Richard Milhous Nixon (9 January 1913 – 22 April 1994) was the 37th president of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974, when he became the only president to resign the office. Nixon had previously served as a Republican U.S. representative and senator from California and as the 36th vice president of the United States from 1953 to 1961.
- This administration has proved that it is utterly incapable of cleaning out the corruption which has completely eroded it and reestablishing the confidence and faith of the American people in the morality and honesty of their government employees.
- Isn't it better to talk about the relative merits of washing machines than the relative strength of rockets? Isn't this the kind of competition you want?
- Now, some may ask why we don't get rid of the bases, since the Soviet Government declares today that it has only peaceful intentions. The answer is that whenever the fear and suspicions that caused us and our Allies to take measures for collective self-defense are removed, the reason for our maintaining bases will be removed. In other words, the only possible solution of this problem lies in mutual, rather than unilateral action leading toward disarmament.
- Remarks during a radio address in Moscow, quoted in "1959 Year In Review: Death of John Foster Dulles," UPI.com (1959)
Checkers speech (1952)
That's what we have and that's what we owe. It isn't very much but Pat and I have the satisfaction that every dime that we've got is honestly ours. 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.
One other thing I probably should tell you because if we don't they'll probably be saying this about me too, we did get something — a gift — after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was. It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he'd sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And our little girl — Tricia, the 6-year old — named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it.
Well, then, some of you will say, and rightly, "Well, what did you use the fund for, Senator? Why did you have to have it?" Let me tell you in just a word how a Senate office operates. First of all, a Senator gets $15,000 a year in salary. He gets enough money to pay for one trip a year, a round trip, that is, for himself, and his family between his home and Washington, DC. And then he gets an allowance to handle the people that work in his office to handle his mail. And the allowance for my State of California, is enough to hire 13 people. And let me say, incidentally, that that allowance is not paid to the Senator. It is paid directly to the individuals that the Senator puts on his payroll. But all of these people and all of these allowances are for strictly official business; business, for example, when a constituent writes in and wants you to go down to the Veteran's Administration and get some information about his GI policy — items of that type, for example. But there are other expenses that are not covered by the Government. And I think I can best discuss those expenses by asking you some questions.
Do you think that when I or any other senator makes a political speech, has it printed, should charge the printing of that speech and the mailing of that speech to the taxpayers? Do you think, for example, when I or any other Senator makes a trip to his home State to make a purely political speech that the cost of that trip should be charged to the taxpayers? Do you think when a Senator makes political broadcasts or political television broadcasts, radio or television, that the expense of those broadcasts should be charged to the taxpayers? Well I know what your answer is. It's the same answer that audiences give me whenever I discuss this particular problem: The answer is no. The taxpayers shouldn't be required to finance items which are not official business but which are primarily political business.
- If you think the United States has stood still, who built the largest shopping center in the world, the Lloyd Shopping Center right here?
- Excerpts From Remarks by Vice President Richard Nixon, Lloyd Center, Portland, OR. presidency.ucsb.edu (September 13, 1960). Retrieved on May 20, 2021.
- 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.
- Press conference after losing the election for Governor of California (November 7, 1962); most reports used an official "Transcript of Nixon's News Conference on His Defeat by Brown in Race for Governor of California", as published in "The New York Times" (November 8, 1962), p. 18, also used in RN : The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (1978) and most published accounts which ended "You don't have Nixon to kick around any more because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference and it will be one in which I have welcomed the opportunity to test wits with you."
- Do you want to make a point or do you want to make a change? do you want to get something off your chest, or do you want to get something done?
- Cox, Vicki. "Campaign speech in Michigan (1968)". The History of Third Parties. p. 17. Retrieved on May 21, 2021.
- Sock it to me?
- Cameo appearance on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (16 September 1968)
- A man is not finished when he's defeated. He's finished when he quits.
- 1969 note to self, as quoted in Nixon (1987) by Stephen E. Ambrose, p. 284
- Hello, Neil and Buzz. I'm talking to you by telephone from the Oval Room at the White House. And this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made. For every American this has to be the proudest day of our lives. And for people all over the world I am sure they, too, join with Americans in recognizing what a feat this is. Because of what you have done, the heavens have become a part of man's world. As you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to Earth. For one priceless moment, in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one.
- North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.
What Has Happened to America? (1967)
- Riots were also the most virulent symptoms to date of another, and in some ways graver, national disorder — the decline in respect for public authority and the rule of law in America. Far from being a great society, our is becoming a lawless society.
- Our opinion-makers have gone too far in promoting the doctrine that when a law is broken, society, not the criminal is to blame. Our teachers, preachers, and politicians have gone too far in advocating the idea that each individual should determine what laws are good and what laws are bad, and that he then should obey the law he likes and disobey the law he dislikes.
- Men of intellectual and moral eminence who encourage public disobedience of the law are responsible for the acts of those who inevitably follow their counsel: the poor, the ignorant and the impressionable. For example, to the professor objecting to de facto segregation, it may be crystal clear where civil disobedience may begin and where it must end. But the boundaries have become fluid to his students and other listeners. Today in the urban slums, the limits of responsible action are all but invisible.
- There can be no right to revolt in this society; no right to demonstrate outside the law, and, in Lincoln's words, 'no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law'. In a civilized nation no man can excuse his crime against the person or property of another by claiming that he, too, has been a victim of injustice. To tolerate that is to invite anarchy.
First Inaugural Address (1969)
- Each moment in history is a fleeting time, precious and unique. But some stand out as moments of beginning, in which courses are set that shape decades or centuries.
This can be such a moment.
Forces now are converging that make possible, for the first time, the hope that many of man's deepest aspirations can at last be realized. The spiraling pace of change allows us to contemplate, within our own lifetime, advances that once would have taken centuries.
In throwing wide the horizons of space, we have discovered new horizons on earth.
For the first time, because the people of the world want peace, and the leaders of the world are afraid of war, the times are on the side of peace.
- The American dream does not come to those who fall asleep.
- What kind of nation we will be, what kind of world we will live in, whether we shape the future in the image of our hopes, is ours to determine by our actions and our choices.
The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker. This honor now beckons America — the chance to help lead the world at last out of the valley of turmoil, and onto that high ground of peace that man has dreamed of since the dawn of civilization.
If we succeed, generations to come will say of us now living that we mastered our moment, that we helped make the world safe for mankind.
This is our summons to greatness.
- "The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker" was later used as Nixon's epitaph.
- I would rather be a one-term President and do what I believe is right than to be a two-term President at the cost of seeing America become a second-rate power and to see this Nation accept the first defeat in its proud 190-year history.
- Address to the nation on the situation in Southeast Asia (30 April 1970); in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1970, p. 410
- If, when the chips are down, the world's most powerful nation, the United States of America, acts like a pitiful, helpless giant, the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy will threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world.
- Address to the nation on the situation in Southeast Asia (April 30, 1970); in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1970, p. 409
- You think of those kids out there. I say kids. I have seen them. They are the greatest. You see these bums, you know, blowing up the campuses. Listen, the boys that are on the college campuses today are the luckiest people in the world, going to the greatest universities, and here they are burning up the books, I mean storming around about this issue — I mean you name it — get rid of the war; there will be another one. Out there we've got kids who are just doing their duty. I have seen them. They stand tall, and they are proud. I am sure they are scared. I was when I was there. But when it really comes down to it, they stand up and, boy, you have to talk up to those men. And they are going to do fine; we've got to stand back of them.
- Informal conversation with one of a group of employees who had gathered in a corridor to greet him at the Pentagon (May 1, 1970), reported in The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Richard Nixon, 1970, p. 417, footnote 1.
- They always put me in the field where the ball wasn't going to be hit.
- 1 in 10 chance perhaps, but save Chile! worth spending; not concerned; no involvement of embassy; $10,000,000 available, more if necessary; full-time job — best men we have; game plan; make the economy scream; 48 hours for plan of action.
