Richard Nixon's presidential portrait. Retouch has not been completed yet. Credit: Department of Defense. Department of the Army. Office of
Leonard Garment was a New York jazz musician, a Jewish guy who had voted for Kennedy, and yet he & Nixon were good pals. They went done to florida together to give a speech and they were supposed to spend the night in a new housing development... At the last moment, Nixon had a twitch that the owner's of this new development were going to use Nixon somehow to promote their development... So they got in their limousine and drove 40 miles to the house of Elmer Bobst, who was an old nixon patron, a big money guy.Ironically, Nixon did have a therapist, Dr. Arnold Hutschnecker, who once said that Nixon "didn't have a serious psychiatric diagnosis" but had "a good portion of neurotic symptoms."
Well, they got to the fancy estate in Florida and it was closed up. It was dark. There was a gate and a wall around it. So Nixon said, "Okay, Leonard, over the wall we go." They climbed over the wall, went into the pool house, and found a couple beds.
And Nixon, who was a chronic insomniac who never slept, started talking to Garment about his fears and his fears. It was like summer camp, Garment said, lying there on these two little cots. And Nixon went on and on about his desire to accomplish things in the world. And he said if he didn't get back into the public life—this is in between being vice president and losing the Governor's race in '62, his so-called winderness years before he runs in '68—if he didn't get back into the public life, he would be mentally gone in two years and physically dead in four. He just had to be in public life. He said "I'll do anything to get back in public life except see a shrink."