Monday, July 09, 2007

Fred Thompson Helped Nixon During Watergate

By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press Writer Sat Jul 7, 4:38 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Fred Thompson gained an image as a tough-minded investigative counsel for the Senate Watergate committee. Yet President Nixon and his top aides viewed the fellow Republican as a willing, if not too bright, ally, according to White House tapes.

Thompson, now preparing a bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, won fame in 1973 for asking a committee witness the bombshell question that revealed Nixon had installed hidden listening devices and taping equipment in the Oval Office.
Those tapes show Thompson played a behind-the-scenes role that was very different from his public image three decades ago. He comes across as a partisan willing to cooperate with the Nixon White House's effort to discredit the committee's star witness.
It was Thompson who tipped off the White House that the Senate committee knew about the tapes. They eventually cinched Nixon's downfall in the scandal resulting from the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington and the subsequent White House cover-up.
Thompson, then 30, was appointed counsel by his political mentor, Tennessee Sen. Howard Baker, the top Republican on the Senate investigative committee. Thompson had been an assistant U.S. attorney in Nashville, Tenn., and had managed Baker's re-election campaign. Thompson later was a senator himself.
Nixon was disappointed with the selection of Thompson, whom he called "dumb as hell." The president did not think Thompson was skilled enough to interrogate unfriendly witnesses and would be outsmarted by the committee's Democratic counsel.
This assessment comes from audio tapes of White House conversations recently reviewed by The Associated Press at the National Archives in College Park, Md., and transcripts of those discussions that are published in "Abuse of Power: The New Watergate Tapes," by historian Stanley Kutler.
"Oh s---, that kid," Nixon said when told by his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, of Thompson's appointment on Feb. 22, 1973.
"Well, we're stuck with him," Haldeman said.
In a meeting later that day in the Old Executive Office Building, Baker assured Nixon that Thompson was up to the task. "He's tough. He's six feet five inches, a big mean fella," the senator told Nixon.
Publicly, Baker and Thompson presented themselves as dedicated to uncovering the truth. But Baker had secret meetings and conversations with Nixon and his top aides, while Thompson worked cooperatively with the White House and accepted coaching from Nixon's lawyer, J. Fred Buzhardt, the tapes and transcripts show.
Just what we need, another not so bright President who believes that covering up and lying is the height of good leadership!


Blogger LET'S TALK said...

Just think Nixon thought he was a dummy, even though he helped Nixon.

I wonder what the Republicans will say about this.

7/10/2007 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Raven said...

I can't believe people are actually supporting him to run for office. He's most definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed and if he gets elected I will have lost all faith in the American voting public. It's bad enough they elected Bush the second time after he stole the election the first time but to elect another idiot like him would be the final straw. I'll defect to Russia.

7/10/2007 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Raven said...

P.S. Check out my blog, I gave you an award.

7/10/2007 1:55 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

Let's Talk, I'm sure the republicans will say it doesn't matter. They don't seem to care if their nominees are dumb as fence posts as long as they're properly conservative. Thanks for the comment.

Raven, I'll be with you on the defection, but could we try Canada first? It's closer and warmer-lol I will check out your blog and thanks ahead of time for the award.

7/10/2007 4:20 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

So Fred Thompson is "not too bright." Uh oh, another eerie parallel with Reagan and Dumbya. That does it, Fred Thompson is destined for the White House. He's got all the prerequisites.

Who Hijacked Our Country

7/11/2007 1:16 PM  

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