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Larry King Live: Interview With Julie Nixon Eisenhower

Aired January 1, 2003 - 21:00   ET


RICHARD M. NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have come along way to be here today, 16,000 miles. And many things have occurred on this trip have made me realize it was worth coming.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight former President Nixon's daughter Julie Nixon Eisenhower in a rare indepth interview about her fathers legacy. And she has brought some never before seen footage of her dad too.

Julie Nixon Eisenhower for the hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Happy New Year. And it's a great pleasure -- what a way to kick off the year, with one of our old friends and a dear lady, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Richard and Pat Nixon's younger daughter, married to David Eisenhower. That's a kind of familiar name in America, grandson of president Dwight David Eisenhower.

She is an author, a public speaker, mother of three. Gave us a guided tour of her father's brilliant library, down south of here in California.

It's always a great pleasure, and lots of things to talk about tonight, including China.

But first -- we must deal with first things first. What was the -- what was that thing, you and your sister? Clear it up for us.

JULIE NIXON EISENHOWER, DAUGHTER OF FORMER PRESIDENT RICHARD M. NIXON: Well, Larry, we had a disagreement and I think that when you're in the public eye, whenever you have any little minor or even a more significant disagreement, sometimes it can be blown out of proportion.

KING: Was that blown out of proportion?

EISENHOWER: It really was. It's completely resolved. I was with Tricia three days ago in Philadelphia. She's going to be joining me in a few days in Yorba Linda to open this new China exhibit at the Nixon Library. And I'm just so glad it's behind us. We have...

KING: What is the position on... EISENHOWER: Sometimes brothers and sisters don't agree and that's it.

KING: What a shock that is. Well, what is the position of each sister at the library? What's your -- each role?

EISENHOWER: Well, we're both on the board and sort of stalwarts in getting programming, good programming, going. And bringing speakers -- and you spoke; you were fantastic.

KING: Thank you.

EISENHOWER: You were very funny, very funny. About a year ago.

And we help think of exhibit ideas and just, you know...

KING: Was it philosophical? Different...

EISENHOWER: The differences? You know, I really don't even want to go into it, just to say that...

KING: You don't have to.

EISENHOWER: ... it's all -- it's done and -- There is one thing, though, that I think is -- would be helpful to explain. When you have a parent who's president, your parent belongs to history. But it's still your dad, and you have very strong feelings about how you remember him or how you want him remembered.

And lots of times, the family may not agree, and I -- to give you an example, Senator Inouye, who is from Hawaii, was on the Roosevelt Presidential Commission, and he was -- his job was to help design a tribute to the president from the nation. And it took 40 years.

KING: Forty years.

EISENHOWER: And just because the family couldn't agree.

KING: There was a real argument as to whether to put it in a wheelchair.

EISENHOWER: Right. And 20 years ago, one side of the family had it all laid out, it was going to be this memorial. And another faction in the family said they didn't like it, and so it took another 20 years.

So sometimes you could be very close in a family, you could have a difference of opinion, and I want to say it's done, it's over and...

KING: Do you equally operate the library? Is that your role? I mean, there's a director...

EISENHOWER: The director, John Taylor, obviously.

KING: This is not a federal library, by the way. This should be understood, right? This is not taxed for this (ph). EISENHOWER: There are 10 presidential libraries, and we're the eleventh. And because of the way my father left office, with the resignation, Congress seized his papers and tapes and so they run the presidential materials in Washington, and we run Yorba Linda, the post-presidential, his nine books and six trips to China, all that.

And the Senate has the vice presidential years. We have all those documents.

The good news is that I just was with Gerry Ford, who is now 89. I don't know if he's been on the show recently, but he is...

KING: Recently....

EISENHOWER: He's amazing -- total -- He's just so with it. And he's such a decent and wonderful human being. And he -- my dad and he were very good friends. They started out in Congress together.

And he told me he's going to make it one of the last goals of his life to bring the Nixon Library into the federal system. Not because we need the money and have to have it, because we're doing fine. We've been very entrepreneurial. We don't receive the $2 million a year the other libraries do. But because my father shouldn't be outside the system.

KING: And if he's in the system, then the papers will go to the library, won't they?

EISENHOWER: Right. And then when researchers look at the life of Richard Nixon, they'll start right there in the little house he was born in and they can go through all of the papers, right on the same -- at the same place, as they do in other presidential libraries.

KING: When the argument was going on, or the disagreement was going on, was it difficult to have it reported in the press? Was that hard for you? I mean...

EISENHOWER: I think it's one of the worse things I've ever gone through in my life.

KING: Really?

EISENHOWER: Because my sister and I have always been so close, and...

KING: And he loved you both.

EISENHOWER: Absolutely. He was the best father in the world. He and my mother were just the most wonderful parents, and so all I can say is that we've both come to our senses. We're back.

KING: Did you give a little, each?

EISENHOWER: We certainly did. We did, and that's part of life.