- Notes taken down by CIA director Richard Helms on Nixon's orders for a plan against Salvador Allende of Chile. (15 September 1970); Document reproduced as part of George Washington University's National Security Archive.
- There is an international disease which feeds on the notion that if you have a cause to defend, you can use any means to further your cause, since the end justifies the means. As an international community, we must oppose this notion, whether it be in Canada, in the United States, or anywhere else. No cause justifies violence as long as the system provides for change by peaceful means.
- Speech on the October Crisis (October 1970), quoted in Louis, Fournier, F.L.Q: The Anatomy of an Underground movement (Toronto: NC Press Limited, 1984), p. 256
- I am now a Keynesian in economics.
- Just after a broadcast interview with four newsmen (6 January 1971), according to Howard K. Smith, one of the interviewers. "Nixon Has Shifted to Ideas of Keyness: ABC Commentator"
- The Jewish cabal is out to get me.
- You know, it's a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana are Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob? What is the matter with them? I suppose it is because most of them are psychiatrists.
- Statement (26 May 1971) as quoted in Newsweek (27 May 2004)
- Many Jews in the Communist conspiracy. Chambers and Hiss were the only non-Jews. Many thought that Hiss was. He could have been a half. Every other one was a Jew — and it raised hell for us. But in this case, I hope to God he's not a Jew.
- Nixon, Haldeman, and Ronald Ziegler, 2:42-3:33 P.M. Oval Office Conversation #524-7; cassette #775 (17 June 1971)
- So few of those who engage in espionage are Negroes. In fact, very few of them become Communists. If they do, they like, they get into Angela Davis — they're more the capitalist type. And they throw bombs and this and that. But the Negroes — have you ever noticed any Negro spies?
- Nixon, Haldeman, and Ziegler, 4:03 P.M., Oval Office Conversation #537-4; cassette #876 (5 July 1971)
- I think of what happened to Greece and Rome, and you see what is left—only the pillars. What has happened, of course, is that the great civilizations of the past, as they have become wealthy, as they have lost their will to live, to improve, they then have become subject to decadence that eventually destroys the civilization. The United States is now reaching that period.
- At the present time, I will simply say in raising these problems, I don’t raise them in any sense of defeatism; I don’t raise them in the usual sense of pointing out that the United States is a country torn by division, alienation, that this is truly an ugly country, because I don’t believe that. I honestly believe that the United States, in its preeminent position of world leadership, has in its hands the future of peace in the world this last third of the century. I honestly believe that the United States has the destiny to play a great role, but I also know we cannot play it unless this is a healthy land, with a healthy government, a healthy citizenry, a healthy economy, and above all, the moral and spiritual health that can only come from the hearts of people and their minds, and that will only come as people are reassured from time to time, as we discuss our faults and as we correct our faults, reassured. Keep them in balance.
- We must protect the dollar from the attacks of international money speculators. ... I have directed Secretary Connally to suspend temporarily the convertibility of the American dollar [for gold] ... Let me lay to rest the bugaboo of what is called devaluation. ... Your dollar will be worth just as much tomorrow as it is today.
- The Jews are irreligious, atheistic, immoral bunch of bastards.
- When you get in these people when you...get these people in, say: 'Look, the problem is that this will open the whole, the whole Bay of Pigs thing, and the President just feels that' ah, without going into the details... don't, don't lie to them to the extent to say there is no involvement, but just say this is sort of a comedy of errors, bizarre, without getting into it, 'the President believes that it is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again.' And, ah because these people are plugging for, for keeps and that they should call the FBI in and say that we wish for the country, don't go any further into this case, period!
- The 'smoking gun tape' on (23 June 1972)
- 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.
- Labor Day Message to the nation (3 September 1972)
- The average American is just like the child in the family. You give him some responsibility and he is going to amount to something. He is going to do something. If, on the other hand, you make him completely dependent and pamper him and cater to him too much, you are going to make him soft, spoiled and eventually a very weak individual.
- Post-re-election interview with Garnett D. Horner, The Washington Star-News (9 November 1972), p. 1.
- I've just recognized that, you know, all people have certain traits. ... The Jews have certain traits. The Irish have certain — for example, the Irish can't drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I've known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish. ... The Italians, of course, those people course don't have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but ...The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.
- Bill Rogers has got — to his credit it's a decent feeling — but somewhat sort of a blind spot on the black thing because he's been in New York. He says well, 'They are coming along, and that after all they are going to strengthen our country in the end because they are strong physically and some of them are smart.' So forth and so on. My own view is I think he's right if you're talking in terms of 500 years.
What has to happen is they have to be, frankly, inbred. And, you just, that's the only thing that's going to do it, Rose.
- What it is, is it's the insecurity. It's the latent insecurity. Most Jewish people are insecure. And that's why they have to prove things.
- I didn't notice many Jewish names coming back from Vietnam on any of those lists; I don't know how the hell they avoid it.If you look at the Canadian-Swedish contingent, they were very disproportionately Jewish. The deserters
- If you are going to lie, you go to jail for the lie rather than the crime. So believe me, don't ever lie.
- I want to say this to the television audience. I made my mistakes, but in all of my years of public life, I have never profited, never profited from public service. I have earned every cent. And in all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice. And I think, too, that I can say that in my years of public life, that I welcome this kind of examination because people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got.
- Televised press conference with 400 Associated Press Managing Editors at Walt Disney World, Florida. (17 November 1973)
- Often transcribed as "I am not a crook."
- 'I Am Not A Crook': How A Phrase Got A Life Of Its Own, on National Public Radio
- I don't give a shit what happens. I want you all to stonewall it, let them plead the Fifth Amendment, cover up or anything else, if it'll save it, save this plan. That's the whole point. We're going to protect our people if we can.
- And I want you to know that I have no intention whatever of ever walking away from the job that the people elected me to do for the people of the United States.
- Now, when individuals read the entire transcript of the [March] 21st  meeting, or hear the entire tape, where we discussed all these options, they may reach different interpretations, but I know what I meant, and I know also what I did.
- I recognize that this additional material I am now furnishing may further damage my case.
- After the court-ordered release of the White House tapes (5 August 1974)
- The greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes when you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes; because only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain. Always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Always remember: Others may hate you. But those who hate you don't win, unless you hate them. And then, you destroy yourself.
- Speech to the assembled White House staff before his final departure (9 August 1974)
- Oh, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.
- Interview with David Frost (19 May 1977); printed in The New York Times (20 May 1977), p. A16; also in "Nixon's Views on Presidential Power: Excerpts from an Interview with David Frost [Archive]", referring to the Huston Plan and views of presidential authority.
- I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I've reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We'll just slip the word to them that, for God's sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about Communism. We can't restrain him when he's angry and he has his hand on the nuclear button and Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace.
- As quoted in The Ends of Power (1978) by Robert Haldeman p. 83
- Being controversial in politics is inevitable. If an individual wants to be a leader and isn't controversial, that means he never stood for anything. In the world today, there are not many good choices — only choices between the half-good and the less half-good.
- Cited in Nick Thimmesch's "An interview with Nixon: 'Defeated, but not finished'" (Chicago Tribune (11 December 1978)
- I wouldn't put out a statement praising it, but we're not going to condemn it either. [Nixon's comment about the atrocities and genocide committed by the West Pakistan government against Bangladesh during the Bangladesh Liberation War]
- Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XI, South Asia Crisis, 1971, , and The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide by Gary J. Bass
- Someone is saying we are contemplating sending aid to help the Pakistani refugees. I hope to hell we’re not.
- FRUS, Nixon-Haig telcon, 29 April 1971, p. 99. quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014). The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.
Tape transcripts (1971)
- I have the greatest affection for them but I know they're not going to make it for 500 years. They aren't. You know it, too. The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they're dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don't live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like.
