Robert Dallek tells Fresh Air that Richard Nixon argued for keeping George H.W. Bush on as head of the Republican National Committee after the 1972 election — because "he'll do anything we tell him to."
Presidential historian Robert Dallek has written about LBJ, JFK, FDR and Ronald Reagan.
In his recent book Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power, now out in paperback, he tackles two political titans who were in some ways very different — but also much alike. Among other things, both were "self-serving characters with grandiose dreams of recasting world affairs," in Dallek's assessment.
Terry Gross talks to Dallek about how the president and his chief diplomat ("a brilliant scoundrel") used and abused their power — and about how they simultaneously needed and distrusted each other.
This interview first aired on April 25, 2007.