Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Final Days 14

On page 433 of The Final Days, by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, President Richard Nixon’s White House Press Secretary, Ron Ziegler, is asking a secretary in the White House press office, Anne Grier, is she will be coming with him, Nixon, and two people on Ziegler’s staff—-Frank Gannon and Diane Sawyer—-to San Clemente, California.  Nixon is about to leave the office of the Presidency.  After pausing to consider how she will respond, and being told by Ziegler that she didn’t have to go, Anne finally says: “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.  Of course I’ll go.”

I liked this part of the book because Ziegler is sticking with Nixon, even though Nixon is departing as a disgraced President.  And, as someone who watches ABC News each weeknight, I also think it’s cool that Diane Sawyer went with Nixon to San Clemente.  I already knew that Diane Sawyer worked for Nixon after his Presidency on account of the movie, Frost/Nixon, in which an actress plays her.  But it’s interesting to me how often she shows up in The Final Days, often dutifully doing her work, and sometimes expressing an opinion (of sympathy for Nixon, or of shock that John Connally was being attacked for a particular scandal).  Jonathan Aitken in Nixon: A Life narrates that Nixon and Sawyer had a breach in their relationship after Diane Sawyer interviewed him on CBS.  Aitken states on pages 559-560: “She needled him particularly harshly on Watergate, possibly because of a feeling on her part that she had to demonstrate her journalistic independence from her former boss.  Nixon coped more than adequately with her tough questioning, but was inwardly hurt by it and felt he had been betrayed by an old friend.”

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