Bridging the Branches – How President Nixon Worked with a Democratic Congress
April 30, 2018

Nixon was the first President in 120 years to enter office without a majority in either House of Congress, yet he compiled a surprisingly successful legislative record. Former members of his White House legislative staff discuss how Nixon went about achieving his legislative goals in an era marked by the trauma of the Anti-War movement and the civil unrest in American cities.

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Panelists

Wallace Johnson: Mr.Johnson was appointed by John Mitchell as Associate Deputy Attorney General in 1970 and was responsible for managing the Powell and Rehnquist confirmations before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he had previously worked as Minority Counsel. He also supported Justice Rehnquist when nominated to be Chief Justice fifteen years later. After an active career in other Department of Justice and White House posts, including Assistant Attorney General for Lands and Natural Resources and Special Assistant to the President, Mr. Johnson practiced law for many years and now lives in Wyoming.

Tom Korologos: After working for nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, Ambassador Korologos started his career in the executive branch as Deputy Assistant for Legislative Affairs in the Nixon and Ford White Houses. Later, he was tapped by President Reagan to manage the confirmation of William Rehnquist for Chief Justice and Antonin Scalia as Associate Justice. In 2003, he was Counselor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and served as U.S Ambassador to Belgium from 2004 to 2007. He is currently a Strategic Adviser to DLA Piper in Washington, D.C.

John Lehman: Dr. Lehman served as a Secretary of the Navy under President Reagan. Earlier in his career, he was a staff member to Dr. Henry Kissinger on the National Security Council, a delegate to the Force Reductions Negotiations in Vienna, and Deputy Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmamet Agency. He is now Chairman of J.F. Lehman and Company, a private equity investment firm.

Geoff Shepard (Moderator): Mr. Shepard was a White House Fellow at the U.S. Department of Treasury, and went on to serve as Staff Assistant to President Nixon and then as Associate Director for General Government on the White House Domestic Council. A recently retired lawyer in the insurance industry, he now coordinates the Richard Nixon Legacy Forums, jointly sponsored by the Nixon Foundation and National Archives.

 

Timeline (With Links To Primary Documents)

1970

January 22 – Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union  (The American Presidency Project)

1971

January 22 – Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union (The American Presidency Project)

March 22 – Bill Timmons Memo to President Nixon – The Record of the 91st Congress 

December 31 – Bill Timmons Memo to President Nixon,  Summary of the 1st Session of the 92nd Congress

1972

January 20 – Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union (The American Presidency Project)

October 31 –  Bill Timmons Memo to President Nixon, Summary of the 2nd Session of the 92nd Congress

November 1 – Bill Timmons Memo to Bob Haldeman, Observations on the Congressional Relations Staff

1973

February 2 – Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union (Part 1): Overview and Goals  (The American Presidency Project)

February 5 – Bill Timmons Memo to President Nixon, Congressional Relations Personnel and Organization for the 93rd Congress

February 15 – Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union (Part 2): Natural Resources and the Environment  (The American Presidency Project)

February 22 – Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union (Part 3): Economy (The American Presidency Project)

March 1 – Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union (Part 4): Human Resources (The American Presidency Project)

March 8 – Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union (Part 5): Community Development (The American Presidency Project)

March 14 – Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union (Part 6): Law Enforcement and Drug Abuse Prevention  (The American Presidency Project)

September 1 – Bill Timmons Memo to President Nixon, Summary of the 1st Session of the 93rd Congress

1974

January 30 – Annual Message to the Congress on the State of the Union  (The American Presidency Project)

Undated

Thoughts on the 93rd Congress

 

Legacy Forum “Final Thoughts”

 

Additional Sources

A Retrospective by William Timmons

Operations of the White House Congressional Relations Office by William Timmons

 

Photographs

1. President Nixon and Vice President Agnew attending a Congressional Leadership meeting 1-28-69 (0117-23) (2)

President Nixon hosting his first Republican Congressional Leadership meeting (1/28/1969).

Clockwise: Bob Wilson, Gordon Allott, William Cramer, Spiro Agnew, John Tower, Leslie Arends, H. Allen Smith, Richard Poff, Robert Taft, John Anderson, Milton Young, Margarete Chase Smith, Everett Dirksen, President Nixon, Gerald Ford, Hugh Scott and John Rhodes.

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

1a. President Nixon seated at the dining table during a bipartisan leadership breakfast 7-22-69 (1590-05) (2)

President Nixon hosting bipartisan leadership breakfast in the State Dining Room (7/22/1969).

Left to right: Gerald Ford, Carl Albert, Bryce Harlow (standing), John McCormack, President Nixon, Richard Russell, and Mike Mansfield.

