BOOK REVIEW: Dere Mr. President: the hilarious letters kids write to the President

Dere Mr. President:  the hilarious letters kids write to the President

I have always liked Art Linkletter’s “Kids Say the Darndest Things” series, even if it was obviously fake. (On “House Party,” he could often be seen mouthing the tots’ “spontaneous” quips along with them.) Dere Mr. President, however, which records youngsters’ letters to then-President Nixon, seems much more authentic.

My mother was an elementary school teacher for many years, and I often got a kick out of the children’s letters and essays she would bring home with her. No matter if they’re writing to the President of the US or the residents of a local nursing home, children’s letters have a similar vibe. One prescient tot even suggests the late, great HAPPY Bill decades in advance to its introduction:

“I think that if someone has a dog or cat or some kind of animal they should get money back for their food and shots in their income tax.”

It would seem to me that by releasing these letters and penning the introduction to this book, the famously craggy Nixon was attempting to soften his image. He no doubt got an ego boost from many of these letters, especially when one considers what teenagers and college students were saying about him. After reading all of these innocent declarations of love and admiration for President Nixon, it really made me wonder how these children reacted to the Watergate scandal. Nothing is as heartbreaking as misplaced trust.

(Review originally appeared at


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