Richard Nixon

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

Richard Milhous Nixon (9 January 191322 April 1994) was the 37th U.S. President.

QuotesEdit

  • 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.
  • The Jewish cabal is out to get me.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 (7 November 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" (8 November 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."
  • The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker.
    • Inaugural address (20 January 1969); later used as Nixon's epitaph.
  • 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.
  • 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-race 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 (April 30, 1970); inPublic 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.
  • 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.[1]
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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 (November 9, 1972), p. 1.
  • If you are going to lie, you go to jail for the lie rather than the crime. So believe me, don't ever lie.
  • 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.
  • 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 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)
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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.
    • Responding to Senator Howard Baker who asked him the question: "What do you know about the Kennedy assassination?" Quoted in Oral History Interview with Don Hewitt (8 October 2002)
  • 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]
  • 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.
  • 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 [2]

"What Has Happened to America?" Reader's Digest, October 1967Edit

Full text online

  • 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)Edit

Full text online
  • 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.

Tape transcripts (1971)Edit

  • 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?

Tape transcripts (1972)Edit

Remarks on Being Reelected to the Presidency (November 7, 1972)Edit

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)Edit

Second Inaugural Address (1973)Edit

Full text online
  • 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.

Quotes about NixonEdit

Sorted alphabetically by author or source
  • Nixon's offences had been so long in the past, so much part of a different era that he now seemed like some lovable but bigoted uncle you tolerated at Christmas and Thanksgiving.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 (6 December 1971), on Nixon's pending trip to China; the phrase later became popular as "Only Nixon could go to China".
  • Nixon has the audacity to tell me to do nothing in the interest of my country until he dictactes 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.
  • He was captured by TV, that was how he tried to connect with the American people. One of the few times I've met him was at Pompidou's funeral, right before the end. There was a TV in the church. He [Nixon] had a half-centimetre-thick layer of pancake, or make-up, because there could be TV-cameras around. It looked completely macabre, you could barely see the face. I was conversing with him, and it was like speaking to a mask.
  • 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.
    • Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1971, on hearing that he had been called "that asshole" by Nixon.
    • Widely reported by the Canadian press, the incident is also recounted in Pierre Trudeau, Memoirs (1993)
  • 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
  • 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.

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Last modified on 14 April 2014, at 14:30