Miller Center

This is the guy who’ll get out and tear things up

This recording is presented as part of the Watergate Collection.
Date: Wednesday, May 5, 1971 - 9:53am - 10:15am
Participants: Richard Nixon, Bob Haldeman
Location: Oval Office


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Editors' Note: An earlier version of this transcript was published as: Washington Special Prosecutor Force Transcripts, pp.9-12

H.R. "Bob" Haldeman: We had [Charles "Chuck"] Colson make a . . .

President Nixon: Chuck is something else.

Haldeman: Yeah. You know, [Edmund] Muskie sent those oranges down to the veterans-that group on Saturday, I mean.1

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: He didn't go down himself, but he sent oranges.

President Nixon: Did Colson order some oranges for him?

Haldeman: Colson sent oranges out yesterday. [laughs] From Muskie.

President Nixon: Is it out?

Haldeman: I don't know whether it's out yet or not. They'll get it out. [laughs]

President Nixon: He just ordered them?

Haldeman: [laughs] Yeah. An awful lot of cases of oranges. I don't know how the hell he does that stuff, but he . . . It's good, you know, he's been around the District here so long, he has a lot of contacts and he, as a local guy, he can get stuff done here that . . . And he's got no-He's going to get caught in some of those things [unclear].

President Nixon: [Unclear.] Well, he has been caught.

Haldeman: [Unclear] And he has been caught.

President Nixon: It's all right.

Haldeman: But it-he's gotten a lot done that he hasn't been caught at, and he-he gets  those guys, you know, something like that going. [tape whip] [unclear] which is just as well- we've got some stuff that he doesn't know anything about, too, through . . .

President Nixon: [Tom] Huston?

Haldeman: No, through [Dwight] Chapin's crew and, and Ron Walker and the advance men. We've got-we've got-see, our plant's in the . . .

President Nixon: What do you do?

Haldeman: --in the [unclear] some of our guys we've got-what we've got is a guy that nobody, none of us knows except Dwight.

President Nixon: Mm-hmm.

Haldeman: Who is a-and who is just completely removed. There's no contact at all. Who has mobilized a crew of about-I don't know what it is. He's, he's starting to build it now. We're going to use it for the campaign next year.

President Nixon: [Unclear.]

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: Are they really any-

Haldeman: This guy's a real conspirator-type, who can sort of-

President Nixon: Like Huston?

Haldeman: Thug type guy. No, he's a stronger guy than Huston. Huston is a stay-in-the-back room-

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: This is the guy who'll get out and tear things up.

President Nixon: What do they, what do they do with . . . do they just . . .

Haldeman: They get in and-they were the ones that did the Nixon signs, for instance, when Muskie was in New Hampshire.

President Nixon: Oh, did they?

Haldeman: And, uh . . .

President Nixon: Everybody thought that was great.

Haldeman: They, you know-things of that sort. They-they're-some of that. And then they're going to stir up some of this Vietcong flag business, as-Colson's going to do it through hardhats and legionnaires. What Colson's going do on that, and what I suggested he do-and I think that they can get away with this-do it with the Teamsters. Just ask them to dig up their eight thugs.

President Nixon: How?

Haldeman: Just call-what's-his-name? Fitzsimmons is trying to get-play our game anyway. Is just tell Fitzsimmons-

President Nixon: They've got guys who'll go in and knock their heads off.

Haldeman: Sure. Murderers. Guys that really, you know, that's what they really do. Like the steelworkers have and-except we can't deal with the steelworkers at the moment.

President Nixon: No.

Haldeman: We can deal with the Teamsters. And they, you know, it's the-

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: -regular strikebuster-types and all that and they . . . [tape whip]-types and just send them in and beat the shit out of some of these people. And hope they really hurt 'em, you know what I mean? Go in with some real-smash some noses. [tape whip] some pretty good fights.

President Nixon: I take it you can [unclear] picture of the guy in the [WashingtonPost, that the reporter [tape whip] [unclear].

Haldeman: I didn't see it. [Unclear] [tape whip] I must admit, as [Patrick] Buchanan said in his summary, it's obvious the Post is going for a Pulitzer Prize on their coverage of the thing or something because they're just filling it-

President Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: -[unclear] with all these [tape whip] stories and everything else.


  1. Haldeman is presumably referring to a group of about 600 war protesters who had been arrested and refused to post $10 collateral and were subsequently confined in the Washington Coliseum. National Guardsmen handed out oranges, sandwiches, and cigarettes. See Jim Mann, “Spirit Runs High in Coliseum ‘Jail’,” Washington Post, 5 May 1971, p.A9.