- "Archie's Guys." Archie is sitting here with his hippie son-in-law, married to the screwball daughter. The son-in-law apparently goes both ways. This guy. He's obviously queer — wears an ascot — but not offensively so. Very clever. Uses nice language. Shows pictures of his parents. And so Arch goes down to the bar. Sees his best friend, who used to play professional football. Virile, strong, this and that. Then the fairy comes into the bar. I don't mind the homosexuality. I understand it. [...] Nevertheless, goddamn, I don't think you glorify it on public television, homosexuality, even more than you glorify whores. We all know we have weaknesses. But, goddammit, what do you think that does to kids? You know what happened to the Greeks! Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo. We all know that. So was Socrates.
- 14 seconds of this tape were censored for privacy reasons, likely to protect the identity of closeted individuals Nixon may have named.
- You know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags. Neither in a public way. You know what happened to the popes? They were layin' the nuns; that's been goin' on for years, centuries. But the Catholic Church went to hell three or four centuries ago. It was homosexual, and it had to be cleaned out. That's what's happened to Britain. It happened earlier to France. Let's look at the strong societies. The Russians. Goddamn, they root 'em out. They don't let 'em around at all. I don't know what they do with them. Look at this country. You think the Russians allow dope? Homosexuality, dope, immorality, are the enemies of strong societies. That's why the Communists and left-wingers are clinging to one another. They're trying to destroy us. I know Moynihan will disagree with this, [Attorney General John] Mitchell will, and Garment will. But, goddamn, we have to stand up to this.
- But it's not just the ratty part of town. The upper class in San Francisco is that way. The Bohemian Grove, which I attend from time to time — it is the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine, with that San Francisco crowd. I can't shake hands with anybody from San Francisco. Decorators. They got to do something. But we don't have to glorify it. You know one of the reasons fashions have made women look so terrible is because the goddamned designers hate women. Designers taking it out on the women. Now they're trying to get some more sexy things coming on again.
- Tapes from 1971 as presented in "All the Philosopher King's Men" by James Warren in Harper's Magazine (February 2000)
- I just say that we've got to keep our eye on the main ball. The main ball is [Daniel] Ellsberg. We've got to get this son of a bitch. You can't be in a position of ever allowing, just because some guy is going to be martyr, of allowing the fellow to get away with this kind of wholesale thievery, or otherwise it's going to happen all over the government. Don't you agree?
- Telephone conversation with John N. Mitchell, White House Tapes - Presidential Recordings Program, Tape 006-021
- Nixon: Within groups, there are geniuses. There are geniuses within black groups. There are more within Asian groups ... This is knowledge that is better not to know.
- Fall of 1971, conversation with Harvard professor Daniel Patrick Moynihan; as qtd. in Tim Naftali, "Ronald Reagan's Long-Hidden Racist Conversation With Richard Nixon", The Atlantic, (Jul 30, 2019)
- Nixon: I'm not saying that blacks cannot govern. I'm saying that they had a helluva time. Now that must demonstrate something. Now, having said that, let's look at Latin America. Latin America has had 150 years of trying at it and they don't have much going down there, either. Mexico is a one-party government; Colombia, they trade it off every two years, Venezuela is tipty toe, and the rest are dictatorships, except for [President Salvador] Allende [of Chile], which is a communist dictatorship. Elected but communist.
- Nixon: Let's look at that. The Italians aren't any good at government. The Spanish aren't any good at government . . .
- Moynihan: Yuh.
- Nixon: The French have had a helluva time and they're half-Latin, and all of Latin America is not any good at government. They either go to one extreme or another. It's either a family, ah, three extremes: family, oligarchy, or a dictatorship; or a dictatorship on the right, or one on the left, very seldom in the center. Now, having said all that, however, as you compare the Latin dictatorships, governments, etc., and their forms of government, they at least do it in their way. It is an orderly way which works relatively well. They have been able to run the damn place. Looking at the black countries, of course, there are only two old ones—Haiti is an old one and Liberia is a very old one.
- Moynihan: Ah, huh.
- Nixon: Ethiopia is a very old one. But they have a helluva time running the place.
- Nixon: Now you look at Asia and you can say, well, what about there, you don't have democracies. Of course, you don't, except Japan, where we imposed it, and the Philippines, and it's a helluva mess. But, on the other hand, Thailand with its oligarchy has the right kind of government for Thailand. And we have to say, too, that Iran, with the benevolent shah, with the benevolent shah, that's the right thing for those folks.
- Moynihan: [They] do pretty well!
- Nixon: What I'm getting back, the long way around, is this: I think something that is eventually going to come out here is this, and it's right beneath the surface, this whole black-white deal, is going to come out is the fact that Asians are capable of governing themselves, one way or another. We Caucasians have learned it after slaughtering each other in religious wars and other wars, including in the last century.
- Nixon: You look at the World Series World Series, for God's sake, and what would either of these teams, what would Pittsburgh be without a helluva lot of blacks? And music, and the dance. Are these things just to be pissed upon? Hell, no. They are important. And in certain areas, poetry, etc., they have a free-and-easy style that adds enormously to our culture. But on the other hand, when you get to some of the more profound, rigid disciplines, basically, they have a helluva time making it. . . . In terms of good lawyers, even though a lot of them go to law schools, it really is not their dish of tea. See?
- Fall of 1971, conversation with Harvard professor Daniel Patrick Moynihan; as qtd. in James Warren, "Unvarnished Nixon c. 1971: Bigotry revealed in tapes", Chicago Tribune, June 3, 2001.
- Undoubtedly the most unattractive women in the world are the Indian women, undoubtedly... The most sexless, nothing, these people. I mean, people say, what about the Black Africans? Well, you can see something, the vitality there, I mean they have a little animallike charm, but God, those Indians, ack, pathetic. Uch... To me, they turn me off. How the hell do they turn other people on, Henry? Tell me. [...] They turn me off. They are repulsive and it's just easy to be tough with them.
- In conversation with Henry Kissinger, remarks about Indians made during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. Conversation 300-013 of the White House Tapes. Quoted [The Terrible Cost of Presidential Racism The Terrible Cost of Presidential Racism (September, 3, 2020) by Gary J. Bass, The New York Times
- I don't know how they reproduce!.. They are a scavenging people.
- On Nov. 12, 1971, in the middle of a discussion about India-Pakistan tensions with Henry Kissinger and Secretary of State William P. Rogers, after Rogers mentioned reprimanding Indira Gandhi. Conversation 617-009 of the White House Tapes. Quoted [The Terrible Cost of Presidential Racism The Terrible Cost of Presidential Racism (September, 3, 2020) by Gary J. Bass, The New York Times
They're Born That Way (1971)
- Audio tape files (28 April 1971) Full text online
- Let me say something before we get off the gay thing. I don't want my views misunderstood. I am the most tolerant person on that of anybody in this shop. They have a problem. They're born that way. You know that. That's all. I think they are. Anyway, my point is, though, when I say they're born that way, the tendency is there.
- My point is that Boy Scout leaders, YMCA leaders, and others bring them in that direction, and teachers. And if you look over the history of societies, you will find, of course, that some of the highly intelligent people.
- Oscar Wilde, Aristotle, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, were all homosexuals. Nero, of course, was, in a public way, in with a boy in Rome.
- They can do it. Just leave them alone. That's a lifestyle I don't want to touch.
Tape transcripts (1972)
- If he gets shot, it's too damn bad.
- Screw State! State's always on the side of the blacks. The hell with them!
- The press is the enemy. The press is the enemy. The press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy. The professors are the enemy. The professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times and never forget it.
Remarks on Being Reelected (1972)
- Remarks on Being Reelected to the Presidency (7 November 1972); Transcript at millercenter.org
- The important thing in our process, however, is to play the game, and in the great game of life, and particularly the game of politics, what is important is that on either side more Americans voted this year than ever before, and the fact that you won or you lost must not keep you from keeping in the great game of politics in the years ahead, because the better competition we have between the two parties, between the two men running for office, whatever office that may be, means that we get the better people and the better programs for our country.
