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The Thompson Nixon Knew

From Joel Achenbach's Achenblog:

One of my favorite parts of doing that piece on Thompson (almost as much fun as going to Lawrenceburg, Tenn.) was reading transcripts of the Nixon tapes in Stanley Kutler's "Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes." Almost without fail, the mention of Thompson's name caused Nixon to wince and/or curse. And Nixon on these tapes is (stop the presses) such a schemer! He's constantly trying to cover up The Cover Up.

Feb. 22, 1973:
Haldeman: ...Oh, Baker has appointed Fred Thompson, Minority Counsel.
Nixon: Oh s--t, that kid.
Haldeman: I guess so.
Nixon: They are going to lose them all...It's too damn bad the kid (unintelligible).
Haldeman: I guess that's the way it is. Is this Fred Thompson the young guy from Tennessee?
Nixon: Yes.
Haldeman: Do you know him?
Nixon: Yes. He is a young kid.
Haldeman: Well, we're stuck with him. Yes.
Nixon: Yeah, I know.

March 16, 1973

Nixon: ... I find that somebody's got to get Baker --
Dean: Pulled around. He's off the reservation, I would say.
Nixon: I think he must be off the reservation, and I'm kind of surprised that he saw me and then went off...Baker and Weicker have predictably -- I mean, they read the Washington papers and the rest, run around in the social set, and want to be hotshots. They take a potshot even if it is to the embarrassment of the administration....Baker may not realize it, but by getting on the wrong side of this we will destroy...his chances ever to move into a leadership position. We will destroy it. He can't be told that, but -- you know what I mean...He's just going overboard and his counsel [Thompson], I noticed, is working hand in glove with [Democratic counsel Sam] Dash. Well, Dash is too smart for that kid ...

April 9, 1973

Ehrlichman: ... [H]e's got a big old Tennessee boy as the minority counsel who's made friends with Ervin...
Nixon: Ervin will take him in like Flynn.... The more I think about this, I've got to stay one step rmoved from the Goddamned thing....

May 14, 1973

Haig: ... I pulled Len off the phone. He's talking to Fred Thompson. I said you're not --
Nixon: Oh s--t, he's dumb as hell. Fred Thompson. Who is he?

June 6, 1973

Buzhardt: ... [W[we've got pretty good rapport with Fred Thompson ...
Nixon: He isn't -- he isn't very smart, is he?

--Joel Achenbach

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 14, 2007; 8:04 AM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Fred Thompson , Joel's Two Cents  
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