What Did JFK Think of Nixon?
Tape Leaves Little Room For Doubt
By Bill Hoffmann
Fox News
Richard Nixon was labeled a "psycho" and called "nuts" during a no-holds-barred telephone chat between President John F. Kennedy and the governor of California in 1962, newly released JFK tapes reveal.
The stunning slaps at Nixon came as JFK and Gov. Edmund "Pat" Brown chatted after Brown's gubernatorial victory over Nixon in 1962.
"You reduced him to the nut house," said Kennedy, after Nixon's infamous "last press conference" after his 300,000-vote loss to Brown.
"That last farewell speech of his ... it shows that he belongs on the couch," Kennedy said.
Brown agreed, then said humiliating Nixon was what Kennedy - who defeated Nixon for the presidency in 1960 - had hoped for.
"This is a very peculiar fellow. This is a very peculiar man," the governor said.
"I really think that he is psycho. He's an able man, but he's nuts!"
When Kennedy asked Brown what he thought about Nixon's political future in California, the governor said that morning's famed speech may have doomed him in the Golden State.
The Kennedy-Brown conversation was among the tapes released late last month by the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. The taped chat was discovered and reported by the San Francisco Examiner on Sunday.
Six years later, Nixon carried California, his native state, in his presidential bid against Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey.
Still, until he died, he harbored a belief that Kennedy had stolen the 1960 election, according to Gen. Alexander Haig, Nixon's chief of staff.
Tapes made by Nixon during his presidency, now stored at the National Archives, reveal he also blamed Kennedy for the 1962 defeat.
It is not known whether Nixon was ever informed about the JFK-Brown conversations.
Pat Brown was the father of another former California governor, Jerry Brown, who went on to make an unsuccessful run for the presidency.
The Kennedy Library still has many tapes and personal documents that have never been publicly released.
Kennedy was killed by an assassin's bullets as he and his wife, Jackie, rode through downtown Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963.