Fake News 1968 Style

Don’t think that “Fake News” is solely President Trump’s domain. Oh no….

As we listen in to this weeks phone call, you’ll hear TITP fave President Lyndon B. Johnson bitching about news coverage - even suggesting that a reporter be taken out and shot at one point.

Granted, Johnson was having a pretty tough week. This phone call, taken from February 5, 1968, was recorded during a time when Johnson was under a bit of stress.

Just a few weeks prior, the USS Pueblo, and all it’s crew, were captured in the waters off North Korea (yean, that North Korea) and accused of spying. Then, just a few days before this phone call, the North Vietnamese launched the Tet Offensive, immediately dismissing any notion that the end of the war was anywhere near.

Here’s an interesting bit of trivia that didn’t make it to the podcast - the captured crew of the USS Pueblo later figured out that the North Koreans had no idea what “flipping the bird” meant, so they started doing it in every staged photo taken of them. Here’s a still taken from a propaganda film made by the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea of the Pueblo crew….

So take a few minutes in to listen as LBJ rattles on about the press, easily standing up to anything that President Trump has mouthed off about lately. And the best part - LBJ is talking to a reporter! It’s like getting to listen in to Trump talk to his favorite news reporters from Morning Joe!

Also, we catch up on some of the craziness in Washington and, of course, we go back and visit Trump in the Amazon.

This episode is brought to you in part by Blinkist

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And last, but not least, this episode is also sponsored by Words Over Chair Productions and Comedy History 101.

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Fear and Loathing in Crazytown

So legendary reporter Bob Woodward’s book about the Trump presidency is released on September 11 - do you think they’re trying to tell us something?

I didn’t ever thank we’d get an actual President Trump phone call on this podcast - at least, not while he was in office, but, sometimes history works in mysterious ways.

In this episode of This is the President, Harmon and I will be discussing some of the best parts of the recent Bob Woodward/President Trump tape that was released recently. We’re almost on top of the news cycle!

But presidential hatred of reporters and The Washington Post is nothing new, as you’ll hear when we listen in on what President Nixon has to say about journalists as we take the Presidential Time Portal back to 1972.

We’ve even updated our opening song with brand, spanking new Trump sound bites.

This is one episode you don’t want to miss!

This episode is brought to you by Blinkist

Blinkist is the only app that takes thousands of the best-selling nonfiction books and
distils them down to their most impactful elements, so you can read or listen to them in
under 15 minutes, all on your phone.

Get started with a FREE seven day trial. along with a 25% discount, for Blinkist today, by clicking here

This episode is also sponsored by Words Over Chair Productions and Comedy History 101.

Like This is the President? Why not  subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes! Hey - and while you’re there, leave us a comment or rate us! Don’t cost nothing!

JFK Dinner Party

Did you ever record your own family while they sat down to dinner to eat? It was kind of a thing in the 1970s. It was also kind of a thing back in the 1960s as well. But, in this case, this wasn't an ordinary family dinner. 

That's because this dinner was held at then Senator John F. Kennedy's house in Washington, DC. The occasion for this January 5, 1960 dinner? A sort of celebration and look forward to the 1960 presidential campaign, for which JFK had just declared himself a candidate.

In addition to the Kennedys, the party featured Washington Post honco Ben Bradlee, his wife Toni Bradlee and James Cannon, a reporter for Newsweek magazine. 

Luckily for history (and This is the President), Cannon brought along a portable tape recorder and recorded the dinner conversation for posterity. There's a few interesting tidbits here, including Kennedy's take on his role in politics and a denial of having Addison's Disease (which he did, in fact, have). 

In addition, of course, there's lots of other goodness from Scott and Harmon, including their takes on the Korea talks, the Royal Marriage Conspiracy and the Oldest Pub in London

1968: LBJ's Worst Year Ever

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To put it mildly, 1968 was a bad year for LBJ.