- I very firmly believe that what unites America today is infinitely more important than those things which divide us. We are united Americans — North, East, West, and South, both parties — in our desire for peace, peace with honor, the kind of a peace that will last, and we are moving swiftly toward that great goal, not just in Vietnam, but a new era of peace in which the old relationships between the two super powers, the Soviet Union and the United States, and between the world's most populous nation, the People's Republic of China, and the United States, are changed so that we are on the eve of what could be the greatest generation of peace, true peace for the whole world, that man has ever known.
- Several commentators have reflected on the fact that this may be one of the great political victories of all time. In terms of votes that may be true, but in terms of what a victory really is, a huge landslide margin means nothing at all unless it is a victory for America. It will be a victory for America only if, in these next four years, we, all of us, can work together to achieve our common great goals of peace at home and peace for all nations in the world, and for that new progress and prosperity which all Americans deserve.
Tape transcripts (1973)
- There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white. Or a rape.
- Tape 407, Conversation No. 407-18, 32:08
- On Nixon Tapes, Ambivalence Over Abortion, Not Watergate by Charlie Savage, The New York Times, June 23 2009, retrieved June 23 2009
- [discussing the politics of clemency for Watergate conspirators:] No — it is wrong that's for sure.
- March 21, 1973. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Nixon Debated Paying Blackmail, Clemency, The Washington Post, May 1, 1974. Walter Rugaber, Close‐ Up View of Nixon Under Pressure Emerges From the Transcripts, New York Times, August 9, 1974.
- In Congressional testimony prior to release of the tapes H.R. Haldeman incorrectly testified that Nixon said "we can do that, but it would be wrong" about obtaining hush money to pay the conspirators. Ken Hughes, Nixon's First Week of Taping: The Decision to Tape, Presidential Recordings Program, Miller Center, University of Virginia, retrieved January 9, 2019.
Second Inaugural Address (1973)
- The peace we seek in the world is not the flimsy peace which is merely an interlude between wars, but a peace which can endure for generations to come.
It is important that we understand both the necessity and the limitations of America's role in maintaining that peace.
Unless we in America work to preserve the peace, there will be no peace.
Unless we in America work to preserve freedom, there will be no freedom.
- We shall support vigorously the principle that no country has the right to impose its will or rule on another by force.
We shall continue, in this era of negotiation, to work for the limitation of nuclear arms, and to reduce the danger of confrontation between the great powers.
We shall do our share in defending peace and freedom in the world. But we shall expect others to do their share.
The time has passed when America will make every other nation's conflict our own, or make every other nation's future our responsibility, or presume to tell the people of other nations how to manage their own affairs.
- Just as we respect the right of each nation to determine its own future, we also recognize the responsibility of each nation to secure its own future.
Just as America's role is indispensable in preserving the world's peace, so is each nation's role indispensable in preserving its own peace.
Together with the rest of the world, let us resolve to move forward from the beginnings we have made. Let us continue to bring down the walls of hostility which have divided the world for too long, and to build in their place bridges of understanding — so that despite profound differences between systems of government, the people of the world can be friends.
- Let us build a structure of peace in the world in which the weak are as safe as the strong — in which each respects the right of the other to live by a different system — in which those who would influence others will do so by the strength of their ideas, and not by the force of their arms.
Let us accept that high responsibility not as a burden, but gladly — gladly because the chance to build such a peace is the noblest endeavor in which a nation can engage; gladly, also, because only if we act greatly in meeting our responsibilities abroad will we remain a great Nation, and only if we remain a great Nation will we act greatly in meeting our challenges at home.
We have the chance today to do more than ever before in our history to make life better in America — to ensure better education, better health, better housing, better transportation, a cleaner environment — to restore respect for law, to make our communities more livable — and to insure the God-given right of every American to full and equal opportunity.
Because the range of our needs is so great — because the reach of our opportunities is so great — let us be bold in our determination to meet those needs in new ways.
First Watergate Speech (1973)
- "Address to the Nation About the Watergate Investigations" (30 April 1973) · Nixon's First Watergate Speech. (30 April 1973)
- 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.
- On Christmas Eve, during my terrible personal ordeal of the renewed bombing of North Vietnam, which after 12 years of war finally helped to bring America peace with honor, I sat down just before midnight. I wrote out some of my goals for my second term as President.
Let me read them to you:
- To make it possible for our children, and for our children's children, to live in a world of peace.
- To make this country be more than ever a land of opportunity — of equal opportunity, full opportunity for every American.
- To provide jobs for all who can work, and generous help for those who cannot work. To establish a climate of decency and civility, in which each person respects the feelings and the dignity and the God-given rights of his neighbor.
- To make this a land in which each person can dare to dream, can live his dreams — not in fear, but in hope — proud of his community, proud of his country, proud of what America has meant to himself and to the world.
- I know that it can be very easy, under the intensive pressures of a campaign, for even well-intentioned people to fall into shady tactics — to rationalize this on the grounds that what is at stake is of such importance to the Nation that the end justifies the means. And both of our great parties have been guilty of such tactics in the past.
In recent years, however, the campaign excesses that have occurred on all sides have provided a sobering demonstration of how far this false doctrine can take us. The lesson is clear: America, in its political campaigns, must not again fall into the trap of letting the end, however great that end is, justify the means.
I urge the leaders of both political parties, I urge citizens, all of you, everywhere, to join in working toward a new set of standards, new rules and procedures to ensure that future elections will be as nearly free of such abuses as they possibly can be made. This is my goal. I ask you to join in making it America's goal.
Resignation Speech (1974)
- [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwQMpSxRPvc Video at YouTube[
- In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Nation. Throughout the long and difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.
In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.
But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged.
I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interest of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations.
- From the discussions I have had with Congressional and other leaders, I have concluded that because of the Watergate matter I might not have the support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the Nation would require.
I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of America first.
America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad.
To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.
Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.
- In passing this office to the Vice President, I also do so with the profound sense of the weight of responsibility that will fall on his shoulders tomorrow and, therefore, of the understanding, the patience, the cooperation he will need from all Americans.
As he assumes that responsibility, he will deserve the help and the support of all of us. As we look to the future, the first essential is to begin healing the wounds of this Nation, to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us, and to rediscover those shared ideals that lie at the heart of our strength and unity as a great and as a free people.
By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.
I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.
To those who have stood with me during these past difficult months, to my family, my friends, to many others who joined in supporting my cause because they believed it was right, I will be eternally grateful for your support.
And to those who have not felt able to give me your support, let me say I leave with no bitterness toward those who have opposed me, because all of us, in the final analysis, have been concerned with the good of the country, however our judgments might differ.
So, let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Americans.
- I shall leave this office with regret at not completing my term, but with gratitude for the privilege of serving as your President for the past 5 1/2 years. These years have been a momentous time in the history of our Nation and the world. They have been a time of achievement in which we can all be proud, achievements that represent the shared efforts of the Administration, the Congress, and the people.
But the challenges ahead are equally great, and they, too, will require the support and the efforts of the Congress and the people working in cooperation with the new Administration.
We have unlocked the doors that for a quarter of a century stood between the United States and the People's Republic of China.
We must now ensure that the one quarter of the world's people who live in the People's Republic of China will be and remain not our enemies but our friends.
- Together with the Soviet Union we have made the crucial breakthroughs that have begun the process of limiting nuclear arms. But we must set as our goal not just limiting but reducing and finally destroying these terrible weapons so that they cannot destroy civilization and so that the threat of nuclear war will no longer hang over the world and the people.
We have opened the new relation with the Soviet Union. We must continue to develop and expand that new relationship so that the two strongest nations of the world will live together in cooperation rather than confrontation.
- For more than a quarter of a century in public life I have shared in the turbulent history of this era. I have fought for what I believed in. I have tried to the best of my ability to discharge those duties and meet those responsibilities that were entrusted to me.
- I shall continue to work for the great causes to which I have been dedicated throughout my years as a Congressman, a Senator, a Vice President, and President, the cause of peace not just for America but among all nations, prosperity, justice, and opportunity for all of our people.
There is one cause above all to which I have been devoted and to which I shall always be devoted for as long as I live.
