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'Our Nixon', With White House Home Movies and Tapes, on CNN Tonight | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

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'Our Nixon', With White House Home Movies and Tapes, on CNN Tonight


Richard Nixon says goodbye with to his staff members outside the White House as he boards a helicopter after resigning the presidency on August 9, 1974. (AP Photo)

A new documentary film making the festival circuit and due to hit theaters later this month titled Our Nixon will debut tonight on CNN.

It’s based on recently released home movies shot during President Richard M. Nixon’s White House years by top aides H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Dwight Chapin—before all three resigned and went to (country club) prison, that is. The footage, which lacks sound, had been seized by FBI and stored in a vault for decades.

The film also includes snippets of dialogue from the Nixon tapes, and other audio tapes, interspersed and in roughly chronological fashion, so we follow Nixon from his inauguration in 1969, through the antiwar protests, the trip to China, etc. and on to Watergate and his resignation. We also see a few later reflections by the three men who shot the footage. Directed by Penny Lane, the film is fairly straightforward, though often with a hint of dark humor—and some aptly offbeat music on the soundtrack.

A highlight (or lowlight) is the president, Haldeman and Ehrlichman on tape discussing in 1971 an episode of the then-new TV series All in the Family.

Nixon had just stumbled on it, searching for a baseball game, and was shocked by its alleged glorification of “queers,” “fags” and “homos,” and favoring the “hippie-son-in-law” (played by Rob Reiner) over the “hardhat” Archie Bunker.

“Do you know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags,” Nixon points out. “The last six. Nero had a public wedding to a boy. Yeah.” And: “You know what happened to the popes? It’s all right that popes were laying the nuns, that’s been going on for years, centuries.”

Dope, “immorality” and homosexuality threatening to destroy USA—that’s why lefties are pushing them. And don’t get Nixon started on the Jews and blacks!

Here’s the full conversation, with subtitles, below. Partial transcript here. My well-known Nixon book here.

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