Hey, What's That Sound? - New York Times: "Hey, What's That Sound?
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: August 20, 2005
Richard Nixon once gave me a lesson in the politics of war.
Howell Raines, then the Washington bureau chief for The Times, took some reporters to meet Mr. Nixon right before the 1992 New Hampshire primary. The deposed president had requested that Howell bring along only reporters who were too young to have covered Watergate, so we tried to express an excess of Juvenalia spirit.
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Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
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Before the first vote of '92 was cast, Mr. Nixon laid out, state by state, how Bill Clinton, who was not even a sure bet for the Democratic nomination at that point, was going to defeat George Bush.
If, Mr. Nixon said, Bill could keep a lid on Hillary (who had worked on the House Judiciary Committee looking into the Nixon impeachment), he'd have it made.
'If the wife comes through as being too strong and too intelligent, it makes the husband look like a wimp,' he said.
In his jaundiced view, the first President Bush had squandered his best re-election card: if the Persian Gulf war had still been going on, Mr. Bush could have been benefiting from that.
'We had a lot of success with that in 1972,' Mr. Nixon told us, with that famously uneasy baring of teeth that passed for a smile.
Was he actually admitting what all the paranoid liberals had been yelping about 20 years earlier - that he had prolonged the Vietnam War so he could get re-elected?
Bush Senior made some Republicans worry that he left Iraq too soon. Bush Junior is making some Republicans worry that he is staying in Iraq too long.
'Any effort to explain Iraq as 'We are on track and making progress' is nonsense,' Newt Gingrich told Adam Nagourney and "