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New batch of Nixon tapes released

The tapes, made public by the Richard M. Nixon Library and Museum, contain 154 hours of conversations from January and February 1973.

June 24, 2009|Christopher Goffard

"What's the fascination Henry's got with that crowd?" Nixon asks. "He just can't stand being away from them."

Even as Nixon was contending with decisions of historic consequence in early 1973, the tapes reveal he remained alert for ways to shore up the Republican Party. On Feb. 23, 1973, he placed a call to future President George H.W. Bush, then the Republican National Committee chairman.

The call was "nothing of great importance," Nixon says, but he wanted to inform Bush of what he witnessed during his recent visit to the South Carolina state Legislature.

"I noticed a couple of very attractive women, both of them Republicans, in the Legislature," Nixon tells Bush. "I want you to be sure to emphasize to our people, God, let's look for some. . . . Understand, I don't do it because I'm for women, but I'm doing it because I think maybe a woman might win someplace where a man might not. . . . So have you got that in mind?"

"I'll certainly keep it in mind," Bush replies.

"Boy, they were good lookin' and bright," Nixon continues. And he had been informed, further, that "they're two of the best members of the House."

"Well, that's terrific," Bush says.

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christopher.goffard@latimes.com

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