- When I first took the oath of office as President 5 1/2 years ago, I made this sacred commitment, to "consecrate my office, my energies, and all the wisdom I can summon to the cause of peace among nations."
I have done my very best in all the days since to be true to that pledge. As a result of these efforts, I am confident that the world is a safer place today, not only for the people of America but for the people of all nations, and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than dying in war.
This, more than anything, is what I hoped to achieve when I sought the Presidency. This, more than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy to you, to our country, as I leave the Presidency.
To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every American. In leaving it, I do so with this prayer: May God's grace be with you in all the days ahead.
- Short of changing human nature, therefore, the only way to achieve a practical, livable peace in a world of competing nations is to take the profit out of war.
- Real Peace (1983)
- 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.
- No More Vietnams (1987)
- No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now. Rarely have so many people been so wrong about so much. Never have the consequences of their misunderstanding been so tragic.
- No More Vietnams (1987).
- Nowdays, If a news report does not tie up loose ends as neatly as 'The A Team', it is considered a flop.
- From In The Arena (1990)
- But by God, there are exceptions. But Bob, generally speaking, you can't trust the bastards. They turn on us.
- On Jews, to H. R. Haldeman, as quoted in "Nixon: I Am Not an Anti-Semite" by Timothy Noah, in Slate (7 October 1999)
- But, Bob, generally speaking, you can't trust the bastards. They turn on you. Am I wrong or right?
- We may have created a Frankenstein ['s monster].
- Before Nixon died, he feared that opening the world to the China may created a 'Frankenstein'.Essay; The Biggest Vote (May 18, 2000)
- 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 quoted in The Rehnquist Choice (2001) by John Dean; also in "Double Dipping at the Waffle House" by Dahlia Lithwick in Slate (11 October 2001)
- I don't think women should be in any government job whatever. I mean, I really don't. The reason why I do is mainly because they are erratic and emotional.
- Quoted in John Boertlein, Presidential Confidential (2010), p. 293
- 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.
- Nixon: I still think we ought to take the North Vietnamese dikes out now. Will that drown people?
Kissinger: About two hundred thousand people.
Nixon: No, no, no, I'd rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry?
Kissinger: That, I think, would just be too much.
Nixon: The nuclear bomb, does that bother you?. I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes.
- Nixon: The only place where you and I disagree is with regard to the bombing. You're so goddamned concerned about civilians and I don't give a damn. I don't care.
Kissinger: I'm concerned about the civilians because I don't want the world to be mobilized against you as a butcher.
- In conversation with Henry Kissinger regarding Vietnam, as quoted in Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. (2002) by Daniel Ellsberg
- I can't ever say that, but I believe it.
- You don't want to know.
- I think most Americans understood that the My Lai massacre was not representative of our people, of the war we were fighting, or of our men who were fighting it; but from the time it first became public the whole tragic episode was used by the media and the antiwar forces to chip away at our efforts to build public support for our Vietnam objectives and policies.
- As quoted in Convergences (2005) [second edition] by Robert Atwan, [Bedford/St. Martin's. p. 403]
- What are our schools for if not for indoctrination against communism?
- Now listen here: Printing top secret information. I don't care how they feel about the war. Whether they're for or against it. They can't and should not do this and attack the integrity of government and by God, I'm gonna fight that son of a bitching paper. They don't know what's gonna hit them now.
- After The New York Times started publishing the Pentagon Papers, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009)
- I want to tell you that I was so damn mad when that Supreme Court had to come down. First, I didn't like the decision. Unbelievable, wasn't it? You know, those clowns we got on there, I tell you, I hope I outlive the bastards.
- After the US Supreme Court ruling in New York Times Co. v. United States (The Pentagon Papers Case).
- Well, you can just stop and think of what could happen if anybody with a decent system of government got control of that mainland. Good God. There'd be no power in the world that could even — I mean, you put 800 million Chinese to work under a decent system and they will be the leaders of the world 
Quotes about Nixon
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
- In 1972, Americans watched in disbelief as the Nixon Presidency was virtually brought to collapse, not because of the Watergate "break-in," but by the cover-up and its entanglements. What if the Watergate Scandal had been handled differently? The illegal activities of a few bungling second-story men pale in comparison to the colossal management blunders by the White House inner circle.
- Wheeler L. Baker, Crisis Management: A Model For Managers (1993), p. 3
- The Teapot Dome Scandal involved a plot of federal land in Wyoming that derives its unusual name from the fact that, if viewed from a certain angle, it appears to be shaped like a scandal. The government had placed a large amount of oil under this land for safekeeping, but in 1921 it was stolen. The mystery was solved later that same evening when an alert customs inspector noticed former Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall attempting to board an oceanliner with a suitcase containing 3.256 trillion barrels of petroleum products, which he claimed had been a "gift" from a "friend." At this point, President Harding, showing the kind of class that Richard Nixon can only dream about, died.
- Dave Barry, Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States (1989), p. 104-105
- Going into the race, Eisenhower had a strong tactical advantage stemming from the fact that nobody, including himself, knew what hs views were. But his campaign quickly became enmeshed in scandal when it was discovered that his running mate, Senator "Dick" Nixon, had received money from a secret fund. Realizing that his career was at stake, Nixon appeared on a live television broadcast and told the American people, with deep emotion in his voice, that if they didn't let him be the vice president, he would kill his dog. This was widely believed to be the end of his career.
- Dave Barry, Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States (1989), p. 134
- In 1960 the Democratic candidate was the rich witty graceful charming and of course boyishly handsome Massachusetts senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who gained voter recognition by having his face on millions of souvenir plates and being married to the lovely and internationally admired Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Kennedy's major political drawback was that the nation had never elected a Roman Catholic; on the other hand, the nation had never elected a total dweeb, either, and the Republicans had for some reason nominated "Dick" Nixon. So it was a very close race. The turning point was a series of nationally televised debates, in which Kennedy, who looked tanned and relaxed, seemed to have an advantage over Nixon, who looked as though he had been coached by ferrets. Kennedy held a slight lead going into the bonus round, where he chose Category Three (Graceful Handsome Boyish Wittiness) and won the matching luggage plus Texas plus Illinois, thus guaranteeing his victory in the November election. This was widely believed to be the end of Nixon's career.
- Dave Barry, Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States (1989), p. 144-145
- So by 1968 things were pretty bad. They were so bad that it seemed impossible for them to get worse, unless something truly horrible happened, something so twisted and sinister and evil that the human mind could barely comprehend it. THE NIXON COMEBACK. Yes. One day we turned on our televisions, and there he was, "Dick" Nixon, looking stronger than ever despite the holes in his suit where various stakes had been driven into his heart. He was advertised as a "new" Nixon with all kinds of amazing features, including an illuminated glove compartment and a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam, but of course he couldn't tell the voters what it was, because then it wouldn't have been a secret plan. Nixon's running mate was an individual named Spiro Agnew, whose principal qualification was that when you rearranged the letters of his name, you got "grow a penis." (Dick Cavett discovered this. Really.) Their campaign theme- we are not making this up- was "Law and Order."
- Dave Barry, Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States (1989), p. 151
- Nixon's first official act as president was to sneak out behind the White House and bury his secret peace plan to ensure that nobody would ever find out what it was, which would have been a breach of national security. With that important task accomplished, he swung into action, working feverishly to accomplish his most important objective, to realize the cherished dream that had driven him through all these years of disappointment, to reach the long-sought goal that, thanks to his election, was finally within his grasp, namely: getting reelected.
- Dave Barry, Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States (1989), p. 152
- Nixon appeared to have only two options left: Option One: He could boldly remain as president and defend himself in the now-inevitable impeachment proceedings. Option Two: He could spare the country further trauma by resigning in a dignified manner. Those of you who are well-schooled students of "Dick" Nixon will not be surprised to learn that, after carefully weighing the alternatives, he decided to go with Option Three: to stand in the Rose Garden and make a semicoherent speech about his mother that may well rank as the single most embarrassing moment in American history. Thoroughly humiliated, Nixon then went off to live in a state of utter disgrace (New Jersey). This was widely believed to be the end of his career.
