Entries in Richard Nixon (3)


Axelrod to ABC News: Romney 'Most Secretive Candidate' Since Nixon

ABC/ DONNA SVENNEVIK(MAUMEE, Ohio) -- Senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod today accused Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney of being “the most secretive candidate that we’ve seen, frankly, since Richard Nixon.”

He “won’t release his tax returns, won’t reveal his bundlers, left Massachusetts with the hard drives from his computer. He believes in keeping the public in the dark,” Axelrod said in an interview with ABC News Radio behind the scenes at the first stop on Obama’s campaign bus tour through Ohio.

Axelrod said Romney’s portfolio of offshore investments -- which include a Bermuda-based company, funds in the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account -- raises what he called a “Bermuda Triangle” of financial questions.

“Just what were the benefits there? Did he actually pay taxes in some years? We don’t know,” he said.

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“Why would you transfer your Bermuda business…to your wife the day before you became governor? Why did you not want that on your disclosure form?” he questioned later, referring to media reports that have scrutinized the holding.

Asked directly whether he is accusing Romney of tax cheating, Axelrod said no.

“The only reason to have these accounts is to shelter your taxes,” he said. “The question is, exactly what did he pay, and I think that he -- there’s only one way to answer that question: if you don’t have anything to hide why not just release that information? And Gov. Romney really doesn’t have a good answer for that.”

In January, Romney released his 2010 tax return amid intense public scrutiny and pressure from his GOP primary rivals. He has declined to release returns from additional years.

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nixon Seen as ‘Self-Pitying,’ ‘Whiny’ in Released Watergate Testimony

David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Less than 12 miles from the Watergate apartments, documents containing former President Richard Nixon’s grand jury testimony about the scandal that bears the building’s name were released to the public on Thursday.

“It’s Nixon being Nixon,” said Stanley Kutler, one of the foremost historians on Nixon and the Watergate scandal.  “He whines, he’s self-pitying, he’s assertive, he’s saying ‘I don’t recall, I don’t recollect’ perhaps several thousand times -- at least several hundred.”

He even refers to the burglary, which eventually forced him out of office under threat of impeachment, as that “silly, incredible Watergate break-in.”

Nixon testified about his administration’s involvement in the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate complex 10 months after he resigned from office.  It was the first time in history that a former president had given evidence under oath.

The unveiling of that testimony to the public on Thursday marks a similarly rare occurrence, as grand jury testimony is almost always kept confidential.

Kutler, along with a team of others, successfully sued for the release of the more than 700 pages of transcripts, memos and testimony.

While those thousands of hours of tapes add shading to the already painted picture of Nixon’s character, it is the infamous 18.5-minute gap in the tape recordings of an Oval Office conversation that prosecutors were most interested in when they interviewed the former president under penalty of perjury for two days in 1975.

“I know a lot of people want to find out what happened during the 18.5-minute gap, but he doesn’t say,” said David Paynter, an archivist in the Special Access Division of the National Archives.  “He just says that was just one meeting the day he’d come back from a time in Florida.  In fact it was 18 minutes out of an entire day, so it’s not something he recalled.”

No matter how many times -- and there were many -- that prosecutors questioned Nixon about the missing conversation, Nixon’s only response over the 11 hours of questioning was that he was shocked to find out that much time was missing.

“I practically blew my stack,” Nixon said of finding out that nearly 20 minutes of the tape had disappeared.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Richard Nixon Library Gets Watergate Overhaul

David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images(YORBA LINDA, Calif.) -- The Richard Nixon Library has unveiled what it says is a vastly expanded and more balanced Watergate exhibit, one that library director Tim Naftali said will "let the historical chips fall where they may."

"The public deserves non-partisan history for its taxpayer money," Naftali said of the exhibits, run by the National Archives since coming under federal control in 2007. "When you come to the library, you'll see a commitment to honesty and transparency."

The once-privately-owned library came under fire after the Richard Nixon Foundation opened it in 1990 and displayed what some historians denounced as a swayed view of Nixon's presidency. The part of the library on the Watergate scandal had paltry documentation and portrayed mostly Nixon's perspective of the story, including a view of Watergate as a "coup" by Nixon's rivals.

But the new $500,000 makeover unveiled Thursday brings new presidential papers to the forefront and adds oral histories by 131 historical figures, many involved with the Watergate scandal that led to Nixon's resignation on Aug. 8, 1974.

Visitors can see burglar tools allegedly used to break into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel complex and a listening device tied to the scandal.

They can hear the editing clicks on audiotape where 18 1/2 minutes of White House recordings possibly pertinent to a Watergate cover-up infamously got erased.

The library now has 40 hours of interactive content on display that Naftali calls "iPad history." Clicking on a display called "dirty tricks," visitors can listen to Nixon ordering Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., investigated.

In short, the new permanent exhibit aims to be historically accurate and not to spin history in Nixon's favor.

Besides the Nixon Library, the National Archives now oversees 12 other presidential libraries.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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