Richard Nixon

president of the United States from 1969 to 1974
(Redirected from Nixon)

Richard Milhous Nixon (9 January 191322 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.

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

Quotes

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When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.
 
A man is not finished when he's defeated. He's finished when he quits.
 
In the world today, there are not many good choices—only choices between the half-good and the less half-good.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
I have the greatest affection for them, but I know they're not going to make it for 500 years. They aren't. You know it, too.
 
The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they're dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don't live like a bunch of dogs.
 
Short of changing human nature ... the only way to achieve a practical, livable peace in a world of competing nations is to take the profit out of war.
 
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.
 
Screw State! The hell with them!
 
What are our schools for if not for indoctrination against communism?
 
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.
 
To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of America first.
 
I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.
 
I am confident that the world is a safer place today, not only for the people of America but for the people of all nations, and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than dying in war. This, more than anything, is what I hoped to achieve when I sought the Presidency.

1950s

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  • 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.
Checkers speech (23 September 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.

1960s

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  • 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?
  • 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.

What Has Happened to America? (1967)

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"What Has Happened to America?" Reader's Digest (October 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)

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First Inaugural Address (20 January 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.
  • 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.

1969 Senate Youth Program (February 1969)

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President Nixon's remarks to employees at the Department of Interior. (February 7, 1969). Source: Remarks to Participants in the 1969 Senate Youth Program, The American Presidency Project.
  • I want to express appreciation to the Hearst Foundation for making possible what I think is one of the most exciting projects in our Government today. When I think of all of you from all over the country, from high schools, having the opportunity to come to Washington to be exposed to the great institutions of Government that are here, I think that no greater service could be rendered, not just to you--I mean it is a wonderful experience for you--but to the Nation, because you have the opportunity to go back home now and to tell the people there what government is like. And I hope many of you will be inspired to participate in government in one form or the other. I wouldn't be surprised if some of you will end up in the House or Senate or, who knows, you might be here sometime in the future.
  • Twenty-two years ago, when I ran for office, there was an interest in politics among young people, particularly at the college age, but not at the high school age. Then I have seen a change occur--a very exciting change. Each year the age limit seems to go down insofar as the interest and understanding of politics is concerned. You would be surprised, not only at the high school age but I have found even in the grade schools today, particularly in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, you will find a high degree of sophistication, a high degree of understanding, about political campaigns. They participate in mock elections. They study about and know more about the world than certainly we knew many, many years ago. What I am really trying to say is this: When we hear about what is wrong with American youth today, we have to also put it in perspective by realizing what is right.
  • I have said publicly before and I say it before this group today: As I look at the new generation of Americans of which you are, of course, outstanding examples or you would not have been selected for this program, it is the best educated new generation we have had--young generation; but more than that, it is the most involved, involved in the sense of being interested, not only in how you can get out and make a living, which was our primary concern in the 1930's when making a living was necessary in order to just keep going, but involved in the problems of your neighborhoods and the problems of your Nation and the problems of the world. Finally, it is a generation which knows more about the problems of the world and knows more about the problems of this country than has any generation in history. What this means is, very simply, that you are a political force, even though you do not yet have the right to vote. You will soon have it, of course. I say you will soon have it because you will be 21, or you will soon have it if you are from Kentucky because you will vote when you are 18. Of course, at some time there will be a constitutional amendment. I have noted that this particular organization, among many others, has indicated its support of that kind of a constitutional amendment.
  • I want to give you the reason why I believe that 18-year-olds should have the right to vote. Not because, as many say, if you are old enough to fight you are old enough to vote. That is one reason, but not the best reason. The reason that 18-year-olds should have the right to vote is that they are smart enough to vote. They know. They are interested and more involved than were the 21-year-olds of only 20 years ago. This is a tribute to your teachers. It is a tribute to your parents and it is a tribute to you. I wish that particular message to get home to this group as you complete this particular, very exciting experience that you have had.
  • Now, a bit of advice--that is what you have to learn to take when you come to these sessions--a bit of advice as to what, if I were your age, I would like to do in terms of preparing for whatever you may go into. Many of you will, I am sure, go into government. Most of you will end up, probably, in some kind of private activity as lawyers or doctors or businessmen or newspaper men and women, or whatever the case might be. But I would urge that whatever you do, as you go to college, don't specialize too much. This is an age--those years between 18 and 22 or 17 and 21, as the case might be, or if you go on to graduate school between 17 and 24 and 25--when you will have every opportunity to specialize in the law or in medicine or in some other profession. But this is the time when your minds are young, when they can, without any question, understand more, in which you can learn faster than at any time in your life. This is the time to get all of the broadest possible education that you can. I don't mean by that that the books you read in disciplines that are not the ones that are going to be your profession will be something that you will remember later on. But by having that experience now it means that you create a total environmental background that will serve you in good stead in the years ahead. The second point I would make is that one of the great things about being young is that young people are impatient. You want to go to the top very fast. I have found, for example, that the young lawyers I interviewed in our office in New York were asking, "When am I going to be a partner--tomorrow, the next day--in the firm?" Of course it takes a little time in a major law firm for that to happen. But impatience, of course, is a good factor as well. What I am suggesting to you, however, is this: Not everyone in this room is going to be the president of a corporation, is going to be a Congressman or a Senator, is going to be the top leader in the field that you choose, but everyone in this room is going to make a contribution in his particular field that is essential for the success of whoever may be that top leader.
  • Then one final point, and I perhaps speak somewhat from experience here, I am often asked about my philosophy about winning and losing insofar as life is concerned generally, and politics, particularly. I am expert in both, incidentally. The thing I want to emphasize to you is this: The important thing for a young person to remember is not whether you win or lose, but whether you play the game. Don't stand aside. Don't be up in the bleachers when you can be down on the field. Remember that the greatness of your life is determined by the extent to which you participate in the great events of your time. You are participating in the great events of your time. As you go through life you are going to find that when you do get in and participate you are going to win some and you are going to lose some. But what you will miss, if you do not get in, is something that you can never recover. It is far more important to get into a battle and fight hard for what you believe in and lose than not to fight at all. It is that kind of philosophy I hope you take with you when you go back to your hometowns because it is that kind of spirit that America needs, that you, as young Americans, can bring to not only the young community, but also you can inspire the older ones as well.
  • We have tremendous problems abroad--no question about that--a war in Vietnam and threats of war in other areas. We have tremendous problems at home--the crisis of our cities, environmental and others. But on the other hand, look at it in terms as young people should look at the problems--not in terms of the threat, but in terms of the opportunity. Never has this Nation, any nation, had more of an opportunity to do something about its problems, the productivity of our farms, of our factories, and the rest. It is all there if we can only bring it together and get it properly distributed. Also, have this in mind: Have in mind the fact that because you were born in the United States of America and because you live in the United States of America, you in this Nation can play a great role in the affairs of the world--a greater role, actually, than any people in any nation of the world. This is not to downgrade any other great people in the world, because greatness does not come simply from the size of a nation and from the accident of where we happen to be born. But it just does happen that because of the great waves of history that at this time and place the decisions made in the United States of America, as far as the free world is concerned, will determine whether peace and freedom survive in the world. That is the challenge of young America, looking down to the end of this century. It is an exciting challenge, not a burden to be carried and whimpered about, but one to be accepted with all of the excitement that we have when we meet any kind of new experience, any kind of a challenge.
  • I can only say as I look at this group, as I realize the intelligence that is here, the dedication that you must have to your education and to your Nation, I have a good feeling about the future of this country. I believe in young America because I know young America. I would say that as you go back to your communities, I trust that each of you, whatever you go into, whatever private occupation you happen to decide on, you will reserve a part of your time for some contribution to public service. We need you. The Nation needs you. With the help of a young, vigorous American generation we can meet the great challenges that America has to meet in this last third of a century.

Department of the Interior remarks (February 1969)

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President Nixon's remarks to employees at the Department of Interior. (February 19, 1969). Source: Remarks to Employees at the Department of the Interior, The American Presidency Project.
  • I want to emphasize what the Secretary has said--the fact that this is the last department I have visited does not indicate that it is the last in terms of the importance of your assignment and of my respect for you, those of you who have given so much of your lives to this Department. I speak with particular feeling about this Department because I, of course, come from the West and although I have lived in most parts of the Nation--and not as much as I would have liked in the West, having come from the West, having known it as a Congressman and as a Senator and also as Vice President, having often spoken of the Western part of the country, its interests which are in many respects the responsibility of this Department--I have an especially close relationship with you.
  • I knew and you know that filling the post of Secretary of the Interior is not easy. It is not easy in any department, but perhaps in this one, as much as in any and in more than most, it is necessary to take positions at times that will not be agreed with by many very honest people who have reached a different conclusion because they start with different attitudes toward the problem. I could go down the list of issues in which people are divided as far as the Department of the Interior is concerned. I know, for example, going back to the time when I was a California Congressman and then a California Senator, how the States of California and Arizona had arguments about water. They are still having arguments about water. And how also with regard to the development of our resources, our oil resources, water resources, and others, that men and women very honestly taking a point of view were in sharp disagreement. Somebody had to make the decision. So when I picked the Secretary of the Interior, I knew that I would have to find a man, first, who had courage; second, who was an honest man; and, third, a man--and this was one of the things that attracted me to the new Secretary--who had a real love for the land in the deepest sense of the word.
  • I think Secretary Hickel has demonstrated under fire that he has courage, that he is an honest man, and I know that he loves the land, this whole land, and loves it much. I got that impression not simply from seeing him here in Washington as you have, but seeing him in his home State of Alaska and to hear him talk, as he does, about that State and of its resources and of all the possibilities of its development in the future, not just its development for industrial purposes, but its development in the sense of the environment, the beauty of the land, the opportunity for people to come there and live there and enjoy it. I knew from that that he was a man who would understand all of these varying interests that must be reconciled within this Department.
  • Now, a second point I want to make has to do with your responsibility. And it allows me to impose upon you one of my favorite quotations and one that I often rise. Edmund Burke, a great Irish-English philosopher, often used to say that when we speak of patriotism we must look to its root phrases which develop the word. And literally patriotism, when you translate it, means love of country. Then he went on to say that if we are to love our country, our country must be lovely. I don't think there is any better way to describe the mission of this Department. We all, I know, have a deep feeling of patriotism for this Nation. We all have a deep feeling and sense of history about this Nation, and that feeling of patriotism comes from that.
  • But if we are to command from the younger generation coming along, and from people generally, that deep feeling of pride and patriotism which we all want, we have to do everything that we can to make our country lovely so that people will love this country and love it very deeply. They will love this country even when it has some unlovely characteristics. There is no question about that. But how much we can do, how much you can do, as we look to the future 10 years, 90 years, down to the end of this century, how much we can do to see that the America that is built will be a new America, a new America in terms not only of the tremendous concentration of population in our cities-and I have spoken to that point in visits to various departments--how we must plan now for transportation and housing and all of the other areas which will determine the character of our cities in the future, which will be one and a half times as big as they are 15 years from now, but we must also think of the character of that great part of America that is called rural America, the part that you mainly deal with, our water, our land, our resources, everything that really makes America a lovely country, one that gives you a feeling as you move out through the western part of this Nation and up to Alaska and out to Hawaii, a feeling of patriotism, of love of country that goes beyond simply seeing the flag, that goes beyond simply reading our history, that recognizes that we are fortunate to live in a country that was so richly blessed as this country has been blessed with natural resources.
  • Having said all of that, I realize that I have not decided any of those tough problems you have to work with: making the decisions between whether you develop resources or conserve them. And I know that sometimes we can talk about conservation and development going along together. These are decisions that you will have to make, decisions that the Secretary will have to make, decisions on which he will have to advise me. But in the final analysis, I know that we are all working toward the same goal: to see to it that this great and rich land, more richly blessed when we look at it in terms of our natural resources than any land on earth--and we are fortunate to have it that way--but that this great and rich land will develop in the years ahead, will develop the resources that will enable us to be the best fed and the best clothed and the best housed people in the world, but that will also retain for the generations to come those great areas of beauty and also an environment, clean air, pure water, which will be one that our children will want to live in. And I can think of no more exciting responsibility than that. So much of that action is right here. We often hear that the action is in the cities and there is a lot of action there; and some would say today that the action is in the universities, and certainly there is a lot of action there.
  • I have respect for those who have dedicated their lives to public service. I have spent most of my life actually, my adult life, working in one capacity or another in a public service capacity. But in speaking of those who are here in the career service, I want you to know that your Secretary, all of those who have been appointed by the new administration depend upon you, and we will appreciate your support and in turn you will have our support, our support for a strong career service which must go on and give continuity to this Government in the years ahead. Would you pass that message on right down the line? As I came down the halls here, it was very touching to see people gathered in some of the halls and the secretaries and stenographers and others put their hands out. They wanted to shake hands and say hello and the rest. I thought of how, perhaps for some of them, their jobs must be very routine and sometimes very baring--you know, getting out that last draft of a statement or going through the boring form mail that you have to get out, and all the other things. And if you would just let them know that we in this administration appreciate every person who works in it, because it takes not only the top people that are in this room. You know better than I that we need the cooperation and the support of all of those down 'the ranks who can, by the quality of their job, make ours that much better.

The American Embassy in Paris (March 1969)

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President Nixon's remarks at the American Embassy in Paris. (March 2, 1969). Source: Remarks at the American Embassy in Paris, The American Presidency Project.
  • I know what a burden a visit by VIP's places upon an Embassy. I first came to Paris, I remember, 22 years ago in this same building, and then as a Congressman. I know we caused a lot of trouble. I guess that hasn't changed. But, anyway, then I came back as a Senator in 1951, and I have been here many times since. I didn't come here as a Vice President, and now I come as a President. They tell me that that is even harder harder on the staff, I mean. But I do want you to know that I realize it is hundreds of people, literally hundreds of people, that I will never be able to thank personally or by letter, or to greet personally, who worked on this visit.
  • I know you worked many hours overtime. And I am speaking now not simply of the officers of the Embassy, the Ambassador, of course, who has been so cooperative, and Bob Blake [Deputy Chief of Mission]. I rather grew up with him in Whittier. He is a little after my time. I should say, I knew his parents. But, nevertheless, I want you to know that not only the officers, but everybody in all the offices--as I went down the halls today, I saw girls typing out schedules, and I know that you have got to run them through the mimeograph machines and-or, no, you put them through some other kind of a machine now to get them multilithed. And that is just part of it. But the immense amount of logistical detail that is involved in a visit by a President and a Secretary of State is something that places an immense burden on the Embassy. I express appreciation for that. Beyond that, however, I want to tell you that the visit has been handled in this very brief time that we have been here with great precision.
  • I have been trying to think of something that I could pick out as a mistake, you know, so that we could do better next time. But I found only one thing: I found on one of my schedules---I don't know who happened to prepare this, but nevertheless, the schedule said, with regard to the first dinner, the dinner that President de Gaulle was the host--the second one, as you know, was in Ambassador Shriver's residence, and I was the host there--but at the first dinner where he was the host, he was supposed to make a toast and I was supposed to prepare one to him. On my schedule it said: "President Nixon will speak for 10 minutes and then his speech will be translated into English." I knew I had troubles in communicating, but not that much. But whether it was my French or English or whatever the case might be, that was the only thing I could find--and we need to have a little humor in a trip. I think it was put in deliberately for that very purpose. But could I go one step further? Also, in this room are people who have dedicated their lives to the service of the Government of the United States, some in the Foreign Service and some in other branches of the service. You have been in this post; you have been in many others.
  • I am sure there must be times when you wonder whether you made the right decision. There must be times when the boredom of what your job is, the failure to get the promotion that you think you should have had, the failure to have the responsibility which you think you might be capable of--these are the things we all feel from time to time--all of these things must run through your minds. And, also, perhaps, in the positions that you have you wonder if the country really appreciates people in Government. I can simply tell you that I, as one who has had the opportunity of traveling now to 73 countries and have seen our embassies abroad and our other missions in most of those countries, I appreciate what you are dang, both as the President of the United States and as an individual. I know how dedicated you are. I know, in many cases, what a sacrifice it is for you to continue in public service, as you have. I know that many of you probably figure you could have done better economically if you had been in some other branch. But whatever the case might be, let me give you this one word of reassurance with regard to the decision you made sometime in your life to come into public service.
  • I firmly am convinced of the fact that all of you are playing a great part in a cause that is much bigger than any of us. All of us have that privilege. And we in America can say that, and it cannot be said in all countries of the world. It can be said frankly in the free world, more in ours than in any other, not because we asked for that responsibility, but because it is ours. And as we play that great role, I want you to know that sometimes it appears that all that really matters is what a President says or what he does, or what the Ambassador says and what he does--and all of those things are important--or what the Secretary of State may declare in his various remarks or in the statements that he may send out around the world. But I can assure you that what the men at the top do does have an immense effect on the foreign policy of the United States and whether we have peace and freedom in the world, that the success of a policy depends upon thousands of people around, in an Embassy like this, an establishment like this, and millions around this world--3 million people, maybe 4 million, if you include military and the rest in the service of the United States.
  • I think I can best bring that home by what Colonel Frank Borman said when I presented an award to him at the White House a few weeks ago, shortly after I was inaugurated. I congratulated him. He accepted the award and he said: I accept it not only for my two colleagues on the voyage to the moon, but for 400,000 Americans who, one way or another, worked on this project. And then he made a significant point: that in that Apollo there are 2 million parts, and if something went wrong with one of those parts, who knows whether or not the project would have succeeded. I realize that the success of our efforts at the highest post in Government depends upon how every person in Government does his job. And I am very proud to have the opportunity to serve in the highest post, but I am even prouder to have supporting me, in that search for peace and freedom that we all want, a fine group of career officers and thousands of people like yourselves in this room who have dedicated your life to public service in the Government of the United States. All of you count--every one. And I know it. And I know that even the tiniest slip on your part might make a difference at the highest level at some point or other, or something that you do may make us do a better job.

