Episode 16 - Merry Christmas, Mr. Nixon!

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas everyone!

We hope you enjoy our first ever Christmas special. In this episode, we feature not one but TWO phone calls from everyone's favorite disgraced president, Richard M. Nixon! But that's not all - one of the phone calls in today's episode features not one but TWO presidents! That's right - ONE phone call, TWO presidents - who will emerge victorious? 

This episode also marks Harmon Leon's first show as an official  co-host. He really kicks it off in style as he returns to bring us his best presidential impressions in his very own segment. We also touch upon fake news, the upcoming electoral college vote and presidential golf scores. 

You can also subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes and now over at Google Play as well! 

Episode 15 - Robocall: Reagan vs. Trump

Your move, Creep. - Robocop

In today's episode we pit two of our Presidents who both originally got their start on the small screen before making their way to the White House. In one corner, we have the "Great Communicator", Mr. Ronald Reagan, while in the other we have "Grab 'em by the p***y" President elect Donald Trump.

Robocalls, for those of you not in the know, are those annoying automatic phone calls you get around election time. For this episode, my guest host Mr. Harmon Leon and I dug up one of the first robocalls from Ronald Reagan and compare that to one of the robocalls used by the White Nationalists who were supporting Trump's election. 

In between, we discuss the position of the 1980s seminal alternative band The Smiths and their position on Brexit and Harmon amazes with another one of his presidential impressions. 

You can also subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes and now over at Google Play as well! 

Episode 14 - Have You Heard the One About the Guy with AIDS?

We're putting this episode up in honor of World AIDS Day, December 1. So, hopefully you'll see it up on the internets that day. 

Wanted to keep this one short and sweet, because there's not really much to laugh at here. What we've done is taken the three press conferences that we featured in our documentary, When AIDS Was Funny, for Vanity Fair and simply strung them all together for your listening pleasure (or displeasure). 

The press conferences in the episode start on October 15, 1982 - which was the first time that AIDS was mentioned during a press conferences, to June 13, 1983 and finally end up on December 11, 1984. What's interesting is that, in the first press conference, you can hear the Deputy Press Secretary, Larry Speakes, saying to himself (or an aide) "A I D S? I don't have anything on that" to the last press conference when he's more or less prepared on the subject. 

The reporter doing the questioning is Lester Kinsolving (that's him up there with The Gipper). Lester wasn't the biggest fan of "alternative livestyles" so he does have his own agenda by asking these questions. Be that as it may, the guy did have a pretty impressive track record before this, including marching with MLK in Selma and being the first reporter to cover Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple

You can also subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes and now over at Google Play as well! 

Episode 13 - Wear Your Long Johns

Did you know that President Reagan had a brother?

Neither did I.

But he did and in this episode of This is the President, we get to hear the two siblings talk about the legendary O'Malley brothers and the weather in Dixon, Illinois.

Did we mention the fact that these aren't all winners? 

Joining me on this episode is our guest Harmon Leon, who, in addition to his presidential phone call commentary, provides us with post election updates from the home of Donald J. Trump, New York City. 

But don't let the phone call subject matter scare you off - in this episode you'll get the inside scoop of Ronald Reagan's connection to John Cusack, hear Harmon's legendary Ronald Reagan impression and get in on the ground floor of SNL alum Joe Piscopo's Republican candidacy. 

Episode 12 - The Original October Surprise - Part 2 (Small Wonder Redux)

Be sure to check out Part 1 of the podcast here! 

The revelation of the "grab 'em by the p***y" tape from presidential candidate Donald Trump might have stymied his chances for election when it was leaked this month, but it's not the first time a candidate has been blindsided by what's become known as the October Surprise. 

The history of the October Surprise goes all the way back to 1964 - the same year that the Beatles landed on the U.S. shores - when one of President Johnson's closest aides was caught getting "friendly" with another man in the basement of a Y.M.C.A bathroom in Washington, D.C. 

Luckily for history, the ensuing telephone calls among the White House staff were all caught on tape and preserved for history - and this podcast. 

I originally did this as a video for Vanity Fair, but thought there was some good stuff that got left out, so I've packed it into a podcast with a couple of extra tidbits. 

And, yes, that's a Small Wonder reference as in the TV show Small Wonder with the little girl who's a robot from the 1980s. Believe me, it makes sense. 

Episode 11 - The Original October Surprise - Part 1

The revelation of the "grab 'em by the p***y" tape from presidential candidate Donald Trump might have stymied his chances for election when it was leaked this month, but it's not the first time a candidate has been blindsided by what's become known as the October Surprise. 

The history of the October Surprise goes all the way back to 1964 - the same year that the Beatles landed on the U.S. shores - when one of President Johnson's closest aides was caught getting "friendly" with another man in the basement of a Y.M.C.A bathroom in Washington, D.C. 

Luckily for history, the ensuing telephone calls among the White House staff were all caught on tape and preserved for history - and this podcast. 

I originally did this as a video for Vanity Fair, but thought there was some good stuff that got left out, so I've packed it into a podcast with a couple of extra tidbits. 

Be sure to check out Part 2 of The Original October Surprise here! 