- Dave Barry, Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States (1989), p. 157-158
- Although Johnson was done in by Vietnam, his domestic liberalism was as popular in 1968 as the New Deal had been in 1952. Nevertheless, conservatives deluded themselves that Nixon would repeal the Great Society. But just as Eisenhower cemented the New Deal in place, Nixon accepted the legitimacy of the Great Society. His goal was to make it work efficiently and shave off the rough edges. Nixon even expanded the welfare state by expanding its regulatory reach through the Environmental Protection Agency and other new government agencies. Conservatives were infuriated by Nixon’s betrayal, but lacking control of Congress they were stuck with him just as they had been with Eisenhower. Not very many were upset when Watergate pushed Nixon out of office.
- Bruce Bartlett in Barack Obama: The Democrats’ Richard Nixon? (22 July 2011)
- Thus Obama took office under roughly the same political and economic circumstances that Nixon did in 1968 except in a mirror opposite way. Instead of being forced to manage a slew of new liberal spending programs, as Nixon did, Obama had to cope with a revenue structure that had been decimated by Republicans. Liberals hoped that Obama would overturn conservative policies and launch a new era of government activism. Although Republicans routinely accuse him of being a socialist, an honest examination of his presidency must conclude that he has in fact been moderately conservative to exactly the same degree that Nixon was moderately liberal.
- Bruce Bartlett in Barack Obama: The Democrats’ Richard Nixon? (22 July 2011)
- Nixon and Kissinger bear responsibility for a significant complicity in the slaughter of the Bengalis. This overlooked episode deserves to be a defining part of their historical reputations. But although Nixon and Kissinger have hardly been neglected by history, this major incident has largely been whitewashed out of their legacy—and not by accident. Kissinger began telling demonstrable falsehoods about the administration’s record just two weeks into the crisis, and has not stopped distorting since. Nixon and Kissinger, in their vigorous efforts after Watergate to rehabilitate their own respectability as foreign policy wizards, have left us a farrago of distortions, half-truths, and outright lies about their policy toward the Bengali atrocities... For all the very real flaws of human rights politics, Nixon and Kissinger’s support of a military dictatorship engaged in mass murder is a reminder of what the world can easily look like without any concern for the pain of distant strangers.
- Bass, G. J. (2014). The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.
- From 1969 through 1973, it was Kissinger, along with President Nixon, who oversaw the slaughter in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos — killing perhaps one million during this period. He gave the order for the secret bombing of Cambodia. Kissinger is on tape saying, “[Nixon] wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. He doesn't want to hear anything about it. It's an order, to be done. Anything that flies on anything that moves.”
- Henry Kissinger or CODEPINK: Who’s the "Low Life Scum"?, by Medea Benjamin, CommonDreams, (January 30, 2015)
- On evenings such as these, Deep Throat had talked about how politics had infiltrated every corner of government — a strong-arm takeover of the agencies by the Nixon White House. He had once called it the 'switchblade mentality' and had referred to the willingness of the President's men to fight dirty and for keeps.
- In his memoirs Nixon declared that to achieve his ends the "institutions" of government had to be "reformed, replaced or circumvented. In my second term I was prepared to adopt whichever of these three methods, or whichever combination of them, was necessary."
- It's too early to say how most of my decisions will turn out. As president, I had the honor of eulogizing Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon, once regarded as one of the worst mistakes in presidential history, is now viewed as a selfless act of leadership. And it was quite something to hear the commentators who had once denounced President Reagan as a dunce and a warmonger talk about how the Great Communicator had won the Cold War.
- George W. Bush, Decision Points (2010), p. 476
- Richard Nixon was a really, really bad guy. It’s worth noting this fact because Nixon has become a kind of domestic analogue to Hitler, invoked as a comparison by everybody, all the time — not just conservatives but also liberals, including a good chunk of Hollywood. Nixon’s administration ordered a break-in to the headquarters of the opposition party and then destroyed evidence of the crime. He ordered the firebombing of the Brookings Institution! If you find yourself tempted to compare a president you don’t like to Nixon, ask yourself, Is this pretty much how I’d react if he had a gang of goons break into the opposition party’s headquarters or told his subordinates to destroy the American Enterprise Institute? If not, you probably need a new comparison.
- Jonathan Chait in George Will: Now Obama Is Worse Than Nixon (15 August 2013)
- President Nixon opened his memoirs with a simple sentence: "I was born in a house my father built." Today, we can look back at this little house and still imagine a young boy sitting by the window of the attic he shared with his three brothers, looking out to a world he could then himself only imagine. From those humble roots, as from so many humble beginnings in this country, grew the force of a driving dream — a dream that led to the remarkable journey that ends here today where it all began. Beside the same tiny home, mail-ordered from back East, near this towering oak tree which, back then, was a mere seedling. President Nixon's journey across the American landscape mirrored that of this entire nation in this remarkable century. His life was bound up with the striving of our whole people, with our crises and our triumphs. As it is written in the words of a hymn I heard in my church last Sunday: "Grant that I may realize that the trifling of life creates differences, but that in the higher things, we are all one." In the twilight of his life, President Nixon knew that lesson well. It is, I feel certain, a faith he would want us all to keep. And, so, on behalf of all four former presidents who are here — President Ford, President Carter, President Reagan, President Bush — and on behalf of a grateful nation, we bid farewell to Richard Milhous Nixon.
- I have tender feelings for Nixon, because everybody has warm feelings about their childhood. Actually, I didn't like the Watergate trials 'cause they interrupted The Munsters... Nixon was the last liberal president. He supported women's rights, the environment, ending the draft, youth involvement, and now he's the boogeyman? Kerry couldn't even run on that today.
- Richard Nixon is one man, so intimately and thoroughly known to me, that without any hesitation I can personally vouch for his ability, his sense of duty, his sharpness of mind, and his wealth of wisdom. Through eight years, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, and in weekly sessions of the Cabinet and the National Security Council, he sat directly across the table from me — a mere few feet away. There I came to know him as a man who can never be known from headlines about him or speeches by him. My knowledge of him — first-hand, immediate, the product of my own close scrutiny — grew in times of crisis and of progress towards their solution; in times of decisive action and of an increase in America's leadership of free nations — in every discussion our single guide was the welfare and security of the United States. Throughout all these meetings, I could watch Dick Nixon; absorbed in the thoughtful and sober weighing of every word and idea. No man of Dick Nixon's intellectual capacity, conscientious stewardship, and superb leadership should be permitted to stand on the sidelines.
- The truth is that I spoke clearly to Mr. Nixon [about the situation of the Bangladesh Liberation war]... I told him without mincing words that we couldn't go on with ten million refugees on our backs, we couldn't tolerate the fuse of such and explosive situation any longer. Well, Mr. Heath, Mr. Pompidou, and Mr. Brandt had understood very well. But not Mr. Nixon. The fact is that when the others understand one thing, Mr. Nixon understands another. I suspected he was very pro-Pakistan. Or rather I knew that the Americans had always been in favor of Pakistan—not so much because they were in favor of Pakistan, but because they were against India.
- Indira Gandhi. Quoted in Oriana Fallaci. Interview with Indira Gandhi, in : Interviews with history and conversations with power. New York: Rizzoli, 2001.
- He was the most dishonest individual I ever met in my life. President Nixon lied to his wife, his family, his friends, longtime colleagues in the US Congress, lifetime members of his own political party, the American people and the world.
- Barry Goldwater in his memoirs, Goldwater (1988)
- The Nixon/Obama parallels are instructive. Richard Nixon was, and Barack Obama is, a loner with many admirers and few friends. Both preferred to speak to the electorate in heavily scripted settings. Both were lawyers. Both were also charged — nearly every week — with violating the Constitution. Both tolerated substantial cuts in U.S. military spending while inflating social-welfare and environmental obligations. And both did whatever they had to do to appeal to a consistent enemy of the United States and its key allies.