National Alliance of Businessmen luncheon (March 1969)

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President Nixon's remarks at the second annual meeting of the National Alliance of Businessmen. (March 15, 1969). Source: Remarks at the Republican Victory Dinner, The American Presidency Project.
  • First, a word about Don Kernal. We have several things in common. We were both born in the West. We both played football. We both served in the Navy, and we both made President. He made it a little sooner than I did. The other thing, however, that I think we have in common is a deep concern about the problems that all of you have been considering during the course of these meetings, during yesterday and today. In speaking of those problems, I first want to congratulate this Alliance for what it has done. I know that when you first projected your goal, the number of jobs--100,000 by June of 1969--many skeptics wondered whether it could be reached. You have already reached that. Not only have you reached it before June 1969, but 80,000 of those for whom jobs have been found are still on the jobs, which is a truly remarkable record. I congratulate Henry Ford and all of those who have served so well in providing that kind of leadership for this very exciting project.
  • I am also aware of the plans you have for the future--the plans to move from 75 cities to 125 cities; the plans also to attempt to get at this whole problem of unemployment, and hard-core unemployment particularly, by moving perhaps as many as 500,000 into jobs--the time, as I understand now, June 1971, but because of the number of new cities, perhaps even sooner. This is an ambitious project. What I am here to say, and what the members of this Cabinet are here to say, is that it has the complete, unqualified support of this administration, just as it had of the previous administration. There is no partisanship in this program. All that we want and all that you want is to deal with this basically essential problem in an effective way; to move people from welfare rolls to payrolls. This we want; this you want; and you will have our support in that project.
  • I have two suggestions. One is to the number of cities. Going from 75 cities to 125 is ambitious. I think it could be more. In meeting with Don Kernal and also in meeting with members of the Chamber of Commerce a couple of days ago, I urged the possibility of considering a number of smaller towns or smaller cities for this particular group to operate in. I do not know whether that is feasible. But I do know that the spirit is there. I do know that the personnel are there, that the desire is there, and also the problem. While it would not appear that such massive strides could be made when we talk about smaller towns and smaller cities, certainly it is something that could be considered. Then, the second area, one that you have already made great progress in, is with regard to youth. I was particularly impressed by the fact that 120,000 young Americans found jobs last summer as a result of what the Alliance did. What I am proposing now is that even more emphasis be put on this youth program.
  • The Secretary of Labor just recently completed a study that I had requested with regard to unemployment of youth in the United States. I don't need to tell this group of employers that the unemployment rate for youth, of course, is always higher than adults in any country, industrial or otherwise. In the United States, it is three times as high. But the sad part of the statistic is that unemployment among youth in the United States is higher than in any industrial country in the world. This, of course, poses the problem, and it also poses the challenge and the opportunity for this group. I know that under the leadership of Henry Ford, naturally, the slogan of this organization was that this was the group with the "better idea," and I would suggest that under the leadership of Don Kernal this should be the group that "thinks young." In that respect, while I am not, of course, underplaying in any regard the immense responsibility that you have with regard to those in the older-age brackets, I would urge that you particularly concentrate on those programs that deal with unemployment among youth and see that they are folded into the others.
  • And then finally, one point that I think is a bit sensitive but perhaps needs to be discussed at a meeting like this: At the present time, this administration, like its predecessor, and as will be the case with its successor, is struggling with the problem of welfare. What do we do about it? What should the level be? Should we have a national standard? Should we raise the standard? And, as I have been looking at the various proposals with regard to welfare that have come across my desk, a thought has come to my mind that I am sure must come to yours: The word "welfare," I think, is, in a sense, an inaccurate term if we are thinking of the welfare of the individual in the broadest sense. Welfare is necessary--necessary when an individual is unable to get a job, necessary when an individual needs help. But when we think about the welfare of this country and the welfare of an individual, in the best sense, that means a job. That is truly in the best interest of the welfare of the Nation and the welfare of every individual, because with that job comes dignity, dignity that cannot come, of course, from being on public welfare, no matter how high we are able to raise it, no matter how much we are able to do. I am not indicating here any intention on the part of this administration not to do what is required and as much as we can do to take care of those who are unable to care for themselves, who cannot find jobs. But I am emphasizing here that when we are speaking of the welfare of an individual, we should not stop in terms of what government can do for him, but we should think in terms of that dignity that can only come from what he does for himself.
  • I don't know of any one that in terms of concrete progress will serve the public interest and the individual interest of hundreds of thousands of Americans; I don't know of any group that will be more important than this group. This is a group of very busy people; Governors, mayors, presidents of 300 companies, vice presidents, executive officials. You have taken off to come to Washington to a conference, and I suppose sometimes you wonder "Was this trip worthwhile?" All that I can say is that I know it is worthwhile. I know that without your help we cannot do the job that needs to be done. I know that with your help there is nothing that we cannot accomplish in this field.

17th Annual Republican Women's Conference (April 1969)

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President Nixon's remarks to the Annual Republican Women's Conference at the Sheraton Park Hotel. (April 16, 1969). Source: Remarks at the 17th Annual Republican Women's Conference, The American Presidency Project.
  • As Senator Dirksen has indicated, I don't think I have ever seen so many women in one place and I have seen them upstairs and downstairs. I want you to know, too, as I stand here before you, I realize that over these past few days you have heard from a number of representatives from the new administration. I have not spoken to you. I will speak to you tonight briefly. I am going to make a promise, though, with regard to what I will do next year. That will come later. But before referring to that, I want to say just a few words about those whom you are honoring tonight. As I understand it, you are honoring women generally. First I want to tell you how proud I am of the women that we have in the present administration. I am not going to name any one of them by name, except for Mary Brooks. She is typical of them and all that I can say is we wish we had more. We need more like Mary Brooks in this administration.
  • I would like to also tell you how proud I am of the women in this administration who do not hold office, but who hold the hands of their husbands who do hold office. I refer to our Cabinet wives. I wonder if both downstairs, where they are carrying this on closed circuit television, and upstairs will the Cabinet wives please stand so that you can all see them, those who are in the Cabinet? I want you to know that I am--I was going to say "an expert on wives." I don't mean that. But I have seen not only many women in government, but I have seen the wives of government officials and I have had the opportunity to see the wives of the members of the new Cabinet. I want to tell you first I am proud of every member of that Cabinet. It is a fine team. It is one of the best teams we have ever had. But I can tell you that I have had an unusual experience, as you probably noted. We have done two things that have never been done before. We have had two meetings. Immediately before the Inauguration we had a meeting of all of the Cabinet, with the wives, an all-day meeting in which they were briefed along with the members of the Cabinet on the major issues that we would be facing. Then just this last week we had another meeting. We are going to have one every quarter, because we believe that in government, when men have to make these very important decisions, if the member of the Cabinet happens to be a man, he needs not only the sympathy of his wife; he needs her advice, her understanding.
  • I can tell you that as I have seen those Cabinet women around that table, as I have seen them at dinners, state dinners at the White House, as I see them tonight, we have one of the finest groups of Cabinet wives I have ever seen. I am very proud of them, too. Having spoken of our Cabinet family, I want to speak also of our Republican family-- --Republican women. As we were having a reception just the other day for a group that was in the White House, the National Committee, several came through the line and said, "We thank you for inviting us to the White House." I know that, as I read the statistics that Mary Brooks just handed me, yesterday in the White House there were 4,762 women who consumed 24,500 cookies, 235 gallons of punch, and came over in 44 buses. I simply want to say this: To those of you who expressed thanks to me and to my wife Pat for inviting you to the White House, we want to thank you for making it possible that we could invite you to the White House. I know that Ev Dirksen will back me up in what I say. Without your help, we couldn't have done it; and with your help, we are going to continue to do it.
  • I think you should know that the first Women's Conference actually occurred in 1953. That was the first one, 17 years ago. Mrs. Eisenhower hosted the women at that conference. That was the first time in 20 years that the Republican Women had been visitors at the White House in that capacity. This year Pat Nixon hosted you. We hope to make it an annual event for as many years as you will allow us to do so. Now if I could express a personal word--I can't often do this at home--but I understand that you are going to honor my wife and my two daughters for their role in the campaign. Believe me, they deserve it. Any wife who can do as my wife has, listen to my speeches through campaigns, at home and abroad in over 60 countries for 23 years, and sit there transfixed, as if she is hearing it for the first time, believe me, that is service far beyond the call of duty. But beyond that, I want you to know that in this last campaign I was proud of what all the Republican women did, the marvelous work you did all over this country. I was proud of what the women of my family did, my wife making appearances on her own in so many places, as did the wives of the Cabinet who are up here today, and my two daughters going out and making appearances all over the country. People ask me about the fan mail we get. We get more for them than we do for me, believe me. We get more invitations for them, I think, than we do for me. That is fine.
  • I am reminded of a lesson that I have never forgotten: I remember in 1952, right after being nominated for Vice President, naturally, as a young Senator and a young candidate for Vice President-the youngest in history except for one up to that time--I felt, you know, rather puffed up about it, and I was put in my place at one of the first receptions. I remember it was in Nebraska. It was one of those long handshakers, and people came through the line over and over again saying, "Congratulations. This was fine," and so forth and so on. Then one fellow came through the line. He said that he came from a farm and had driven over 200 miles to that meeting. He put it quite directly. He said, "Dick, I want to tell you something"--because he had seen me out there before when I had spoken as a Congressman and as a Senator. If there is any place I have not spoken, you name it. But believe me, he said to me, "I just want you to know that as I stand here and shake hands with you, I congratulate you for what you did. But never forget this: You are controversial, but everybody likes Pat." So you see, I know the asset of the women in my family. I know what assets the Cabinet wives and all of the women in this administration are to this administration. I know what each of you has done in this campaign, and I thank you for it.
  • First, the desire to bring peace in the world again. That was uppermost in the minds of women voters across this country, not the illusory peace that comes from simply ending a war, but the kind of a peace that is lasting, ending a war on a basis that will discourage other wars. The women wanted that kind of leadership. They weren't satisfied with the past leadership. They voted for new leadership. That, therefore, was a major issue. A second major issue was the desire upon the people of this country, among them, to stop the rise in taxes and stop the rise in prices. Women particularly were concerned about that issue because women have the responsibility for the family budget, and having the responsibility for the family budget, they know that unless we deal effectively in handling the problems of the Federal budget, you are not going to be able to balance the family budget. They voted for new leadership to stop the rise in prices and stop the rise in taxes so that millions of Americans would do a better job and have a better chance to balance that family budget. Then there is another great issue that I found--whether it was in the North, the East, the West, or the South--that women particularly were interested in, and that was to stop the rise in crime and reestablish respect for law and order throughout the United States. This administration has been in office for almost 3 months. I know that many are quite impatient, perhaps, or might be impatient as to why we don't have peace, why we haven't stopped inflation, and why we haven't stopped the rise in crime and reestablished respect for law with justice and order throughout this country. I could stand here and tell you that it had been done. That would not be true. I could stand here and promise you when it would be done. But that would not be responsible. But I will tell you this: There are no three issues that have a higher priority in this administration than those three. I can tell you that on this day, for example, not only in the morning but throughout the afternoon, and when I leave this meeting to return to the White House for further meetings tonight, those were the three great issues on which my time was being spent.
  • I will tell you that I am going to make a pledge tonight. I ask not to speak formally to this group this year. Next year I am going to ask for an invitation to make a speech to the Republican Women's Conference when you come back. I ask the women in this audience to hold me and all of my Cabinet colleagues responsible on those three great issues. I will make this promise: Next year I will be able to report to you and to the American people that we have made real progress toward bringing peace in the world, reestablishing law and order at home, and also in stopping the rise in taxes and inflation in the United States. This is our goal. We are not overpromising. But I can assure you we have the programs, we have the men, and we have the women, I believe, that can bring success to those programs.
  • I read a very disturbing report the first of this week. It was from the British Institute of Strategic Studies. Many of you probably read it, too. What made the headlines in this report was its appraisal of American strength in the world compared with that of the Soviet Union. It pointed out some facts that we found were accurate when we came into office. First, that over the past few years in terms of conventional weapons, the Soviet Union has been moving at a much faster pace than the United States; and that in terms of strategic weapons of the nuclear type, that in the year 1969 some estimates indicate that the Soviet Union might pass the United States. That compares with what the situation was in 1962 when there was at least a 4 to 1 advantage of the United States over the Soviet Union. I mention those statistics because they have been publicly printed, not to frighten anybody, because we need not be afraid. We still have major advantages in several areas. But I bring you those statistics simply to indicate that in the field of military strength we have the responsibility and we shall see to it that the United States, as we attempt to negotiate with other nations, as we are going to be willing to and desire to, as we negotiate to bring peace, we shall always negotiate from strength and never from weakness. That we pledge we will do.
  • But getting back to the study of the London Institute, it made one other point in which you have a special responsibility. It raised a question as to whether the year 1969 might mark the period in the history of the Western world when the United States not only lost the military superiority that it had, but more significantly, lost the will and the determination to be a major power and to play a major role in the world. The study didn't go into it in detail, but the clear implication was that as far as the United States was concerned, a grave question now existed as to whether this great Nation, the Nation on whom the hopes for peace and freedom of the whole free world ride--the question was raised not simply with regard to our military strength, something that your administration takes responsibility for, but with regard to our moral strength, with regard to our will, with regard to our determination. I simply want to say to the women in this audience, and to the women of America, through you, that will, that determination, cannot be brought by any President to the people. It must come from the home. It must come from the families. It must come from our churches, from our schools throughout the Nation, and I can tell you that having spoken across this Nation for so many years, I am not pessimistic about that will.
  • This is a great country. I have traveled all the nations of the world and I know the criticisms of America. But I can tell you that when I come back to the United States, I realize that this Nation not only is militarily strong and will remain so, not only is it the richest Nation and will remain so, but that as a great nation, we are going to meet the challenge of our time because we do have the character and we do have the moral stamina that this country requires and that the world requires today. This I believe. All that I ask is this: that as you return to your homes, we instill that spirit--a spirit of pride, a spirit of patriotism in the very best sense of the word, a spirit of what America has always stood for to the world, not bent on aggression, but recognizing that freedom, meaning as much as it does to us, that we have a responsibility to, hold that standard high for all the world to see. This is the charge that I leave with you tonight, and I am confident, as I have talked to you and as I have received reports from this meeting--I am confident that you are going to meet it. A few days ago when I delivered the eulogy to President Eisenhower, I referred to the fact that in his eloquent and memorable speech at London's Guildhall, he made the statement: "I come from the heart of America." And he truly did, from the geographical heart and the spiritual heart of America. I simply want to say that as I see a great group of Americans like this, not just because you are Republicans--I like that--but as I see you vitally interested in your country, concerned about the issues, making this trip to Washington, going back and carrying the word back to the precincts throughout this country, as I see you, I am going to leave this meeting knowing that the heart of America is good because you are going to keep it good and strong. I am sure you will.