You can also subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes

Episode 10 - Boy Did I Get a Wrong Number

LBJ-on-the-Phone.jpg

On September 22, 1965, President Johnson picked up the White House phone to make a call to President Khan of Pakistan. His goal was to help ease any tensions between India and Pakistan that had resulted in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965

The only problem was that, even in the 1960s, the White House had no direct line to Pakistan and had to rely on standard overseas telephone companies for connecting the parties. In this phone call, we hear President Johnson wrestling to be understood by the overseas operator and bewildered by the communications snafus. For trivia fans, this phone call is also where we get the title of the podcast. 

It's an interesting little peek into the day to day problems of being the President and trying to place an overseas phone call circa 1965. 

In this episode, I'm again joined by  Harmon Leon, a comedian here in town for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival performing, appropriately enough "Harmon Leon's Big Fat Racist Show." 

You can also subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes

Episode 9 - The Other N Word

On August 18, 1967, President Johnson placed a phone call to Baltimore Mayor Theodore McKeldin asking him to come and help out in the Federal government in Washington. During the call, he also asked the Mayor to help him find a "young, able, negro" to take a place in the government as well.

This short phone call highlights some of the country's thoughts about race at the time and also shows firsthand, the "Johnson Technique" that LBJ would use to grind down his opponents. 

For the first time, I'm joined by special guest Harmon Leon, a comedian here in town for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival performing, appropriately enough "Harmon Leon's Big Fat Racist Show." 

You can also subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes

Episode 8 - Ronald Reagan vs. The Kidnapper

Yes, you read that right. In this episode of The Is The President, Ronald Reagan gets tough with a kidnapper. 

Way back on October 22, 1983, unemployed pipe fitter Charles Harris (at left), rammed his pickup truck through an unmanned gate at the Augusta golf course where Reagan was playing on the 16th hole, took a number of hostages and demanded to speak to the President. 

Luckily for us, the conversations were recorded. 

So get ready for a trip back to the 80s and check out our latest episode. 

You can also subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes

Episode 7 - President Johnson's Drunk Bunghole

Up in this episode we have one of the most infamous of the presidential phone calls, yes, it's LBJ's Bunghole.

You've probably heard or seen it floating around online, but if you haven't, you're in for a treat. If you have heard it, I've thrown in a few historical trivia bits to make it worth another listen.

We've also included another one of our favorites, LBJ talking about drinking and driving. LBJ's bunghole is from an August 9, 1964 phone call, while Drunk LBJ dates from November 8, 1964, just a few days after he was (re)elected as President. 

You can subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes

Episode 6 - Richard Nixon Curses at the Washington Redskins, James Brown & More!

October 10, 1972 - For ten glorious minutes, the Godfather of Soul met with Tricky Dick and, unlike the earlier encounter between Elvis and Nixon, we have this one captured on tape! 

Because this momentous occasion lasted just a few minutes, we didn't want to leave you hanging with a shorter than normal podcast episode, so we've included a special guest at the end of Episode 6. This one is a must for Dallas Cowboys or Washington Redskins fans! 

You can subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes

 

Episode 5 - Elvis and Nixon

Yep - this is it. The episode that this podcast was made for - the historic meeting between Elvis and Nixon. You've seen the picture, you might be seeing the movie that opens this week, but this is the real story.

Although there are no actual tapes of the meeting - Nixon didn't install the recording system until after the historic summit was held - there are a couple of tapes where Nixon or one of his aides mention the meeting and that's what we're going to be going into here.

We've also got a couple of eyewitness accounts with Egil Krough and Jerry Schilling, who were both present. 

If you're curious about my take on this, you can watch my film The King and Dick over at The Atlantic

You can subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes

Episode 4 - Don't Forget Your Ashtray

President Nixon welcomes Johnny and June Carter Cash, along with a few members from the band, into the Oval Office and showers them with gifts. He also takes the time to praise Johnny's music and shows off a "cool" painting by his daughter, Julie. 

Controversy erupts when Nixon mentions Glen Campell - what exactly is the President hiding from the public? 

You can download the link below or check it out on iTunes! 

Episode 2 - The Silly Bastard Next to the Bed - Part 1

Howdy there - 

Tried doing this podcasting thing a few months back but it looks like the feed got all messed up when we moved providers, so I'm going to put these files up and we'll see how things go. 

So we'll give it a go again and I'll start dropping some new episodes as the weeks go by. I'll try to keep them all short - there's not a whole lot you can talk about in an hour. 

Part of my mission will be to uncover some of the more interesting calls, so hopefully it'll be worth a listen. 

You can download the link below or check it out on iTunes! 

Episode 1 - Of Mice and Steinbeck and LBJ

Originally thought this episode was lost, but it looks like we've uncovered it.

Another pretty interesting fly-on-the-wall moment. In this phone call, we have President Johnson calling the author John Steinbeck - yes, the Of Mice and Men guy - to get his opinion on one of Johnson's speeches. 

There's some kind of weird thing going on with the podcasts showing up in iTunes. We'll see if maybe this fixes it. 

You can download the link below or check it out on iTunes!