Regular readers of this space know that the Nixon tapes are regarded here in Swampland as the gift that keeps on giving. And while we haven’t yet had time to listen to any of the 154 hours that were released today, reporters who have are finding some gems. Such as this from NPR’s Nina Totenberg:
President Nixon reacted privately to the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision legalizing abortion by saying he believed some abortions were necessary, as in cases of rape or interracial mating.
And this exchange with the future Bush 41, as reported by CNN’s Elaine Quijano:
In February of 1973, President Nixon called future president and then-Republican National Committee chairman George H.W. Bush, and recounted a recent visit to the South Carolina state legislature.
“I noticed a couple of very attractive women, both of them Republicans, in the legislature,” Nixon told Bush. “I want you to be sure to emphasize to our people, God, let’s look for some… Understand, I don’t do it because I’m for women, but I’m doing it because I think maybe a woman might win someplace where a man might not… So have you got that in mind?”
Bush replies, “I’ll certainly keep it in mind.”
UPDATE: H/T Commenter sgwhite for this link to the NYT’s Charlie Savage’s report:
Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases, such as interracial pregnancies.
“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding: “Or a rape.”