October 21, 2010 10:57 AM
Posted By Dick Tuck
Welcome to dicktuck.com, the authorized and official website of Dick Tuck, Political Prankster. Here, I'll be writing my thoughts about the political climate and anything else that comes to mind.
October 21st marks the 30th anniversary of the first public broadcasts of the Watergate Tapes. I held a press conference in Aspen, Colorado and played the juiciest parts. That evening the network television and radio news shows covered the press conference and played selections of the tapes. It was the first time the American public could listen to their leaders conspire in full fidelity without the expletives deleted.
The tapes included the famous Oval Office meetings with Nixon, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Dean, etc., but also recordings of phone conversations between Nixon and key staff like Attorney General John Mitchell. Nixon would hunker down upstairs in the White House's Lincoln library, pour himself a Scotch on the rocks, start a fire and turn on the air conditioning full blast. You can hear the ice cubes tinkling in his tumbler on the tapes. The American public had to wait seven years to actually hear the Watergate tapes, but when they did, they heard the real Nixon, not the heavily edited White House transcript. The difference is astonishing. Hearing the president say things like "bullshit" expose the real man, putting the lie to the "New Nixon."
Exposing the real Nixon was always my goal. In the Chinatown Caper, a sign saying "Welcome Nixon" also asked – in Chinese – "What about the Hughes Loan?" Once the phrase was translated for Nixon, he rushed over to the crowd, seized the sign and tore it up in front of the TV cameras. the message was simple: do you want a guy like this running your state or nation?
It was the same with the tapes; the real Nixon was the one speaking and the release of the White House transcripts was the beginning of the end for Tricky Dick. The nation was appalled and "expletive deleted" allow fertile imaginations to supply their own phrase. The reality was often worse. This kind of behavior, these ethical standards had been Nixon's since law school, when he broke into the Dean's office with some friends to see if his grades were good enough to keep his scholarship. It continued in his campaigns against Jerry Voorhis, Helen Gahagan Douglas, Adlai Stevenson, John Kennedy, Pat Brown, Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern.
The real Nixon was always there, all I did was keep the spotlight on it.