Republican Victory Dinner (May 1969)

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President Nixon's remarks at the Republican Victory Dinner at the Hilton Hotel. (May 7, 1969). Source: Remarks at the Republican Victory Dinner, The American Presidency Project.
  • Naturally, and understandably, there are those who are impatient about what has happened. Some believe we should have moved faster in some areas--for example on appointments--and others think that we should have moved faster in finding the solutions to the great problems with which we were confronted. Tonight I want to tell you how I look at this situation. We deliberately have not attempted to make the kind of a record that looked awfully good in the headlines of today and that made very bad history in the books 3 or 4 years from now. We want a solid achievement we can all be proud of. It would have been very easy, I can assure you, on the first day after the inauguration, for me to have announced that we were immediately going to bring all the men home from Vietnam; that immediately the solution of the problem of inflation and others that we had inherited were to be found. I could not say that. I could not say that because I knew we could not produce. I can assure you of one thing: We will make our mistakes. We have made some, and we will make some more in the future. But as far as this administration is concerned, we are going to lay it on the line with the American people. We are never going to promise something we cannot produce. I think that is the kind of government that you want.
  • Now, I think Ev Dirksen and Jerry Ford have well described the great issues that brought us here. There are really three that stand out above all the others, the ones that stood out during the election campaign, and the ones that are on the minds and in the hearts of every person in this audience. The first is peace, the desire to have the kind of a peace that will give us a chance not only to end the war in which we presently are engaged, but a chance to avoid other wars of that type, or any type, in the years ahead. So that goal, the goal of peace--the American people who have not known peace for 4 years--is one that they want the new administration to achieve. The second goal is the goal closely related to the problem of peace abroad, and that is the problem of peace at home. The American people want to stop the rise in crime, as Ev Dirksen and Jerry Ford indicated, and they want to restore respect for law in this country. That was the second great issue of the last campaign. Then the third goal that the American people want achieved by their new administration is to stop the rise in taxes and the rise in prices, and to have the orderly progress, prosperity without inflation, that the American people are entitled to. Now there are other issues, of course, local issues and some national. But these are the three great issues that seemed to be on the minds of most of the people during the campaign, and from my mail and from my discussions with Congressmen and Senators, these are the issues that the American people are going to judge the new administration by.
  • If I could paraphrase Winston Churchill, I cannot tell you tonight that in finding a solution to the problem of peace abroad and peace at home, and restoration of respect for law, and stopping inflation, that we had reached the point where we could say that it was the beginning of the end of those problems, but I can say that we have reached the point that it is the end of the beginning. We have had the opportunity--an opportunity that we think we have used well--to get control of this Government, of the vast administrative machinery; to develop the plans and the programs over these past 3½ months which will enable us to make progress on these issues.
  • Now that it is the end of the beginning, I think the American people will begin to see the results of that progress. I mean results in terms not of a flashy headline, not of a promise that cannot be kept, but results in the kind of progress that is solid, that is achievable, and that the American people can count on. On that score, I want to tell all of you that when you get together, as I am sure most of you will, a year from now, in this room, I want you to look back on this year. I want you to look at what this administration has achieved, and I think you will find that in terms of bringing peace abroad, in terms of restoring respect for law at home, in terms of stopping inflation and stopping the rise in taxes, this administration will have made the progress that you wanted. This we can do and this we pledge to you.
  • Then one final thought. Three hours ago at the White House, I received in the Rose Garden the members of the finance committee of the Republican National Committee, about 150 people. What a splendid group of people they were. I looked across that group there standing in that garden and I saw people who, going back over 20 years, have raised money for this party in good years and bad, for my campaigns, but more than that, for the campaigns of Republicans every place, and I regretted the fact that time was such, that my appointments schedule was so heavy, that even with that small a group I was unable to thank each one of them personally for what he had done. Here tonight, 1,600 people, $1,000 a plate. Believe me, if you don't think there is inflation, think of that price! But nevertheless, my wife and I are able only to thank a few of you. I just want you to know as I stand here and as I see this great sea of faces before me, I am deeply grateful, we are all deeply grateful, those of us who are in Washington because of what you have done, for the contributions you have made, for your support of this dinner.
  • Speaking in a very personal sense, I know, as the one who was described by Jerry Ford a few moments ago--a little boy in California, growing up in Yorba Linda, listening to the one train a day go by--I know that in those contests that I had to participate in--as did so many Members of the House, first for the House, and then for the Senate, then the Vice Presidency and then the Presidency-that it all would not have been possible without the help of hundreds of people that I know, but thousands of people like yourselves who contributed, that I have never really had a chance to speak to and to thank adequately. I hope over the years that we are here in Washington we can express our personal appreciation to each and every one of you, but tonight I can tell you this is a great moment for us, a great moment for Pat, my wife, and for myself. We know that in this room are the people without whose support we could not have achieved the goal which we finally realized. We can assure you that in the years that we are here, we will always remember what you have done; and we will do everything in our power not only not to let you down, but to make you proud of what you have done, to make you proud of our party, but more than that, proud of our country and proud of the great role that America can and will play in the world for the rest of this century.

Dedication of the Karl E. Mundt Library (June 1969)

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President Nixon's remarks at the open-air dedication of the Karl E. Mundt Library. (June 3, 1969). Source: Address at the Dedication of the Karl E. Mundt Library at General Beadle State College, Madison, South Dakota, The American Presidency Project.
  • This is a solemn occasion. It is the beginning of a new institution as part of a larger institution. I think as we dedicate this beautiful, new library, that this is the time and place to speak of some very basic things in American life. It is the time, because we find our fundamental values under bitter and even violent attack all over America. And it is the place, because so much that is basic to America is represented right here where we stand. Opportunity for all is represented here. This is a small college, not rich and famous like Yale and Harvard, and not a vast State university like Michigan and Berkeley. But for almost 90 years it has served the people of South Dakota, opening doors of opportunity for thousands of deserving young men and women. Like hundreds of other fine small colleges across this Nation, General Beadle State College--soon to be known as Dakota State College--has offered a chance to people who might otherwise not have had a chance for an education. And as one who had such a chance at a small college, I know what that means. The pioneer spirit is represented here, and the progress that has shaped our heritage. Because here in South Dakota we still can sense the daring that converted a raw frontier into part of the vast heartland of America. The vitality of thought is represented here. A college library is a place of living ideas; a place where timeless truths are collected to become the raw materials of discovery. In addition, the Karl E. Mundt Library will house the papers of a wise and dedicated man who for 30 years has been at the center of public events. Thus, more than most, this is a library of both thought and action, containing and combining the wisdom of past ages with a uniquely personal record of the present time. So today, as we dedicate this place Of ideas, I think we should reflect on some of the values we have inherited and which are now under challenge.
  • We live in a deeply troubled and profoundly unsettled time. Drugs and crime, campus revolts, racial discord, draft resistance--on every hand we find old standards violated, old values discarded, old precepts ignored. A vocal minority of our young people are opting out of the process by which a civilization maintains its continuity: the passing on of values from one generation to the next. Old and young across the Nation shout across a chasm of misunderstanding, and the louder they shout, the broader the chasm becomes. As a result of all this, our institutions in America today are undergoing what may be the severest challenge of our history. I do not speak of the physical challenge, the force and threats of force that have racked our cities and now our colleges. Force can be contained. We have the power to strike back if need be, and we can prevail. The Nation has survived other attempts at insurrection. We can survive this one. It has not been a lack of civil power, but the reluctance of a free people to employ it, that so often has stayed the hand of authorities faced with confrontation. But the challenge I speak of today is deeper--the challenge to our values and to the moral base of the authority that sustains those values. At the outset, let me draw a very clear distinction. A great deal of today's debate about "values," or about "morality," centers on what essentially are private values and personal codes: patterns of dress and appearance, sexual mores, religious practices, the uses to which a person intends to put his own life. Now these are immensely important, but they are not the values I mean to discuss here today. My concern and our concern today is not with the length of a person's hair, but with his conduct in relation to the community; not with what he wears, but with his impact on the process by which a free society governs itself. I speak not of private morality, but of public morality--and of "morality" in its broadest sense, as a set of standards by which the community chooses to judge itself.
  • Some critics call ours an "immoral" society because they disagree with its policies, or they refuse to obey its laws because they claim that those laws have no moral basis. Yet the structure of our laws has rested from the beginning on a foundation of moral purpose. That moral purpose embodies what is, above all, a deeply humane set of values--rooted in a profound respect for the individual, for the integrity of his person, for the dignity of his humanity. At first glance, there is something homely and unexciting about basic values as we have long believed in them. And we feel apologetic about espousing them; even the profoundest truths become cliches with repetition. But these truths can be like sleeping giants: slow to rouse, but magnificent in their strength. So today let us look at some of those values--so familiar now, and yet once so revolutionary in America and in the world: liberty, recognizing that liberties can only exist in balance, with the liberty of each stopping at that point at which it would infringe the liberty of another; freedom of conscience, meaning that each person has the freedom of his own conscience, and therefore none has the right to dictate the conscience of his neighbor; justice, recognizing that true justice is impartial and that no man can be judge in his own cause; human dignity, a dignity that inspires pride, is rooted in self-reliance, and provides the satisfaction of being a useful and respected member of the community; concern, concern for the disadvantaged and dispossessed, but a concern that neither panders nor patronizes; the right to participate in public decisions, which carries with it the duty to abide by those decisions when reached, recognizing that no one can have his own way all the time; human fulfillment, in the sense not of unlimited license, but of maximum opportunity; the right to grow, to reach upward, to be all that we can become, in a system that rewards enterprise, encourages innovation, and honors excellence.
  • In essence, these are aspects of freedom. They inhere in the concept of freedom; they aim at extending freedom; they celebrate the uses of freedom. They are not new, but they are as timeless and as timely as the human spirit, because they are rooted in the human spirit. Our basic values concern not only what we seek, but how we seek it. Freedom is a condition; it is also a process. And the process is essential to the freedom itself. We have a Constitution that sets certain limits on what government can do, but that allows wide discretion within those limits. We have a system of divided powers, of checks and balances, of periodic elections, all of which are designed to insure that the majority has a chance to work its will but not to override the rights of the minority, or to infringe the rights of the individual. What this adds up to is a democratic process, carefully constructed, stringently guarded. Now it is not perfect. No system could be. But it has served the Nation well, and nearly two centuries of growth and change testify to its strength and adaptability. They testify, also, to the fact that avenues of peaceful change do exist in America. And those who can make a persuasive case for changes they want can achieve them through this orderly process.
  • To challenge a particular policy is one thing; to challenge the government's right to set that policy is another--for this denies the process of freedom itself. Lately, however, a great many people have become impatient with this democratic process. Some of the more extreme even argue, with a rather curious logic, that there is no majority, because the majority has no right to hold opinions that they disagree with. Scorning persuasion they prefer coercion. Awarding themselves what they call a higher morality, they try to bully authorities into yielding to their "demands." On college campuses they draw support from faculty members who should know better; in the larger community, they find the usual apologists ready to excuse any tactic in the name of "progress." It should be self-evident that this sort of self-righteous moral arrogance has no place in a free community in America, because it denies the most fundamental of all the values we hold--respect for the rights of others. This principle of mutual respect is the keystone of the entire structure of ordered liberty that makes freedom possible.
  • The student who invades an administration building, roughs up the dean, rifles the files, and issues "nonnegotiable demands" may have some of his demands met by a permissive university administration. But the greater his "victory," the more he will have undermined the security of his own rights. In a free society, the rights of none are secure unless the rights of all are respected. It is precisely the structure of law and custom that he has chosen to violate--the process of freedom--by which the rights of all are protected. We have long considered our colleges and universities citadels of freedom, where the rule of reason prevails. Now both the process of freedom and the rule of reason are under assault. At the same time, our colleges are under pressure to reduce our educational standards, in the misguided belief that this would promote "opportunity." Instead of attempting to raise the lagging students up to meet the college standards, the cry now is to lower the standards to meet the students. This is the old, familiar, self-indulgent cry for the easy way. It debases the integrity of the educational process because there is no easy way to excellence, no shortcut to the truth, no magic wand that can produce a trained and disciplined mind without the hard discipline of learning. To yield to these demands would weaken the institution; more importantly, it would cheat the student of what he comes to college for, a good education. Now, no group, as a group, should be more zealous defenders of the integrity of academic standards and the rule of reason in academic life than the faculties of our great colleges and universities. But if the teacher simply follows the loudest voices, parrots the latest slogan, yields to unreasonable demands, he will have won not the respect but the contempt of his students; and he will deserve that contempt. Students have some rights. They have a right to guidance, to leadership, and direction; they also have a right to expect their teachers to listen and to be reasonable, but also to stand for something--and most especially, to stand for the rule of reason against the rule of force. Our colleges and universities have their weaknesses. Some have become too impersonal, or too ingrown, and curricula have lagged. But let us never forget that for all its faults, the American system of higher education is the best in this whole imperfect world, and it provides in the United States today a better education for more students of all economic levels than ever before anywhere in the history of the world. And I submit this is no small achievement. We should be proud of it. We should defend it and we should never apologize for it.
  • Often the worst mischief is done in the name of the best cause. In our zeal for instant reform we should be careful not to destroy our educational standards and our educational system along with it, and not to undermine the process of freedom on which all else rests. The process of freedom will be less threatened in America, however, if we pay more heed to one of the great cries of our young people today. I speak now of their demand for honesty: intellectual honesty, personal honesty, public honesty. Much of what seems to be revolt is really little more than this: an attempt to strip away sham and pretense, to puncture illusion, to get down to the basic nub of truth. We should welcome this. We have seen too many patterns of deception in our lives: in political life, impossible promises; in advertising, extravagant claims; in business, shady deals. In personal life, we all have witnessed deceits that ranged from the "little white lie" to moral hypocrisy; from cheating on income taxes to bilking the insurance company. In public life, we have seen reputations destroyed by smear, and gimmicks paraded as panaceas. We have heard shrill voices of hate shouting lies and sly voices of malice twisting facts. Even in intellectual life, we too often have seen logical gymnastics performed to justify a pet theory, and refusal to accept facts that fail to support it. Of course, absolute honesty, on the other hand, would be ungenerous. Courtesy sometimes compels us to welcome the unwanted visitor, and kindness leads us to compliment the homely girl on how pretty she looks. But in our public discussions we sorely need a kind of honesty that too often has been lacking: the honesty of straight talk, a careful concern with the gradations of truth, a frank recognition of the limits of our knowledge about the problems we have to deal with. We have long demanded financial integrity in private life. We now need the most rigorous kind of intellectual integrity in public debate. Unless we can find a way to speak plainly and truly, unself-consciously, about the facts of public life, we may find that our grip on the forces of history is too loose to control our own destiny. The honesty of straight talk leads us to the conclusion that some of our recent social experiments have worked and some have failed and that most have achieved something--but far less than their advance billing promised. This same honesty is concerned not with assigning blame, but with discovering what lessons can be drawn from that experience in order to design better programs next time. Perhaps the goals were unattainable; perhaps the means were inadequate; perhaps the program was based on an unrealistic assessment of human nature. We can learn these lessons only to the extent that we can be candid with one another. We have and we face enormously complex choices. In approaching these, confrontation is no substitute for consultation; and passionate concern gets us nowhere without dispassionate analysis. More fundamentally, our structure of values depends on mutual faith, and faith depends on truth. The values we cherish are sustained by a fabric of mutual self-restraint woven of ordinary civil decency, respect for the rights of others, respect for the laws of the community, and respect for the democratic process of orderly change. The purpose of these restraints, I submit, is not to protect an "establishment," but to establish the protection of liberty; not to prevent change, but to insure that change reflects the public will and respects the rights of all. This process is our most precious resource as a nation, and it depends on public acceptance, public understanding, and public faith.
  • Whether our values are maintained depends ultimately not on government, but on people. A nation can only be as great as the people want it to be. A nation can only be as free as its people insist that it be. A nation's laws are only as strong as the people's will to see them enforced. A nation's freedoms are only as secure as the people's determination to see them maintained. And a nation's values are only as lasting as the ability of each generation to pass them on to the next. We often have a tendency to turn away from the familiar because it is familiar, and turn to the new because it is new. To those intoxicated with the romance of violent revolution, the continuing revolution of democracy may sometimes seem quite unexciting. But no system has ever liberated the spirits of so many so fully. Nothing has ever "turned on" man's energies, his imagination, his unfettered creativity, the way the ideal of freedom has. We can be proud that we have that legacy and that we celebrate it today. Now there are some who see America's vast wealth and protest that this has made us materialistic. But we should not be apologetic about our abundance. We should not fall into the easy trap of confusing the production of things with the worship of things. We produce abundantly, but our values turn not on what we have but on what we believe. And what we believe very simply is this: We believe in liberty, in decency, and the process of freedom. On these beliefs we rest our pride as a nation. In these beliefs we rest our hopes for the future. And by our fidelity to the process of freedom we can assure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of freedom.
  • I have spoken today of these basic values on this occasion because of the man we honor and also because of the place in which I stand. I know that many in this audience have shared the concern that I have shared, that in recent years, due to the fact that the spotlight has been turned on some public officials who have not reached the standard of integrity that we think they should have reached, we have tended to lose faith in the integrity of all of our institutions. Let me, as one who for almost a quarter of a century has had the opportunity to meet Governors and Congressmen and Senators and State legislators and judges and public officials all over this land--as a matter of fact, I have probably met more than any living American--just let me say something based on my own observation. There are men, some, who fail to meet the standards of integrity which should be met by a public servant, but I want this audience to know that as I look at the men who served in public life during my own generation, the great majority of Congressmen and Senators and Governors and State legislators and mayors and judges are honest, dedicated, decent men. And Karl Mundt represents that kind of honesty, decency, and honor. His public life stands for these values about which I have spoken. I am proud to have known him for 22 years. I am proud to have had his friendship and support in victory and also in defeat. And I am proud today to join with you in honoring him by dedicating in his name a library which will preserve those values for which and about which he has spoken so eloquently in 30 years of public life.

