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Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
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"Transitions of Power" Transcript
David Hume Kennerly:

In our country fortunately transition of power does not come at the point of a gun but through the democratic process of voting. And it's unique in many ways in that it actually works. Even the last election where nobody won, we still had a way of dealing with it. It had to go to the Supreme Court.

There are many other countries where the soldiers would have been in the streets, I think. So, transition of power is always a dramatic time even if it's peaceful, particularly in a case where a president of the United States resigns, like Richard Nixon, and produced that moment out on the south lawn of the White House getting on the helicopter.

I have a whole sequence of photos shot from one angle as he's looking out and back kind of wistfully at the White House and gives that kind of bitter little wave and then what you don't understand is what's behind me is all the White House staffers and they start applauding. That's when he kind of started smiling and then he turns, gets back into the helicopter.

Then there's one of the last shots on the roll of the Fords' walking away. And that man was going to be President of the United States in just a few minutes. I mean, what more could you want for drama in good pictures? And I was right there for it. And I never get over the fact that I have such a ringside seat at history.

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video clipTransitions of Power
The Briscoe Center for American History