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Portraits: Richard Nixon   2 comments

Artist Norman Rockwell admitted that he had intentionally flattered Nixon in this portrait. Nixon's appearance was troublesomely elusive, Rockwell noted, and if he was going to err in his portrayal, he wanted it to be in a direction that would please Nixon. National Portrait Gallery

Artist Norman Rockwell admitted that he had intentionally flattered Nixon in this portrait. Nixon’s appearance was troublesomely elusive, Rockwell noted, and if he was going to err in his portrayal, he wanted it to be in a direction that would please Nixon. National Portrait Gallery

Richard Milhous Nixon (1913 – 1994)

The 37th President of the United States, 1969 – 1974

AKA: Tricky Dick, Richard the Chicken-Hearted, Gloomy Gus, The Boss

From: California

College: Whittier College, Duke University School of Law

Married to: Pat Ryan

Children: Tricia, Julie

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: Lawyer, Navy Lieutenant Commander, US Representative, US Senator, Vice President

In His Words: “We were poor, but the glory of it was, we didn’t know it.”

“I always remember that whatever I have done in the past or may do in the future, Duke University is responsible in one way or another.”

“What are our schools for if not for indoctrination against communism?”

“I leave you gentleman now. You will now write it; you will interpret it; that’s your right. But as I leave you I want you to know…. just think how much you’re going to be missing. You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference, and I hope that what I have said today will at least make television, radio, the press recognize that they have a right and a responsibility, if they’re against a candidate give him the shaft, but also recognize if they give him the shaft, put one lonely reporter on the campaign who’ll report what the candidate says now and then. Thank you, gentlemen, and good day.”

“The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.”

“The American dream does not come to those who fall asleep.”

“I should say this—that Pat doesn’t have a mink coat. But she does have a respectable Republican cloth coat. And I always tell her that she’d look good in anything.”

“North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.”

“The Jews are irreligious, atheistic, immoral bunch of bastards.”

“The Jewish cabal is out to get me.”

“When the President does it, that means that it’s not illegal.”

“We are faced this year with the choice between the “work ethic” that built this Nation’s character and the new “welfare ethic” that could cause that American character to weaken.”

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white. Or a rape.”

“In any organization, the man at the top must bear the responsibility. That responsibility, therefore, belongs here, in this office. I accept it. And I pledge to you tonight, from this office, that I will do everything in my power to ensure that the guilty are brought to justice and that such abuses are purged from our political processes in the years to come, long after I have left this office.”

“I have never been a quitter.”

“Any nation that decides the only way to achieve peace is through peaceful means is a nation that will soon be a piece of another nation.”

“I’m not for women, frankly, in any job. I don’t want any of them around. Thank God we don’t have any in the Cabinet.”

“As long as I’m sitting in the chair, there’s not going to be any Jew appointed to that court. [No Jew] can be right on the criminal-law issue.”

Not true: Nixon did not tell the truth to the American people. Here’s how the Watergate scandal is described by Dummies.com:

President Richard Nixon’s involvement in the infamous Watergate scandal is a controversial issue, even today. Nixon’s role in Watergate has been under discussion and clouded in suspicious for years. In a nutshell, here’s what happened in the greatest presidential scandal in U.S. history:

  • On June 17, 1972, McCord and four other men working for the Committee to Re-Elect the President (or CREEP — really) broke into the Democratic Party’s headquarters in the Watergate, a hotel-office building in Washington, D.C. They got caught going through files and trying to plant listening devices. Five days later, Nixon denied any knowledge of it or that his administration played any role in it.
  • The burglars went to trial in 1973 and either pled guilty or were convicted. Before sentencing, McCord wrote a letter to Judge John Sirica, contending that high Republican and White House officials knew about the break-in and had paid the defendants to keep quiet or lie during the trial.
  • Investigation of McCord’s charges spread to a special Senate committee. John Dean, a White House lawyer, told the committee McCord was telling the truth and that Nixon had known of the effort to cover up White House involvement.
  • Eventually, all sorts of damaging stuff began to surface, including evidence that key documents linking Nixon to the cover-up of the break-in had been destroyed, that the Nixon reelection committee had run a “dirty tricks” campaign against the Democrats, and that the administration had illegally wiretapped the phones of “enemies,” such as journalists who had been critical of Nixon.
  • In March 1974, former Attorney. General John Mitchell and six top Nixon aides were indicted by a federal grand jury for trying to block the investigation. They were eventually convicted.
  • While Nixon continued to deny any involvement, it was revealed he routinely made secret tapes of conversations in his office. Nixon refused to turn over the tapes at first, and when he did agree (after firing a special prosecutor he had appointed to look into the mess and seeing his new attorney general resign in protest), it turned out some of them were missing or had been destroyed. (They were also full of profanity, which greatly surprised people who had an entirely different perception of Nixon.)
  • In the summer of 1974, the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment against the president for obstructing justice.

The tapes clearly showed Nixon had been part of the cover-up. On August 8, 1974, he submitted a one-sentence letter of resignation, and then went on television and said, “I have always tried to do what is best for the nation.” He was the first and, so far, only U.S. president to quit the job.

The Watergate scandal rocked the nation, which was already reeling from the Vietnam disaster, economic troubles, assassinations, and all the social unrest of the preceding 15 years. It fell to Nixon’s successor, Vice President Gerald R. Ford, to try to bring back a sense of order and stability to the nation. And no one had voted for him to do it.

True: Richard Nixon was 5′ 11′ and weighed about 175 pounds.

Richard Nixon and Herbert Hoover were our two Quaker Presidents.

Nixon lost the first televised Presidential debate. Kennedy lost that same debate, according to radio listeners. Nixon refused to use make-up, and his 5 o’clock shadow made him look unkempt to TV viewers.

Nixon had the cottage cheese flown in every week from Knudsen’s dairy in Los Angeles.

He was the first president in 120 years to have both the Senate and the House of Representatives controlled by the opposing party.

President Nixon confesses his role in Watergate cover-up, 5/22/73

Faced with what seemed almost certain impeachment, Nixon announced on August 8, 1974, that he would resign the next day to begin “that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”

Nixon was the first candidate to carry 49 states (1972), a feat later matched by Reagan.

The Official Portrait: James Anthony Wills’ 1984 portrait of Nixon is the official White House Portrait.

Richard Nixon, Official White House Portrait

Richard Nixon Signature

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