- Frank Gregorsky in A Tale of Two Cynics: Nixon and Obama (3 April 2015)
- In 1969 — President Nixon’s first year — the Soviet Union proposed that the U.S. and U.S.S.R conspire to eliminate Mainland China’s nuclear forces. Nixon said back to the Kremlin: Don’t even think about it. In 2009 — President Obama’s first year — a fraudulent presidential election kept Iran’s extreme Islamists in power. Thousands took to the streets. Obama gave them zero support. Forty years apart, Nixon and later Obama sent early and strong signals: "Count on the new guy to head off anything that will rock your boat…."
- Frank Gregorsky in A Tale of Two Cynics: Nixon and Obama (3 April 2015)
- The Nixon tragedy: A man of unsurpassed courage and outstanding intelligence but without vision. An opportunist who missed his greatest opportunity.
- Eric Hoffer, Before the Sabbath, Harper & Row 1979, p. 4
- I may not know much, but I do know the difference between chicken shit and chicken salad.
- Lyndon B. Johnson, when asked why he had not replied to a speech by then-Vice President Nixon. Quoted in Merle Miller, Lyndon, An Oral Biography (1980), p. 542
- Do you realize the responsibility I carry? I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House.
- John F. Kennedy, during the 1960 presidential campaign. Quoted in John Boertlein, Presidential Confidential (2010), p. 296
- Nixon's comments about Jews were sort of — there was a huge disparity between the comments he made about Jews and the large number of Jews he had in his administration. And it is hard to believe in one sense. I don't really think Nixon was anti-Semitic. He had sort of standard phrases.
- It was ironic that President Nixon, in a memo released by the National Archives, complained that his commanders had played "how not to lose" that they had forgotten "how to win." To render justice to the generals, I agree with General Westmoreland that the U.S. needed to rethink its Viet Nam policies. It had to do away with the "status quo" and resolutely carry he war to the North. Although President Nixon later ordered B-52 runs on North Viet Nam, this move was not so much to win the war, but to induce the enemy to sit at the negotiation table.
- Lam Quang Thi, The Twenty-Five Year Century: A South Vietnamese General Remembers the Indochina War to the Fall of Saigon (2001), p. 246
- Even if you just think he's a character on Futurama, you've probably heard of Richard Nixon. The 37th president of the United States was a crook, a liar, and a raging anti-Semite. He deliberately sabotaged the Vietnam peace process, launched the expensive failure known as the 'War on Drugs', and famously ordered his goons to try to burgle the Democratic Party's headquarters. Oh, and he did all this while being one of the greatest presidents the U.S. has ever known.
- Morris M., as quoted in 10 Reasons Richard Nixon Was Secretly An Amazing President (8 November 2013), ListVerse.
- Only a Republican, perhaps only a Nixon, could have made this break and gotten away with it.
- Mike Mansfield (Senate Democratic Leader), in U.S. News and World Report (December 6, 1971), on Nixon's pending trip to China; the phrase later became popular as "Only Nixon could go to China".
- Meanwhile, Trump revelled in the mob. He exalted in the mob, hoping that his shock troops would succeed where Pence had failed: prevent Congress from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to certify the election of the new and real president. Again, Trump was the fifth column. If Richard Nixon had an illegitimate heir – it would be Donald Trump. Like Nixon, Trump – motivated by hate and vengeance – was intent on using the powers and authority of the presidency to pervert what he was obliged to protect: the US Constitution. Like Nixon, Trump treated Congress and the constitution as inconveniences to his dangerous, disfiguring will and parochial designs. Like Nixon, Trump was more potentate than president. Like Nixon, Trump orchestrated a pervasive assault on the constitution, convinced that the president and his enablers were above the law, safe from the retributive arm of the law. Like Nixon, Trump was impeached for just cause – in his disgraceful case, twice. And, like Nixon, Trump has escaped the dock. That is the test and challenge confronting America today.
- Andrew Mitrovica in Donald Trump is Richard Nixon’s heir (10 June 2022)
- Carter didn't kill my brother with his own hand, but he overthrew him. If Nixon were President, my brother would still be on the throne.
- Nixon has the audacity to tell me to do nothing in the interest of my country until he dictacts where that interest lies. At the same time he threatens me that failure to follow his so-called advice will be to jeopardize the special relations between our two countries. I say to hell with such special relations.
- Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, as quoted in Alam, Asadollah (1991), The Shah and I, I. B. Tauris, p. 278
- I was in Paris yesterday for the funeral of President Pompidou, and I met your President Nixon. He was wearing pancake makeup!
- He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears but by diligent hard work, he overcame them.
- James Reston, as quoted in an article by Joe Sharkey in The New York Times (12 March 2000)
- The President wants me to argue that he is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV, only four years at a time, and is not subject to the processes of any court in the land except the court of impeachment.
- He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time. If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.
- Let there be no mistake in the history books about that. Richard Nixon was an evil man--evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it. He was utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Nobody trusted him--except maybe the Stalinist Chinese, and honest historians will remember him mainly as a rat who kept scrambling to get back on the ship.
- Hunter S Thompson, 'He was a crook'; Hunter S. Thompson on the death of Richard Nixon Thompson, Hunter S. (June 15, 1994) "'He was a crook'; Hunter S. Thompson on the death of Richard Nixon" Archived October 7, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Rolling Stone.
- I've been called worse things by better people.
- Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he'd lie just to keep his hand in.
- Harry S. Truman, in Plain Speaking : An Oral Biography of Harry S Truman (1974) by Merle Miller, p. 179
- Nixon is a shifty-eyed goddamn liar. He's one of the few in the history of this country to run for high office talking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time and lying out of both sides.
- Harry S. Truman, in Plain Speaking : An Oral Biography of Harry S Truman (1974) by Merle Miller, p. 179
- Doesn't he understand Nixon promised the Southern delegates he would stop enforcing the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts?
- It struck me from time to time that Nixon, as a character, would have been so easy to fix, in the sense of removing these rather petty flaws. And yet, I think it's also true that if you did this, you would probably have removed that very inner core of insecurity that led to his drive. A secure Nixon almost surely, in my view, would never have been president of the United States at all.
- I finally arrived here in 1968. What a special day it was. I remember I arrived here with empty pockets but full of dreams, full of determination, full of desire. The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend of mine who spoke German and English translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left. But then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military. Listening to Nixon speak sounded more like a breath of fresh air. I said to my friend, I said, 'What party is he?' My friend said, 'He's a Republican'. I said, 'Then I am a Republican'. And I have been a Republican ever since.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republican National Convention speech (31 August 2004), as quoted in "Schwarzenegger: No country more welcoming than the USA" (31 August 2004), CNN
- Imagine a man. A mean man. A mendacious man. In many ways, a mad man. A man who mocked minorities, including African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews, and gay people. A man who cynically capitalized on the racism of Southern whites in the course of his campaigns. A man who cheated in an election he was already going to win by covering up a break-in at the Watergate hotel. Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, won his first election in the shadow of the death of Robert Kennedy. His second election, a landslide win over liberal George McGovern, felt like one last boot stomp on the ashes of the sixties. And, of course, Nixon resigned office in the greatest presidential scandal of the 20th century. Yet, in between those curtains of American despair, Nixon ended up accomplishing a whole lot. He did the unexpected—his executive orders and his legislation helped the poor, minorities, women, the environment, and the world. Nixon, dare I say it, was progressive. He was conservative, and he clothed his ideas in conservative rhetoric, but he was progressive.
- Bernard Sheu as quoted in Richard Nixon Was a Great President (26 May 2020)
- There are moral intentions and there are moral consequences. The floral consequences of Richard Nixon’s presidency—most of which are overshadowed by Watergate—contradict his intentions. Would the opposite be any better? The revolutions of the 20th century—of Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin—attest to the grotesque transformations of the most moral intentions. The unrelenting ocean of history washes away our motives, our hopes, our dreams. All that remains is our actions. And we will remember Nixon’s actions: his biggest mistake, the scandal which will forever define his presidency and life. But if we dig through his legacy, we would find gems which shine brighter in today’s light.
