Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on August 6, 1972 · Page 133
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 133

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 6, 1972
Page 133
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Page 133 article text (OCR)

The Ablation if JohMtcH by Jack Anderson Martha and John Mitchell in a happy moment when he was Attorney General and dose Nixon adviser. She rebelled after he quit to be campaign manager. Martha on telephone: Her unfettered calls to journalists and politicians night and day--anyone to scold or confide in--first brought her to national attention. WASHINGTON, D.C. T he sexual revolution notwithstanding, Republicans have proven this summer that the American people still appreciate a good old-fashioned family squabble--especially with John and Martha Mitchell as the combatants and President Nixon playing Dear Abby. No scriptwriter for TV serials could have served up a hotter political opera. It all began suddenly at midnight with a phone call to DPI reporter Helen Thomas, a friendly ear to Martha over the last three years. "I was surprised to get the call," Miss Thomas confided, but the veteran reporter told Martha to keep talking. To Miss Thomas' astonishment, Martha Mitchell began spouting political heresy. "I love my husband very much, but I'm not going to stand for all those dirty things going on," said Martha, adding that she would leave her husband if he did not leave the campaign. Once labeled the Administration's secret weapon, Martha had suddenly turned her guns on the party that, heretofore, had relished her outspoken opinions. To another reporter Martha indirectly attacked President Nixon, himself, who had once cheered her from the sidelines. Sputtered Martha: "I doubt seriously if I want any of the current candidates in the White House." Honesty makes good copy "It was my feeling," Miss Thomas told us, "that Martha often said publicly what she heard Administration officials, including her husband, say privately. That's what made her such good copy, her honesty. But those last phone calls were different." Martha explained that she had been placed under heavy security guard. Calling herself a "political prisoner," she charged that one guard had yanked her telephone out of the wall and that other guards had held her down on her bed while someone "stuck a needle in my behind." Black and blue, Martha embarked on an escapade that began in California, peaked in Westchester County, New York,and finally concluded in Washington. The main events included: more late-night phone calls, jet flights from coast to coast, an interview in which Martha displayed her bandaged arms, and two crucial morning meetings between Mitchell and Nixon. Nixon sympathetic The President was sympathetic. He pledged to stand by John and Martha. In 1962 his own wife, Pat, persuaded him to sign a written pledge that he would quit politics. It was a promise Nixon did not keep. But Mitchell knew his role as campaign manager was clear: he had to get Martha out of the public spotlight. Another week on the front pages and the loquacious Martha could defeat President Nixon in November almost by herself. Mitchell told the President he would give Martha what she wanted-a full-time husband. Thus, after 48 hours of deliberation, John and Martha were back together again. John agreed to leave his job as campaign manager, and Martha, apparently, agreed to relinquish her role as enfant terrible on the telephone. The press whimsically compared Mitchell to the Duke of Windsor. Headlined New York's Da//y News: "MITCHELL QUITS FOR WOMAN HE LOVES." Two yeare ago when Martha Mitchell began her dawn-patrol telephone calls to journalists throughout the country, WalterSeptt who .heads continued

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