Thursday, January 08, 2009

Yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama had lunch at the White House with President Bush and former Presidents Carter, Bush, and Clinton. It was an historic meeting, and it made for a very good photo op.

The event reminded me of an anecdote in my forthcoming book, Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure.

At Dwight Eisenhower’s first inaugural in 1953, a young freelance photographer named Bob Goldberg snapped a picture of Truman, Eisenhower, Herbert Hoover, and Richard Nixon standing together on the dais. Eight years later, Goldberg asked Harry to sign a copy of the photograph, which the other three men had already autographed. Harry refused. “I wouldn’t sign a picture with that son-of-a-bitch Nixon in it,” he said by way of explanation. “He called me a traitor.” Then he cocked his fist as if to throw a punch. “This is what I’d like to do to him.”

(To read Bob Goldberg’s account of the story and to see the picture, click here.)

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