KING: One of the toughest parts in families, when there is a disagreement, there's usually -- where you don't speak for awhile, having observed these.


KING: And when you don't speak for awhile, those are the toughest times. Because sisters are joined at the hip, aren't they?

EISENHOWER: They are. And we had -- it certainly was exaggerated that we didn't speak for years, but we were not as close as we had been. But we're now back working together, and everything's fine.

KING: Who runs the library?

EISENHOWER: We have a board of directors, which my sister and I sit on, and a dynamic man named John Taylor who was my dad's personal aide for 10 years before his death.

KING: Nice guy.

EISENHOWER: Yes. So he's -- he's the one who's kind of in charge.

KING: Now did the late Beazy Ribosa (ph), did he leave money for the library?

EISENHOWER: He did. Beazy (ph) was...

KING: I knew Beazy (ph) very well.

EISENHOWER: You knew Beazy (ph), and...

KING: Beazy (ph) introduced me to your father.

EISENHOWER: The wonderful thing about Beazy (ph) was that he -- he was a humanitarian. He left half his money to the Boys and Girls Club of Miami and half to the Nixon Library.

And the neat thing about that is that Beazy (ph) was on the Boys Club of Miami board from the 1930s, and during the Depression some weeks, the club could not meet its payroll. And Beazy (ph) would just quietly meet the payroll. And he just loved helping those young kids.

And so, when he died, he gave half his money to the library and half to the Boys Club.

KING: And then he set certain stipulations about the library. Was that...

EISENHOWER: Can we not get into that?

KING: I'm sorry. I just want to know...

EISENHOWER: Things are complicated. The board...

KING: How was it resolved? EISENHOWER: It's just resolved that the money is now at the library, and my sister and I are both happy with the way it's going to be spent and invested.

KING: When it finally was ironed out, what was the conversation like when you -- it was settled? You know, were you together, was it on the phone?

EISENHOWER: We were together. Actually, we went up to my room. We were in Miami at a mediation. We went up to my room, we took our shoes off and we both lay down on the bed.

KING: And that was settled?

EISENHOWER: Yes. And we just had a wonderful talk, and I think we both looked at each other and said, "How did this ever get to this path?" And that was it.

KING: If your father were living, he would have said, now, they're -- even my daughters they're after, right?

Nixon and the press had a remarkable intertwining, had they not?

EISENHOWER: They have. They...

KING: Love/hate. Mostly hate, lot of love. Sometimes a gross amount of hate.


NIXON: I want you to know -- just how much your are going to missing. You don't have Nixon to kick around any more.

DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS: Dan Rather with CBS News.

NIXON: Will you be running for something?

RATHER: No, sir. Mr. President are you?


EISENHOWER: He seems to have been kind of at the center of a lot of passions, particularly the Vietnam War. To be president during Vietnam, that was...

KING: And every time you've described him to us, you describe him as loving, caring, intimate, friendly, very affectionate. Something -- was that something he didn't show us, didn't want to show us?

EISENHOWER: I think he showed it. I mean, he's the only man in history other than Roosevelt to be elected five times. And he was good with people. Maybe he was stiff, a little stiff as far as body language, but out on the stump and the way he could talk to people directly. He remembers names; that's something I can't do.

KING: He was a great one-on-one interview.

EISENHOWER: He was fantastic, yes. And he loved coming on your show. He enjoyed it.

KING: One of the last things he did for -- was book an appearance.


KING: I saw it on a calendar at the library. He wrote LARRY KING LIVE for a certain date.

EISENHOWER: And we have that out there at the library.

KING: When he had that -- the final cause of death was a stroke?

EISENHOWER: Was a stroke, right. He -- but the great thing about his life, he went out just like Gerald Ford, peak of his intelligence. No slowing down.

KING: No, he had wit.

EISENHOWER: He was fun to be with. He was following everything, and the presidents after he left office were good in the sense that they consulted with him, some a little more than others. But it made him feel useful, traveling. You know, he went to China six times.

KING: Russia.


KING: Got friendly with Governor Cuomo.

EISENHOWER: That was a story. That was a good one. Right, right.

KING: A solid friendship, yes.

Were you with him, at his death?

EISENHOWER: Yes, my sister and I were both there, and it was very peaceful. And he was fighting to the end, and he couldn't speak but, you know, he was squeezing my hand. At the very end, he gave me his thumbs-up.

KING: Really?


KING: Lots to talk about with Julie Nixon Eisenhower. We're going to talk about Beijing and the Eisenhowers and the Nixons. Don't go away.


KING: I remember when Adlai Stevenson in 1956, in that campaign, called for recognition of Red China and I think you lambasted him. That was pinko and he was way off in left field. And then few years later who opens the doors but Richard Nixon.

Were those two Nixons?

NIXON: No, those were two different China's. Adlai Stevenson was wrong in 1956. That would have been the wrong time to recognize China, because China at that time was in an aggressive stage. It was trying to export communism all over Southeast Asia and into Africa. Competing with the Soviet Union, as matter of fact, in that respect, as it finally turned out. At the time that I went to China, China had finally turned inwards. It no longer posed a threat to us externally.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that 10 years age that he climbed up to that top.