Merger of the National Alliance of Businessmen and Plans for Progress (June 1969)

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President Nixon's statement on the merger of the National Alliance of Businessmen and Plans for Progress. (June 13, 1969). Source: Statement on the Merger of the National Alliance of Businessmen and Plans for Progress, The American Presidency Project.
  • Plans for Progress, which was formed in 1961, now has 441 cooperating corporations, which employ a total of over 10 million persons in more than 22,000 plants across the country. The organization cooperates closely with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and seeks to foster voluntary adoption by American business of plans to hire more minority group members and upgrade their skills. The Plans for Progress organization has met with important success in these efforts, for more than 10 percent of the total employed by member organizations come from minority groups, and, since 1965, two out of every seven jobs in companies which have adopted Plans for Progress have been filled by minority group members. The National Alliance of Businessmen has concentrated the attention of the business community on the high unemployment rates in our inner cities, and has mounted an impressive attack on the predicament of the hard-core unemployed. Some 15,000 participating companies have about 102,000 formerly hard-core unemployed persons on the job. The NAB has pledged that by June 1970, it will have found jobs for 218,000 persons, and the hope is that over 600,000 will be generated by June 1971.
  • In many respects, the purposes of the two organizations have been related if not identical. Some of the programs sponsored by the Plans for Progress organization, such as their Vocational Guidance Institutes, have now consciously been established in many of the 125 cities in which the National Alliance of Businessmen is organized. Both organizations represented an attempt by the American corporate and financial community to contribute in efforts to break the cycle of unemployment and dependency. Both represent efforts to reduce the barriers to employment opportunities which for so long stood in the way of many simply because of their accident of birth.
  • Today, Mr. Kernal and Mr. Lewis told the Urban Affairs Council that their respective boards of directors have approved a merger of the two organizations. To both the members of the Urban Affairs Council and myself, the merger seems an appropriate means of rationalizing and focusing the attack by American business on the problems of unemployment and minority group employment. The merged organization will permit some of the Nation's most public spirited companies to combine their efforts so that there is a single thrust and focus--total employment and advancement opportunities-throughout every level of industry for members of minority groups and the hard-core unemployed. Mr. Kernal will be Chairman of the merged organization which will take the name of the National Alliance of Businessmen. Mr. Lewis will serve with him as Vice Chairman. Mr. Lynn Townsend also will serve as Vice Chairman. To insure that the Federal Government puts its full resources behind the important work of this organization, I have asked that Vice President Agnew work closely with the Alliance, and that future meetings of the NAB board will be held at the White House.

Swearing In of Warren E. Burger as Chief Justice of the United States (June 1969)

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President Nixon's remarks at the Supreme Court. (June 23, 1969). Source: Remarks at the Swearing In of Warren E. Burger as Chief Justice of the United States, The American Presidency Project.
  • I am honored to appear today, not as President of the United States, but as a member of the bar admitted to practice before this Court. At this historic moment I am reminded of the fact that while this is the last matter that will be heard by the Chief Justice of the United States, the first matter to be heard by this Court when he became Chief Justice was the occasion when, as Vice President of the United States on October 5, 1953, I moved the admission of Warren Olney III, and Judge Stanley Barnes to be members of this Court. I have also had another experience at this Court. In 1966, as a member of the bar, I appeared on two occasions before the Supreme Court of the United States. Looking back on those two occasions, I can say, Mr. Chief Justice, that there is only one ordeal which is more challenging than a Presidential press conference, and that is to appear before the Supreme Court of the United States. On this occasion, it is my privilege to represent the bar in speaking of the work of the Chief Justice and in extending the best wishes of the bar and the Nation to him for the time ahead.
  • In speaking of that work, I naturally think somewhat in personal terms of the fact that not only is the Chief Justice concluding almost 16 years in his present position, but that today he concludes 52 years of public service to local, State, and national government--as District Attorney in Alameda County, as Attorney General of the State of California, as Governor of the State of California, the only three-term Governor in the history of that State, as Chief Justice of the United States of America. The Nation is grateful for that service. I am also reminded of the fact that the Chief Justice has established a record here in this Court which will be characterized in many ways. In view of the historical allusion 'that was made in the opinions just read, may I be permitted an historical allusion? Will Rogers, in commenting upon one of the predecessors of the Chief Justice, Chief Justice William Howard Taft, said that "It is great to be great. It is greater to be human." I think that comment could well apply to the Chief Justice as we look at his 52 years of service. One who has held high office in this Nation, but one who, in holding that office, always had the humanity which was all-encompassing, the dedication to his family--his personal family, to the great American family, to the family of man. The Nation is grateful for that example of humanity which the Chief Justice has given to us and to the world. But as we consider this moment, we also think of the transition which will shortly take place. We think of what it means to America, what it means to our institutions.
  • Sixteen years have passed since the Chief Justice assumed his present position. These 16 years, without doubt, will be described by historians as years of greater change in America than any in our history. And that brings us to think of the mystery of government in this country, and for that matter in the world, the secret of how government can survive for free men. And we think of the terms "change" and "continuity." Change without continuity can be anarchy. Change with continuity can mean progress. And continuity without change can mean no progress.
  • As we look over the history of this Nation, we find that what has brought us where we are has been continuity with change. No institution of the three great institutions of our Government has been more responsible for that continuity with change than the Supreme Court of the United States. Over the last 16 years there have been great debates in this country. There have been some disagreements even within this Court. But standing above those debates has been the symbol of the Court as represented by the Chief Justice of the United States: fairness, integrity, dignity. These great and simple attributes are, without question, more important than all of the controversy and the necessary debate that goes on when there is change, change within the continuity which is so important for the progress which we have just described. To the Chief Justice of the United States, all of us are grateful today that his example, the example of dignity, the example of integrity, the example of fairness, as the chief law official of this country, has helped to keep America on the path of continuity and change, which is so essential for our progress.
  • When the historians write of this period and the period that follows, some with a superficial view will describe the last 16 years as the "Warren Court" and will describe the Court that follows it as the "Burger Court." I believe, however, that every member of this Court would agree with me when I say that because of the example of the Chief Justice, a selfless example, a non-selfish example, that this period will be described, not only his but that of his successor, not as the Warren Court, not as the Burger Court, not in personal terms, but in this hallowed moment in this great Chamber, the Supreme Court. It was always that way; may it always be that way. And to the extent that it is, this Nation owes a debt of gratitude to the Chief Justice of the United States for his example.

Address at the National Governors' Conference (September 1969)

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President Nixon's remarks at the International Center. (September 1, 1969). Source: Address at the National Governors' Conference, The American Presidency Project.
  • I speak somewhat with humility whenever I address a group of Governors. If you will permit a personal reference at the outset, as many of you are aware, I have run for many offices in my political career. Twenty-three years ago I ran for the House and 4 years later for the Senate, and then for Vice President and then for President, and then for Governor and then for President. The only office that I have sought and have never won is that of Governor, so, therefore, I respect the Governors who are here tonight. To show that respect, as a demonstration of it, we have in our administration not only the Vice President, who served as the Governor of Maryland, but three other members of the Cabinet, who hold their respective posts with great distinction. I suppose that one of the reasons this administration feels so strongly about the relationships between the Federal Government and the various States, the necessity to have a new relationship to which I will refer tonight, is that we have that strong representation, the strong voice of those who have served as Governors and who, therefore, know what the problems are.
  • We are meeting here tonight at a time of great and fundamental change in America--of changes more far-reaching than have ever been seen in the span of a single lifetime. These changes summon all of us--the Federal Government, the States, the counties, the cities, and towns--each person everywhere--to a high adventure in human advancement. We stand on the threshold of a time when the impossible becomes possible--a time when we can choose goals that, just a generation ago, would have seemed as unreachable as the moon seemed to be unreachable then. We can reach those goals. The Spirit of Apollo gave us a brief, glittering glimpse of how far we can stretch. Thousands of minds, thousands of hands, all were marshaled in selfless dedication in achieving a great human dream--and the dream came true. Today, we in America can afford to dream--but we have to put drive behind those dreams. This requires that we turn--now--to a new strategy for the seventies--one that enables us to command our own future by commanding the forces of change. Only 7 years from now, in 1976, America will celebrate its 200th birthday as a nation. So let us look ahead to that great anniversary in the Spirit of Apollo-and discover in ourselves a new Spirit of '76. Let us resolve that what we can do, we will do. When a great nation confronts its shortcomings, not angrily, but analytically; when it commits its resources, not wantonly but wisely; when it calms its hatreds, masters its fears, and draws together in a spirit of common endeavor, then the forces of progress are on the march.
  • The central race in the world today is neither an arms race nor a space race. It is the race between man and change. The central question is whether we are to be the master of events, or the pawn of events. If we are to win this race, our first need is to make government governable. When the new administration took office last January, we confronted a set of hard and unpleasant facts. I cite these facts not in a partisan way; they are not the fault of any one administration or of any one party. Rather, they are part of our common experience as a people, the result of an accumulating failure of government over the years to come to grips with a future that soon overtook it. We confronted a legacy of Federal deficits that has added $58 billion to the burden of public debt in the past 10 years. We confronted the fact that State and local governments were being crushed in a fiscal vise, squeezed by rising costs, rising demands for services, exhaustion of revenue sources. We confronted the fact that in the past 5 years the Federal Government alone has spent more than a quarter of a trillion dollars on social programs--over $250 billion. Yet far from solving our problems, these expenditures had reaped a harvest of dissatisfaction, frustration, and bitter division. Never in human history has so much been spent by so many for such a negative result. The cost of the lesson has been high, but we have learned that it is not only what we spend that matters, but how we spend it.
  • Listen to Professor Peter Drucker analyze the problem of government today: "There is mounting evidence that government is big rather than strong; that it is fat and flabby rather than powerful; that it costs a great deal but does not achieve much .... Indeed, government is sick--and just at the time when we need a strong, healthy, and vigorous government." The problem has not been a lack of good intentions, and not merely a lack of money. Methods inherited from the thirties proved to be out of date in the sixties. Structures put together in the thirties broke down under the load of the sixties. Overcentralized, over-bureaucratized, the Federal Government became unresponsive as well as inefficient. In their struggle to keep up, States and localities found the going increasingly difficult. In the space of only 10 years, State and local expenditures rose by two and a half times---from $44 billion in 1958 to $108 billion in 1968. States alone have had to seek more than 200 tax increases in the past 8 years. You know--you as Governors--and I know, that simply piling tax on tax is not the long range solution to the problems we face together. We have to devise a new way to make our revenue system meet the needs of the seventies. We have to put the money where the problems are, and we have to get a dollar's worth of return for a dollar spent. Our new strategy for the seventies begins with the reform of government: overhauling its structure; pruning out those programs that have failed or that have outlived their time; ensuring that its delivery systems actually deliver the intended services to the intended beneficiaries; gearing its programs to the concept of social investment; focusing its activities not only on tomorrow, but on the day after tomorrow. This must be a cooperative venture among governments at all levels, because it centers on what I have called the "New Federalism"--in which power, funds, and authority are channeled increasingly to those governments that are closest to the people. The essence of the New Federalism is to help regain control of our national destiny by returning a greater share of control to State and local governments and to the people. This in turn requires constant attention to raising the quality of government at all levels.
  • The new strategy for the seventies also requires a strategy for peace--and I pledge to you tonight that we will have an effective strategy for peace. Let me tell you what that strategy means and what it does not mean. It means maintaining defense forces strong enough to keep the peace, but not allowing wasteful expenditures to drain away resources we need for progress. It means limiting our commitments abroad to those we can prudently and realistically keep. It means helping other free nations maintain their own security, but not rushing in to do for them what they can and should do for themselves. It does not mean laying down our leadership. It does not mean abandoning our allies. It does mean forging a new structure of world stability in which the burdens as well as the benefits are fairly shared--a structure that does not rely on the strength of one nation but that draws strength from all nations. An effective strategy for peace abroad makes possible an effective strategy for meeting our domestic problems at home.
  • We have proposed, as all of you know because you have discussed it in this conference, the first major reform of welfare in the history of welfare. This would abolish the discredited Aid to Families With Dependent Children program, and launch in its place a new system that for the first time would insure a minimum income for every family with dependent children--and at the same time provide a coordinated structure of work requirements, work incentives, and training designed to move people off the welfare rolls and onto payrolls in the United States. Now I realize that some object to some of these proposals--understandably--as seeming to favor one region over another, or because they give the rich States more or less than they give to poorer States. I considered these arguments, rejected them, because, as Buford Ellington indicated in his introduction, we are one country. We must think in terms of the people and their needs--wherever they are. We must meet our problems where the problems are. Because, unless we act to meet the problems of human need in the places where they exist, the problems and troubles of rural America today will be the problems of urban America tomorrow. Consider for a moment the name of this Nation: the United States of America. We establish minimum national standards because we are united; we encourage local supplements because we are a federation of States; and we care for the unfortunate because this is America.
  • We have proposed the first major restructuring of food programs for the needy in the history of food programs. Let's face it, for years, food programs were designed as much to get rid of surplus commodities as to feed hungry people, and now, for the first time, we propose that every American family shall have the resources, in food stamps, commodities, and other assistance, to obtain a minimum nutritious diet, with free focal stamps for those with very low incomes.
  • We have declared the first 5 years of a child's life to be a period of special and specific Federal concern. New knowledge recently acquired has shown that these earliest, formative years are crucial to a child's later development. Yet with only random exceptions, no provision has previously been made to insure the welfare of children during these years. With an eye to the next generation, we have made it our business to fill this void.
  • In summary, the 24 legislative proposals-the major ones--that I have sent to Congress, have also included proposals ranging from an overhaul of foreign aid to the most wide-ranging reform of the postal service in history; from a new program of mass transit aid to new measures for the combatting of narcotics, pornography, and organized crime. Taken together, these measures are sweeping in their implications. I admit, too, they are controversial, as any new programs are. They also represent fundamental new directions in national policy. But to those who say they are controversial, to those who criticize them for what they are, I make this one suggestion: We have been on a road for a long time that is leading us to disaster, and when you are on the wrong road, the thing to do is get off and get onto a new road and a new progress. These programs represent a comprehensive, concerted effort to make Government work, to make it work fairly, to make it responsive, and to gear it to the early anticipation of emerging needs, rather than belated response to crises that could have been avoided.
  • Now I would like for all of us to look at these measures in a larger framework. Exactly 4 months from today, we will enter the decade of the seventies. And as we look ahead toward that 200th anniversary of American independence in 1976, we have a target to shoot for. What kind of a nation we will be on that momentous anniversary is ours to determine by what we do or fail to do now. As conditions are changing, so we must change. The reforms I have proposed in these legislative recommendations are not partisan changes. They are positive changes. They have no special constituency of region or class or interest group. Their constituency is tomorrow. It already is painfully clear that many hard choices will have to be made. Dreams of unlimited billions of dollars being released once the war in Vietnam ends are just that--dreams. True, there will be additional money, but the claims on it already are enormous. There should be no illusion that what some call the "peace and growth dividend" will automatically solve our national problems, or release us from the need to establish priorities. There are hard budget and tax decisions ahead. These involve your interests as Governors; they involve the interests of all of us as citizens. In order to find the money for new programs, we are going to have to trim it out of old ones. This is one reason why I regard the reforms I have proposed as essential. We can no longer afford the luxury of inefficiency in Government. We cannot count on good money to bail us out of bad ideas. Equally important, continued improvement of governments at the State and local levels is essential to make these new concepts work. If the delegation of funds and authority to the State and local governments under the Comprehensive Manpower Act is successful, this can then be a model for more delegations in the future. But we can only toss the ball; the States and localities have to catch it and they have to carry it. I am confident that you can.
  • For a long time, as all of us know, the phrase "States rights" was often used as an escape from responsibility--as a way of avoiding a problem, rather than of meeting a problem. But that time has passed. I can assure you of this: We are not simply going to tell you the States have a job to do; we are going to help you find the funds, the resources, to do that job well. We are not simply going to lecture you on what you should do. We are going to examine what we can do together. One of the key points I want to make tonight is, in a sense, very similar to one I made on my recent visits to our NATO partners and to our friends in Asia. Washington will no longer try to go it alone; Washington will no longer dictate without consulting. A new day has come, in which we recognize that partnership is a two-way street, and if a partnership is to thrive, that street has to be traveled-both ways. This poses a new challenge to the States--not only to administer programs, but to devise programs; not only to employ resources, but to choose the things for which they should be used. In my talks with many Governors and other State officials, I have found them ready to rise to that challenge. And I have become convinced that States today are ready for a new role.
  • The New Federalism also recognizes the role of people---of individuals doing and caring and sharing. The concept of voluntary action, of community action, of people banding together in a spirit of neighborliness to do those things which they see must be done, is deeply rooted in America's character and tradition. As we have swept power and responsibility to Washington, we have undercut this tradition. Yet when it comes to helping one another, Washington can never bring to the task the heart that neighbors can. Washington can never bring the sensitivity to local conditions, or the new sense of self-importance that a person feels when he finds that some one person cares enough to help him individually. In encouraging a new birth of voluntary action, I intend to look not only to the Federal Government, but also to the States, for inspiration and encouragement. Each State has its own pattern of experience, its own examples of how people have successfully helped people. By sharing these examples, they can be multiplied.
  • More than anything else, it is these new tasks of the future--not the distant future, but the immediate future--that give urgency to the need to reform government today. We can command the future only if we can manage the present. The reforms I have proposed are designed to make this possible. Only if we clean out the unnecessary can we focus on the necessary. Only if we stop fighting the battles of the thirties can we take on the battles of the seventies. These reforms represent a New Federalism, a new humanism, and, I suggest also, a new realism. They are based not on theoretical abstractions, but on the hard experience of the past third of a century. They are addressed to the real problems of real people in a real world--and to the needs of the next third of a century. They represent not an end but a beginning-the beginning of a new era in which we confound the prophets of doom, and make government an instrument for casting the future in the image of our hopes. That task requires the best efforts of all of us together. It requires the best thinking of all of us together, as we choose our goals and devise the means of their achievement. But the future that beckons us also holds greater promise than any man has ever known. These reforms are steps in the direction of that promise--and as we take them, let us do so confident in the strength of America, firm in our faith that we can chart our destiny to the abundant spirit of a great and resourceful people. This spirit has been our strength. Marshaled in a new Spirit of '76, giving force to our purposes and direction to our efforts, it can be our salvation.
  • As all of you know, I have had the opportunity of traveling both to Europe and to Asia during the first 7 months of my term of office. I visited the leaders in the great countries of both Europe and Asia. I have seen great civilizations and great governments and great peoples. When I returned to the United States, after meeting with these leaders, one truth always comes back home to me, and it is this: This is the period of time in which whether peace or freedom survives in the world will depend upon what happens in the United States of America. And it depends not only on what a President will do, but it depends on what we do in all areas, government and nongovernmental. And particularly in the field of government, it depends not only on what we do on the Federal level, but the State and local level as well. Because, if the United States is going to meet the challenge which is ours, to preserve peace and freedom in the world, to bear our fair share in this period, if we are going to be able to deserve that mantle of leadership which is ours, whether we want it or not, we are going to have to first demonstrate that we can handle our problems at home.
  • Let me put it in historical perspective. When this Nation was founded in 1776-13 colonies, 3 million people, very weak militarily, poor economically--the men who founded this Nation said: "We act not just for ourselves, but for the whole human race." That was a presumptuous thing for them to say then. But some way that Spirit of '76 appealed to all the world. Today the United States of America, because of its power, because of its wealth, because of what we stand for, .does act for the whole human race. And that is the challenge that we face, and that is the challenge that I know that we can meet. I am proud to work with the Governors of the 50 States, Republican and Democrat alike, to see that America deals effectively with its problems at home, so that we can provide the example of leadership which will enable us to meet the challenges of keeping peace and freedom abroad.