The Tet Offensive, the North Korean seizure of the USS Pueblo, assassinations of MLK and RFK, a supreme court battle, riots in the streets during the 1968 Democratic convention and a duplicitous Richard Nixon were just among the few issues he faced in that fateful year. 

In this special episode, we're joined by noted scholar and author Kyle Longley, author of LBJ's 1968: Power, Politics, and the Presidency in America's Year of Upheaval to discuss what made 1968 such a not-that-great of a year.  We'll touch on all of the bad points of LBJ's 1968, Kyle's pick for best LBJ phone call and what LBJ and the current president have in common. 

Harmon is out in New Zealand, but you can still to pick up a copy of Harmon's new book, Meet the Deplorables, now available on Amazon. 

This episode is also sponsored by BLACKBX. Running a restaurant, bar, pub or retail business? Offer your customers fast, free and secure wireless while gaining awesome customer insights.

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Be sure to subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes

I'm the President, Ask Me Anything

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Jimmy Carter, the first Social Media President? Sure, why not? Because on March 5, 1977 Jimmy Carter did something that no other Chief Executive had done before him: host his own Ask Me Anything. 

With CBS commentator and anchorman Walter Cronkite sitting next to him, President Carter fielded 42 questions (selected from over 9 million calls) from United States citizens ranging from the gasoline tax to Uganda to the Yankees playing an exhibition match in Cuba - with no screening and no prepared notes. 

It was a one of a kind event, as Walter Cronkite noted in his introduction: 

This is a unique occasion, in the sense that it marks a new approach to communication between the President and the people of the United States. It is indeed historic--unique, historic--and we must also say an experiment since the President has never taken part before in this sort of a broadcast.

The event was so unique, in fact, that it never happened again. Which is kind of a shame because it seemed like a good idea. Such a good idea, in fact, that Reddit would popularize this type of Q&A session over 40 years later. 

The event made headlines which, in turn, made it ripe for parody. Which is exactly where the newest and hippest late night program to hit the American airwaves in years would step in. For it was exactly a week after President Carter's broadcast, March 12, 1977, that Saturday Night Live aired a hilariously on target parody of Carter's chat session. With Bill Murray playing Walter Cronkite to Dan Ackroyd's on target Jimmy Carter (even if he would refuse to shave his moustache). the skit perfectly skewered the events of the week before, tuned, naturally, to the hippie generation.  

Also in this episode, we discuss the latest staff shuffles in as President Trump continues to drain the swamp, discuss the possibilities of taking TITP back to the 1800s with reading presidential telegrams, and Scott shivers in the aftermath of The Beast from the East. 

Be sure to pick up a copy of Harmon's new book, Meet the Deplorables, now available on Amazon. While you're there, also be sure to check out LBJ's 1968, just published by Cambridge University Press. It's got two of our favorite subjects: LBJ and 1968, so you can't really go wrong. 

This episode is also sponsored by BLACKBX. Running a restaurant, bar, pub or retail business? Offer your customers fast, free and secure wireless while gaining awesome customer insights.

Get started with a FREE trial today

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes

Jimmy Carter and the Miracle on Ice

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Do you remember where you were when the Miracle on Ice happened? Were you even alive?

Jiminy Xmas - it was thirty friggin eight years ago. But, for those of you who were around, it was a moment you'd never forget.

It was February 22, 1980 in Lake Placid, New York that the underdog USA Olympic hockey team, comprised mostly of amateur players, beat the seasoned and professional Russian hockey team. Take that commies! 

In today's previously unreleased phone call, we get to listen in as President James Carter phones up to the locker room in Lake Placid to congratulate the team and invite them down to the White House.

 

And the best part? Not only did the US of A win, but so did our way of life! Just look at the trailer for this made for TV movie that came out in 1981! Steve Guttenberg is supposed to be in here somewhere but I don't see him anywhere. 

In addition, Harmon and Scott return with their first "Whether or Not Weather Update" for the first time in over a year, we go through a few classic US hockey team coach Herb Brooks "Brooksisms", and you'll feel the thrill and excitement of being a real New Yorker when you hear the construction outside Harmon's apartment.  

