Fitzwater and Four Presidents

By Bradley Ouellette

Marlin Fitzwater and Bradley Ouellette By Lauren Caduto

At Franklin Pierce University in the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication there is a hallway with an exhibit of historical photographs spanning the career of Press Secretary that this facility was named after.

From his beginnings as a press officer at the Environmental Protection Agency to his last day as President George H. W. Bush’s press security, this wall of history ends with a very unique image. The last photograph pictures Mr. Fitzwater in some very well known company. Opposite of Mr. Fitzwater are Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. David Valdez who was President George H.W. Bush official photographer took this picture on July 19, 1990. This picture cannot be found on Google images.

This event was a rare moment even for Mr. Fitzwater, who served both Presidents Reagan and Bush, to be in the same room at the same time as four U.S. Presidents. So, how did this historical moment occur?

In a recent interview with a Franklin Pierce University student, Mr. Fitzwater explained what was happening during this moment in time. It was taken at the inauguration of the Richard Nixon Library, which is located in Yorba Linda California. All four of the Presidents were there to celebrate the occasion and that photograph, according to Mr. Fitzwater, was taken earlier in the day when all four Presidents were talking to each other prior to the ceremony.

Mr. Fitzwater said that President Bush personally asked him to retell a joke that he had told him earlier that morning at breakfast. In the interview Mr. Fitzwater said that he would not repeat the joke to the students because it was not appropriate, especially not on camera.

Mr. Fitzwater then said that he hopes that the next picture in the reel would be put up on the wall because it shows all four of the Presidents laughing.

Once the interview was over the other students asked if now Mr. Fitzwater would tell the joke but he stayed firm. As the lights turned off and he walked away from the picture that joke remains the secret of the alluring photograph.

Bradley Ouellette is currently a senior at Franklin Pierce University majoring in Political Science 

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