Go to Brad DeLong's
H.R. Haldeman's diary entry for
Thursday, October 29, 1970:
Thursday, October 29, 1970
The rough one [campaign trip]--Chicago, Rockford, Rochester,
Omaha, and San Jose, with an added speech at his [President Nixon's]
initiative in Chicago for the Junior League at breakfast.
San Jose turned into the real blockbuster. Very tough demonstrators
shouting "1-2-3-4-etc." on the way into auditorium.
Tried to storm the doors after we were in, and then really hit
the motorcade on the way out. We wanted some confrontation and
there were no hecklers in the hall, so we stalled departure a
little so they could zero in outside, and they sure did. Before
getting in car, P[resident Nixon] stood up and gave the V signs,
which made them mad. They threw rocks, flags, candles, etc. as
we drove out, after a terrifying flying wedge of cops opened up
the road. Rock hit my car, driver hit brakes, car stalled, car
behind hit us, rather scary as rocks were flying, etc., but we
caught up and all got out. Bus windows smashed, etc. Made a huge
incident and we worked hard to crank it up, should make really
major story and might be effective.
After arrival in San Clemente, P[resident Nixon] went home, then
kept calling with ideas about how to push the line. Then called
and asked, "How are things at your place?" I said fine
and started to talk. He interrupted and said we're having a fire
here. Laughed and said house had caught fire from his den fireplace.
Told me to come on over. Place full of smoke, hoses, firemen,
and water. Not too much damage. P[resident Nixon] took me in his
bedroom (he was padding around the patio in pajamas, slippers,
and weird bathrobe when I arrived), said there was no problem.
it was full of smoke. I could hardly breathe. He said he loved
smoke and would sleep there. I talked him into the guest house.
We went over there, had a beer, and talked about the day. Finally
to bed about 1:00.
A really weird day, especially the last parts of it. He was very
tired, but in great humor. Pulled down his pajamas and showed
me horrible bruise on his thigh from motorcade in Rochester.
All through the day he delighted in giving the "V" to
I don't know how to evaluate Haldeman's diary entry
in company with the description of the same incident given by
- Was Haldeman really gleeful that delaying departure had generated
a "huge incident" that should "make really major
story"? Or was he only putting up a bold front in retrospect
that night while writing his diary--in an attempt to forget how
scary it had been?
- Was Safire really that terrified even in retrospect--or
was he exaggerating in order to make the point that Nixon and
his people weren't the only bad guys around in the early
- Did Safire know that their departure from San Jose
was being delayed in the hope of generating an incident? If not,
how closely did Haldeman keep knowledge of the deliberate delay?
If so, then why didn't the--genuinely scared--Safire do something
and demand that they leave immediately?
Go to Brad DeLong's
of Economics Brad De Long, 601 Evans
University of California at Berkeley; Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
(510) 643-4027 phone (510) 642-6615 fax