Gospel Lives in the Oval Office

New biography reflects on Billy Graham's counsel to 8 of last 9 presidents
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2007 12:41 PM CDT
from left, Franklin Graham and Billy Graham sit with former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton during a dedication ceremony for the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Billy Graham has seen US leaders laid bare, from skinny-dipping with LBJ to long walks on the beach with GWB. A new book details the ailing 88-year-old preacher’s rendezvous with presidents past, including counseling Ford to pardon Nixon and advising Hillary Clinton to look past Monica Lewinsky. Graham’s refusal to be a party booster has lent him his independent spiritual voice, Bloomberg reports.

The swimming session came shortly after Johnson took office, as the men talked of healing a country torn over JFK’s assassination. Only Carter held out in befriending the holy man; Graham even elicited emotion from Nixon, hugging the future president at his mother’s funeral. But perhaps his most critical work was the 1985 waterfront conversion of the elder Bush’s heir.