The BBC’s David Taylor published a great analysis Friday of newly released White House recordings of President Lyndon Johnson. The two biggest revelations: Before the 1968 election, Nixon sabotaged Vietnam peace talks to prolong the war and increase his own presidential prospects; anti-war protesters literally blocked Johnson from the Chicago Democratic National Convention, and consequently from running again.
This story runs off the rails only briefly, when claiming that no president since Nixon has bugged the Oval Office. Obama, for one, is doing it.
Although Johnson learned of Nixon’s treasonous sabotage of Paris peace talks, we know now, the president said nothing.
In late October 1968 there were major concessions from Hanoi which promised to allow meaningful talks to get underway in Paris – concessions that would justify Johnson calling for a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam. This was exactly what Nixon feared.
[Senior Nixon campaign adviser Anna] Chennault was despatched to the South Vietnamese embassy with a clear message: the South Vietnamese government should withdraw from the talks, refuse to deal with Johnson, and if Nixon was elected, they would get a much better deal.
Although Johnson had claimed months before the convention he would not be seeking re-election, newly declassified tapes reveal that he had a last-minute, if thwarted, change of heart.
Johnson wanted to know from [Chicago Mayor Richard] Daley how many delegates would support his candidacy. LBJ only wanted to get back into the race if Daley could guarantee the party would fall in line behind him.
They also discussed whether the president’s helicopter, Marine One, could land on top of the Hilton Hotel to avoid the anti-war protesters.
Daley assured him enough delegates would support his nomination but the plan was shelved after the Secret Service warned the president they could not guarantee his safety.
Read the whole thing at BBC News.