Nixon and Moynihan: White House Odd Couple

Editor’s Note: A new paperback edition of “The Professor and the President” by Stephen Hess is now available from the Brookings Institution Press.

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.

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