People called her crazy, and to be fair she must have seemed crazy. But she was onto something. How Martha Mitchell, the celebrity wife of one of Nixon’s closest henchmen, tried to blow the whistle on Watergate—and ended up ruining her life.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
I will start with a story. You ve probably never heard it
place in June in eighteen. Seventy two just a few days after five members
the Watergate Office building in Washington DC
the story, but a woman in Martha Mitchell, who was at the time very famous
whose life was destroyed in large part because of her proximity to the Watergate Conspiracy, Marthas huh
worked in politics. His name was John Mitchell
in June of backing. Seventy two he wasn't chow,
The committee to re Elect President Richard Nixon.
Before that Mitchell had an even bigger job
was the attorney general of the United States Nixon
John Mitchell, his most trusted friend adviser other simply called him deputy president
historians is agree on what exactly Martha really knew about Watergate, but in the aftermath
burglary she was treated by
since men as someone who knew too much
was the beginning of my being held prisoner later. Martha would tell David
asked the BBC everything that happened to her that weekend, you really were only held up as an I wasn't end for awhile. First, she was kept
four wheel in California, hotel for days
Then she was forcibly tranquillised while being held down in her bed later and
public Nixon loyal
try discredit her in the press as an unreliable alcoholic, etc.
Crazy and to be fair. She must have seen crazy, but it turned out that she was onto something something very big
This is slow burn part cast about Watergate, fascinating story and the name of water gave up the gang of wire travellers who report on the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. I'm your
we may find, and over the next.
Months. I will be your guide to everything you never knew, but the greatest
Eric and political scandal of the twentieth century. What was it like
experience in real time, and how does it feel to
every morning wondering what was going to happen next,
episode, one Martha
Martha Mitchell in the early nineties, Seventys was a bona fide celebrity shoes, glare
ass, an outspoken, a high energy southern Bell from Arkansas shoes. Inner fifty
but she was girlish
sure long dangling hearings and kept her bright blonde
air and a beehive she had written.
Asian for loving fun for drinking a little
You much and also talking a little too much
The Mitchell has been on the phone again with Washington, the STAR News, antelope beauty, she biological doubts and ran, and do not- and I guess I do I'm always up to something- maybe it's good, maybe by it, but I'm always represented more if it was not a typical cabinet wife,
nineteen. Seventy the New York Times called her. The most talked about talkative woman in Washington she's. Here
tv and, along those appearances him off zany friendly, even though she was always going on about how much he hated liberals, whose funny about it sort of like a ferociously anticommunist, Lucille, Ball, J Edgar
the notorious FBI director, one said she's, one of the most lovable girls I have ever met. She says what she thinks. Unless the chips forward they may Marthas Garrulousness routinely cost headaches for administration. One time she personally called the wives of a bunch of senators and demanded that their husbands committee supporting what makes a supreme court nominees to give you a sense of how disruptive this kind of thing could be
Richard Nixon himself once told us, you have staff in a meeting quote. We have to turn off Martha.
Being gossip with central the Martha's image. Her nickname was
mouth of the south and often during
look appearances. She get ready for it,
like it was her defining foible, here's a clip from the potter
and be she company show laughin hello. I want gracious. Is this party to whom I am speaking? Yes, this is Martha
here, Lui Tomlin, play to telephone operator calling the real life Martha represent her with an award for giving the phone company so much business. When Missus Mitchell, we have found a young person who has done a mouse for my bow
your prize is a telephone in the shape of the Supreme Court. That'll make hanging up a real pleasure,
There is no one Martha Mitchell like talking to and a phone more than journalists,
The line on her was that she would drink call one of her.
Your friends late at night talk to them for hours and then get quoted in paper, and she just talk. She also listen
According to a biography issued routinely eavesdrop on her husband phone calls rifle through the
Wars and sometimes even listening on secret meetings that he had with other Nixon associates in their apartment whenever,
got caught. Her husband would send her up to room at which point she would creep
put down the stairs and continuously from landing
was John Mitchell doing any secret meetings. Well, broadly speaking, he was scheming against the Democrats.
