Soturdoy, June 8, 1974
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Saturday, June 8, 1974 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Nine
Watergate White House
reflects quiet despair
By SAUL PETT
AP Special Correspondent
WASHINGTON (R') - T h e
morale of the President, it is
said repeatedly, remains strong.
The mood of some of the men
who work for him is something
"What will I tell my child-
ren?" asks one of Richard Nix-
mn's disenchanted assistants. "I
never heard of anybody brag-
ging that his grandfather work-
ed for Warren Harding."
"EVERY DAY I come in here
is aqastion of conscience," said
another man who is on the
President's staff, just below
senior level. "My wife has been
asking and I have begun asking
myself, 'Well, is he or isn't
he really dishonest?'"
Strong stuff. It is never shout-
ed. Nor can it be said how
widespread this feeling is in his
staff. Most people consulted for
this report appeared steadfast.
Some, definitely not, especially
since publication of the presi-
Generally, the atmosphere of
the White House these days sug-
gests an administration hungry
for small consolations.
ASSESSING gains and losses
in the fortnight of Firestorm II,
Deputy Press Secretary Gerald
Warren, for example, is quick
to point out that the newspaper
story of alleged ethnic alurs by
the President "did not take
The house of the President
seems so busy on defense that
the larger question of who fin-
ally will win the Super Bowl is
lost in the fact that the other
side hasn't scored in the last
For Richard Nixon, who calls
himself the quarterback a n d
coach, it has been catch-up foot-
ball all the way since Watergate.
But even steadfast loyalists
agree he is a long way from
IS IT NOW said by a variety
of White House sources that the
President anticipated the initial
shock wave of reaction to the
profanity and tone of his tran-
But he also expected that the
second wave, on reflection,
would bring a "more sophisticat-
ed reaction," especially in Con-
gress, that people would see the
transcripts clearly showed he
was a man desperately in
search of the facts about Water-
gate and, once assembled, would
get them out.
The reaction has not yet
come, despite strenuous White
House efforts to guide the coun-
try on the path to perspective.
Those efforts included a presy
conference featuring the Presi-
dent's daughter, a series of ho-
milies on morality by a Jesuit
priest, and a short lecture by
one of the President's political
strategists on what Republicans
owe Richard Nixon.
THIS PROCESS of enlighten-
ment usually is carried out for
renorters in the large imposing
office of Kenneth Clawson, Nix-
on's director of communications.
Drinks are served with nan-
kins lettered, "Cocktails with
"The men around the Presi-
dent," says one of his critical
assistants, "still suffer from a
bnker mentality. They live in
unreality. They still think the
43rd Panzer division will break
through and save Berlin."
Unlike their leader, s o me
members of Richard Nixoin's
staf cannot conceal their des-
pair. Some have the sense of his
and their days being numbered.
Most say they don't.
THOSE IN the lowest frame
of mind were stunned by t h e
transcripts, not on the question
of legal guilt or innocence but,
as one said, "by the meanness
of spirit" reflected in the con-
Even the most despairing who
talked to this reporter da enot
plan to leave the White house
until Congress finds the Presi-
dent guilty or innocent. "After
all," said one, "the presidency
must go on."
Another members of Richard
Nixon's staff looked out the
window, at the White H o u s e
grounds, where the spring aos-
soms were fading.
"TO HAVE worked so tng,
so hard," he said without fiiis-
ing the sentence. "It's like
Vietnam or a bad day at the
race track. Things go lousy and
you invest more. Somehow you
hope you can regain sometiiiig
for your soul."
"I keep asking myself, how
did it all happen? The Presi-
dent is such a tragic figure.
He could've done so much 'hat
would have made a difference
for 100 years. But he blew it.
I don't know how or why, but
he blew it.
"HE CAN BE brilliant a n d
compassionate and decent in his
own way. But then there's the
other side, the introvert, the cy-
nic, the tight personality who
keeps saying he is the coolest
man in the room. How did it
The man who said these
things has in his office, as do
other assistants of R i c h a r d
Nixon, a handsomely engraved
note from the President i-ted
Jan. 20, 1973. It said:
"Every moment of history is
a fleeting time, precious and
unique. The Presidential t e r i
which begins today consists of
1,461 days - no more and uo
". if we strive together, if
we make the most of the chal-
lenge and the opportunity that
these days ofer us, they can
stand out as great days far
America and great moments in
the history of mankind. "nich-
There are now 958 d-iys left
to Jan. 20, 1977. No more, may-
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