Remarks at the Annual Meeting of the Inter American Press Association (October 1969)

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President Nixon's remarks at the Washington Hilton Hotel. (October 31, 1969). Source: Address at the National Governors' Conference, The American Presidency Project.
  • As we stand here on this 25th anniversary meeting of the Inter American Press Association, I should like to be permitted some personal comments before I then deliver my prepared remarks to you. I have learned that this is the first occasion in which the remarks of the President of any one of the American nations has been carried and is being carried live by Telstar to all the nations in the hemisphere. And we are proud that it is before the Inter American Press Association. I am sure that those of you, and I know that most of you here are members and publishers of the newspaper profession, will not be jealous if this is on television tonight.
  • My suggestions this evening for new directions toward a more balanced relationship come from many sources. First, they are rooted in my personal convictions. I have seen the problems of this hemisphere. As those in this room know, I have visited every nation in this hemisphere. I have seen them at first hand. I have felt the surging spirit of those nations--determined to break the grip of outmoded structures, yet equally determined to avoid social disintegration. Freedom, justice, a chance for each of our people to live a better and more abundant life--these are goals to which I am unshakably committed because progress in our hemisphere is not only a practical necessity, it is a moral imperative. Second, these new approaches have been substantially shaped by the report of Governor Rockefeller, who, at my request and at your invitation, listened perceptively to the voices of our neighbors and incorporated their thoughts into a set of farsighted proposals. Third, they are consistent with thoughts expressed in the Consensus of Vina del Mar, which we have studied with great care. A list of 46 specific proposals for United States trade and aid policy changes drawn up at Vina del Mar, Chile, by ministers from 21 Latin American nations in May 1969. Fourth, they have benefited from the counsel of many persons in government and out, in this country and throughout the hemisphere. And, finally, basically they reflect the concern of the people of the United States for the development and progress of a hemisphere which is new in spirit, and which, through our efforts together, we can make new in accomplishment.
  • Tonight I offer no grandiose promises and no panaceas. I do offer action. The actions I propose represent a new approach. They are based on five principles: First, a firm commitment to the inter-American system, to the compacts which bind us in that system--as exemplified by the Organization of American States and by the principles so nobly set forth in its charter. Second, respect for national identity and national dignity, in a partnership in which rights and responsibilities are shared by a community of independent states. Third, a firm commitment to continued United States assistance for hemispheric development. Fourth, a belief that the principal future pattern of this assistance must be U.S. support for Latin American initiatives, and that this can best be achieved on a multilateral basis within the inter-American system. Finally a dedication to improving the quality of life in this new world of ours, to making people the center of our concerns, and to helping meet their economic, social, and human needs.
  • We have heard many voices from the Americas in these first months of our new administration--voices of hope, voices of concern, and some voices of frustration. We have listened. These voices have told us they wanted fewer promises and more action. They have told us that United States aid programs seemed to have helped the United States more than Latin America. They have told us that our trade policies were insensitive to the needs of other American nations. They have told us that if our partnership is to thrive or even to survive, we must recognize that the nations of the Americas must go forward in their own way, under their own leadership.
  • Now it is not my purpose here tonight to discuss the extent to which we consider the various charges that I have just listed right or wrong. But I recognize the concerns. I share many of them. What I propose tonight is, I believe, responsive to those concerns. The most pressing concerns center on economic development and especially on the policies by which aid is administered and by which trade is regulated. In proposing specific changes tonight, I mean these as examples of the actions I believe are possible in a new kind of partnership in the Americas. Our partnership should be one in which the United States lectures less and listens more. It should be one in which clear, consistent procedures are established to insure that the shaping of the future of the nations in the Americas reflects the will of those nations. I believe this requires a number of changes. To begin with, it requires a fundamental change in the way in which we manage development assistance in the hemisphere. That is why I propose that a multilateral inter-American agency be given an increasing share of responsibility for development assistance decisions. CIAP-the Inter-American Committee on the Alliance for Progress--could be given this new function, or an entirely new agency could be created within the system. Whatever the form, the objective would be to evolve an effective multilateral framework for bilateral assistance, to provide the agency with an expert international staff and, over time, to give it major operational and decision making responsibilities. The other American nations themselves would thus jointly assume a primary role in setting priorities within the hemisphere, in developing realistic programs, in keeping their own performance under critical review.
  • One of the areas most urgently in need of new policies is the area of trade. In my various trips to the Latin American countries and the other American countries, I have found that this has been uppermost on the minds of the leaders for many, many years. In order to finance their import needs and to achieve self-sustaining growth, the other American nations must expand their exports.
  • Most Latin American exports now are raw materials and foodstuffs. We are attempting to help the other countries of the hemisphere to stabilize their earnings from these exports, to increase them as time goes on. Increasingly, however, those countries will have to turn more toward manufactured and semimanufactured products for balanced development and major export growth. Thus they need to be assured of access to the expanding markets of the industrialized world. In order to help achieve this, I have determined to take the following major steps: First, to lead a vigorous effort to reduce the nontariff barriers to trade maintained by nearly all industrialized countries against products of particular interest to Latin America and other developing countries. Second, to support increased technical and financial assistance to promote Latin American trade expansion. Third, to support the establishment, within the inter-American system, of regular procedures for advance consultation on trade matters. United States trade policies often have a very heavy impact on our neighbors. It seems only fair that in the more balanced relationship we seek, there should be full consultation within the hemisphere family before decisions affecting its members are taken, and not after. And finally, most important, in world trade forums, I believe it is time to press for a liberal system of generalized trade preferences for all developing countries, including Latin America. We will seek adoption by all of the industrialized nations of a scheme with broad product coverage and with no ceilings on preferential imports. We will seek equal access to industrial markets for all developing countries, so as to eliminate the discrimination against Latin America that now exists in many countries. We will also urge that such a system eliminates the inequitable "reverse preferences" that now discriminate against Western Hemisphere countries.
  • I would like to turn now to a vital subject in connection with economic development in the hemisphere, namely, the role of private investment. Now, clearly, each government in the Americas must make its own decision about the place of private investment, domestic and foreign, in its development process. Each must decide for itself whether it wishes to accept or forgo the benefits that private investment can bring. For a developing country, constructive foreign private investment has the special advantage of being a prime vehicle for the transfer of technology. And certainly, from no other source is so much investment capital available, because capital, from government to government on that basis, is not expansible. In fact, it tends now to be more restricted, whereas, private capital can be greatly expanded. As we have seen, however, just as a capital-exporting nation cannot expect another country to accept investors against its will, so must a capital-importing country expect a serious impairment of its ability to attract investment funds when it acts against existing investments in a way which runs counter to commonly accepted norms of international law and behavior. Unfortunately, and perhaps unfairly, such acts by one nation in the Americas affect investor confidence in the entire region. We will not encourage U.S. private investment where it is not wanted or where local political conditions face it with unwarranted risks. But I must state my own strong belief, and it is this: I think that properly motivated private enterprise has a vital role to play in social as well as economic development in all of the American nations. We have seen it work in our own country. We have seen it work in other countries--whether they are developing or developed--other countries that lately have been recording the world's most spectacular rates of economic growth. Referring to a completely other area of the world, the exciting stories of the greatest growth rates are those that have turned toward more private investment, rather than less. Japan we all know about, but the story is repeated in Korea, in Taiwan, in Malaysia, in Singapore, and in Thailand. In line with this belief, we are examining ways to modify our direct investment controls in order to help meet the investment requirements of developing nations in the Americas and elsewhere. I have further directed that our aid programs place increasing emphasis on assistance to locally-owned private enterprise. I am also directing that we expand our technical assistance for establishing national and regional capital markets. As we all have seen, in this age of rapidly advancing science, the challenge of development is only partly economic. Science and technology increasingly hold the key to our national futures. If the promise of this final third of the 20th century is to be realized, the wonders of science must be turned to the service of man. In the Consensus of Vina del Mar, we were asked for an unprecedented effort to share our scientific and technical capabilities. To that request we shall respond in a true spirit of partnership.
  • This I pledge to you tonight: The nation that went to the moon in peace for all mankind is ready, ready to share its technology in peace with its nearest neighbors. Tonight, I have discussed with you a new concept of partnership. I have made a commitment to act. I have been trying to give some examples of actions we are prepared to take. But as anyone familiar with government knows, commitment alone is not enough. There has to be the machinery to assure an effective follow-through. Therefore, I am also directing a major reorganization and upgrading of the United States Government structure for dealing with Western Hemisphere affairs. As a key element of this--and this is one of those areas where the President cannot do it, he needs the approval of the Congress--but as a key element of this, I have ordered preparation of a legislative request, which I will submit to the Congress, raising the rank of the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs to Under Secretary--thus giving the hemisphere special representation. I know that many in this room, 15 years ago urged that upon me, and I see Mr. Pedro Beltran here particularly applauding. He urged it upon me just a few years ago, too. I trust that we will be able, through the new Under Secretary of State, to do a more effective job with regard to the problems of the hemisphere, and the new Under Secretary will be given authority to coordinate all United States Government activities in the hemisphere, so that there will be one window for all those activities.
  • And now, my friends in the American family, I turn to a sensitive subject. Debates have long raged, they've raged both in the United States and elsewhere, over what our attitude should be toward the various forms of government within the inter-American system. Let me sum up my own views very candidly. First, my own country lives by a democratic system which has preserved its form for nearly two centuries. It has its problems. But we are proud of our system. We are jealous of our liberties. And we hope that eventually most, perhaps even all, of the world's people will share what we consider to be the blessings of genuine democracy. We are aware that most people today in most countries of the world do not share those blessings. I would be less than honest if I did not express my concern over examples of liberty compromised, of justice denied, or rights infringed. Nevertheless, we recognize that enormous, sometimes explosive, forces for change are operating in Latin America. These create instabilities; they bring changes in governments. On the diplomatic level, we must deal realistically with governments in the inter-American system as they are. We have, of course--we in this country--a preference for democratic procedures, and we hope that each government will help its own people to move forward to a better, a fuller, and a freer life.
  • We cannot have a peaceful community of nations if one nation sponsors armed subversion in another's territory. The ninth meeting of American Foreign Ministers clearly enunciated this principle. The "export" of revolution is an intervention which our system cannot condone, and a nation like Cuba which seeks to practice it can hardly expect to share in the benefits of this community. And now, finally, a word about what all this can mean--not just for the Americas but for the world. Today, the world's most fervent hope is for a lasting peace in which life is secure, progress is possible, and freedom can flourish. In each part of the world we can have lasting peace and progress only if the nations directly concerned take the lead themselves in achieving it, and in no part of the world can there be a true partnership if one partner dictates its direction. I can think of no assembly of nations better suited than ours to point the way to developing such a partnership. A successfully progressing Western Hemisphere, here in this new world, demonstrating in action mutual help and mutual respect, will be an example for the world. Once again, by this example, we will stand for something larger than ourselves. For three quarters of a century, many of us have been linked together in the Organization of American States and its predecessors in a joint quest for a better future. Eleven years ago, Operation Pan America was launched as a Brazilian initiative. More recently, we have joined in a noble Alliance for Progress, whose principles still guide us. And now I suggest that our goal for the seventies should be a decade of "action for progress" for the Americas.
  • As we seek to forge a new partnership, we must recognize that we are a community of widely diverse peoples. Our cultures are different. Our perception are often different. Our emotional reactions are often different. May it always be that way. What a dull world it would be if we were all alike. Partnership-mutuality--these do not flow naturally. We have to work at them. Understandably, perhaps, a feeling has arisen in many Latin American countries that the United States really "no longer cares." Well, my answer to that tonight is very simple. We do care. I care. I have visited most of your countries, as I said before. I have met most of your leaders. I have talked with your people. I have seen your great needs as well as your great achievements. And I know this, in my heart as well as in my mind: If peace and freedom are to endure in this world, there is no task more urgent than lifting up the hungry and the helpless, and putting flesh on the dreams of those who yearn for a better life. Today, we in this American community share an historic opportunity. As we look together down the closing decades of this century, we see tasks that summon the very best that is in us. But those tasks are difficult precisely because they do mean the difference between despair and fulfillment for most of the 600 million people who will live in Latin America in the year 2000. Those lives are our challenge. Those lives are our hope. And we could ask no prouder reward than to have our efforts crowned by peace, prosperity, and dignity in the lives of those 600 million human beings-- in Latin America and in the United States--each so precious, each so unique--our children and our legacy.