NIXON: Well, he did? Well, lets go today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I can't do it now. I do not agree.

NIXON: Neither can I.


KING: Tell me about what's going on with Beijing.

EISENHOWER: Well, this -- 2002 was the 30th anniversary of my father's historic trip, and so the library did a terrific exhibit of the history of the trip. And we opened it in Beijing, Tiananmen Square, at the Museum of Natural -- the Museum of Chinese History.

Then it went to Shanghai, Shanghai Library.

KING: Were you there for those things?

EISENHOWER: Yes. And then on January 9, it comes to Yorba Linda.

And what's fascinating about the exhibits are the documents, particularly. For example, there are exchanges between my father and J. Edgar Hoover where my father said, "We can't let Red China into the U.N."

And then you see his changing thinking. In 1965, he tells a business group, "China's going to be the most important industrial nation in the future. Do we want to make peace with them now? Or do we want to wait for 25 years and try to deal with them?"

KING: Before he was president? EISENHOWER: That's right.

And then in '67, he -- there was a famous quote from this article in "Foreign Affairs," where he said, "It would be a disastrous foreign policy to leave one billion of the world's ablest people outside of the family of nations."

KING: Well, he has a reputation as a staunch conservative, but he was, in fact, a pragmatic moderate, wasn't he? I mean, if you look...


KING: ... at his judicial appointments, the opening to China.


KING: How was it received within China?

EISENHOWER: We were thrilled with the reception in China. President Jiang Zemin sent a videotaped message, and George W. Bush, with all he had going on, he was very gracious. He also sent a message.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When Air Force One arrived in China on February 21, 1972, it was an end of a long flight and a beginning of a new journey.


EISENHOWER: And of course the Chinese played that on nation telivision. And not only -- we had a marvelous film made by the Reader's Digest Foundation about the trip 30 years ago, the scene in Beijing. You know, today in Beijing, the streets are 10 lanes of traffic. When I was there, shortly after my father's trip, there were maybe just a few military vehicles, a couple Jeeps, really no cars. People were on bicycles.

The changes are so dramatic.

KING: We should tell our viewers that may be on the young side how historic that trip was. You know, people forget. China was a hated word in America.

EISENHOWER: It was. And the Chinese were -- had been so isolated. For 25 years, they were just cut off from the rest of the world. And of course, today China's growth -- economic growth is an 8 percent rate...

KING: I do recall having Kissinger go there, advance trips. And this all-seeing, all-knowing press not seeing and not knowing.

EISENHOWER: They had an elaborate scheme where they were working to Pakistan behind the scenes. And, of course, the most famous trip was when Kissinger went to Pakistan on business, supposed business. He got the stomach flu, right? Not really. And they snuck him out of Pakistan to Beijing for these secret meetings.

But see, even Mao couldn't let his people know these meetings were going on, because he was dealing with the radicals, the Red Guard.

KING: Who would have assasinated him.

EISENHOWER: Who, that year, in 1971, that the announcement that my father would go to China were calling a gangster with blood dripping from his sores. Those were the typical words used to describe the American president.

In fact, my uncle was in China last year, and he spoke with a former mayor -- the former mayor of Shanghai. And he said, "There were two things in my life I thought I'd never see. Man landing on the moon and an American president in China. And of the two, the second was the more difficult."

KING: And he pulled it off during the Vietnam fracas.

EISENHOWER: During Vietnam, when everyone said, "Well, China is supporting North Vietnam. They don't want to talk to America."

And it was sort of just this Washington-think thinking, old-time thinking that China and Russia were joined at the hip, this monolithic Communist block.

KING: Well, that used to be...

EISENHOWER: Whereas my father realized that there were two entities there; they could be broken apart.

KING: Play one against the other one.

EISENHOWER: And what was fascinating was that three days after the announcement that he would go to -- my father would go to Beijing, the Soviets agreed to come to the table for SALT, the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. So it got them off the center.

KING: Well, when your father was planning all this, you were where? You were how old?

EISENHOWER: I was 22, and I wasn't exactly in on all the know, but I was in the White House a lot for all the exciting things that were happening.

KING: You were there when he announced it? I remember that day.

EISENHOWER: No, I watched it on television. I think it was a three-minute announcement.


NIXON: Knowing of President Nixon's express desire to visit the People's Republic of China. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on behave of the government of the People's Republic of China has extended an invitation to President Nixon to visit China, at an appropriate date before May 1972.

President Nixon has accepted the invitation with pleasure.


KING: That's all it was?

EISENHOWER: Yes. Three minutes.

KING: Nine o'clock, prior to...

EISENHOWER: You remember that?

KING: Yes. No advance warning. In fact, there were no warnings as to what he was going to say.


KING: Now you always get an advanced summary.

EISENHOWER: That's right. Yes.

