In a midnight conversation more than a year before he resigned as president, a dispirited Richard M. Nixon talked about giving up his office and said his vice president, Spiro Agnew, was “just panting to get at it.”
But Nixon quickly allowed his chief of staff, Alexander M. Haig, to talk him out of quitting. Haig told Nixon that his resignation “would be the greatest shock this country ever had.”
The telephone conversation is included in 201 hours of Nixon tapes - many hard to understand - made public Monday by the National Archives after a 22-year fight by Nixon and his daughters to keep them secret. Last April, Nixon’s estate finally gave up.