On behalf of Richard Nixon as the Washington Post reported a few months,
Watergate break him
who control the slush fund that was used to pay for clandestine
but a spying sabotage. You name, it here
going to prison for conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury,
You know the presents man, you probably remember him, threatening Carl Bernstein, saying that
story had written with Bob Woodward about the slush fund, ran in the paper washed and pushed publisher
Three grams gonna get her tit caught in a big fat ringer, its direct quote. By the way,
so imagine you, John Mitchell, you, the presence, closest confidant
in charge of all kinds of political skulduggery. Meanwhile, your wife
famous for listening and in your meetings, getting hammered on whiskey and bloody
here's. What happened during that fateful June began to nineteen seventy two. It sparked the undoing of Richard Nixon Presidency and the John Career and Ruin Martha Mitchell's life. Johnny Martha
Joe had come to California, accompanied by a troop of Nixon AIDS, Gmos
The campaign work and Martha always a pauper guests. Republican fund razors was looking forward to a pool party
and donors house where she gets rub?
with John Wayne Clint Eastwood in Georgia Gabor at some point, John Mitchell got
were that five burgers had been arrested. The Watergate complex in the way our of Saturday morning, while trying to win
all eavesdropping equipment and the burglars broke through a fire escape door that led to the committee's offices. The men were wearing, suits caring cameras and radio equipment enlargements of cash there obviously trying to bud
my crowds office on hearing the news, John Mitchell, told his wife tat. He had to go back to wash them right away
He and tell her wine suggested that you stay behind California to get some rest presume.
We didn't want, is nosey loose slipped wife around what he and the president began planning the cover up. There is
problem. No Martha new one of the burghers was arrested that we can in fact
the most important one. This is a police father
of James W Mccord James Report is a former CIA officer
what I see as a cost.
Them to presently Richard Nixon Re Election Campaign Committee hired to install that security system Martha.
Mccord, because he'd workers are personal security guard in the spring of seventy two,
Elton John Mitchell had a young daughter, Marty Engagement,
had driven Marty to and from school, though she would later deny it Martha, reportedly like Mccord and trusted him
and, of course, she knew exactly how closely you work. Their husband
For that reason. John Mitchell didn't want his wife to find out. The Mccord was involved in the burglary,
who knew how she would react
Questions she would ask, or who should try to talk to other cords involvement with the committee.
So when he left for Dc Mitchell put Afore FBI
named Steve King in charge of Martha, and he told me
away from newspapers, tv news, any coverage, the burglary.
But I'm Monday morning, just two days after the break in Martha got her hands
copy of the away times.
Front pages a mug shot of Jane the cord alongside
article laying out the basic facts: the Watergate break him in the article
Martha's husband was quoted, saying that Mccord wasn't really member of the committee to elect the president.
Came to be known eventually by the cheeky acronym creep. John
said Mc Core than the others were neither acting on behalf of the campaign committee, nor with its consent, Mitchell, all
well done for creep according to middle statement, was to help installed
security system months before the burglary,
more than your husband was lying. She didn't know why she tragic.
On find out what was going on, but she had trouble reaching him first
did she finally reached one of his AIDS end in a fury, told him. Her next call would be to her friend Helen Thomas reporter at the United Press.
Steve King, a security guard had been assigned to look after Martha was instead
to keep away from the fund, but this was easier said than done on Thursday June twenty second five days after the breakin, Martha pretended to be asleep.
Nicht Optical Helen comments.
Spill the beans and watering it right away? When the subject came up, she got very apt.
