In this May 1973 recording, he shared his concern with then-chief of staff Alexander Haig.
"He's talking to Fred Thompson. I said you're not --," Haig begins.
"Oh sh--, he's dumb as hell. Fred Thompson," Nixon interjects. "Who is he? He won't say anything."
In another conversation some weeks later, Nixon and his advisers were still describing Thompson as not very smart but at least beginning to play ball.
"Our approach is now, we've got a pretty good rapport with Fred Thompson. He came through fine for us this morning," White House counsel Fred Buzhardt says on a tape from June 6.
"He isn't very smart, is he?" Nixon asks.
"Not extremely so, but --," Buzhardt says, interrupted by the president.
"But he's friendly," Nixon says.
"But he's, he's friendly," Buzhardt echoes.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.