Nixon Tapes: Prez Disses Blacks, Jews, Italians, Irish

There's a little something for everyone in latest round
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2010 7:03 AM CST

(Newser) – Turns out Jews weren't the only ethnic group Richard Nixon liked to talk trash about: The latest tapes released from his presidency show Nixon offering up his less-than-complimentary views on blacks, Italians, and Irish, in addition to the aforementioned Jews. As the New York Times reports, Nixon told an aide in one conversation that he wasn't prejudiced, but “I’ve just recognized that, you know, all people have certain traits.” Other nuggets, from the presidency's final months before Watergate broke:

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  • On African Americans' future: “My own view is (they'll succeed) if you’re talking in terms of 500 years. I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have be, frankly, inbred. And, you just, that’s the only thing that’s going to do it, Rose.”
  • On Italians: “The Italians, of course, those people course don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but ..."
  • On the Irish: "The Irish can’t drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish.”
  • On Jewish aides such as Henry Kissinger and William Safire: “What it is, is it’s the insecurity. It’s the latent insecurity. Most Jewish people are insecure. And that’s why they have to prove things.”
  • On amnesty for draft dodgers: “I didn’t notice many Jewish names coming back from Vietnam on any of those lists; I don’t know how the hell they avoid it. If you look at the Canadian-Swedish contingent, they were very disproportionately Jewish. The deserters.”
(Read more President Richard Nixon stories.)

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