And started talking about how, for husband, didn't get out of the dirty business politics, he would leave him, and he said I have given can allow tomato delay cetera before Thomas got a chance to ask more of a kind of dirty business use. Talking about suddenly heard both exclaimed. You just get away, get away, get away, get away, and I didn't know what was happening and ended with a phone disconnect. Then the line went dead. Thomas tried to call back a few times on success
fully before reaching the switchboard operator, who told her that Missus Mitchell was indisposed and could not talk. Thomas
called John Mitchell himself, and told him what had happened. He said
strangely Bosnia in his reply that little sweetheart he said
I love you so much. She gets a little upset
about politics, but she loves me and I love her and that's what counts as Martin.
It or explained with Steve King. The former FBI agent, would interrupted
with Helen, Thomas and
king, Russia's, then and jerked out the telephone. What you literally toward a quarter of the wall. That night,
was locked in her room and, if you're trying to climb out
you got into some kind of struggle with king and
putting her hands will play class patio door soon after Nixon
first, the lawyer from combine summoned.
But the deal with the rapidly escalating situation bring in
bringing the doktor came over to fight
Martha desperately upset shouting things. Things like I'm
how the political prisoner and
No information with this.
Five men held Martha down in her bed, while the doctor injected her with a tranquilizer or is Martha putted, you stuck a needle in her behind. At some point, you would claim Steve. King kicked her
today identify the bodyguard she said: tore a telephone out of her wall, threw her to the floor and kicked her. This is Mitchell said the man is Steve King, who is presently employed as chief of security
they become chairman of the Republican Party. Wisconsin was recently named ambassador to the Czech Republic by Donald Trump cards,
for comment, but you never go back to me more than flew back EAST today. After getting her hands did
But a hospital on Sunday morning, a week after the burglary,
She reached Helen Thomas for a second time and told her
my husband very much monotonous.
And for all those dirty things. I'm
and blue. She said they don't want you to talk.
There were newspaper stories about Marthas confinement. They
They ran in the so called women's pages
as Helen Thomas who died in twenty thirteen
put it in her memoirs editors,
just another case of Martha being Martha and Newsworthy only because it reveals a rift in a very public marriage that riff grew
John Mitchell and his associates worked feverishly to cover up the White House, his role in the Watergate burglary, while Martha
I am convinced that reach
Dixon himself had personally orchestrated. The whole thing has done everything to protect. Mr President, Mr Mitchell has become the bar one component,
Europe was a concerted effort to discredit Martha and oppress, to painters
drunken rack and ahead case somebody
We believe the matter what she said. So I
into their hands beautifully, because when I got back instead of going out and say and people ask stayed in the
and all the while these White House, rumours of persisting, I submit just crazy Mathematician Alcott, Martha Mitchell's, its Martha Mitchell's thy,
and, of course they just kept down and on and I died in the apartment, and it is added to the beautiful little story
not long after the break in John.
To as the head of creep, who sent you
to spend more time with his wife and his daughter.
And by the summer of eighteen, seventy three more than her
we were hardly speaking to each other even
to continue living together in their New York City apartment according to Martha.
Had become a broken reckless. I think it through to him. She said
Martha told John, that he had to choose between his family and its president, which is to say he had turned
Dixon and save himself. Where else,
the Mitchell is going to leave her husband, the former attorney general, because she believes he's going to jail. She told you pie,
a new story announcing their impending separation, Martha
quoted as saying that her husband was a fool for choosing to shield the President
courting her biography, my philosophy,
back for John, because she believed whose Bennington Nixon's will continue
Flax in the past. She said I feel
for the answer. How could a week
conglomerate of nothing manipulate.
For power, strong competent person, like John Mitchell after John moved out, or that
two portrait of him that had been hanging in the wall in their apartment. She smeared it
turpentine clorox mayonnaise in Heinz ketchup,
in doing so. The Washington Post reported Martha you.
John Mitchell, space from the canvas.