1970s

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  • 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 (April 30, 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.
  • 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
  • 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 (June 17, 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 (July 5, 1971)
  • I think of what happened to Greece and Rome, and you see what is left—only the pillars. What has happened, of course, is that the great civilizations of the past, as they have become wealthy, as they have lost their will to live, to improve, they then have become subject to decadence that eventually destroys the civilization. The United States is now reaching that period.
  • At the present time, I will simply say in raising these problems, I don’t raise them in any sense of defeatism; I don’t raise them in the usual sense of pointing out that the United States is a country torn by division, alienation, that this is truly an ugly country, because I don’t believe that. I honestly believe that the United States, in its preeminent position of world leadership, has in its hands the future of peace in the world this last third of the century. I honestly believe that the United States has the destiny to play a great role, but I also know we cannot play it unless this is a healthy land, with a healthy government, a healthy citizenry, a healthy economy, and above all, the moral and spiritual health that can only come from the hearts of people and their minds, and that will only come as people are reassured from time to time, as we discuss our faults and as we correct our faults, reassured. Keep them in balance.
  • I want a public relations program developed to piss on the Indians. I want to piss on them for their responsibility. I want the Indians blamed for this, you know what I mean? We can’t let these goddamn, sanctimonious Indians get away with this. They’ve pissed on us on Vietnam for 5 years, Henry.
    • Richard Nixon to Henry Kissinger during Bangladesh Liberation War, quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014). The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide. chapter 18. FRUS, vol. E-7, White House tapes, Oval Office 635-8, 10 December 1971, 10:51–11:12 a.m. See White House tapes, Oval Office 635-6, 10 December 1971, 9:10–10:31 a.m.
  • 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 (June 23, 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 (November 9, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Now, when individuals read the entire transcript of the [March] 21st [1973] 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 (August 5, 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 (August 9, 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 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 (December 11, 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, [1], and The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide by Gary J. Bass
  • Someone is saying we are contemplating sending aid to help the Pakistani refugees. I hope to hell we’re not.
    • FRUS, Nixon-Haig telcon (April 29, 1971), p. 99. quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014). The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.

Republican Victory Dinner (March 1970)

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President Nixon's remarks at the Sheraton Park Hotel. (March 10, 1970). Source: Remarks at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Congressional Banquet, The American Presidency Project.
  • What I was talking about just a moment ago after we finished meeting all of these winners--I always like to meet winners, believe me, and to give condolences to losers; I have done both, you know but I was reminded of a little bit of history that I would like to share particularly with these very young people who were not born when these dinners first began in 1947, and with the Members of the House and the Senate who, like myself, may have attended that first dinner in 1947. For 23 years the Veterans of Foreign Wars have had a dinner here in Washington in which they have honored the Members of the House and the Senate. And I attended that first dinner in '47 as a freshman Member of Congress. I was privileged to attend. I remember among those who were in attendance, incidentally, on that occasion was another freshman Member of Congress, Olin Teague, the Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee. And then I remember through the years my association with this organization. And I, without imposing on your time, would like to share it with you very briefly before introducing our honored guest and award winner tonight. I recall that not only many dinners like this for Members of Congress, but on eight different occasions as Vice President of the United States, I have had the honor of addressing the National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. However, that is all past history. I am proud to be here tonight, proud because of this special occasion in Which these young people who have won these awards, the Voice of Democracy Awards, in which they are honored, but proud also because this is the first time, as President of the United States, that I have had the honor of addressing any meeting of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. And I am proud to be here in that capacity. But I speak to you tonight not as Commander in Chief which, of course, was referred to by our Commander, Ray Gallagher, but I speak to you as one of your comrades who has been with you on so many of these occasions in the past. And I think that I can speak to you in the spirit in which this award is being given by referring very briefly to, I think, what this contest has been about, in which all of you have participated, and also where America stands today at this very critical juncture in our history and in world history.
  • I think back to the very early days of this Republic. I think back to the time when America was very young, with only 3 million people. It was very weak and very poor, but very respected in the world; because America then, weak and poor as it was, meant something to the world that was far more important than wealth or military strength. They called it then "The Spirit of '76" and in just a few years--and all of you will be here, and we hope some of us are too-in 1976, we are going to celebrate the 200th anniversary of America. And we are going to look back on those 200 years to the great moments of this Nation's history. And whether America has met fully its responsibility and its destiny will depend-and I particularly emphasize this tonight--not simply on the fact that we will be, as we will be then, the richest nation in the world, not simply on the fact that we will be, and we can be if we have the will, the strongest nation in the world; but it will depend on whether America has been able to retain, after 2-- years, that spirit that it had 200 years ago, a spirit more important than wealth and more important than arms--character, national character. And that is what is important for all of us to remember.
  • That is why I congratulate the Commander of this organization for what he has been saying for America, not just for the VFW but for America, in speaking for national security and for a just peace, all of those things that we, as Americans, believe in. That is why I congratulate all of these award winners in the Voice of Democracy program in speaking as you have for America for those deepest things that we believe in, at a time when sometimes America seems to be divided, divided about our problems at home and our problems abroad. It is well to be reminded of some very great fundamental principles that we believe in. You have been doing that. We thank you for it. We thank you also for reminding us that American youth has a lot of character, and we depend on you for the future. And now a word about the man who is receiving an award that for only the past half a dozen years has been given on alternate years to a Congressman or to a Senator by the VFW at this dinner.
  • In 1960, I ran for President the first time. Incidentally, I could see some of you with the political glint in your eyes as I went down there. Some of you may never be able to get to run the first time. But in any event, I remember when I ran the first time. I didn't quite make it. And I also remember that the chairman of the other party was the honored guest tonight, Senator Jackson of Washington. I was just thinking tonight as I shook his hand and was speaking about this award we are going to present: You know, suppose he had been chairman in 1968, I might not be President today. I, of course, am a Republican. Senator Jackson is a Democrat. But I can say to you what I said to the Congress a few weeks ago. And I say this particularly to all the young people who are here who are receiving these awards. When the great issues of the defense of America are involved--the security of America, the fate of our men who are fighting for America abroad--when the issues of peace and freedom are involved, when these issues are involved, we are not Democrats; we are not Republicans; we are Americans. That is what we are. And it is in that spirit that I, as President of the United States and also as a comrade and as a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, am very proud tonight on behalf of your Commander and of this organization to present the Congressional Award to a man who in his public life has spoken not as a partisan, but as an American, a man who understands national defense and is not afraid to speak out for it, a man who understands national security and is not afraid to speak out for it, a man who understands the threat to peace and freedom in the world as well as any man that I know, a man who is a great credit not only to his party but more important, a credit to the United States of America: Senator Jackson of the State of Washington.

Address to the Nation on Progress Toward Peace in Vietnam (April 1970)

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President Nixon's address on Vietnam in the Western White House. (April 20, 1970). Source: Address to the Nation on Progress Toward Peace in Vietnam, The American Presidency Project.
  • Good evening, my fellow Americans: I have requested this television and radio time tonight to give you a progress report on our plan to bring a just peace to Vietnam. When I first outlined our program last June, I stated that the rate of American withdrawals from Vietnam would depend on three criteria: progress in the training of the South Vietnamese, progress in the Paris negotiations, and the level of enemy activity. Tonight I am pleased to report that progress in training and equipping South Vietnamese forces has substantially exceeded our original expectations last June. Very significant advances have also been made in pacification. Although we recognize that problems remain, these are encouraging trends. However, I must report with regret that no progress has taken place on the negotiating front. The enemy still demands that we unilaterally and unconditionally withdraw all American forces, that in the process we overthrow the elected Government of South Vietnam, and that the United States accept a political settlement that would have the practical consequence of the forcible imposition of a Communist government upon the people of South Vietnam. That would mean humiliation and defeat for the United States. This we cannot and will not accept.
  • Let me now turn to the third criteria for troop withdrawals--the level of enemy activity. In several areas since December, that level has substantially increased. In recent months Hanoi has sent thousands more of their soldiers to launch new offensives in neutral Laos in violation of the Geneva Accords of 1969 to which they were signatories. South of Laos, almost 40,000 Communist troops are now conducting overt aggression against Cambodia, a small neutralist country that the Communists have used for years as a base for attack upon South Vietnam in violation of the Geneva Accords of 1954 to which they were also signatories. This follows the consistent pattern of North Vietnamese aggression in Indochina. During the past 8 years they have sent tens of thousands of troops into all three countries of the peninsula and across every single common border. Men and supplies continue to pour down the Ho Chi Minh Trail; and in the past 2 weeks, the Communists have stepped up their attacks upon allied forces in South Vietnam. However, despite this new enemy activity, there has been an overall decline in enemy force levels in South Vietnam since December. As the enemy force levels have declined and as the South Vietnamese have assumed more of the burden of battle, American casualties have declined. I am glad to be able to report tonight that in the first 3 months of 1970, the number of Americans killed in action dropped to the lowest first quarter level in 5 years.
  • In June, a year ago, when we began troop withdrawals, we did so on a "cut and try" basis--with no certainty that the program would be successful. In June we announced withdrawal of 25,000 American troops; in September another 35,000 and then in December 50,000 more. These withdrawals have now been completed and as of April 15, a total of 115,500 men have returned home from Vietnam. We have now reached a point where we can confidently move from a period of "cut and try" to a longer-range program for the replacement of Americans by South Vietnamese troops. I am, therefore, tonight announcing plans for the withdrawal of an additional 150,000 American troops to be completed during the spring of next year. This will bring a total reduction of 265,500 men in our Armed Forces in Vietnam below the level that existed when we took office 15 months ago. The timing and pace of these new withdrawals within the overall schedule will be determined by our best judgment of the current military and diplomatic situation. This far-reaching decision was made after consultation with our commanders in the field, and it has the approval of the Government of South Vietnam. Now, viewed against the enemy's escalation in Laos and Cambodia, and in view of the stepped-up attacks this month in South Vietnam, this decision clearly involves risks. But I again remind the leaders of North Vietnam that while we are taking these risks for peace, they will be taking grave risks should they attempt to use the occasion to jeopardize the security of our remaining forces in Vietnam by increased military action in Vietnam, in Cambodia, or in Laos. I repeat what I said November 3d and December 15th. If I conclude that increased enemy action jeopardizes our remaining forces in Vietnam, I shall not hesitate to take strong and effective measures to deal with that situation.
  • My responsibility as Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces is for the safety of our men, and I shall meet that responsibility. The decision I have announced tonight to withdraw 150,000 more men over the next year is based entirely on the progress of our Vietnamization program. There is a better, shorter path to peace--through negotiations. We shall withdraw more than 150,000 over the next year if we make progress at the negotiating front. Had the other side responded positively at Paris to our offer of May 14 last year, most American and foreign troops would have left South Vietnam by now. A political settlement is the heart of the matter. That is what the fighting in Indochina has been about over the past 30 years. Now, we have noted with interest the recent statement by Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Malik concerning a possible new Geneva conference on Indochina. We do not yet know the full implications of this statement. It is in the spirit of the letters I wrote on April 7, to signatories of the 1962 Geneva Accords urging consultations and observance of the Accords. We have consistently said we were willing to explore any reasonable path to peace. We are in the process of exploring this one. But whatever the fate of this particular move we are ready for a settlement fair to everyone.
  • Let me briefly review for you the principles that govern our view of a just political settlement. First, our overriding objective is a political solution that reflects the will of the South Vietnamese people and allows them to determine their future without outside interference. I again reaffirm this Government's acceptance of eventual, total withdrawal of American troops. In turn, we must see the permanent withdrawal of all North Vietnamese troops and be given reasonable assurances that they will not return. Second, a fair political solution should reflect the existing relationship of political forces within South Vietnam. We recognize the complexity of shaping machinery that would fairly apportion political power in South Vietnam. We are flexible; we have offered nothing on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. And third, we will abide by the outcome of the political process agreed upon. President Thieu and I have repeatedly stated our willingness to accept the free decision of the South Vietnamese people. But we will not agree to the arrogant demand that the elected leaders of the Government of Vietnam be overthrown before real negotiations begin.
  • Let me briefly review the record of our efforts to end the war in Vietnam through negotiations. We were told repeatedly in the past that our adversaries would negotiate seriously if only we stopped the bombing of North Vietnam; if only we began withdrawing our forces from South Vietnam; if only we dealt with the National Liberation Front as one of the parties to the negotiations; if only we would agree in principle to removal of all of our forces from Vietnam. We have taken all these steps. The United States, over a year and a half ago, stopped all bombing of North Vietnam. Long ago we agreed to negotiate with the National Liberation Front as one of the parties. We have already withdrawn 115,500 American troops. Tonight I have announced a decision to reduce American force levels by a quarter of a million men from what they were 15 months ago. We have offered repeatedly to withdraw all of our troops if the North Vietnamese would withdraw theirs. We have taken risks for peace that every fair and objective man can readily recognize. And still there is no progress at the negotiating table. It is Hanoi and Hanoi alone that stands today blocking the path to a just peace for all the peoples of Southeast Asia.
  • When our astronauts returned safely to earth last Friday, the whole world rejoiced with us. We could have had no more eloquent demonstration of a profound truth--that the greatest force working for peace in the world today is the fact that men and women everywhere, regardless of differences in race, religion, nationality, or political philosophy, value the life of a human being. We were as one as we thought of those brave men, their wives, their children, their parents. The death of a single man in war, whether he is an American, a South Vietnamese, a Vietcong, or a North Vietnamese, is a human tragedy. That is why we want to end this war and achieve a just peace. We call upon our adversaries to join us in working at the conference table toward that goal. No Presidential statement on Vietnam would be complete without an expression of our concern for the fate of the American prisoners of war. The callous exploitation of the anxieties and anguish of the parents, the wives, the children of these brave men, as negotiating pawns, is an unforgivable breach of the elementary rules of conduct between civilized peoples. We shall continue to make every possible effort to get Hanoi to provide information on the whereabouts of all prisoners, to allow them to communicate with their families, to permit inspection of prisoners-of-war camps, and to provide for the early release of at least the sick and the wounded. My fellow Americans, 5 years ago American combat troops were first sent to Vietnam. The war since that time has been the longest and one of the most costly and difficult conflicts in our history.
  • The decision I have announced tonight means that we finally have in sight the just peace we are seeking. We can now say with confidence that pacification is succeeding. We can now say with confidence that the South Vietnamese can develop the capability for their own defense. And we can say with confidence that all American combat forces can and will be withdrawn. I could not make these statements tonight had it not been for the dedication, the bravery, the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of young men who have served in Vietnam. Nor could I have made it had it not been for the perseverance of millions of Americans at home. When men write the history of this Nation, they will record that no people in the annals of time made greater sacrifices in a more selfless cause than the American people sacrificed for the right of 18 million people in a faraway land to avoid the imposition of Communist rule against their will and for the right of those people to determine their own future free of outside interference. The enemy has failed to win the war in Vietnam because of three basic errors in their strategy. They thought they could win a military victory. They have failed to do so. They thought they could win politically in South Vietnam. They have failed to do so. They thought they could win politically in the United States. This proved to be their most fatal miscalculation. In this great free country of ours, we debate--we disagree, sometimes violently, but the mistake the totalitarians make over and over again is to conclude that debate in a free country is proof of weakness. We are not a weak people. We are a strong people. America has never been defeated in the proud 190-year history of this country, and we shall not be defeated in Vietnam. Tonight I want to thank the American people for the support you have given so generously to the cause of a just peace in Vietnam. It is your steadiness and your stamina that the leaders of North Vietnam are watching tonight. It is these qualities, as much as any proposals, that will bring them to negotiate. It is America's resolve, as well as America's reasonableness, that will achieve our goal of a just peace in Vietnam and strengthen the foundations of a just and lasting peace in the Pacific and throughout the world. Thank you and good night.

