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CNN INSIDE POLITICS
Tapes Show Nixon Planned to Go Nuclear; Daschle Says U.S. War on Terror Will Fail if bin Laden Is Not Found; Interview With John Sweeney
Aired February 28, 2002 - 16:00 ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. We'll discuss the newly-released Nixon tapes and how the former president considered going nuclear.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jonathan Karl on Capitol Hill, where the Senate majority leader says the war on terrorism will be a failure if the U.S. does not find Osama bin Laden and other key al Qaeda leaders.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm John King at the White House. An afternoon apology from the Bush team, after a morning suggesting Former President Bill Clinton is to blame for months of violence in the Middle East.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Washington. Gather around the hot tub, as an old school former president meets new age politics.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS WITH JUDY WOODRUFF.
WOODRUFF: More than three decades after President Nixon began secretly recording White House conversations, hundreds of hours of previously unreleased tapes are getting their first public airing today. Our Bruce Morton has been listening to the tapes and the take they offer on history.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a grab bag of tapes, 426 hours of conversations from January to June, 1972. John Connolly talking to Richard Nixon about John Kennedy's assassination -- Connolly, then governor of Texas. He and his wife, Nellie, were in the car with Kennedy. Connolly was wounded.

JOHN CONNOLLY, FMR. GOVERNOR OF TEXAS: I knew he was dead before I became unconscious. I was lying down in Nellie's lap like this, and she had her head on top of mine and I had my eyes open. And I heard that bullet hit his head. And immediately there was brain matter -- I know brain matter -- it was all over the car.

MORTON: In 1972, Arthur Bremer, who had once thought of shooting Nixon, shoots presidential candidate George Wallace. Nixon wants to make sure the liberals are blamed.

RICHARD NIXON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why don't we play the game a bit smarter for a change. They pinned the assassination of Kennedy on the right wing, the Birchers. It was done by a Communist and it was the greatest hoax that has ever been perpetuated. And I respectfully suggest, can't we pin this on one of theirs?

MORTON: Aide Chuck Colson reports to the president on Bremer.

CHUCK COLSON, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL AIDE FOR RICHARD NIXON: Ah, he is obviously demented.

NIXON: Is he a left-winger or a right-winger?

COLSON: Well, he's going to be a left-winger by the time we get through, I think.

NIXON: Ah, good. Keep at that. Keep at that.

MORTON: The president with his wife, Pat.

NIXON: Bad people did it.

PAT NIXON, RICHARD NIXON'S WIFE: Who did it?

NIXON: The liberals.

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