Vice President Agnew Blasts the Network News Media

Vice Presidential Support Trips
Vice President Agnew

Type Of Activity
Political Fund Raiser
New Orleans LA
Date of Activity
 02 December 1969 

02 Dec 69 to New Orleans LA-Political Speech

It was almost a year after the election when I was sent to New Orleans to support Vice President Agnew. The Vice President had just delivered a hard line speech concerning media bias toward the Nixon White House. We expected his speech in New Orleans to continue along the same lines as his Cedar Rapids speech and we were correct as he continued to criticize the network news media. The Secret Service was also expecting some demonstrations and public protest during the period of time he would be in the city.
Vice President Agnew in Cedar Rapids IA                            
I departed Washington DC with two WHCA personnel and enough radio equipment to support the VP and the USSS. Our first stop after landing at the New Orleans International Airport was at the local USSS Field Office and review the Itinerary of the upcoming trip with the Advance Agent.  When we were finished at the field office we went to the Royal Orleans Hotel where we were staying.

The Royal Orleans Hotel on Bourbon St

The next morning we met with the Hotel Manager and the local TELCO representative to survey the Suite where the Vice President would stay and the room that we would set up the USSS command post. We also conducted a survey of the hotels mechanical room and the roof for a location to install the B/C base station and its antenna. All circuits were then ordered from the TELCO rep. and we started the installation of our equipment. The suite had several key telephones installed with ring down circuits to the USSS CP. Key phones were also installed in the CP along with the remote console for the radio’s. When we were finished installing the radios we conducted a radio survey of the motorcade route to insure we had necessary coverage. The last piece of equipment that was installed for the VP staff advance was a DEX-1 facsimile machine.

The Royal Orleans Hotel near the VP's Suite
The Vice President and Mrs. Agnew landed in New Orleans about noon on Dec.4, 1969 and traveled by motorcade to the Royal Orleans Hotel. The speech was scheduled for that evening and the Vice President continued his attack on the media and the unfair coverage of the Nixon administration’s policies. Patrick Bucannon and William Safire were the two speechwriters that were responsible for these speeches. They eventually toned them down over a concern that they were too inflammatory.

The VP speaks at a Republican fund raiser 
The Agnew’s on the way to Brennan's Restaurant
The Vice President’s popularity had increased with Republicans ever since his now well-known speech attacking the Network media by saying “A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.” and by calling them “nattering nabobs of negativism”. The Vice President became the Nixon Administrations most prolific fund raiser and was in great demand. The Agnew speech criticizing the news media came out of a personal and political context of personal enmity against the press and in favor of building a new political coalition.

The Vice President continues to blast the National Networks 
Vice President Agnew went to New Orleans and, as everyone now knows, he wowed not only the audience, but millions who saw him on television. Overnight, the Vice President lifted the country out of its depression and had everyone laughing.

There were a few protesters present but no large demonstrations like the Secret Service had anticipated. The Vice President and Mrs. Agnew departed the next day, and we removed and packed all of our equipment and prepared for our return trip to Washington and home.

23 Feb 70 to Phoenix AZ-Political Speech

I was again assigned to support Vice President Agnew and was sent this time to Phoenix AZ where he was speaking at another fund raiser. Which we found out would be held at the Del Webb Town House Hotel.

The Vice President’s popularity had increased with Republicans ever since his now well-known speech attacking the Network media by calling them “nattering nabobs of negativism”. The Vice President became the Nixon Administrations most prolific fund raiser and was in great demand.

This trip was a pretty routine trip.  The Vice President would motorcade from the airport to the Del Webb Townhouse where he would also stay and the event would take place. We would install all of our equipment there as well as installing the USSS Command Post and our radio base stations so everything would take place at one location. We did have a moment when the Hotel received a caller who claimed that there was a bomb hidden in the hotel and would be detonated when the Vice President entered the hotel. After a review the EOD team assured us that they had found no evidence that a bomb was present.

Del Webb’s Townhouse in Phoenix AZ in 1970 
Vice President Agnew arrived made his speech and departed the following day. It was time for us to pack up and return home. I was leaving temperatures in the mid-eighties to the subzero temperatures in Greencastle PA.

When I returned from Phoenix I found out in Early March of 1970 that the Microwave Towers including Cannonball were going to be closed and all of us would be sent to other locations which were to be determined. This was to be accomplished by June and I would be assigned to the San Clemente Communications Detachment as the NCOIC of the San Clemente Communications Contingency Team. The CCT was a new concept that we would develop and refine once all of the team members arrived in California.

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