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Document Friday: POLL!! Nixon and Elvis or Nixon and Robocop?

June 11, 2010

Nixon’s photograph with Elvis is the most duplicated item at the National Archives.  But it’s not the former president’s only snapshot with an iconic rebel.  I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw a picture of the former President shaking hands with the one-and-only Robocop!!

Which is more awesome?  Very difficult to say.  So I figured I’d ask the true document hounds: Unredacted readers.  So …. take a look at the pics and vote!! (A bit more info on each of the photos is after the poll.)

One of 28 photos of Nixon and Elvis in the Oval Office, taken on 21 December 1970.

The only photo I could find of Nixon meeting Robocop in 1987.

The Nixon-Elvis photos are now the the second-most visited item on the National Security website.  (The Saddam Hussein-Donald Rumsfeld handshake surpassed them in 2003.)  In addition to the photos (the outtakes include Nixon gawking at Elvis’s cuff-links), the National Security Archive also obtained the two’s correspondence and administration memos about the visit.  The documents were located at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project at the National Archives.  In Elvis’s letter to the president, he wrote that “the drug culture, the hippy elements, the SDS, Black Panthers, etc. do not consider me as their enemy” and that he wanted to be made a “federal agent at large” to counter drugs and “help the country out.”

The context of the Nixon Robocop meeting is harder to discern.  Reportedly, Nixon was paid $25,000 to promote the film and donated all of it to the Boys Club of America (its logo is behind the former pres).  Ironically, the film features a nightly news segment from the future in which the anchor morosely reports:

Top story: Santa Barbara.  Ten thousand acres of wooded residential land were scorched in an instant when a laser canon aboard the Strategic Defense Peace Platform misfired today during routine tests.  It was a day of mourning for the families of people known dead at this hour.  Among them, two former U.S. presidents who had retired in the Santa Barbara area. A day of mourning for a country.

That’s about all I could find on the pic.  I’m shooting off a FOIA request to the Nixon Library to try and get some more info.  Let me know if you have any details.  In the meantime, VOTE!

Top story: Santa Barbara.

Ten thousand acres
of wooded residential land...

...were scorched in an instant
when a laser canon...

...aboard the Strategic Defense
Peace Platform...

...misfired today
during routine tests.

It was a day of mourning
for the families...

...of     people known dead
at this hour.

Among them, two former
U.S. presidents...

...who had retired
in the Santa Barbara area.

A day of mourning for a country.

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