Statement Announcing Extensions of Welfare Reform Proposals (June 1970)

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President Nixon's proposed amendments to the Family Assistance Act of 1970. (June 10, 1970). Source: Statement Announcing Extensions of Welfare Reform Proposals, The American Presidency Project.
  • Past programs to aid the poor have failed. They have degraded the poor and defrauded the taxpayer. The family assistance plan represents the most comprehensive and far-reaching effort to reform social welfare in nearly. four decades. Today, I am announcing significant extensions of the administration's welfare reform proposals. The family assistance plan is based on four fundamental principles: Strong incentives to encourage work and training; Equity to provide assistance to working poor families; Respect for individual choice and family responsibility; and administrative efficiency to earn the trust of the taxpayer. Administration officials have worked recently to identify ways to extend the principles of this income strategy to other domestic programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, and public housing. On the basis of this review, I have made my decision to propose basic amendments to the Family Assistance Act of 1970.
  • The most important proposal I make today is to reform the Medicaid program. Medicaid is plagued by serious faults. Costs are mounting beyond reason. Services vary considerably from State to State. Benefits are only remotely related to family resources. Eligibility may terminate abruptly as a family moves off often losing more in medical benefits than it gains in income. In short--just like the existing welfare system--Medicaid is inefficient, inequitably excludes the working poor, and often provides an incentive for people to stay on welfare. I will propose legislation at the beginning of the next Congress to establish a family health insurance program for all poor families with children. This insurance would provide a comprehensive package of health services, including both hospital and outpatient care. Final decisions on the specifications of the family health insurance proposal must await further review by the new Domestic Council. We are satisfied that the basic principles will work. This proposal will constitute the second legislative stage of the administration's income strategy against poverty.
  • The administration has already made extensive changes in the food stamp program to improve benefits, make them more equitable, and help even the very poorest families to receive assistance. We will propose that the Congress build on these executive reforms to integrate food stamps with family assistance and other income support programs. Therefore, I plan to: Submit a reorganization plan at the beginning of the next Congress to transfer the food stamp program from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; Make it possible for a family to "check off" its food stamp purchase and receive its stamp allotment automatically with its family assistance check; and revise the food stamp price schedule to make it rise evenly with increases in income.
  • Present subsidized housing programs are marked by inconsistencies and inequities. Many families pay the same rent despite wide differences in income. A small increase in earnings may force the family to move, losing much more housing assistance than is gained in income. We have proposed a solution to many of these problems in the Housing Act of 1970. Rents would vary directly with income. A family would not be forced to move at some arbitrary income limit. We will offer this provision of the Housing Act to the Senate Finance Committee for its consideration.
  • In other amendments, we are proposing significant changes in social services for the poor. This proposal has been developed in recent months and will be ready for submission to the Congress next week. These amendments will: Encourage accountability and program results; Strengthen the role of Governors, mayors, and county executives; Seek to eliminate duplication and overlap.
  • Other administration amendments to the Family Assistance Act make important changes. For example: Phasing out the special program for unemployed fathers, thus eliminating one of the most serious disincentives noted by the Senate Finance Committee; Limiting the welfare burden of the States by placing a ceiling on their financial obligations under the program; Strengthening the work requirement; and reducing areas of administrative discretion. Nowhere has the failure of government been more tragically apparent in past years than in its efforts to help the poor. The 91st Congress has an historic but rapidly vanishing opportunity to reverse that record by enacting the Family Assistance Act of 1970. Let there be no mistake about this administration's total commitment to passage of this legislative milestone this year.

Tape transcripts (1971)

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  • I have the greatest affection for them but I know they're not going to make it for 500 years. They aren't. You know it, too. The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they're dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don't live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like.
  • "Archie's Guys." Archie is sitting here with his hippie son-in-law, married to the screwball daughter. The son-in-law apparently goes both ways. This guy. He's obviously queer — wears an ascot — but not offensively so. Very clever. Uses nice language. Shows pictures of his parents. And so Arch goes down to the bar. Sees his best friend, who used to play professional football. Virile, strong, this and that. Then the fairy comes into the bar. I don't mind the homosexuality. I understand it. [...] Nevertheless, goddamn, I don't think you glorify it on public television, homosexuality, even more than you glorify whores. We all know we have weaknesses. But, goddammit, what do you think that does to kids? You know what happened to the Greeks! Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo. We all know that. So was Socrates.
    • 14 seconds of this tape were censored for privacy reasons, likely to protect the identity of closeted individuals Nixon may have named.
  • You know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags. Neither in a public way. You know what happened to the popes? They were layin' the nuns; that's been goin' on for years, centuries. But the Catholic Church went to hell three or four centuries ago. It was homosexual, and it had to be cleaned out. That's what's happened to Britain. It happened earlier to France. Let's look at the strong societies. The Russians. Goddamn, they root 'em out. They don't let 'em around at all. I don't know what they do with them. Look at this country. You think the Russians allow dope? Homosexuality, dope, immorality, are the enemies of strong societies. That's why the Communists and left-wingers are clinging to one another. They're trying to destroy us. I know Moynihan will disagree with this, [Attorney General John] Mitchell will, and Garment will. But, goddamn, we have to stand up to this.
  • But it's not just the ratty part of town. The upper class in San Francisco is that way. The Bohemian Grove, which I attend from time to time — it is the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine, with that San Francisco crowd. I can't shake hands with anybody from San Francisco. Decorators. They got to do something. But we don't have to glorify it. You know one of the reasons fashions have made women look so terrible is because the goddamned designers hate women. Designers taking it out on the women. Now they're trying to get some more sexy things coming on again.
    • Tapes from 1971 as presented in "All the Philosopher King's Men" by James Warren in Harper's Magazine (February 2000)
  • 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?

They're Born That Way (1971)

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Audio tape files (April 28, 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.
  • They can do it. Just leave them alone. That's a lifestyle I don't want to touch.

Tape transcripts (1972)

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Remarks on Being Reelected (1972)

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

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Second Inaugural Address (1973)

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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.
Richard Nixon's Second Inaugural Address
  • 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)

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"Address to the Nation About the Watergate Investigations" (April 30, 1973) · Nixon's First Watergate Speech. (April 30, 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.
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwQMpSxRPvc Video at YouTube[
  • In all the decisions I have made in my public life, I have always tried to do what was best for the Nation. Throughout the long and difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.
    In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.
    But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged.
    I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interest of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations.
  • From the discussions I have had with Congressional and other leaders, I have concluded that because of the Watergate matter I might not have the support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the Nation would require.
    I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interest of America first.
    America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad.
    To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.
    Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.
  • In passing this office to the Vice President, I also do so with the profound sense of the weight of responsibility that will fall on his shoulders tomorrow and, therefore, of the understanding, the patience, the cooperation he will need from all Americans.
    As he assumes that responsibility, he will deserve the help and the support of all of us. As we look to the future, the first essential is to begin healing the wounds of this Nation, to put the bitterness and divisions of the recent past behind us, and to rediscover those shared ideals that lie at the heart of our strength and unity as a great and as a free people.
    By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.
    I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.
    To those who have stood with me during these past difficult months, to my family, my friends, to many others who joined in supporting my cause because they believed it was right, I will be eternally grateful for your support.
    And to those who have not felt able to give me your support, let me say I leave with no bitterness toward those who have opposed me, because all of us, in the final analysis, have been concerned with the good of the country, however our judgments might differ.
    So, let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Americans.
  • I shall leave this office with regret at not completing my term, but with gratitude for the privilege of serving as your President for the past 5 1/2 years. These years have been a momentous time in the history of our Nation and the world. They have been a time of achievement in which we can all be proud, achievements that represent the shared efforts of the Administration, the Congress, and the people.
    But the challenges ahead are equally great, and they, too, will require the support and the efforts of the Congress and the people working in cooperation with the new Administration.
    We have unlocked the doors that for a quarter of a century stood between the United States and the People's Republic of China.
    We must now ensure that the one quarter of the world's people who live in the People's Republic of China will be and remain not our enemies but our friends.
  • Together with the Soviet Union we have made the crucial breakthroughs that have begun the process of limiting nuclear arms. But we must set as our goal not just limiting but reducing and finally destroying these terrible weapons so that they cannot destroy civilization and so that the threat of nuclear war will no longer hang over the world and the people.
    We have opened the new relation with the Soviet Union. We must continue to develop and expand that new relationship so that the two strongest nations of the world will live together in cooperation rather than confrontation.
  • For more than a quarter of a century in public life I have shared in the turbulent history of this era. I have fought for what I believed in. I have tried to the best of my ability to discharge those duties and meet those responsibilities that were entrusted to me.
  • I shall continue to work for the great causes to which I have been dedicated throughout my years as a Congressman, a Senator, a Vice President, and President, the cause of peace not just for America but among all nations, prosperity, justice, and opportunity for all of our people.
    There is one cause above all to which I have been devoted and to which I shall always be devoted for as long as I live.
  • When I first took the oath of office as President 5 1/2 years ago, I made this sacred commitment, to "consecrate my office, my energies, and all the wisdom I can summon to the cause of peace among nations."
    I have done my very best in all the days since to be true to that pledge. As a result of these efforts, I am confident that the world is a safer place today, not only for the people of America but for the people of all nations, and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than dying in war.
    This, more than anything, is what I hoped to achieve when I sought the Presidency. This, more than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy to you, to our country, as I leave the Presidency.
    To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every American. In leaving it, I do so with this prayer: May God's grace be with you in all the days ahead.

1980s

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  • 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).

1990s

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  • 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)

2000s

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  • 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.
    • 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]

Attributed

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  • I could leave this room and in 25 minutes, 70 million people would be dead.

Beyond Peace (1994)

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Quotes about Nixon

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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
 
At this point, President Harding, showing the kind of class that Richard Nixon can only dream about, died. ~ Dave Barry
 
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
 
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
 
Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again ~ Billy Joel
 
Do you realize the responsibility I carry? I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House. ~ John F. Kennedy
 
Like Nixon, Trump – motivated by hate and vengeance – was intent on using the powers and authority of the presidency to pervert what he was obliged to protect: the US Constitution. Like Nixon, Trump treated Congress and the constitution as inconveniences to his dangerous, disfiguring will and parochial designs. Like Nixon, Trump was more potentate than president. Like Nixon, Trump orchestrated a pervasive assault on the constitution, convinced that the president and his enablers were above the law, safe from the retributive arm of the law. Like Nixon, Trump was impeached for just cause – in his disgraceful case, twice. And, like Nixon, Trump has escaped the dock. That is the test and challenge confronting America today. ~ Andrew Mitrovica
 
Richard Nixon was an evil man--evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it. He was utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Nobody trusted him--except maybe the Stalinist Chinese, and honest historians will remember him mainly as a rat who kept scrambling to get back on the ship. ~ Hunter S. Thompson
 
