Spiro Agnew

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Spiro Agnew in 1972

Spiro Theodore Agnew (9 November 1918 – 17 September 1996) was the thirty-ninth vice president of the United States, serving from 1969 until his resignation in 1973. He is the second of two vice presidents to resign the position, the first being John C. Calhoun in 1832. He served with President Richard Nixon.


  • Perhaps the place to start looking for a credibility gap is not in the offices of the Government in Washington but in the studios of the networks in New York!
    • From speech delivered November 13, 1969 in Des Moines, Iowa
  • A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.
    • Denouncing Moratorium Day protest against Vietnam War; in The New York Times (October 20, 1969)
  • In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism.
    • Speech in San Diego (September 11, 1970).
    • Agnew's signature quip against everything perceived to be liberal, particularly the media at that time.
  • This is the criminal left that belongs not in a dormitory, but in a penitentiary. The criminal left is not a problem to be solved by the Department of Philosophy or the Department of English—it is a problem for the Department of Justice…. Black or white, the criminal left is interested in power. It is not interested in promoting the renewal and reforms that make democracy work; it is interested in promoting those collisions and conflict that tear democracy apart.
    • Speech at a Florida Republican dinner, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (April 28, 1970); reported in Collected Speeches of Spiro Agnew (1971), p. 135.
  • Your highness is already familiar with the unrelenting Zionist efforts to destroy me.
  • Zionists in the United States knew that I would never agree to the continuance of the unfair and disastrous favoring of Israel and they had to get me out of office there so that I would not succeed Nixon.
  • The Zionists have orchestrated a well-organized attack on me ... to bleed me of my resources to continue my effort to inform the American people of their control of the media and other influential sectors of American society

Quotes about Agnew[edit]

  • It seems that Spiro Agnew was speaking tonight at a fund-raising dinner in Maryland, where he said, "Republicans should work for adoption of environmental programs, welfare and revenue-sharing and most importantly, we have to keep Bella Abzug from showing up in Congress in hot pants." The UPI reporter asked me to comment. "I have no intention of wearing hot pants in Congress," I said, "because they are not my style-any more than Mr. Agnew is. Besides, before long-and at least by 1972-I expect hot pants will disappear from the national scene, along with Mr. Agnew and Mr. Nixon"...Everybody's kidding me about Agnew's remark, which I guess is funny in a stupid way. I really can't get angry. Some guys would like to dismiss me with silly comments about my hats or my four-letter words or my figure. Maybe they think that by dwelling on aspects of my flamboyant character...., they can divert attention from the things I really dwell on such as child care, repeal of the draft and an end to the war.
    • Bella Abzug Bella!: Ms. Abzug Goes to Washington (1972)
  • Boy! They're (MAD Magazine) really sockin' it to that Spiro Agnew guy again, he must work there or something.
  • As a veteran, and one who feels this anger, I’d like to talk about it. We’re angry because we feel we have been used in the worst fashion by the Administration of this country. In 1970 at West Point, Vice President Agnew said: "Some glamorize the criminal misfits of society while our best men die in Asian rice paddies to preserve the freedoms which those misfits abuse." And this was used as a rallying point for our effort in Vietnam. But for us, his boys in Asia whom the country was supposed to support, his statement is a terrible distortion from which we can only draw a very deep sense of revulsion; and hence the anger of some of the men who are here in Washington today.
  • Given Rockefeller's popularity, Nixon-Rockefeller would have been a dream ticket. Even if Rockefeller wouldn't accept the number-two spot, New York major John Lindsay, a handsome, well-liked liberal who had helped right the Kerner Commission report on racial violence, had made it clear that he was eager to run as Nixon's vice president. Conservative Nixon with liberal Lindsay would have brought to the Republican Party the full spectrum of American politics. Instead Nixon turned to the Right, picking a little-known and not much loved archconservative, with views, especially on race and law and order, that were so reactionary that to many he seemed an outright bigot.
  • None of this, of course, was as damaging to the Greek-American political self-image as Spiro Agnew's resignation from the vice presidency in 1973 amid charges of illegal financial dealings while in office in Maryland. Although Agnew's ties to the Greek community were tenuous at best, he did represent the cultural conservatism of most Greek Americans. Agnew's fall from grace was a particular shame to the Greek-American community.
    • Peter C. Moskos, Greek Americans: Struggle and Success (2013)
  • Sing a song of Spiro Agnew and all the things he has done. (No other lyrics)
    • Tom Paxton

External links[edit]

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