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The Brookings Cafeteria

Dec 18, 2014

In 1969, a conservative president made a liberal professor his urban affairs adviser in the White House. When Richard Nixon brought Daniel Patrick Moynihan onto the White House staff, the consequences for both would be tremendous, as recounted by Stephen Hess in this podcast based on his fascinating tale of those years, The Professor and the President: Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the Nixon White House (Brookings, 2014). Hess, a senior fellow emeritus at Brookings who was not only Moynihan’s deputy on the Urban Affairs Council but also a close friend, offers vivid anecdotes of what he witnessed, including: why “in a strange way Nixon fell in love with [Moynihan]”; a visit from actor Kirk Douglas; how Moynihan invented the Presidential Medal of Freedom; and the White House jazz concert led by Duke Ellington, the award’s first recipient.

Also in the podcast, Governance Studies Fellow John Hudak, in his "What's Happening in Congress" commentary, reviews the end of the 113th Congress and looks ahead to the next; and Bruce Jones, deputy director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, talks about his new book, with David Steven, The Risk Pivot: Great Powers, International Security, and the Energy Revolution, which is about the "revolutionary changes in the supply, demand, and flow of energy" worldwide.

Show Notes:

• The Professor and the President: Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the Nixon White House
• The Nixon Sightings, a series in which Hess recalls five key moments of his time working with Richard M. Nixon
• The "Benign Neglect" memo, Moynihan to Nixon (January 16, 1970) (pdf)
• A New Revelation From the Nixon White House, story of the 1969 jazz all-star concert (Len Garment, The New York Times, Aug. 25, 2002)
• Watch this video of Hess


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