KING: The president will speak tonight at 9. He's going to fight for the food bill.


KING: I am going to China, and end of story. People were -- I mean, the stories were incredible.

EISENHOWER: That's right, it was -- and the vying among the press corps to get on that trip was amazing. In fact, in this old film that we show in -- along with the exhibit, there's Barbara Walters looking very different.


QUESTION: Do you have any plans to other things you might be doing this week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I hope to do a great many things. And we are planning them as we go along. I am going to go to the children's hospital and to see some of the sites of the city. Also the glass factory to a commune tomorrow. So it's going to be a very exciting week.

QUESTION: With the night time activities you don't have much time to sleep.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to sleep when I am on a trip as fascinating as this.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) ... 30 years ago not that you didn't want the traffic, but just the different styles of the hair and all. Right there will my mother at the commune and with the pigs and all the things...


KING: On January 9, next week, Julie and Tricia will be on hand for the opening of this "Journey to Peace" exhibit. January 9 is the 90th anniversary of Richard Nixon's birth. He'd have been 90 years old this January 9.

Now, a film narrated by Julie will feature never before seen footage of the Nixon trip. What are we going to see in that film?

EISENHOWER: Well, you're going to see my father walking through the plane and joking with people on the way over. And there's this one shot of the pilot saying, "Shanghai, Shanghai. Come in, this is Air Force One."

You know, in a sense it was this journey to the unknown. No one -- so few Westerners had been in the -- in China in the last 20 -- the 25 previous years that it was this idea that they were going to uncharted territory. There was really a lot of unknowns about the trip.

KING: We'll be right back with Julie Nixon Eisenhower. This -- How long will the exhibit be at the Nixon Library?

EISENHOWER: I think six months.

KING: We'll be back with more right after this. Don't go away.


NIXON: And one stand there and see the Wall going to the heap of this mountain and realizes it runs for hundreds of miles, as matter of fact, thousands of miles over the mountains and though the valleys of this country. That it was built over 2,000 years ago. I think that you have to conclude that this is a great wall and it had to be built by a great people. It is certainly a symbol of what China in the past has been and what China in the future can become. A people that could build a wall like this certainly a great past to be proud of. And a people that have this kind of a past must also have a great future.



NIXON: Dr. Kissinger complains. He says he doesn't get enough to eat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a two hour period this afternoon that you didn't feed me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I gave you peanuts.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: This exhibit, which opens on Jan. 9, you'll see original documents and rare photos and life-sized statues of Nixon and Zhou Enlai at the moment of their first hand shake at the airport.

EISENHOWER: That's right. My father was absolutely determined to erase the bad feelings from 1954 when John Foster Dulles refused to shake Enlai's hand at the Geneva summit.

And so, if you look at the film, even before his feet touched Chinese soil, he had his hand out. He was going to -- and Zhou Enlai's words, in fact I met with his interpreter on my last visit to China, and he was standing right next to Zhou Enlai, and he said -- I said, "What did the two men say?" And this interpreter said, "The premiere said, 'Your handshake comes across the vastest ocean, 25 years of no communication.'"

And another interpreter told me a very interesting story. Nancy Peng. Do you remember Nancy from the trip? She had the little Dutch boy hairdo? And she was Mao's interpreter. Well, she said that Mao was very ill the day my father arrived in Beijing. And he had a high fever, but he knew that if he didn't meet with the president, all the press would say, you know, they'd read so much into it. That this trip wouldn't fail, that there's no communique. And so Mao was kind of propped up and he was able to meet with my father.

Now, at the time my father didn't know that Mao was sick. All he knew was that Zhou Enlai kept looking at his watch and sort of hinting, don't stay too long. And so he thought, well, Mao's tired. But instead, he was really very ill.

KING: Your father told me that he rather liked Zhou Enlai.

EISENHOWER: He was a brilliant man. My mother liked him very much, too. He was -- He was just an extraordinary thinker and I think that when they talked to him, you couldn't help but feel you were in the presence of a man who really knew the world and...

KING: Would that trip have to be called a resounding success, based on world events? It would have to be, wouldn't it?

EISENHOWER: There's a wonderful quote from Pearl Buck, the great -- well, the writer, the novelist and Nobel Laureate. And she said, "When the history of the 20th Century is written, there will be one sentence about the United States. Nixon went to China." I mean, that's how important she thought the trip was. It was a very important trip. It did change things.

KING: When was the first time you went?

EISENHOWER: My first trip was in New Year's -- I spent New Year's Eve with Mao. Yes, I did. David and I did.

KING: Does the National Enquirer know of this?

EISENHOWER: They certainly do. We were guests of the Chinese government, and we'd been in China a couple days, and we went to a banquet. And we went back up to our room, and all of a sudden there was a knock on the door. I'd actually -- I had my nightgown on. I was getting ready for bed. And this very excited official said, "Oh, Chairman Mao wants to see you."