Be sure to pick up a copy of Harmon's new book, Meet the Deplorables, now available on Amazon. While you're there, also be sure to check out LBJ's 1968, just published by Cambridge University Press. It's got two of our favorite subjects: LBJ and 1968, so you can't really go wrong. 

This episode is also sponsored by BLACKBX. Running a restaurant, bar, pub or retail business? Offer your customers fast, free and secure wireless while gaining awesome customer insights.

Get started with a FREE trial today

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes

Nixon's 1973 Super Bowl Spectacular!

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Super Bowl Sunday is this week!

So we decided to get into the spirit by taking the Presidential Time Portal back to 1973 to hear President Nixon's predictions about the impending match up between the Washington Redskins and the undefeated Miami Dolphins. 

In our phone call this week, the president talks about the upcoming Super Bowl VII - as well as his 60th birthday - with Laugh In hosts Dan Martin and Dick Rowan. Just a little over four years before this phone call, Nixon appeared on Martin and Rowan's show and uttered the show's catchphrase "Sock it to me", for which he received a sum of $210 dollars (Almost $1500 in 2017 dollars) which went straight into the Elect Nixon fund. 

But, Nixon being Nixon, there was no shortage of controversy to presidential football phone calls. As we uncover in this episode, in January 1972 Nixon also made a phone call to Don Shula, the coach of the Miami Dolphins. The interesting part, though, is that rather than placing the traditional post Super Bowl congratulatory phone call, in this case Nixon made the phone call BEFORE the 1972 Super Bowl - at 1:16 in the morning on January 3, 1972. Even more tantalizing - although the phone call has been logged in the presidential daily diary - THE TAPE RECORDING IS MISSING! 

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Harmon and Scott will also discuss the upcoming State of the Union address, the current president's appearance on Saturday Night Live, and try to figure out exactly what sexual practice is called a "Cuban Grinder Sandwich". 

BONUS: If any listener manages to get "Cuban Grinder Sandwich" listed in Urban Dictionary, send us the link and we'll read your name. And maybe give you a copy of Harmon's new book, Meet the Deplorables, now available on Amazon. 

In addition, we're welcoming a new sponsor onboard - Dennis Miller. Yes, THAT Dennis Miller. Maybe you’ve seen him on “The O’Reilly Factor.” Perhaps you remember him from his days as an anchor of the “Weekend Update” segment on “Saturday Night Live.” 

So wherever you may know him from, now you’ll have the chance to see Dennis Miller
live at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, Nevada on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018.

Tickets start at $49.50 and can be purchased at the Silver Legacy web site. Enjoy 20 percent off a hotel room on the night of the show with the purchase of a show ticket. What a great Valentines Day idea! 

Use offer code TIX18 when purchasing.

This episode is also sponsored by BLACKBX. Running a restaurant, bar, pub or retail business? Offer your customers fast, free and secure wireless while gaining awesome customer insights.

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Be sure to subscribe to the podcast over at iTunes

The Beginning of the End for Nixon (and Trump)?

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If you had to pick the beginning of the end for President Nixon, the date of June 13, 1971 might be the front running candidate. That was the day that the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers, a top secret study commissioned by Defense Secretary Robert McNamera in 1967 which basically said that the US had f**ked up in Vietnam. And badly. 

After the story about the Papers broke, Nixon became very concerned about leaks coming out of his administration.

Which, in turn, led to him creating the Plumbers unit to stop the leaks (get it?). The Plumbers eventually became frustrated with the lack of action and began to pester the Nixon White House for more jobs to do. One of the last jobs assigned to the Plumbers was to plant listening devices into the Democratic headquarters, located in the Watergate Hotel, almost exactly a year later in June, 1972. 

In this episode's phone call, a nonplussed Nixon gets word about the Pentagon Papers from General Alexander Haig. But is it really possible the president wasn't aware of the impact of the New York Times story? Or was he lying? 

