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.
- 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?
- 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)
- 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)
- To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President I must put the interests 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.
- Resignation Speech (8 August 1974)
- I have never been a quitter.
- Resignation Address to the Union (8 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
Tape transcripts (1971)
- We're going to [put] more of these little Negro bastards on the welfare rolls at $2,400 a family. Let people like Pat Moynihan and [special consultant] Leonard Garment and others believe in all that crap. But I don't believe in it. Work, work — throw 'em off the rolls. That's the key.
- I have the greatest affection for them [Negroes] 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.
- 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.
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!
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.
- 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?
- 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
- 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
- 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 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".
- 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.
- 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
- 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