EISENHOWER, Dwight D. (1890-1969), President. Typed letter signed ("Ike") as former President to Brigadier General Robert Cutler, Indio, California, 26 March 1968. 2 pages, 4to, "DDE" stationery, very faint matburn.
IKE CANDIDLY DISCUSSES NIXON'S '68 CAMPAIGN AND DENIGRATES ROBERT F. KENNEDY'S PRESIDENTIAL QUALIFICATIONS
During the tumultuous 1968 presidential campaign, Dwight Eisenhower writes an outspoken and impassioned letter to his former National Security advisor Robert Cutler, speculating on Nixon's choice of a Vice-Presidential running mate and deploring RFK's candidacy: Eisenhower is "amazed" to learn from Cutler that "Dick Nixon thought I was vague in my memory of" Massachusetts Governor John Volpe. "Something has gone completely haywire," Eisenhower says, clearly annoyed at Nixon's implication that the General's memory was slipping. He remembered Volpe vividly, and thought highly of him. But he had told Nixon that Volpe might not provide the right geographical balance as the GOP vice-presidential candidate.
Turning to the Democrats, Eisenhower says: "I am disgusted at the newspaper accounts of Kennedy's receptions throughout the country, at least in Kansas and California. It is difficult for me to see a single qualification that the man has for the Presidency. I think he is shallow, vain and untrustworthy--on top of which, he is indecisive. Yet, his attraction for so many people is extraordinary. In my opinion, what he would do to this country, if elected, would be nothing at all to what has happened to it over the past seven years!"
The labels that "the writers--and finally the public--pin on various candidates" also puzzles Ike. The press branded Nixon "as a conservative or a rightist," but "in our eight years I knew him as a 'moderate' or what you might call a 'middle-of-the roader.' Now the word moderate is applied to such individuals as Lindsay, Case, Javitts [sic] and others, including Rockefeller. Yet, in domestic affairs, I have been able to make very little differences in the...philosophies of Rockefeller and Nixon. Enough of this."