That's what Harmon and Scott will be discussing in this episode. We'll also touch on how this reflects on President Trump and what the recent arrests mean for the Trump White House. 

Also in this episode: the World Series, New York City open container laws, 80s sitcom starrs and Scott learns that there is a bona fide cast member from The Apprentice in Trump's White House Staff. 

This episode sponsored by BLACKBX. Running a restaurant, bar, pub or retail business? Offer your customers fast, free and secure wireless while gaining awesome customer insights.

Get started with a FREE trial today

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

The head of IBM and the Stewardess Incident

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Boys will be boys, right? The press caught President Trump on tape talking about "grabbing 'em by the pussy" and he still got elected. 

Turns out things back in the 1970s weren't that much different.

That's when columnist Jack Anderson was about to spill the beans on Ambassador to France Arthur K. Watson. Watson, the son of the founder of IBM, had gradually been forced out of the company his father built and had to settle on a career in US Government service. On a flight in 1971from London to Washington, DC, he got rip roaring drunk, demanded to be served a bottle of Scotch and started shoving money down the blouses of Pan-Am stewardesses. 

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President Nixon discussed the incident with his Chief of Staff, HR Haldeman in the Oval Office and the conversation has been helpfully preserved by the White House taping system. 

Like with President Trumps locker room conversation caught on tape, Nixon and Haldeman agree that there's nothing with having a few drinks and chasing girls. The main thing that they're in agreement that it's better than chasing boys. 

We'd also like to welcome our first sponsor to This is the President, BLACKBX. Are you running a business and offering your customers free Wi-Fi?

Get started with a FREE BLACKBX trial today

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

Episode 23 - Richard Nixon's Drunk Phone Call

Sometimes, even a President has to cut loose and toss back a few cold ones. Or more than a few.

Or maybe a couple of bottles.

Because that's certainly how President Nixon sounds in our phone call for Episode 23 of This is the President.

Today we're setting the wayback machine for April 30, 1973. That was the day that President Nixon made his first TV speech about the "Watergate Affair."

It was during this speech that dear old President Nixon started throwing his friends under the bus in order to clear himself of any wrongdoing. One of the first to go was his right hand man, HR Haldeman

But letting go wasn't that easy for Dick, as we see in this phone call. After giving the speech and receiving a few phone calls from supporters such as future presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Nixon turned to his old pal Haldeman (who he'd just fired, remember) to ask for his help in gathering the mood of the country. Not the most diplomatic of moves, but easily forgiven for someone who sounds like they might have been on the silly juice. 

Was the President drunk or not? Have a listen for yourself! 

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

Episode 22: Behind the Scenes Special

To mark our 22nd podcast we wanted to do something a little special - in this case, give you, our listener, a little peek at what goes on behind the scenes when these presidential recordings are made. 

We don't want to spoil the surprise too much by giving away any names, but just make sure you're sitting down when listening to this episode. 

Also in this episode, Harmon opens his porch door to let in the first signs of NYC spring, we discuss the pizza principle and President Trumps penchant for using outdated 1990s catchphrases in his tweets. 

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

Episode 21 - Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson and Monica Lewinsky

Ah....the heady days of 1993....when the Internet was but a gleam in Al Gore's eye, the heady days of Clintonism were just getting underway and the Buffalo Bills became the first team in history to lose three consecutive Super Bowls. Memories....

Yes, we're slowly inching toward the 21st century with our first ever phone call from President William Jefferson Clinton.

In this weeks call, from January 31, 1993, newly elected President Clinton phones the locker room of the Rose Bowl to congratulate the Dallas Cowboys for their triumphant win over Buffalo - 52 to 17. Watching with Clinton in the White House are Texas Governor Ann Richards and New York Governor Mario Cuomo. At one point, Richards (sounding a little tipsy) starts getting threatening towards Cuomo but - as in true This is the President fashion - everything works out in the end. 