So I pulled on the fastest thing I could get. It was a dress that was sort of a jersey that you just put over your head; it had no buttons. Because it seemed rather urgent. So we rushed downstairs. I had this dress on, this jersey.

And we went to the Forbidden City and the Chinese government had all these lights trained on the car. As you drove in, they had these bright lights. And we went in, and to meet with Mao, we passed through a room with a darkened room with a ping-pong table in it. Interesting.

Then into his study, which was just crammed with books and scrolls. And we spent over an hour with Chairman Mao. And I handed him a letter that my father had sent, a hand written letter. And it was an amazing New Year's Eve.

KING: You sent a part of history, from your father to the Chairman. And what was that like for you?


KING: The ping-pong table must have symbolized that they were the best in the world.

EISENHOWER: That's right.

It was just one of those moments where it's -- you have a name and it's something you could never do otherwise, and we were very much aware that...

KING: What was he like?

EISENHOWER: Mao was -- he was big -- he'd had several strokes and that was obvious.

It was -- he had three interpreters, three young women, all attractive. One was Nancy Peng, again the Brooklyn-born and educated -- American educated interpreter. And the chairman would say something, and the three interpreters had notebooks. They'd write it down. And then they would consult. Because when you have a stroke, your speech is garbled. And then they would say in English what they thought the Chairman had said.

And if they were wrong -- he really, he understood English. He would correct them. No, no, no, no. Or whatever the Chinese word is for no. And then they would re-consult and say it correctly.

So he was on top of things, even though he died a couple months later. In fact, we were the second to last Americans to see Mao. My father was the last American to meet with the Chairman Mao. KING: What did your father say to you when you got back?

EISENHOWER: From the first trip?

KING: Yes.

EISENHOWER: He was in a rather happy mood, and we had a family dinner. We said we're celebrating my sister's birthday, because her birthday is Feb. 21, the day my father arrived in China. So had a sort of a late birthday celebration.

And my father had brought back these bottles of Mao tai (ph).


NIXON: Tonight I will (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for Mao Tai.


EISENHOWER: Do you know what that stuff is? It's 100 percent proof, or 99 or something...

KING: Watch out.

EISENHOWER: Completely. And so they're in these white bottles and so he has this bottle of Mao Tai (ph) at the table, and he says, "I want to show you girls how strong this stuff is." And he poured some into a saucer. Then he gets some matches. He throws the match. We had a little mini-fire on the dining room table. My mother was not a happy camper. You know, the flames were going up. He wanted to show his daughters about the Mao Tai (ph).

KING: What's China's view of your father?

EISENHOWER: He is considered an old friend. That's the word they use for him, and...

KING: Really?

EISENHOWER: ... his name is known in China everywhere. The...

KING: His picture is known?

EISENHOWER: His picture is known. And he's respected; he's respected very highly, because the Chinese came into the modern world as a result of his trip.

KING: I wonder if they named anything after him?

EISENHOWER: I doubt it. I don't think so. I don't think so. But they certainly were happy to have the exhibit, which was wonderful. In Tiananmen Square, right next to Mao's tomb.

KING: Was it well attended?

EISENHOWER: I think it was well attended, and in connection with it, we had three hours of television who people who were actually involved in the original trip from '72, including this woman who served my parents in the guest house. And she said that she taught my father to use chopsticks, so I asked her on the national -- on their national television show, I said, "Well, how did he do?"

And she said, "Oh, well, he improved." In other words, I think he was a little clumsy with the chopsticks, which was very diplomatic, "he improved."

KING: This exhibit opens on the 9th.

EISENHOWER: On the 9th.

KING: It's for six months.


KING: Public invited, of course. The Nixon Library.

We'll take a break. When we come back lots more to talk about with Julie Nixon Eisenhower as we enter 2003. One of the historic beginnings will be this exhibit as the Nixon Library.

I am Larry King with Julie Eisenhower. Don't go away we will be right back.


NIXON: I want to express my appreciation to my Chinese voice. To Mrs. Chung. I listen to her translation. She got every word right.



KING: We're back with Julie Nixon Eisenhower. What are your memories of the holiday season at the White House?

EISENHOWER: Lots of happy memories. The one holiday that stands out the most was 1971. Do you remember what happened sports-wise in '71. Football? Ring any bells?

KING: Well, let's see. Miami Dolphins.

EISENHOWER: No, I wasn't thinking of that. I wouldn't know that.

But the NFL had a Christmas Day game that -- they almost never do games on Christmas.

KING: That's right.

EISENHOWER: This was a huge shock.

KING: Wait a minute. Come on. It was the night the Dolphins played.

EISENHOWER: Well, anyway...

KING: We played Kansas City and we beat them in overtime, two overtimes, Garrot (ph) kicked the field goal. Zanka ran for 90 yards. I remember it.

EISENHOWER: And suddenly, when this was unheard of...

KING: Other than that, I don't remember it. That's right. It was Christmas Day.

EISENHOWER: All right.