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I learned about Martha Mitchell for a book called nightmare, the underside of Nixon years by journalists, J Anthony Lucas. I couldn't believe
never heard of story before how is it possible
thought I'd. Never known about this. Very famous woman is political
Liberty who was married to the former turning general, he would try
the blow the whistle on Richard Nixon had been
dated against your will.
Who had followed Watergate as it unfolded. You'd have
definitely been reading, but Martha Mitchell, but if you're not
to the scandalous, come mostly from the movie version of the president's men,
I realized recently that Martha Mitchell
I recently that Martha Mitchell remind me of someone, someone
nothing to do with her or their husband,
or with Watergate,
someone by the name of Anthony Scare, mochi. Remember him
one of the things I cannot stand above this town is the best
staring that goes on here? Ok, where I grew up in the neighborhood on from where funds stables, he was allowed
from long island
comes Communications director for ten days in July. During
you told a new Yorker reporter Steve Ben
was trying to suck his own cock now.
I want to be clear here: it's not that
Mitchell and scare me. She were similar figures in even a big
talked about in the same way this, if you been falling politics, we probably spent a lot of time.
Thinking about the move this past summer and then he got fired and now evolve.
Forgotten that he ever existed, but the brief rising
but followed Anthony scare. She was really entertaining. It also
We tells us much about this year in politics as anything else. It's happened in twenty seventeen, if historians for
five years from now and understand the Trump administration they could do a lot. More
and taking a long hard look at the ceremony, Sierra Brief, as it was now, I can t
Are you having spent the past few months, reading old articles, but the next year's interviewing people who experienced those years first hand there a dozen
scary, movie level stories about Watergate stories, and everyone
with a time, but that, for whatever reason, not been passed down in our collective memory. I think that's. Why hearing
The Mitchell story gives me such a vivid sense of what it was like to live through Watergate. It lets me inhabit
moment, when no one knew what was going to happen when the people involved in no reporters covering it didn't know,
mixed themselves, certainly had no idea
Martha on the phone with Helen Thomas that night in June about to blow the lid off this thing.
Catch a glimpse of an alternative reality in which everything played out differently
what if she had managed to stay on the phone or shifting
on Thomas about gene record and John Mitchell in the burglary thank Heaven,
the Mitchell forces us to put aside what we know about Watergate
Just imagine what it felt like to find out about it in real time. How do people defend Nixon
the saga unfurled over the turning points will feel like twitter.
The daily drip of news.
When you didn't know what's coming next or how is all gonna end in the process of telling
story will be excavating all kinds of some plus that some of you may have forgotten and others never knew in the first place,
I also be introducing you to more people like Martha Mitchell
people who are involved in the burglary or the cover operate investigation do not become canonical,
figures along the lines of Woodward and Bernstein Deep Throat and John Dene among the fascinating bit players will mean
the seventy nine year old, populist from Texas sort of you
with warn of his time, who had the first congressional investigation into Watergate
You also gonna meet the senator who, despite being a
gregariousness became a liberal hero
When you add the Senate Watergate hearings the summer of seventy three, then there
dixons apologists, the commentators and the politicians who struck by the president, even after became clear that he was criminal. You
asking. Why are we doing this? Now? It's all
some big anniversary to celebrate in the end
is this: we are,
at a time right now when it feels like anything, could happen. It makes you wonder if we were
through the next Watergate. Would we know it that's what I'm hoping to figure out by
get to the end of the story. Wanting
I've already figured out is that one
it was kind of a blast to live through, at least for some people. The Cabot late night host,
interviews. Slew of people involved in the Watergate saw Gonna show threatening them.
The two and seventy three told me, he still thinks
in a time of his life with a great deal wistfulness,
I must say I miss it terribly, I think of it. The way you would think him in here
earlier years you got to spend a year in Paris and you never got to go back.
You never go back. You can never get back to that wonderful feeling.
He brought up a calm at the door of a doll made on a show
have to have my Watergate fix every single morning? I get like this. If I haven't got there are there are Watergate junk.
