Miller Center

Riding The Tiger

“I discovered that being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed.” Harry S. Truman

In Battle for Middle Class, All of Washington is Losing

Politicians from both sides of the aisle may court the middle-class in their rhetoric, but a Miller Center/Washington Post poll reveals that Americans are unconvinced that politicians are looking out for them. 

Is Higher Education Still Part of the “American Dream”?

It is a question gaining increasing attention from American families in the face of sky-rocketing tuition costs and an increasingly competitive job market for recent graduates. According to a recent Washington Post/Miller Center poll, the answer is increasingly "no." 

Speech Clip: LBJ’s 1964 State of the Union Address and the “War on Poverty”

LBJ discusses the need for 'better schools, better health, better homes, and better training" to cure the symptoms of poverty and prevent them in the future during his 1964 State of the Union Address. Almost 50 years later, 65% of Americans still worry to some degree that their total family income will not be enough to meet their expenses and bills. 

Washington Post/Miller Center Poll on the American Dream Released

Read the full story and interactive results of aWashington Post/Miller Center Poll released this weekend that explores Americans’ changing definition of success and their confidence in the country’s future. The poll results will serve as a starting point for the Milstein Symposium: Ideas for a New American Century, a Miller Center initiative bringing together policymakers, business leaders, scholars, and journalists to advance ideas for rebuilding the American Dream. 

POLL: Which best describes the meaning of the American Dream to you?

Is it education? security? opportunity? something else?

Click here to take the poll and see how others are responding. 

October 2 Town Hall Participants Named

Participants at the Miller Center's Town Hall meeting on October 2 will include the following experts: MARTIN BARON, executive editor of The Washington Post; THOMAS A. HIRSCHL, co-author of "Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shape Our Fortunes"; and JENNIFER MARISCO, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute. The Miller Center's DOUGLAS BLACKMON will moderate. The town hall, which begins at 6 pm, will focus on a soon-to-be-released Washington Post/Miller Center poll on the American Dream and what it means today.

Join the conversation by attending the televised event that will be broadcast on over 100 PBS stations nationally. 

Friday Feature: President Coolidge Not Riding a Tiger

President Coolidge smiles, wearing a suit and hat, on a lumber wagon with several other individuals.

President Coolidge rides a lumber wagon during his summer in the Black Hills. Exact date of photo is unknown, though it was likely summer 1927.  Photo courtesy SouthDakotaMagazine.com.

As we wind down summertime and get back to school and work, lets all pause a moment to be jealous of President Coolidge's three-week vacation to the Black Hills in 1927. He reportedly enjoyed the fresh air and mountain streams so much that he stayed for a total of three months, and his presence helped to kick start the carving of Mount Rushmore.

By the end of summer 1927, work was beginning on the famous Rushmore carving. Coolidge's full address from the opening can be read in our speech archive, but he remarks that "The fundamental principles which [these four presidents] represented have been wrought into the very being of our Country. They are steadfast as these ancient hills." 

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.

Friday Feature: President Taft Not Riding a Tiger

President Taft lobs a baseball on to the field from the sidelines.

Did you know? President Taft was the very first President to cast the first pitch on opening day. It's a tradition still followed to this day.

On April 15, 1910, Taft pitched the ball to Washington Senators' pitcher Walter Johnson from his seat along the sidelines. They went on to beat the Philadelphia Athletics in a 3-0 shutout.

 

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight an interesting item from presidential history.

Nixon: “The American Dream does not come to those who fall asleep.”

Clip: Nixon’s First Inaugural Address

In this clip from Nixon's first inaugural address, he urges the American public and the government to focus attention and funds on domestic concerns. He warns against the nation's citizens "falling asleep" and sacrificing the promise of the American Dream. 

Ronald Reagan Acceptance Speech at the 1980 Republican National Convention

Ronald Reagan at the Republican National Convention, 1980

Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan urges against "betraying the trust and goodwill of American workers who keep [the country] going" in this acceptance speech at the 1980 Republican National Convention.  

Milstein Symposium Launch Event Scheduled for October 2

The Miller Center will host a public launch event for the Milstein Symposium on October 2 at 6:00 pm. The format will be a Town Hall meeting bringing together leading scholars and journalists to explore critical questions regarding the American Dream:  What does it mean today?  What are the present challenges to achieving it?  How can we restore it? Speaker details will be announced here soon. 

Friday Feature: Betty Ford’s First Press Conference

Oh this day in history, August 9, 1974, Gerald Ford was sworn in as president after Nixon's resignation, declaring, "Our long national nightmare is over."

One month later, on September 4, Betty Ford held her first press conference as first lady of the United States. She faced 75 reporters. According to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum,

"…Betty Ford immediately revealed the openness and good-natured candor that became her trademark. …. Expressing herself with humor and forthrightness on controversial issues of the day, she answered questions about women in politics, abortion rights, and a proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer later that month, she broke with social conventions by fostering public discussion of her diagnosis and treatment. In doing this, she purposefully raised public awareness of screening and treatment options and reassured the many women already suffering from similar ordeals."

Friday Feature: Camp David Through the Years

David Eisenhower, a teenager, poses with the

Pictured: President Eisenhower’s grandson David Eisenhower at Camp David in 1960. (Courtesy Eisenhower Library)

As President Obama heads off to Camp David, check out these great photos of past presidents enjoying the Maryland retreat.

From whitehouse.gov:

Camp David, known formally as the Naval Support Facility Thurmont, is the President’s country residence. Located in Catoctin Mountain Park in Frederick County, Maryland, Camp David has offered Presidents an opportunity for solitude and tranquility, as well as an ideal place to host foreign leaders.

Adapted from the federal employee retreat Hi-Catoctin, President Franklin Roosevelt established the residence as USS Shangri La, modeling the new main lodge after the Roosevelt winter vacation home in Warm Springs, Georgia. President Eisenhower subsequently renamed the institution in honor of his grandson David.

Learn more about Camp David from whitehouse.gov.

Friday Feature: Icy July

President Carter riding a toboggan at Camp David, 1978.

As those of us on the east coast continue to trudge through a soppingly muggy July, here's a refreshing image: President Carter on a toboggan (Camp David, 1978).

As we sweat toward August, just try to imagine the crisp air, the flecks of snow on your face, the slew of photographers waiting at the bottom of the hillside...

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight an interesting item from presidential history.

Butterfield Reveals Tapes

Transcript by Patrick Garrity, Ken Hughes, Erin Mahan, and Keri Matthews

“Nixon Bugged Own Offices,” the Chicago Tribune marveled on its front page 40 years ago, responding to the astonishing revelation by Alexander P. Butterfield, a little-known White House aide called to testify on July 16, 1973, before the Senate Watergate Committee during a nationally televised hearing. The Secret Service, at President Richard M. Nixon’s behest, had installed a voice-activated recording system that automatically recorded his Oval Office conversations, meaning that the Watergate-era question of “What did the President know and when did he know it?” could be answered objectively. For Nixon, it was the beginning of the end. After he lost a long legal struggle to keep his tapes from Watergate investigators, a transcript of one of them revealed that he had illegally obstructed the FBI’s investigation of the break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office and apartment complex. Nixon resigned soon after. 

Nixon had some sense of the risks he was taking with the tapes, as is shown by the following transcript of one from the first day of secret recording, Feb. 16, 1971. It comes from a forthcoming collection of transcripts by the Miller Center’s Presidential Recordings Program to be published by Rotunda, the University of Virginia’s digital imprint. It will focus on Nixon’s first week of secret recording. On the first day of it, he resolved firmly: “I will not be transcribed.” 

Click through to read the transcript.