The Story Behind HBO's `Nixon by Nixon' Documentary

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Aug. 4 -- Peter Kunhardt, director of "Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words," explains why he made the documentary and discusses Richard Nixon's legacy with Pimm Fox on "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)

I am joined by the director.

Why did you make this movie?

I grew up during that watergate era.

I was in college and was met by it.

I got into the news business because of my excitement.

35 and 38 years later i get an opportunity to spend two years listening to tapes.

We had a window into richard nixon and i think people rarely get opportunity to listen to it.

And opening this window into the world of richard nixon, describe the things you have learned and the things you have had to push the pot but not to listen to again.

In all the listening we did there was never a moment where he was uplifting and thrilling or enlightening.

He was gruff, he was dark, he was short with people.

He was a micromanager to the and degree.

-- to the nth degree.

What surprises me the most is the level of detail he dove into and managed from behind that desk.

It just never stopped.

As far as the audio related to the actual watergate break-in, was there any revelation about his role, either in the cover-up or in the political fallout?

I think the cover-up has so many clues that he was involved.

If he wasn't involved he heard about it early enough that he began to actively cover it up.

There are so many references to when the men were let out of jail and he said we are going to have to pay them all off.

They did our dirty work, they are due the money.

It is like watching cheap gangsters plot behind closed doors.

There was so much involvement on such a micro level that it was almost like watching this shakespearean tragedy of him getting the per in deeper with each lie and each consecutive day.

You knew he cannot pull himself out of it.

Where it is richard nixon fall in the pantheon of american politicians?

You have done work on john f. kennedy, robert kennedy.

He doesn't fall high but at the same time he did some hugely important piece internationally.

I came away feeling sad.

A man of great intellect was hugely sensitive to everything that was going on and yet couldn't quite be comfortable with any part of it.

Instead of enjoying his success he was always struggling against it.

Instead of going with people he went against them.

He turned everybody into an enemy.

He isolated himself to such degree that by the end there was no money for him.

He was alone in the world.

You can stream movies directly to consumers.

You can go directly to the electorate.

I wonder if you have any thoughts on these four decades and how richard nixon would fit in.

I have thought about it.

I think nixon would have been a great user of the new technology.

What all these avenues of technology have brought forth this other side of him?

They may have caught them up here or there.

He was so cautious about his public faith.

I am paranoid about secrecy.

He kept these two sides to himself completely separate.

He was so good abetted and smart about it.

I think he could have continued to juggle all these different media forces and kept them at bay.

Obviously they want to watch the documentary on hbo.

They can work closely with the miller center at the university of virginia.

All of the tapes are stream the bull.

It is very accessible.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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