It’s become pretty much cliché in American politics to get in touch with a politician Nixonian or “like Nixon” — and it’s seldom a good to evaluate an officeholder or candidate to the only U.S. president to resign from office.
But to Evan Thomas, the author of a new Nixon biography who also covered the Clinton White Residence, comparing Hillary Clinton to Nixon operates — to an extent.
“Mrs. Clinton does have some Nixonian attributes. She can be guarded and defensive, a little bit also difficult on her enemies,” Thomas stated in ABC News’ “Power Players” series. “I saw this firsthand. She needs to watch that.”
“She’s not involved in anything like Watergate. She’s not Nixon,” he continued. “If you believe you can manipulate the press and stonewall forever, [when] you happen to be running for president and you are president, I do not feel that operates.”
Thomas’ book, “Being Nixon: A Man Divided,” captures the contradictions of the 37th president, a profane and often bitter man who was also an optimist (he always thought even terrible motion pictures would get far better, Thomas writes) who won four elections on national tickets.
Thomas describes Nixon’s habit of working out of the Executive Workplace Creating on the White House conflict — he didn’t like the Oval Workplace — in overnight hours, when he couldn’t sleep.
“Here’s the guy who’s the most effective political particular person in the universe at the time — didn’t like individuals. He was shy,” Thomas stated. “Mostly he wanted to be alone.”
The Nixon that comes through on the famous Watergate tapes — vindictive, racist, anti-Semitic, angry — does not capture the complete man, he stated.
“He showed off. He was trying to be like [Lyndon Johnson]. LBJ was excellent at swearing, Nixon was negative at it,” Thomas stated. “It just wasn’t organic to Nixon. He did a lot of it — I’m not minimizing what is on those tapes, it’s terrible. But you know if you listen to a lot of the tapes — he talks about the world. He’s a quite intellectual, intelligent man, It is just that he would show off by yelling also significantly.”
Hillary Clinton’s representatives declined comment when reached by ABC News.
ABC News’ Ali Dukakis and Tom Thornton contributed to this report.