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Meet the Press, Meets the Presidents
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Political Participation — United States
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1.

John F. Kennedy [electronic resource]: 12/02/51

December 2, 1951, marked the first of eight appearances on Meet the Press for John F. Kennedy. In this edition, Kennedy addresses government corruption, the likelihood of General Eisenhower running for President, and his own aspiration to a seat in the Senate with measured answers. But he pulls no punches in his explanation of why America is not generally liked in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, gives a thorough response to the question of whether the U.S. should have fought for unconditional surrender in Korea, and makes prescient observations on the likelihood of defeat of any field army that opposes the Communist guerillas in French Indochina. Introduced by Tim Russert.
Online
2008; 2007
2.

Richard M. Nixon [electronic resource]: 09/14/52

When Richard Nixon made his first appearance on Meet the Press, he was a 39-year-old first-term senator and Dwight D. Eisenhower's vice-presidential running mate. Two months later the pair would win the election, but not before Nixon was almost dropped from the ticket in the wake of controversy over what was characterized as a campaign slush fund-a story that broke immediately after this broadcast. In this edition of Meet the Press, Nixon speaks about the campaign, little knowing that only nine days later he would be scrambling to save his political future with his now-famous "Checkers" speech.
Online
2008; 2007
3.

Herbert Hoover [electronic resource]: 12/11/55

Largely dismissed as a President, Herbert Hoover is remembered today as a humanitarian with progressive views and a deep belief in the necessity of efficient government. In this edition of Meet the Press, the 81-year-old Hoover smoothly handles the give-and-take with the panel as he discusses the work of the Hoover Commission and promotes his idea for a new Executive Branch office: the Administrative Vice-President, whose duty it would be to help operate the federal government-"the biggest business in the whole world." Introduced by Tim Russert.
Online
2008; 2007
4.

John F. Kennedy [electronic resource]: 01/03/60

One day after announcing his candidacy for President in 1960, John F. Kennedy appeared on Meet the Press. In this edition, the Massachusetts Senator talks politics, including matters of campaign finance, the prospect of running against Richard Nixon, the role his Catholic faith might play in the campaign ahead, the historical importance of a Democratic Party win in the upcoming election, and his respectful but firm resolve to decline the Democratic nomination for Vice President if he is not nominated for President. Kennedy also touches upon the possibility of dying in office. Introduced by Tim Russert.
Online
2008; 2007
5.

Ronald Reagan [electronic resource]: 01/09/66

In this edition of Meet the Press, former actor Ronald Reagan, candidate for Governor of California, faces tough questions about his qualifications while displaying his familiar ease and confidence in front of the camera. Put on the spot by panelist Lawrence Spivak-"Don't you yourself think it might have been better if you'd gotten some political experience running for a lower office?"-Reagan speaks with the genial candor that would contribute to his future characterization as the Great Communicator: "Well, this might be true if I had set out to have a political career," he says. "But frankly, until last November, it had never occurred to me." Introduced by Tim Russert.
Online
2008; 2007
6.

Gerald R. Ford [electronic resource]: 11/09/75

When in office for just over a year, Gerald Ford became the first sitting president ever to appear on Meet the Press. In this edition, President Ford speaks candidly about the issues facing his administration. Topics of discussion include his major accomplishments; the nation's mood at the outset of the post-Watergate/post-Vietnam era; the state of detente between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.; budgetary and economic challenges facing the country; his views on George H. W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Ronald Reagan; and his optimism about winning the 1976 election. Introduced by Tim Russert.
Online
2008; 2007
7.

George H. W. Bush [electronic resource]: 02/22/76

In response to the shocking exposure of the domestic espionage action known as Operation CHAOS, the CIA came under the fierce scrutiny of the Church and Pike Committees and the Rockefeller Commission. In this edition of Meet the Press, the panel grills the newly installed Director of the CIA, George H. W. Bush. Heated discussion centers primarily on leaked information about covert operations in Angola and more attentive governmental oversight of the CIA. Bush's motivation for accepting the controversial CIA appointment is also questioned, and Richard Nixon's post-resignation visit to China is discussed. Introduced by Tim Russert.
Online
2008; 2007
8.

Ronald Reagan [electronic resource]: 03/07/76

In 1976, former California Governor Ronald Reagan challenged incumbent Gerald Ford for the Republican presidential nomination. In this edition of Meet the Press broadcast two days before the Florida primary, Reagan provides circumspect answers to questions on the "horse race" between him and Ford and on how, if President, he would deal with the U.S. economy, the process of detente with the Soviet Union, and relations with Cuba. The candidate also gives his views on Henry Kissinger and considers whether he would have granted Richard Nixon a pardon. Introduced by Tim Russert.
Online
2008; 2007
9.

Jimmy Carter [electronic resource]: 01/20/80

We still have 5.8% unemployment; inflation has risen from 4.8% to 13%. We still don't have a viable energy policy. Russian troops are in Cuba and Afghanistan. The dollar is falling, gold is rising, and the hostages after 78 days are still in Tehran. Just what have you done, sir, asks panelist David Broder, "to deserve renomination?" In this episode of Meet the Press, Jimmy Carter makes his case for a second term in the White House. The President also talks about the ongoing Iran hostage crisis and the Olympic boycott against the Soviet Union. Introduced by Tim Russert.
Online
2008; 2007
10.

Richard M. Nixon [electronic resource]: 04/10/88

This episode of Meet the Press marks Richard Nixon's final appearance on the show. Over the course of the program, Nixon reflects on a mixed and uphill political career, including his years in the Oval Office. Using his political acumen, he offers penetrating insights into the issues and candidates shaping the 1988 election, the situations in the Soviet Union and the Middle East, the U.S. economy, the Iran-Contra affair, the Reagan Revolution, the "sleaze factor" in politics, the Watergate scandal, his place in history, what he wished he'd done while in office, and more. This is a truly changed Nixon. Introduced by Tim Russert.
Online
2008; 1988
11.

Bill Clinton [electronic resource]: 11/09/97

Like George H. W. Bush before him and George W. Bush after him, President Bill Clinton had to contend with Saddam Hussein in Iraq and questions of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. These issues top the agenda in this edition of Meet the Press and are followed by discussion of hot-button topics of the day-aspects of which still resonate: the restructuring of Medicare and Social Security, campaign finance reform, gay rights, a flat income tax and a national sales tax, and fast-track trade authority. With a new introduction by Tim Russert.
Online
2008; 2007
12.

George W. Bush [electronic resource]: 11/21/99

In this episode of Meet the Press, George W. Bush stands on his record as Governor of Texas and decisively answers questions from moderator Tim Russert about what he would do if elected President. Discussion points range from Social Security and healthcare system reform, to his resolve to stand by Taiwan in the face of Chinese aggression and his plans for world security, to the promotion of abstinence among unwed couples. The Governor also expresses his views on hate crime, affirmative action, and abortion while decrying cynicism on Capitol Hill and "the politics of personal destruction." With a new introduction by Tim Russert.
Online
2008; 1999