All people who, just drunk as an important part of people's lives,
being honest. Have to admit that I feel that way about the investigation of the trunk campaigns ties with Russia.
Call me hearings and reading about whose special prosecutor, Robert Malchus Subpoenaed, watching Trump blast reporting, is fake news for people who follow
The has been gripping an exciting, even as it fills us with dread
It was the same during the next administration. People felt as giddy mixed
excitement, obsession and anxiety, all at once it was thrilling.
It was also very serious which brings us back to Martha Mitchell,
in the end, she paid dearly for the limited role she played in,
she could have really ended. The whole thing fort started by blowing the cover up in its first
is I don't know, but her life is
unloving fast talking boundary vaunt pretty much ended with Watergate, even though she had
indeed appear on television every once in awhile, while Schiller Biographer, but
last conversation she had of their husband before the following
again, took over their lives
last decent words we ever had together, she said
in eighteen. Seventy five Martha got sick.
The following year of cancer after
the hometown erected a bust in her honor and honour.
Sk Granite Pedestal, there was an inscription, shall
The truth, in truth, shall make you free
In a letter to the editor printed in her local paper in Arkansas, someone wrote
kind of a dippy saint, a Dizzy,
yet right in the target, women too,
freedom and honesty meant more than protocol, inappropriate behaviour and her funeral
Somebody had been arranged and of white chrysanthemums, spelling out the words Martha was right. I should say Martha was one of the first public figures to call for mixing zones.
Asian she did, it may have seventy three more than a year before he left office, Sholto and Thomas. That Nixon had let the country down
amazingly Nixon pointed the finger right back at her. Curiously,
his famous interview with David Frost in eighteen. Seventy seven, I'm good
and if it hadn't been for Martha and
God rest her soul, because.
She and her heart was a good person.
Just how to meddle in emotional problematic? Nobody knew about that
been from Arthur Underwater. This was
Nixon's big insight a little less than three years after resigning. The presidency in disgrace that may
The whole mass could have been avoided if not for conspirators crazy wife. The plight of the matter is that, if John had been watchin that store Watergate would never
am I saying here at this late juncture, water
should be blame, Martha Mitchell. Of course it might have happened anyway. Others
smarter, broader who knows. Most people have
gotten about Martha Mitchell by now, but there is, one
context in which her name still comes up psychology.
Talk about a phenomenon which someone gets diagnosed delusional or paranoid, because
things that seem totally crazy, an implausible, but then it turns out the not crazy after all,
no they're saying, is true
all that phenomenon
Mitchell effect. This part catch the production of sleep plus Slates membership programme. Sleep plus members get a complete bonus. Episode of slow burn every week going deeper
The wild boar Watergate
I'll, be sharing somebody amazing stuff. I found in researching the series and play extended versions of my interviews with people who watch and I'll go down this week. We ve got
were from De Cabot Highbrow talk, show host, who interviewed so many of the Watergate players and show me said, is thing
was continued to. Let is nice daughter, jewelry go about the country defended with his knowing that the things he had told me we're not true
or a bunker will go down the same way
I already did
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thanks to the NBC News Archive the BBC, Daphne productions,
water, friendly and Roma productions
and ruin in the years productions for the archival audio. You heard on this episode. You can see a full list of the books, articles and documentaries that we relied on research
this episode and our show page slow,
is produced by me and Andrew Parsons are sceptical
Josh Levine, Gabriel Roth, the editorial director plus the outward shows by Teddy blanks from ships special thanks to slaves June Thomas and Steve, like type
we can slow burn. You, ve, probably heard
but the famous Senate, Watergate hearings have met in seventy three, but did you
but the other Watergate hearings,
in every so too will hear the story. How the first major investigation into the president's dirty tricks ended with an enraged congressmen, delivering a lecture to four conspicuously empty chairs present next
football rules for empty chairs
professor greasy, I'm Leon. They see you next week.
Transcript generated on 2020-07-22.