Excerpt: 'Mrs Nixon' by Anne Beattie


From NPR:

The Lady in the Green Dress

In The Selling of the President 1968, Joe McGinniss has described a TV broadcast during which Mr. Nixon faced some hard questions about his stance on Vietnam. After the show ended, “Roger Ailes went looking for Nixon. He wound up in an elevator with Nixon’s wife. She was wearing a green dress and she did not smile. One thought of the remark a member of Nixon’s staff had made: ‘Next to her, RN looks like Mary Poppins.’

” ‘Hello, Mrs. Nixon,’ Roger Ailes said.

She nodded. She had known him for months.

” ‘How did you like the show?’ he asked.

“She nodded very slowly; her mouth was drawn in a thin, straight line.

” ‘Everyone seems to think it was by far the best,’ Ailes said. ‘Especially the way he took care of that McKinney.’

“Pat Nixon stared at the elevator door. The car stopped. The door opened. She got off and moved down a hallway with the Secret Service men around her.”

Her possible thoughts?

Mr. Ailes is a loyal supporter, but these people can be a bit naïve.

Or: It pleases Mr. Ailes very much to think he’s found the way to elicit a positive response from me. Why should I comply just to please him?

Perhaps: “Mr. Ailes, has it ever occurred to you that I’m a serious person, and that the conclusions you have drawn with such certainty are expedient and self-serving?”

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