On January 23 ,1973, when the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion in the landmark case Roe v. Wade, President Nixon remained mum on the decision — publicly, that is. In private conversations, tapes released this week recorded by secret microphones in the Oval Office from January and February 1973, reveal Nixon expressing both ambivalence and shocking racism. He worried that easier access to abortions would foster “permissiveness” and that they would “break the family.” But he acknowledged that “sometimes an abortion is necessary,” like “when you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.” Wha?? I wonder what he’d say about our current “black and white” president.In another deeply disturbing conversation, this one with evangelist Billy Graham in February 1973, Nixon worried that Jewish leaders were stirring up anti-Semitic sentiment in their opposition to evangelical Christianity efforts, like Campus Crusade. “It may be they have a death wish.” he said. “You know that’s been the problem with our Jewish friends for centuries.” Right…I mean, just look at the Holocaust.
These disclosures, along with 150 hours of tape and 30,000 pages of document were made public yesterday by the Nixon Presidential library. The audio files are posted here, along with a sampling of the documents. [via NYTimes]