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Nixon saw value in associating with Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin and other talk-show hosts, papers show

New papers from Richard Nixon released today by the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda show the former president was suspicious of some entertainers and artists -- but saw political advantages of being friendly with talk-show hosts such as Johnny Carson.

The papers show Nixon criticizing modern art and agonizing about whether to invite potential critics for White House visits.

But according to a review of the papers by the Associated Press, Nixon had warmer feelings about television talk-show hosts:

 He put aside his own tastes when he saw political advantage, however, as in a January 1970 memo about TV talk-show hosts.

“I would like to invite, even though I don’t like most of these people, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin and Mike Douglas,” Nixon wrote. “This could pay off in great measure to us.”

-- Shelby Grad

Comments () | Archives (3)

I can just imagaine what these talk show hosts thought about tricky Dick? Maybe they thought he could perform some kind of magic act? The example would be to change his personality, and become and honest public servant?

Only Richard Nixon could invite someone to the White House and say he didn't like them in the same breath. Amazing. He had, of course, good reason not to like anyone such as Carson, who was as comfortable and smooth on the air as Nixon was stiff and formal. It is difficult to imagine someone putting himself through more trouble, and working against his own personality and predilections, than Nixon did seeking power.

What makes this interesting is that a couple of years after the 1968 election, Carson said "I voted for Mr. Humphrey".


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