Well, Mamie Eisenhower was our guest, and Tricia's family, or the Cox family, were there, and the Eisenhower family. Well, Mamie, you could imagine. This was sacrilege. All the guys want to leave this wonderful, warm family gathering and go down and watch NFL football. I mean, this was a real, you know, fire point, testing moment in the family.

KING: What did you father do?

EISENHOWER: Well, what he did is, of course they watched the football, as you can imagine. But he tried to be very lighthearted and so he said to his, to the men guests like David's father John and Howard Cox, Tricia's father-in-law, "Well, let's get comfortable for the game." So he goes in his closet and he comes out with the worst looking smoking jackets that had been given to him. One had blue elephants on it.

And of course, you hand it to your guests, my father-in-law, and he's, "Here, John, why don't you put this on and be comfortable." So he's decked out in blue elephants. My father was wearing a velvet smoking jacket and I think Howard Cox was with a more conservative maroon. But that was the scene at the White House.

And I remember that Christmas, also, because we thought my father needed to be teased a bit, so we had been watching commercials. And that was the year that blow dryers for men came in. Of course, you know my dad used Bryl Creem, or whatever it is.

KING: Yes, I know.

EISENHOWER: And Ronald Reagan.

KING: Little dab will do.

EISENHOWER: A little dab will do you. So we gave my father a blow dryer for Christmas. Of course, he opened it and didn't know what it was. We explained.

And we also gave him a recording of Jingle Bells barked by dogs, because...

KING: That was a big hit that year. EISENHOWER: It was. Woof, woof, woof.

KING: I remember that.


KING: I love that song.

EISENHOWER: Exactly. Well, that's what we did that year.

KING: Did he like that record?

EISENHOWER: He loved it. He was a dog lover, and we were kind of teasing him.

KING: By the way, that was imminent before going to China.

EISENHOWER: Yes, that was the Christmas before that.

KING: He went in February.

EISENHOWER: That's right. So it was two months away.

KING: Two months away. He knew something was coming.

EISENHOWER: Well, he made the announcement in July. So we all knew he was going.

KING: He was getting ready to go?

EISENHOWER: And so he needed a blow dryer in China, right?

KING: Did it work when you plugged it in?

Did you like life in the White House or not? Some kids hated it.

EISENHOWER: It was an experience I'll never -- could never have again. And every day was incredible. You woke up and you couldn't believe that the mirror in the family elevator had belonged to George Washington. And you got sort of chills every time you walked into the Lincoln Bedroom and saw the bed that Mary Todd Lincoln got for her husband.

It's an incredible place of history, but it's not an easy place to live. When it came to the end, I certainly never looked back. You know, I don't think you miss it, ever. Particularly because you're guarded by Secret Service.

KING: Elliot Roosevelt told me once that, given the choice, he'd rather not have been a part of it, as a son. How did -- what about the media scrutiny? How did you deal with that?

EISENHOWER: You just...

KING: They always want to know about the Nixon girls.

EISENHOWER: They want to know about everything.

KING: Who could forget your sister's wedding?

EISENHOWER: I hope you don't forget, because you can get married at the Nixon Library under her gazebo. So please, don't forget.

KING: That's right. You have the gazebo at the library.

EISENHOWER: One thing that's positive, and I have to compliment the press, they are giving -- they gave Chelsea Clinton and they're giving the Bush daughters a lot more privacy. It's sort of the Prince William model that's being used in England, where after Diana died, the queen said, "Please, let these boys, at least until they reach the majority, have some privacy."

And the American press is doing that with the Bush twins and...

KING: We'll be back with our remain moments with Julie Nixon Eisenhower. Don't forget the exhibit, the wonderful exhibit, at the Nixon Library in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on January 9. We'll be right back.


NIXON: Some point. I don't think we.


NIXON: They will be very unimpressed.




NIXON: As you know, I will soon be visiting the peoples Republic of China and the Soviet Union. I go there with no illusions, we have great differences with both powers. We will continue to have great differences. But peace depends on the abilities of great powers to live together on the same planet despite there differences. We would not be true to our obligations to generations yet unborn if we failed to seized the moment on our part to insure, that we will be able to talk about those differences rather then fight about them in future.


KING: How do you think your father's going to be remembered? Historians told a story, as your father said to me once, they'll tell the story.

EISENHOWER: I don't know how he will be remembered, but I do know that the presidency was significant. It was -- it was the beginning, you know, laying the groundwork for the end of the Cold War, ending Vietnam, Environmental Protection Agency, all those things. It was a significant time in our nation's history. Desegregation of the Southern schools. When he came into office, 80 percent were all-black; when he left, 20 percent.

Lots of things were happening. So he'll be judged on many things.

KING: Was there ever a kidnapping attempt?

EISENHOWER: Yes, there were death threats and...

KING: I assumed that but didn't know.

EISENHOWER: Yes, and also don't you remember the blind sheikh in New York? In 1993.

KING: He had a plan to kidnap your father?

EISENHOWER: And Kissinger. That was all -- that all came out during the trial.

