has illegal immigrants under her supervision. Nixon orders him fired.

The Press (05:50)

Nixon had a more controlled and strict relationship with the press to maintain his privacy than any other modern U.S. president and consistently talked badly about the media in private conversations. The White House ordered an FBI investigation on CBS news reporter Daniel Schorr after he wrote about Nixon.

China (05:05)

In February of 1972, Nixon travels to China with his wife; he is unhappy about press coverage. Nixon talks to Barbara Walters about the problems in America, listing insecurity as an issue.

The Spring Offensive (03:02)

Nixon speaks to several members of his cabinet about furthering the bombing attacks on Vietnam, though the American public is not supposed to know about it until after the election. Dan Rather addresses Nixon, asking if the bombings are occurring, and Nixon says that they are not because of the civilian casualties that would ensue.

Senator Edward Kennedy (03:28)

Edward Kennedy asked for Secret Service protection because of threatening mail he was apparently receiving. Nixon and Chief of Staff, Bob Haldeman, are recording a discussion about seizing the opportunity to plant Secret Service agents that will spy on Kennedy.

Moscow and Watergate (04:16)

Nixon wants to spur a connection with Russia during his presidency. In 1972, five men are arrested while trying to install eavesdropping material at the Democratic National Committee. One of those implicated is a White House consultant, and recordings of Nixon prove his connection to the scandal.

Peace Talks (04:08)

Nixon professed in a speech to not forget the people listed as Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. He won re-election as president with the largest majority vote in American history.

Henry Kissinger and Peace Talks (04:24)

Henry Kissinger becomes an enemy of Nixon's, who orders the FBI to tap Kissinger's phones "to prevent news leaks." On the phone, Nixon says The Washington Post newspaper's reporters and photographers are never allowed in the White House again, threatening to fire Press Secretary Ron Ziegler if the order is not followed.

Cease Fire and Watergate (02:39)

Kissinger obtains a cease to fire agreement to end the war. Nixon expresses anxiety about his expectation that the Watergate story will be revealed in private phone calls.

Watergate Resignations (04:08)

In April of 1973, the Chief of Staff is revealed to have been part of the Watergate scandal. Nixon says the White House was no longer "happy" following the exposure of the scandal.

Senate Watergate Hearings (03:12)

The "Washington Post" is given the Pulitzer Prize for its cover of the Watergate scandal. In the Senate Watergate Hearings, the fact that Nixon recorded his private conversations becomes public knowledge, and he refuses to produce the tapes for others to hear.

Richard Nixon's Resignation (06:06)

The Supreme Court decides Nixon must immediately turn over the tapes of the conversations.

Credits: Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words (01:31)

Credits: Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words

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Nixon By Nixon: In His Own Words

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From 1971-73, Richard Nixon secretly recorded his private conversations in the White House. When the existence of the tapes was exposed during the Watergate scandal, Nixon refused to allow their release, explaining they contained “blunt and candid remarks on many different subjects” that could sully the presidency forever. Only certain conversations pertaining to Watergate ended up being heard at the time, but after Nixon’s death in 1994, the government began releasing the tapes. In 2010, hundreds more hours of recordings were released by the Nixon Library. Based on the annotated transcripts of scholars who are studying the tapes at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, Nixon By Nixon: In His Own Words chronicles Nixon’s conversations about historic events including the war in Vietnam, the Pentagon Papers leak, his Supreme Court appointments, and more. The tapes expose many of the “blunt and candid” statements made by the President about women, people of color, Jews, and – perhaps his favorite target – the media. In addition to extensive tape excerpts, the film includes original press reports and Nixon’s reflections a decade after he left office. Directed by Peter Kunhardt and edited by Phillip Schopper, the team behind HBO’s In Their Own Words films, Nixon By Nixon: In His Own Words offers a more complete picture of the only U.S. president to resign from office. An HBO Production. 

Length: 71 minutes

Item#: BVL115022

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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