KC Johnson


PRESIDENT NIXON:.. . we learned a lot from Mr. [Ronald] Reagan.

HENRY KISSINGER: Oh, yeah, yeah. Well, he started bleeding. He said that you have a real problem with the conservatives


KISSINGER: Which is no news to you. He says you’re going to wind up without any friends, because you can’t win the liberals anyway


KISSINGER: And the conservatives are just saying—

PRESIDENT NIXON: Henry, let me tell you part of his problem, of course, is that he’s in a very, very poor position in California, you know. [Break.]

KISSINGER: Well, I think he’s a—actually I think he’s a pretty decent guy.

PRESIDENT NIXON: Oh, decent, no question, but his brains?

KISSINGER: Well, his brains, are negligible. I—

PRESIDENT NIXON: He’s really pretty shallow, Henry.

KISSINGER: He’s shallow. He’s got no . . . He’s an actor. When he gets a line he does it very well. He said, “Hell, people are remembered not for what they do, but for what they say. Can’t you find a few good lines?” [Chuckles.] That’s really an actor’s approach to foreign policy—to substantive—

PRESIDENT NIXON: I’ve said a lot of good things, too, you know damn well.

KISSINGER: Well, that too. [Break.]

PRESIDENT NIXON: Can you think though, Henry, can you think, though, that Reagan with certain forces running in the direction could be sitting right here?

KISSINGER: Inconceivable.

PRESIDENT NIXON: No, but it could have happened.

KISSINGER: It could have happened.

PRESIDENT NIXON: It could have happened in ‘68. What would have happened—

KISSINGER: If Rockefeller had stayed in—I mean if Rockefeller had gone in competently—

PRESIDENT NIXON: That’s right.

KISSINGER: I don’t think he [Rockefeller] had a chance, but he might just have been able to [unclear].

PRESIDENT NIXON: [Unclear.] That right. Can you imagine? The fellow really is a decent guy, a decent guy. But there isn’t—there’s no, in other words, everything is . . . [Break.]

PRESIDENT NIXON: Back to Reagan though. It shows you how a man of limited mental capacity simply doesn’t know what the Christ is going on in the foreign area.

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