KING: If you had those two in the same room for a month, you'd give them back in a week. Right?

EISENHOWER: No comment, no comment.

KING: They'd drive you nuts. Come on. They'd drive you nuts together, right?

EISENHOWER: They would both be giving several theories on the world.

KING: You take that seriously?

EISENHOWER: Do I take death threats...?

KING: The kidnapping.

EISENHOWER: I think people in public office have to be careful, but I hope also that our president isn't kept away from the people. Because I hope we never get to the point where you can't interact freely.

KING: We've hidden the vice president at five different times.

EISENHOWER: Well, that's different because -- that's all right to do because he's the more ceremonial job and that's prudent. He's still out with people, but at certain moments of terror or danger, I guess, it's fine.

But for the president himself, he has to remain with the people. That's an important line President Bush is walking.

KING: How do you think he would deal with this war on terrorism?

EISENHOWER: I have no idea how he would... KING: No surmise?

EISENHOWER: Just that -- it seems that we're -- I think the encouraging thing about the war on terrorism happened within the first month of 9/11. Apparently, 2,000 important operatives were rounded up are now are in Guantanamo Bay.

KING: Still there.

EISENHOWER: I think that's very significant. We don't focus enough on that. We can't be complacent, but to have gotten that many rounded up, I think it decimated the networks. And so hopefully, with all the new intelligence, we can keep it under control.

KING: It hasn't become yesterday's news, though, hasn't it?


KING: Guantanamo is, like, forgotten. I mean, it's not covered much.

EISENHOWER: No. And that is not to say there are not threats out there, but that was a great feat of American intelligence, to get those people.

KING: What are your fears, thoughts, wishes, desires about Iraq?

EISENHOWER: Just that any action that we take, it goes as smoothly as it did in the first Gulf War. That was a text book case of air power. I think we only lost 100 people, and some to friendly fire. It was contained. Americans' military expertise in the air is just incredible.

Apparently, Larry, I was talking to a general who -- an Air Force general who explained that in the 10 years since the last war, we can -- we don't even have to be worried with weather. We now have the technology to do anything we want, any time. Before we were hampered when the weather was poor, but apparently now the precision bombing is even more accurate, and weather's less of a factor. So...

KING: You've been overseas, and what -- lately there are stories that feelings toward America have never been worse, in almost friendly places, Canada and Australia.

EISENHOWER: Right. Our son just spent a semester in Australia, and one night he called me and he said, "Mom, why do -- I can't -- I've just been stunned by the amount of talk I hear of not liking Americans."

The -- we're going through a period where that happens, and I think it's periodic. It's -- certainly during Vietnam we had, you know, a lot of our allies, our erstwhile allies, didn't want to support America.

That happens when you have a powerful country.

KING: Do you think it's because we're the only superpower?


KING: Yet the only...

EISENHOWER: You know as well as I do, sure, that's...

KING: And when you're the only, you're a monopoly.

EISENHOWER: That's right.

KING: Nobody likes them.

EISENHOWER: And really, that's why Colin Powell has done such a miracle job at the U.N., to turn that 15 votes, now, for America. I think that's very significant.

KING: That's -- your father was spat upon, was he not and nearly attacked in where, Venezuela?

EISENHOWER: In Venezuela, in -- when he was there in '58. He was almost killed. His car was rocked; all the windows were broken on it but one. They had baseball bats and clubs, and he was almost killed then.

So there's always an anti-American feeling. There will be as long as we are the superpower.

KING: Your father gave up Secret Service protection, right?

EISENHOWER: He did. I think he -- he just felt he didn't need it. So he gave it up in 1984, '85. I think. Yes, '85.

KING: He had his own? He had his own?

EISENHOWER: He hired off-duty New Jersey, or New York -- and just for when he traveled. But, like, when he'd come to visit us he was completely alone. He'd go into the grocery store with me, restaurants.

And Larry, what's wonderful about him is he never had an incident. You know, he'd go in to walk the streets of New York. And in eight years, he never had anybody walk up to him and say, "Hey, I didn't like what you did here or there."

KING: Like the ballgames?

EISENHOWER: Oh, he did.

KING: And stayed through the ninth inning?

EISENHOWER: He certainly did, yes.

KING: He was a true baseball fanatic.

EISENHOWER: Oh, he loved it. In fact, one of the things we sent to China for this Nixon Library exhibit was a transistor radio, and the label on it says, "President Nixon was a big sports fan. And he listened to games on this radio."

So Larry, they were thinking of you.

KING: He always told me, "I stayed till the ninth inning."

EISENHOWER: That's right.

KING: Kept score.


KING: We'll be back with more of Julie Nixon Eisenhower. Happy New Year. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve before eight.

NIXON: Twelve before eight. Your that close 12 minutes before eight.


NIXON: That's a chief protocol always by the minute. You run things so well so.

All of you people are just, well. Everything is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) well organized and on time and we appreciate it very much. We hope we are not much trouble to you.




