One of the most famous of famous television interviews occured on May 4, 1977. British journalist, David Frost interview former President Richard Nixon.  As you know, President Nixon tendered his resignation in 1974 after being swallowed up in a political scandal of his making.  I’ve written about Watergate and Nixon previously on this blog in both fiction and non-fiction. Here are those posts:

Friday Historical Fiction Giving the Facts – Where were you when Nixon Resigned

What Happened on June 17th – Watergate

What Happened on July 27th – Nixon Charged with Articles of Impeachment

What Happened on February 21st  – Only Nixon Could Go to China

And in one of my favorite posts I’ve ever compiled – What Happened on September 27th – We Didn’t Start the Fire

David Frost and Richard Nixon during one of the taping sessions in California, March-April 1977.

David Frost and Richard Nixon during one of the taping sessions in California, March-April 1977.

In the televised interview, Nixon answered questions regarding the Watergate scandal and his resignation, admitting that he had let the American people down through his role in the 1972 Watergate burglary and cover-up. The ensuing investigation exposed rampant corruption in his administration and led to his resignation in 1974.

Oddly, by 1977, despite damning evidence to the contrary, Nixon still did not believe that he had tried to obstruct justice, one of the impeachment charges made against him by Congress in 1974.  He told Frost,

I didn’t think of it as a cover-up. I didn’t intend a cover-up. Let me say, if I intended the cover-up, believe me, I would have done it.

Nixon also admitted that he had not thought that the White House tape recordings regarding the scandal would come out. It was the release of White House tape recordings subpoenaed by the Watergate investigation committee in 1973 that implicated Nixon in the cover-up and prompted him to resign in the face of impeachment. Nixon also told Frost that the day he resigned was the first time I cried since Eisenhower died.

Richard Nixon died in 1994. In 2002, Frost shared his memories of his Nixon interview on Larry King Live. Frost recalled that he and Nixon met at the former president’s office in San Clemente, California, and engaged in small talk before doing the interview. Frost remembered bringing up the name of Nixon’s 1970s rival, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, to which Nixon replied

oh, I wouldn’t want to be a Russian leader. They never know when they’re being taped.”

Frost also characterized the former president as impersonal and lonely. He so wanted to be great said Frost, but he was a sad man at the end.

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11 responses

  1. Chris White says:

    I really enjoy your posts and the background presentation. Nixon … a lonely, complex and ruthless man. All the best. Kris.
    http://www.the1951club.org
    http://www.awritersden.wordpress.com

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  2. Captain Queeg says:

    Reblogged this on The Westonka Informer and commented:
    Gee, who couldn’t see this coming?

    I love living in a corrupt society, don’t you?

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  3. Birgit says:

    I was a youngin’ when this came out but I vaguely remember it. I thought Frost was really intelligent and I thought Nixon was very sad and I was 13 at that time. Knowing more now, Nixon was so complicated and just thought he was doing all for the best-what a strange, strange man

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    • I agree. I guess you don’t get as high as president without being complicated. It is a shame that so many in politics go there for one reason and end up corrupt.

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  4. It’s really rather sad.

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  5. gpcox says:

    I don’t care what anyone says, I liked him as president. And the record shows he did far more than JFK ever did.

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