Also stick around for Harmon Leon's Presidential Impressions, This Week's Trump News, and a sneak preview of some of our upcoming episodes featuring none other than Monica Lewinsky. (We realize that was a little click-baity to put her in the title. But she's in the episode. Honest. Also, she hasn't sent out any tweets since last year.)

Got a comment or suggestion? You can drop us a line here or reach Scott and Harmon on Twitter! Oh yeah - and there's a brand new Donate button at the top. These tapes ain't going to buy themselves.  

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

Episode 20 - President Reagan Goes Back to the Future with Jerry Lewis

Howdy everyone! 

This is the President returns after a short break with one of our most celebrity packed episodes ever! 

Today's phone call is from September 2, 1984 and features President Reagan talking to none other than the celebrated French filmmaker, Jerry Lewis! 

Once upon a time, there was an event called the Muscular Distrophy Labor Day telethon. Started back in the early 1960s and hosted by Lewis (until he left under a cloud in 2010), the telethon would drag on for over twenty hours with a cavalcade of celebrities appealing to the audience to part with their cash. As the night continued, these celebrities eventually gave way to a host of B-performers and faded vaudevillian acts.  

Our phone call takes place during Lewis' famous Labor Day Telethon.

But before they start pumping for donations, the two old friends have a chance to reminisce about the olden days when they worked at rival studios and used to live down the street from each other in Pacific Palisades. 

However - not all goes according to plan - and a power struggle ensues. The end result? You'll just have to listen for yourself. 

We also take a chance to explore the Back to the Future relevance to this clip, Trump's recent wiretapping allegations, and New Jersey's next up and rising political star, Joe Piscopo

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

Episode 19 - Richard Nixon Understands Homosexuality

It's our Valentine's Day episode of This is the President!

Our presidential tape in this episode comes Straight Outta the Oval Office from way back in 1971. This tape was also one of the original batch of Watergate recordings. The issue of national importance that has Nixon so worked up is the portrayal of homosexuality on the hit sitcom "All in the Family."

Because this tape was recorded in an office and not from a phone call, the quality isn't great, but you should be able to work out most of Mr. Nixon's rant. To help put the conversation into context, we've dropped in some sound bytes from the episode in question, entitled, appropriately enough, "Judging Books By Covers."  

Because Twitter hadn't been invented yet, Mr. Nixon resorts to bitching to his Chief of Staff, HR Haldeman.  Much like President Trump, President Nixon doesn't have a whole lot of nice things to say about the media. It's nice to see that some things never change. 

Also in the episode, the latest updates from the streets of NYC and Edinburgh. Also, Harmon's Presidential Impression takes us back to the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal of the 1990s where we touch briefly on the "Cigar Incident" which you can relive here

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

Episode 18 - Inauguration Special

Yes, it's really happened. 

On January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. 

But rather than deal in doom and gloom, we here at This is the President have turned back the clock back once again to take a look at inaugurations past during a simpler time.

In this case, January 19, 1973, the day before Richard M. Nixon was to be sworn in for his second term.

In this call, we'll touch on subjects such as Tricky Dick's "interesting" connection to the Marriott hotel chain, the Nixonburger and that mysterious gap in the Watergate tapes that helped bring down the president. 

As always - we'll also have Harmon's Presidential Impression, Presidential Tweets and a way too in depth discussion of the 1990 Gerard Depardieu movie vehicle, "Green Card." 

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

Episode 17 - Trump Tweets and Lone Star Beer

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Happy 2017 Everyone!

In keeping with the New Year theme, we dug up this call from President Lyndon Johnson to Lone Star Beer magnate Harry Jersig on January 1, 1964 to get your year started off right.

But don't think that's all we've got for you - oh no!

In addition to such popular segments as the "Whether or not Weather Report" and "Harmon's Presidential Impressions" we're introducing what we think is going to be our killer new feature - Presidential Tweets!

That's right, in each episode Harmon and I read out and analyse our favorite tweet from the soon-to-be 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump!  

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

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!