NIXON: Our two peoples tonight hold the future of the world in our hands. If we can find the common ground on which we can both stand where we can build the bridge between us and build a new world. Generations in the years ahead will look back and thanks for this meeting that we have held in this past week.


KING: We're back with Julie Nixon Eisenhower. Other than not having his papers, are there other difficulties to not being part of the federal library system?

EISENHOWER: It's really the principle of it.

KING: You have to treat your own grounds, right?

EISENHOWER: Right. We pay for everything. But, Larry, we're the American enterprise success story, because we've been running for 12 years with no federal funds. And that means we do everything from having bar mitzvahs to weddings on our grounds, and it's wonderful. It's great. I don't object to that.

We're very entrepreneurial. We have all kinds of speakers. For example, when Jesse Ventura came, it was fun. It was just the week that his memoirs came out, and do you remember memoirs said he didn't like to wear underwear?

So anyway, that's the day before he's due at the library. Well, you know, it's kind of a conservative group that comes to these book lectures and all...

KING: I would say.

EISENHOWER: So this is the big news story, and so the director sent out a memo to all the staff saying, "By the way, this will be a no-underwear day."

So we try to have fun at the library.

KING: And also amazing is that -- well, maybe amazing is the wrong word. It's the most open library. I mean, everything about Watergate was in that library.

EISENHOWER: Our critics don't think enough is...

KING: Oh, really?

EISENHOWER: ... but we have everything new? We do.

Though I have to tell you one thing, Larry. One of my father's friends made a suggestion for the Watergate gallery, which is the largest gallery in the library, so there's a lot there, to make it kind of dark so that you kind of want to move on. I mean, if you want to stand there in the dark and read the panels, you can. But you really kind of want to move yourself along.

KING: Let's get past it.

EISENHOWER: I'm really giving a few secrets out, but anyway.

KING: What about this movie bit?

EISENHOWER: Our daughter Jenny, she's an aspiring actress -- well, she is an actress. She's actually just starring in "A Secret Garden." She plays Lily.

And she had a great break where she got a very small role. I mean, if you blink you might miss her, but it's in the new Julia Roberts movie, "Mona Lisa Smiles." And it was a thrill to be in the movie, and the neat thing is that Jenny said Julia Roberts is just what she appears on screen.

KING: Terrific.

EISENHOWER: She's nice, she's funny, she's great with everybody. And it was just a fun thing to be involved with.

KING: Your grandfather would have been proud.


KING: Her grandfather would have been proud.

EISENHOWER: Right. She's -- she loves to perform. She loves to sing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In honor of moms birthday. The Eisenhower sisters will proform for us.



KING: It must be weird, being a Nixon and an Eisenhower, two names that are a main, controlling part of the 20th Century.

EISENHOWER: Aren't they? And I think the way our children have dealt with it is that they sort of have steered away from politics. I don't think you'll see any of the three in political life. Maybe just too much having both, both side.

Memory's good. I mean, the Eisenhower men's name is really getting dim. I have to sign my name every time I go somewhere, and nobody knows Camp David was named for David Eisenhower. Right?

KING: They don't. Your husband.

EISENHOWER: Right. And the Bush family, they're funny about it. They keep threatening, they keep telling David and me that they're going to change the name of Camp David to Camp Marvin and do we mind? Marvin is Marvin Bush, the president's brother. We say go for it, that's great.

So if it's Camp Marvin next year, don't be surprised.

KING: You get along well with the Bushes?

EISENHOWER: I really respect and like the family very, very much. They're terrific.

KING: Do you still follow the political game?

EISENHOWER: I followed it -- I love all the political games. And David always has an excuse to stay up all night on election night, so we're up all night and we're tabulating everything. Oh yes, we watch it very intently.

KING: That's right out of your father, because he was.

EISENHOWER: Yes, he loved -- he loved to do that, too. KING: He loved the whole game of it.

EISENHOWER: He did. And he loved our democracy. I mean, this is an incredible country. And as we begin 2003, it's the place where all -- everyone wants to come.

KING: Do you have a lot of optimism about this country because...


KING: ... it's easy to be a pessimist.

EISENHOWER: No. We have problems but we're addressing them. You know, we're -- and this is a great country. And this is the melting pot. It's an incredible grouping of people that are working and living together.

KING: Julia, it is always wonderful...

EISENHOWER: Wonderful to see you.

KING: Do well.

EISENHOWER: And Happy New Year.

KING: Thank you. See you shopping on Rodeo.

EISENHOWER: Hopefully, tomorrow.

KING: Still afternoons.

"Journeys to Peace" will commence for six months. It's already been seen in China, in Shanghai and in Beijing. It will be seen in Yorba Linda, California, at the Nixon Birthplace Museum, beginning on the 9th for six months.

I thank Julie Nixon Eisenhower for joining us. I know she joins me in wishing everybody a very happy New Year, and a healthy and safe one, as well.

We'll see you tomorrow night. Stay tuned for "NEWSNIGHT" and good night.


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