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

9-11-73 (e1457-28) (1)

President Nixon receiving applause from Congressmen attending a reception honoring his bi-partisan supporters in the House of Representatives (9/11/1973).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

1d. President Nixon sitting informally during a meeting with Senator Hubert Humphrey in the Oval Office 10-10-69 (2123-11) (2)

President Nixon meeting with Senator Hubert Humphrey in the Oval Office (10/10/1969).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

1e. President Nixon having breakfast with Speaker of the House Carl Albert 6-28-71 (6699-04) (2)

President Nixon having breakfast with Speaker of the House Carl Albert in the Family Dining Room (6/28/1971).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

1f. 2229-08 (1)

President Nixon hosting a bi-partisan prayer breakfast in the State Dining Room, featuring Rev. Billy Graham (10/22/1969).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

37-whpo-2689-19-i-2020-rp-_2_

President and Mrs. Nixon greet members of Congress and their families at White House Christmas reception (12/22/1969).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

37-whpo-e1067-21a-i-2020-rp-_1_-_4_

Nixon’s new Chief-of-Staff poses with members of Nixon’s congressional relations team (6/21/1973).

Left to right: Lee Nun, Jim Sparling, Al Haig, Fred Webber, Tom Korologos, Bill Timmons, and Gene Ainsworth.

 

2. Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 (2)

President Nixon signing the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice (10/15/1970).

Left to right: Wallace Johnson, Richard Poff, Roman Hruska, James Rowley, David Kennedy, J. Edgar Hoover, John N. Mitchell, John Stennis, Donald Senterelli, and Richard Kleindeinst.

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

3. President Nixon presents framed gifts to Supreme Court Justices Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist 12-22-71 (8108-08A) (1)

President Nixon congratulates newly confirmed Supreme Court Justices Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist in the Oval Office (12/22/1971).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

3A.-37-whpo-8108-13a-i-2020-rp-_2_

President Nixon congratulating Wallace Johnson on successful Supreme Court confirmations (12/22/1971).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

37-whpo-6233-21-i-2020-rp (2)

President Nixon and Tom Korologos pose in the Oval Office (5/6/1971).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

37-whpo-2328-16a-i-2020-rp (1)

President Nixon addresses the nation regarding the Vietnam War, later characterized as the “silent majority“ speech (11/3/1969).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

4a. President Nixon speaking to the press corps and signing an act to amend the Military Selective Services Act of 1967 Draft Lottery Bill 11-26-1969 2496-10A (1)

President Nixon signing an act amending the Military Selective Services Act of 1967 / the Draft Lottery Bill (11/26/1969).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

4b. President Nixon with Congressional leaders after attending a luncheon with them 12-23-69 (2693-22) (1)

President Nixon saying goodbye to Mike Mansfield and Hugh Scott following a bipartisan luncheon in the Capitol Building (12/23/1969).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

5. President Nixon receives petitions of support for military intevention in Vietnam from Congressmen and Veterans of Foreign Wars 9-21-70 (4489-06A) (1)

President Nixon receiving petitions of support from Congressmen and  Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) representatives in the Cabinet Room (9/21/1970).

Representatives include: John Buchanan, Thomas Dodd, Ed Gurney, Louis Frey, Paul Rogers, Florida, Hiram Fong, William Springer and Phil Crane.

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

6

President Nixon signing a bill further amending the Military Selective Service Act of 1967 / The Draft Extension Bill (9/28/1971).

Representatives in attendance include: John Stennis, Gordan L. Allott, Leslie Arends, and Edward Hebert.

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

C8438-06

President Nixon on the South Grounds of the White House bidding farewell to various members of Congress and his administration as he prepares to embark on a trip to the People’s Republic of China (12/17/1972).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

7. President Nixon seated at the dining table during a bipartisan breakfast meeting discussing Kissinger's Hanoi Bejing trip. (Vietnam and People's Republic of China) 0318-o1A.jpg (2_22_73)

President Nixon hosting a bipartisan breakfast meeting in the Family Dining Room to discuss Kissinger’s recent trip to Beijing (2/22/1973).

President Nixon, Mike Mansfield, Hugh Scott, Carl Albert, Tip O’Neill, Gerald Ford, Secretary of State William Rogers, Henry Kissinger and William Timmons.

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

8. 37-whpo-e2254-08-i-220-rp.tif (2_20_74)

President Nixon hosting a Republican Congressional leadership meeting in the Cabinet Room (2/20/1973).

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

9B. 37-whpo-e3374-04-i-2020-rp (2)

President Nixon meeting with bipartisan Congressional leaders in his office in the Old Executive Office Building prior to announcing his resignation (8/8/1974).

Left to right: Carl Albert, John Rhodes, Mike Mansfield, James Eastland, President Nixon and Hugh Scott.

(Richard Nixon Presidential Library)

 

140318_Korologos_Memoir_1071

Tom Korologos accompanying former President Nixon to a private briefing for members of Congress in Bob Dole’s office (undated).

(Private collection)

 

Additional Sources