- Bernard Sheu as quoted in Richard Nixon Was a Great President (26 May 2020)
- Today is a time of much historical revisionism. We look for sins in the lives of saints. I understand this tendency—greatness doesn’t excuse evil. To worship another human is to forget who a human being is in the first place. But the truth goes both ways. What about finding the good in disgraced figures? What moral lessons might we gleam from such an exercise? I am not talking about dictators, or mass murderers, or perverse evildoers. I am talking about Richard Nixon. I am talking about our presidents, our parents, our favorite characters, our friends, our artists, and our acquaintances. People who make great mistakes but also do great good. People who say prejudiced things and then do justice. People who are human. What are we to make of such people? Richard Nixon, by many accounts, was a mean man. But there was good in him. More importantly, there was good he did. And that’s worth remembering.
- Bernard Sheu as quoted in Richard Nixon Was a Great President (26 May 2020)
- Forty years ago public outrage about the actions of President Richard Milhous Nixon, lead by his long time liberal critics, forced him to be the first U.S. chief executive to resign the presidency. Critics screamed about Nixon’s extra-legal and extra-constitutional conduct as protestors ringed the White House chanting "Jail to the Chief." Nixon’s men had spied on their fellow citizens, allegedly used the IRS to harass their political enemies, waged war without the consent of Congress and used the CIA in an effort to hide their crimes. No man, Nixon’s critics assured us, was above the law. For his transgressions, Richard Nixon was forced from office, evading prosecution only because of a presidential pardon. Yet by any reasonable measure, Nixon’s sins seem venal compared to those of President Barack Obama.
- Roger Stone in Nixon vs. Obama: Yes, Nixon was bad but Obama is worse (7 May 2015)
- Nixon’s men illegally wiretapped his political opponents -- and they went to jail for it. When the FBI used warrantless surveillance to wiretap and intercept the mail of anti-war radicals, those who did so were charged, tried and convicted. Obama has used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to guarantee any surveillance the government wants without probable cause. Nixon spied on a virtual hand-full. Barack Obama’ s NSA wire-taps the entire nation and monitors the e-mails of thousands. Nixon talked about using the IRS to harass his opponents but there is no evidence that he successfully did so, yet illegal use of the IRS was among the Articles of Impeachment voted by the House of Representatives. Obama’s IRS has actually used the IRS to harass conservative groups. Can you imagine the liberal outcry if IRS officials under Nixon referred to liberals as “a—holes’ and “crazies”?
- Roger Stone in Nixon vs. Obama: Yes, Nixon was bad but Obama is worse (7 May 2015)
- The White House tapes show Nixon attempting to use the CIA to impede the FBI investigation into the Watergate break-in. This pales in comparison to the CIA spying on members of the US Senate charged with investigating the Agency's illegal activities. Where is liberal outrage over Obama’s Justice Department spying on reporters? What would have happened if Nixon's Justice Department had opened the mail and tracked the movements of Walter Cronkite as Obama’s Justice department did with Fox’s News' James Rosen?
- Roger Stone in Nixon vs. Obama: Yes, Nixon was bad but Obama is worse (7 May 2015)
- Nixon’s impeachment included the charge that he evaded Congress’ sole authority to declare war by bombing Cambodia. Yet in Libya Obama said that only he had the inherent authority to decide what is a “war” and that no congressional approval was necessary. He proceeded to bomb Libya, destroy its military and spend more than a billion dollars in borrowed money in support of one side, who was not aligned with the United States, in a civil war. Nixon’s men considered the murder of investigative journalist Jack Anderson. That’s nothing compared with Obama’s assertion that he has right to kill any U.S. citizen without a charge, let alone conviction.
- Roger Stone in Nixon vs. Obama: Yes, Nixon was bad but Obama is worse (7 May 2015)
- While Nixon was known for his “Enemies List,” the former head of the National Security Agency’s global digital data gathering program says that Obama also has an enemies list stored by keyword, which has been used to take down perceived political enemies such as General Petraus. During his re-election campaign Obama even brazenly posted his enemies list on-line as a not-so-subtle threat not to donate to his opponents. How Nixon’s critics would have howled if he had publicly targeted Sen. George McGovern’s donors. Because of Obama’s iconic status on the left, liberals are silent as Obama shreds the Constitution in ways Richard Nixon would have marveled at. Democrats scoff at the notion of the impeachment of Obama for crimes far more serious and reaching than of those committed by Richard Nixon.
- Roger Stone in Nixon vs. Obama: Yes, Nixon was bad but Obama is worse (7 May 2015)
- One has to understand the human problem of a man who had spent all of his life trying to become President whose personality really did not lend itself to politics. He didn't like to meet new people. He didn't like to give direct orders. He didn't like face-to-face confrontations—all the things you have to do as President. He made himself do all these things. And just when he had achieved, for the first time, a tremendous electoral victory, everything collapsed on him.
- Nixon had the quality that...he thought of himself as acting best in crisis. And there was a lot in that. But it reached the point where one sometimes had the impression that he invited crisis and that he couldn't stand normalcy.
- I don't think Nixon has a friend. I've known him for a long time. I've interviewed him many times, in one of which, at the very end of the interview, I asked him, 'Mr. Nixon, can you ever relax with anyone?' And he said—it was rather pathetic, to me, Dick—he said, 'No, I never can. I can never really let my hair down with anybody.' And then I said, 'Not even with Pat?' And he thought for a moment and he said, 'No, not even with Pat.'"
- Stewart Alsop, speaking to Dick Cavett
- I could leave this room and in 25 minutes, 70 million people would be dead.
- As attributed in "The Case Against Donald Trump", by Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, (10/2020)
Beyond Peace (1994)
- "... China and Russia exist in an uneasy “Asian détente.” China’s hard-liners would prefer to see the failure of Yeltsin’s democratic government, because it would lessen the ideological threat of Russian democracy and weaken Russia’s ability to protect its interests in East Asia. At the same time, Chinese officials fear a new resurgent, nationalistic Russia because it would inevitably clash with China over important economic regions in East Asia and force China to divert its attention from other areas. "
- (Cap II, China: “The Biggest of Them All”)
- "Today, China’s economic power makes U.S. lectures about morality and human rights imprudent. Within a decade, it will make them irrelevant. Within two decades, it will make them laughable. By then the Chinese may threaten to withhold most-favored-nation status from the United States unless we do more to improve living conditions in Detroit, Harlem, and South-Central Los Angeles."
- "Our policies of assistance to the developing world are based not solely on altruism but also on self-interest. There are three major areas where our interests are affected by our policies toward the developing world: our economy, our security, and the ominous increase in the number of refugees clamoring to come to the United States ... unless the economies of the Southern Hemisphere grow, this flood of refugees from the developing world will become a deluge."
- (Cap II, Asia and the New American Century)
- Nixon at NNDB
- Works by Richard Nixon at Project Gutenberg
- 1984 audio interview with Richard Nixon by Don Swaim of CBS Radio, RealAudio
- 1992 transcript of Richard Nixon interview with Larry King
- Nixon Presidential Materials at National Archives
- Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace, Yorba Linda, California
- The Nixon Center, Washington, D.C.
- whitehousetapes.org: The Nixon Tapes available online
- Richard Nixon photographs at the Portal to Texas History
- Nixon Fun Facts via Nixon Foundation
- The Frost Nixon Interviews
- Judiciary Committee Hearings Appendix I: Presidential Statements on the Watergate Break-in and Its Investigation
- Articles of Impeachment
- The Watergate Tapes
- Checkers speech (23 September 1952)
- First Inaugural Address (20 January 1969)
- Second Inaugural Address (20 January 1973)
- Resignation speech (8 August 1974)
- Audio recordings of Nixon's speeches
- Public Papers of the Presidents
- Campaign videos
- The Living Room Candidate — 1972 Nixon vs. McGovern
- The Living Room Candidate — 1956 Eisenhower vs. Stevenson