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Woodward: Nixon Kept Secret List of Guests He'd Talk To

Woodward: Nixon Kept Secret List of Guests He'd Talk To
 President Richard Nixon in 1969

By    |   Sunday, 11 October 2015 11:40 AM

Bob Woodward's new book, "The Last of the President's Men" being released Tuesday, is full of revelations about the late President Richard Nixon from former aide Alexander Butterfield ,specifically how the president hand-picked secret lists of just a few guests who he would speak with after state dinners and other such events.

Woodward, made famous for his investigative reports of the Watergate break-in and aftermath, explained that near the end of July 2014 he flew to La Jolla, Calif., to meet with Butterfield, the man who disclosed the secret White House taping system that generated the recordings that ended Nixon's presidency, reports Politico. 

"At age 88, Butterfield ... was energetic and vital," an excerpt from the book says. "What really snapped me to attention were 20 boxes and piles of documents and files he had agreed to bring out of storage for my assistant, Evelyn Duffy and me to read and copy. Here, after all these decades, was a vast new archive, unknown until now."

One of Butterfield's revelations was Nixon's decision to pick out his guest lists.

"'I’m fed up with these g**damned idiots who put their faces in mine after dinner and want to chitchat,’ Nixon told Butterfield about 90 minutes before the beginning of a state dinner in the spring of 1970," Woodward wrote. " Nixon took out a typed list of the 108 expected guests ... The president had put a check mark before five names."

"'Those are the only people I want to see during the coffee break,’ Nixon ordered to Butterfield. 'Only those five! Not another g**damn soul. No one else. No congressmen. No senators. No nothing. Just those five people.’

And over the next months and years, Woodward wrote, Nixon always presented his lists of about five people.

Woodward also wrote how Butterfield came to have ordered the taping system, saying that he had called Al Wong, then the head of the Secret Service Technical Security Division, to tell him Nixon wanted to install a taping system, including listening devices in the Oval Office and on his phones.

Wong told Butterfield that the agency had done that before, but "these things don't always work out as planned," Woodward wrote. Butterfield replied that "this time will be different."

The book also contains an appendix of 74 pages of documents, including one to Butterfield from Chief of Staff Haldeman on Nov. 13, 1970, that said Nixon wanted to have church on every other Sunday in the winter months "to use it as a political opportunity. We should invite potential candidates, finance people, new GOP-type leaders from around the country.”

Woodward dedicates his new book in memory of late Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, and expresses appreciation to Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos. and notes that he conducted taped interviews with Butterfield totalling more than 46 hours.

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Bob Woodward's new book, The Last of the President's Men being released Tuesday, is full of revelations about the late President Richard Nixon from former aide Alexander Butterfield ,specifically how the president hand-picked secret lists of just a few guests who he would...
bob woodward, nixon, alexander butterfield, approves, list
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Sunday, 11 October 2015 11:40 AM
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