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Opinion: President Nixon still pretty steamed about suspect staff loyalty

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Hard to believe maybe, but ex-President Richard Nixon is still pretty @&^?:%\%# angry.

This guy’s mom may have been a Quaker, but he perfected grudges beyond Sicilian-style. Every few months, it seems, we get new evidence that Nixon’s even angrier than the last time we heard from him.

Another 90,000 pages of documents and 198 hours of Nixon tapes were released Tuesday by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. Phewee! If we could somehow tap into this thermal anger, bang, national energy independence the next day.

Google swears that Richard Milhous Nixon died on April 22, 1994. But thanks to these tapes, Nixon’s voice lives on as a reminder of something. You can listen to many of them here and we’ve added a couple of video recordings below. (Just click on the ‘Read more’ line to view them and listen.)

This latest tape collection, chronicled elsewhere on this site today, has Nixon plotting with aide H.R. Haldeman to get the income taxes of Clark Clifford, a Vietnam War critic and former Secretary of Defense, audited.

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They were also plotting to get ‘TK’ in a compromising situation for unexplained reasons. Some people think ‘TK’ is Ted Kennedy.

The 37th president of the United States was also very concerned about checking ‘across-the-board loyalty’ of all White House staff. Naturally, like any presidential paranoid, Nixon was especially concerned about photographs of other presidents hanging in the presidential residence.

Who wouldn’t be?

On Nixon’s orders to aide Alexander Butterfield (the same aide who would later reveal to Congress the secret tapes’ existence), photos of all other presidents were safely removed from the White House’s 35 offices -- except for two that remained hanging in the workspace of a very suspicious woman named Edna Rosenberg.

Her FBI, CIA and Secret Service files were thoroughly checked but had obviously been cleansed of any evidence of Communist influence over the woman who’d worked in that building longer than anyone else, 41 years.

Especially incriminating about Rosenberg was the fact that Nixon noticed one photo on her office wall showing President John F. Kennedy, who some people named Richard Nixon remembered had narrowly defeated Richard Nixon for president in 1960.

Worse, that photo had been personally signed to Edna by Kennedy.

‘On January 14th,’ a Butterfield memo later reported to the president, ‘the project was completed and all 35 offices displayed only your photograph.’

--Andrew Malcolm

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