I've been called worse things by better people. ~ Pierre Trudeau
 
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
  • As far as I'm concerned, ending this dirty, immoral war is the most urgent thing this Congress has to do. President Nixon, with his phony "Vietnamization" schemes, is nothing but a wind-up, wind-down mechanical man who thinks he's fooling the American people. He and his pals in the Pentagon are full of lies and deceptions; they manipulate words as if they were playing parlor games instead of dealing in human suffering. They're making us live through a B-movie rerun of the Johnson script, which promised "no wider war" but brought just that. Can you imagine telling us to rejoice because only forty American kids a week are getting killed over there now? This is going to be a no-hands war, Nixon says, and so what if it goes on? No ground troops, he says. Just hundreds of bombers dropping thousands of bombs on innocent villagers. Very clean, isn't it? Well, if he thinks he's going to get away with it, he's nuts. Whether he knows it or not, the people are against him. They've had it. And so have I.
    • Bella Abzug Bella!: Ms. Abzug Goes to Washington (1972)
  • We got some characteristic reaction from the White House on the Women's Caucus. Secretary of State Rogers brought the subject up when he and Nixon were getting their pictures taken with Henry Kissinger, who's just back from a "fact-finding" trip to Paris. Kissinger, smiling, said he heard Gloria Steinem was at the Women's Caucus. "Who's that?" the President asked. (He doesn't read the papers, so how would he know?) "That's Henry's old girlfriend," Mr. Rogers said jokingly. Then Rogers mentioned a photograph of me, Friedan, Steinem and Chisholm, which one of the wire services had circulated. "What did it look like?" Nixon asked. "Like a burlesque," said Rogers. "What's wrong with that?" asked Nixon. Isn't that something? Obviously, these guys are accustomed to viewing women in terms of flesh shows. It's insulting, I must say, but hardly surprising.
    • Bella Abzug Bella!: Ms. Abzug Goes to Washington (1972)
  • the truth, after all, is that the United States was the richest country and the dominant power after the end of World War II, and that today, a mere quarter of a century later, Mr. Nixon's metaphor of the "pitiful, helpless giant" is an uncomfortably apt description of "the mightiest country on earth."
  • 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.
  • The presence of a man like Nixon in the White House is an unmitigated disaster, not only for black people in America, but for all the white hopes too, because it confirms, and makes official, and it seals an attitude that is essentially a racist attitude, but it is also, on a most sinister level, an attitude which is simply designed to turn the clock back; to hold back the sea. And you know, that can't be done. What people in power never understand is what people out of power are determined to do, and what people out of power are determined to do is, first of all, to survive you; to withstand you; and if they have to, kill you. And they have the advantage, because they have nothing to lose. The will of the American people, they believe, is like the voice of God. Well, the voice of God spoke out a couple of years ago, and put Nixon in the White House, and put Ronald Reagan in the governor's mansion, and it endures Spiro T. Agnew. And the effect on the American people of the presence of such men in high office is that they are justified in their bigotry, they are confirmed in their ignorance, they are all smaller or greater John Waynes.
  • 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
  • Thus Obama took office under roughly the same political and economic circumstances that Nixon did in 1968 except in a mirror opposite way. Instead of being forced to manage a slew of new liberal spending programs, as Nixon did, Obama had to cope with a revenue structure that had been decimated by Republicans. Liberals hoped that Obama would overturn conservative policies and launch a new era of government activism. Although Republicans routinely accuse him of being a socialist, an honest examination of his presidency must conclude that he has in fact been moderately conservative to exactly the same degree that Nixon was moderately liberal.
  • Nixon and Kissinger bear responsibility for a significant complicity in the slaughter of the Bengalis. This overlooked episode deserves to be a defining part of their historical reputations. But although Nixon and Kissinger have hardly been neglected by history, this major incident has largely been whitewashed out of their legacy—and not by accident. Kissinger began telling demonstrable falsehoods about the administration’s record just two weeks into the crisis, and has not stopped distorting since. Nixon and Kissinger, in their vigorous efforts after Watergate to rehabilitate their own respectability as foreign policy wizards, have left us a farrago of distortions, half-truths, and outright lies about their policy toward the Bengali atrocities... For all the very real flaws of human rights politics, Nixon and Kissinger’s support of a military dictatorship engaged in mass murder is a reminder of what the world can easily look like without any concern for the pain of distant strangers.
    • G. J. Bass (2014). The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide
  • 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.
  • Richard Nixon was a really, really bad guy. It’s worth noting this fact because Nixon has become a kind of domestic analogue to Hitler, invoked as a comparison by everybody, all the time — not just conservatives but also liberals, including a good chunk of Hollywood. Nixon’s administration ordered a break-in to the headquarters of the opposition party and then destroyed evidence of the crime. He ordered the firebombing of the Brookings Institution! If you find yourself tempted to compare a president you don’t like to Nixon, ask yourself, Is this pretty much how I’d react if he had a gang of goons break into the opposition party’s headquarters or told his subordinates to destroy the American Enterprise Institute? If not, you probably need a new comparison.
  • How can we narrow the gap between the wealthy and the poor in this country? What concrete steps can be taken now to abolish poverty in America? There are a number of things that President Nixon could do immediately, if he wanted to. In terms of our own grape pickers' strike, he could tell the Pentagon to stop shipping extraordinary amounts of grapes to Vietnam-the Government's most obvious tool in its attempt to break our strike. And he could improve the lot of all the farmworkers in the Southwest-easily, under existing legislation-by putting an end to the importing and exploitation of cheap foreign labor.
    • Cesar Chavez, "Sharing the Wealth" 1970 essay for Playboy, anthologized in An Organizer’s Tale (2008)
  • The cost of living is first on all of our minds this important year. Yet the President [Nixon] has decided that it is a year for travel. I ask–when is he going to make a "Trip to Peking" in regard to the basic problems facing us in the United States this year? He is willing to go halfway 'round the world--yet he doesn't have time to walk ten blocks from the White House in Washington and look at the lives people are living under Phase II. I know a lot of Americans who would be glad to settle for better bus service from their home to their jobs, or from poor neighborhoods to areas of the city where jobs are to be found. Repeated studies of riots in urban ghettos show that lack of adequate transportation was a big factor in the discontent and bitterness which caused riot conditions to erupt, but President Nixon's answer is to build a space shuttle or an SST with precious public funds, to serve a tiny elite of the population or to stimulate the economy of a state or region by creating massive and useless technological publicworks projects.
    • Shirley Chisholm, Speech at Newark College of Engineering (1972) From Voices of Multicultural America: Notable Speeches Delivered by African, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans, 1790-1995 (1995).
  • Mr. Nixon had said things like this: "If our cities are to be livable for the next generation, we can delay no long. er in launching new approaches to the problems that beset them and to the tensions that tear them apart." And he said, "When you cut expenditures for education, what you are doing is shortchanging the American future.” But frankly. I have never cared too much what people say. What I am interested in is what they do.
    • Shirley Chisholm, Speech in Congress (1969) From Voices of Multicultural America: Notable Speeches Delivered by African, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans, 1790-1995 (1995).
  • 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.
  • Nixon is no longer president, and his crimes were so grave that no one is likely now to worry very much any more about the details of his own legal philosophy. Nevertheless in what follows I shall use the name 'Nixon' to refer, not to Nixon, but to any politician holding the set of attitudes about the Supreme Court that he made explicit in his political campaigns. There was, fortunately, only one real Nixon, but there are, in the special sense in which I use the name, many Nixons.
  • 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.
  • I had a strange, brief flirtation with the right. I voted for Richard Nixon. But then Nixon was a hero to a lot of Native people. Despite everything else, he was one of the first presidents to understand anything about American Indians. He effectively ended the policy of termination and set our Nations on the course of self-determination. That had a galvanizing effect in Indian country.
  • President Nixon had come into office in January, 1969, determined to extricate the United States from the Vietnam War, to regain the initiative in the Cold War, and to restore the authority of government at home. As the November, 1972, election campaign drew to a close, he could credibly claim to have achieved the first two objectives, and to be well on the way toward accomplishing the third. A peace settlement with North Vietnam was, as Kissinger, put it, "at hand." A slow but steady withdrawal of American forces from South Vietnam, together with the elimination of the military draft, had taken the steam out of domestic anti-war protests. And with his "opening" to China, Nixon had placed the United States in the enviable position of being able to play off its Cold War adversaries against one another. He had, earlier that year, become the first American president to visit both Beijing and Moscow. He could exert "leverage"—always a good thing to have in international relations—by "tilting" as needed toward the Soviet Union or China, who were by then so hostile to one another that they competed for Washington's favor. It was a performance worthy of Metternich, Castlereagh, and Bismarck, the great grand strategists that Kissinger, in his role as a historian, had written about, and had so admired.
  • Where Nixon went wrong was not in his use of secrecy to conduct foreign policydiplomacy had always required that—but in failing to distinguish between actions he could have justified if exposed and those he could never have justified. Americans excused the lies Eisenhower and Kennedy told because the operations they covered up turned out to be defensible when uncovered. So too did the methods by which Nixon brought about the China opening, the SALT agreement, and the Vietnam cease-fire: the results, in those instances, made reliance on secrecy, even deception, seem reasonable. But what about the secret bombing of a sovereign state? Or the attempted overthrow of a democratically elected government? Or the bugging of American citizens without legal authorization? Or burglaries carried out with presidential authorization? Or the organization of a conspiracy, inside the White House itself, to hide what had happened? Nixon allowed all of this during his first term; his reliance on secrecy became so compulsive that he employed that tactic in situations for which there could never be a plausible justification. So when plausible denial was no longer possible—in large part because Nixon, with his secret Oval Office taping system, had even bugged himself—a constitutional crisis became unavoidable.
  • 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.
  • Nixon's a fool and he comes out with this stuff so heavily. What happens? China was admitted to the United Nations. And what happens? Just because some delegates clapped and cheered in the United Nations, Nixon comes out with a statement and he says that every one of those countries who clapped and cheered, we're gonna cut off your economic aid. That's what he said, I read that, check it out. I mean, he's so blatant with this stuff. That's what makes the United States such a hated country in the world. Wherever you go among the people of the world, the United States government is hated. It's that kind of behavior that's caused so much misery and oppression in the world.
  • Check out Hitler, what did Hitler say to the German people in the middle of depression? What did he say were the causes of the problem in German? He said it was the Jews, he said it was the communists, and he said it was the people who sold out in the World War 1. Those were the three forces responsible for the downfall of Germany. What are Nixon and the other neo-fascists saying nowadays? What is the cause of the crisis that we have in our country and the United States and Puerto Rico and Hawaii? What are the causes? Well, it's the communists, it's the Third World people instead of the Jews this time, and it's the peace people. Same lines. Fascism always has the same lines. Fascism is a dictatorship, a capitalistic dictatorship. When things fall apart they started a dictatorship.
  • The Nixon/Obama parallels are instructive. Richard Nixon was, and Barack Obama is, a loner with many admirers and few friends. Both preferred to speak to the electorate in heavily scripted settings. Both were lawyers. Both were also charged — nearly every week — with violating the Constitution. Both tolerated substantial cuts in U.S. military spending while inflating social-welfare and environmental obligations. And both did whatever they had to do to appeal to a consistent enemy of the United States and its key allies.
  • In 1969 — President Nixon’s first year — the Soviet Union proposed that the U.S. and U.S.S.R conspire to eliminate Mainland China’s nuclear forces. Nixon said back to the Kremlin: Don’t even think about it. In 2009 — President Obama’s first year — a fraudulent presidential election kept Iran’s extreme Islamists in power. Thousands took to the streets. Obama gave them zero support. Forty years apart, Nixon and later Obama sent early and strong signals: "Count on the new guy to head off anything that will rock your boat…."
  • 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
  • As President Nixon repeatedly shot down the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, DIA mobilized, and eighty activists shut down Madison Avenue to protest his veto.
  • 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
  • Perceptions of McGovern’s 1972 opponent have been heavily influenced by Nixon’s subsequent disgrace and resignation from office. But in 1972 itself, Nixon was brilliant, in a devious, unprincipled sort of way. He had already defied conservative orthodoxy by imposing wage and price controls (1971) and visiting the previously forbidden kingdom of the People’s Republic of China (a maneuver so audacious that Nixon-to-China became a general term for politicians going sharply against type). Nixon’s campaign relentlessly appealed to Democratic constituencies, especially labor (the AFL-CIO was neutral in a presidential general election for the first time ever), southern white voters (a Democrats-for-Nixon organization was headed by LBJ crony John Connally), and Catholics. He falsely promised imminent peace in Vietnam and used fiscal stimulus to pump up the economy (helping to create later inflation that would bedevil his successors). He gave every appearance of being a very successful president, disguising the moral rot within his White House. His job-approval ratings in 1972 breached 60 percent in May and were at 62 percent on Election Day. Trump has never been within hailing distance of this sort of popularity, and has never shown any interest, much less ability, in appealing beyond his electoral base.
  • 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.
  • Nixon's technique was to make grand accusations, provide little proof and keep his opponent on the defensive. In this he succeeded brilliantly.
  • Revolutionary Chicanas want the liberation of our people and of all oppressed peoples. We do not want to become page-girls in President Richard Nixon's Congress the most recent bone tossed to "women's liberation."
  • 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.
  • Only a Republican, perhaps only a Nixon, could have made this break and gotten away with it.
  • Meanwhile, Trump revelled in the mob. He exalted in the mob, hoping that his shock troops would succeed where Pence had failed: prevent Congress from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to certify the election of the new and real president. Again, Trump was the fifth column. If Richard Nixon had an illegitimate heir – it would be Donald Trump. Like Nixon, Trump – motivated by hate and vengeance – was intent on using the powers and authority of the presidency to pervert what he was obliged to protect: the US Constitution. Like Nixon, Trump treated Congress and the constitution as inconveniences to his dangerous, disfiguring will and parochial designs. Like Nixon, Trump was more potentate than president. Like Nixon, Trump orchestrated a pervasive assault on the constitution, convinced that the president and his enablers were above the law, safe from the retributive arm of the law. Like Nixon, Trump was impeached for just cause – in his disgraceful case, twice. And, like Nixon, Trump has escaped the dock. That is the test and challenge confronting America today.
  • Had Richard Nixon not resigned, he would certainly have been impeached by the House and most likely convicted by the Senate. Peter Rodino and John Doar had been essentially right about the preconditions for a successful presidential impeachment: There had to be a commonly accepted baseline of facts, an atmosphere of trust among the members of the House Judiciary Committee, and a disciplined commitment by the committee chair and the inquiry staff to bipartisanship. But those were only the preconditions. Even still, Richard Nixon very nearly finished his second term. His impeachment holds worrisome lessons for future Congresses. Law enforcement and the judiciary had evidence of Nixon’s criminal behavior eight months before he left office, and yet there was no predictable way to ensure his removal. Impeachment is a political process, not a legal one, and by hampering access to information while encouraging his defenders to demand a very high level of proof of direct presidential misconduct, Nixon almost stymied that process. But Nixon had made tapes, and the public and Congress learned about those tapes before he could destroy them. Fortunately for the nation, Richard Nixon could never figure out how to untangle himself from those tapes. Equally fortunate for the nation was the fact that in 1974 a group of elected officials, from both parties, were prepared to take political, and even personal, risks to follow that evidence wherever it led for the sake of a Constitution they all revered.
 
But Trump is not Nixon; he is, at best, a smaller, weaker, more vacuous version. Unlike Trump, Nixon had a real worldview — a vision of a world with a restored balanced of power and subsequently stable, peaceful relations between the great powers. Nixon was determined to see his vision through and formed an administration built to achieve that goal. Trump, however, believes only in himself, hamstringing efforts by his administration to achieve lasting results. ~ Keith Naughton
  • Richard Nixon was the last president who faced anything like the legal jeopardy former President Trump is facing — plus a frothing electronic lynch mob. The end game for both Nixon and Trump has some eerie similarities. Detested by the media, the New York-Washington elites and the left, both Nixon and Trump were subject to a nonstop campaign to destroy their administrations and their futures. Both played off the haters for political gain. Both ended up making severe errors in judgment that brought them down. Trump even managed to get caught on tape incriminating himself. But Trump is not Nixon; he is, at best, a smaller, weaker, more vacuous version. Unlike Trump, Nixon had a real worldview — a vision of a world with a restored balanced of power and subsequently stable, peaceful relations between the great powers. Nixon was determined to see his vision through and formed an administration built to achieve that goal. Trump, however, believes only in himself, hamstringing efforts by his administration to achieve lasting results.
  • Nixon accomplished much both in domestic and foreign policy, in spite of facing Democratic majorities in Congress. Nixon initiated relations with China (a relationship botched by future presidents), negotiated the first nuclear arms limitation treaty and extricated (imperfectly) the nation from its multi-decade misadventure in Vietnam. Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), increased aid to people with disabilities and worked to devolve power to the states. Trump’s foreign policy is, at best, a draw. While the Abraham Accords and a few trade deals were completed, he failed to get out of Afghanistan and got ripped off by China. That he cut through the policy inertia to move toward leaving Afghanistan is to his great credit. But he could not close the deal — something Nixon would never have let fall through the cracks. His domestic policy accomplishments included a tax cut and a raft of executive orders that his successor wiped out within weeks of his inauguration. And Trump faced far less adversity that Nixon. Nixon had to deal with inflation sparked by Lyndon Johnson’s spending and Vietnam escalation, the subsequent collapse of the Bretton Woods monetary system, war in the Middle East and an energy crisis caused by decades of increasing dependence on imported oil. Trump entered office with low inflation and low unemployment. He faced one major crisis in the COVID epidemic and, unsurprisingly, fumbled it badly. Trump’s hesitating, vacillating response ended up dooming his reelection. In times of crisis, the American people tend to rally around their president, but that only lasts as long as the president demonstrates leadership and determination. Trump only demonstrated confusion, indecision and doubt.
 
Trump is just a shadow of what Nixon was as a president and a politician, but the damage he is causing Republicans and conservatives is exponentially greater than anything Nixon ever did. ~ Keith Naughton
  • Even in scandal, Trump does not compare. The sum of misdeeds by the Nixon administration under the heading of “Watergate” was sprawling and complex. But for a botched burglary, they might have gotten away with it (and to be fair, Nixon’s predecessors all abused the power of the presidency for political aims, just not as extensively as Nixon). Meanwhile, Trump is getting caught for stashing classified documents in his bathroom, begging for votes (unsuccessfully) and paying hush money to a stripper. That’s one pathetic collection of felonies. But there are two ways in which Trump and Nixon diverge. First, Nixon was a winner. He won the biggest vote percentage of any Republican in 1972, in addition to his win in 1968. He was on the winning national ticket in four of five attempts, equaling Franklin Roosevelt. Even in 1960, there is some dispute, with historian Irwin Gellman casting doubt on the result and Robert Caro, award-winning biographer of Lyndon Johnson, certainly implying that Texas was stolen for opponent John F. Kennedy (see pp. 150-155 in his book “The Passage of Power”). Second, Nixon was willing to sacrifice for the country. Most people don’t realize Nixon was not impeached. Articles of impeachment were voted out of committee, but the process had not started. Nixon might have held on to enough votes to forestall conviction. But Nixon resigned. He knew impeachment would be profoundly damaging to the nation and Republicans. He kept a low profile through the 1974 and 1976 elections (where Gerald Ford, improbably, almost won). Can anyone imagine Trump sacrificing anything for the GOP or the country? So far, that’s an emphatic “No.” In fact, Trump seems to be going out of his way to wreck Republican election prospects. Republicans escaped the damaging effects of Nixon and Watergate by 1980 and the nation moved decisively to the right for nearly 30 years. Nixon somewhat rehabilitated himself and became a respected voice on international relations. Today’s Republican Party is not nearly so fortunate. Trump is determined to stick around no matter the cost to everyone but himself. He already cost Republicans control of the U.S. Senate in both 2020 and 2022, and he is primarily responsible for the most left-progressive administration since Lyndon Johnson to be in power. Trump is just a shadow of what Nixon was as a president and a politician, but the damage he is causing Republicans and conservatives is exponentially greater than anything Nixon ever did.
  • Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam, someone has to give up his life so that United States doesn’t have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we cannot say that we’ve made a mistake. Someone has to die so that President Nixon won’t be, and these are his words, “the first President to lose a war.” And we are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? But we’re trying to do that, and we’re doing it with thousands of rationalizations, and if you read carefully the President’s last speech to the people of this country, you can see that he says, and says clearly: "But the issue, gentlemen, the issue is communism, and the question is whether or not we will leave that country to the Communists or whether or not we will try to give it hope to be a free people." But the point is they’re not a free people now -- under us. They’re not a free people. And we cannot fight communism all over the world, and I think we should have learnt that lesson by now.
  • 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.
  • I was in Paris yesterday for the funeral of President Pompidou, and I met your President Nixon. He was wearing pancake makeup!
    • Former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, as quoted in Richard M. Nixon 1969-1974, by Tom Wicker, in Presidential Studies Quarterly Vol. 26, No. 1, The Nixon Presidency (Winter 1996), pp. 249-257
  • He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears but by diligent hard work, he overcame them.
    • James Reston, as quoted in an article by Joe Sharkey in The New York Times (12 March 2000)
  • The President wants me to argue that he is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV, only four years at a time, and is not subject to the processes of any court in the land except the court of impeachment.
  • He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time. If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.
  • Let there be no mistake in the history books about that. Richard Nixon was an evil man--evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it. He was utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Nobody trusted him--except maybe the Stalinist Chinese, and honest historians will remember him mainly as a rat who kept scrambling to get back on the ship.
  • 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
  • I’ll never forget: When that happened, we had such great support. Nixon had no support. You know, he just didn’t have support. He was very, very tough with people. I get along with people. I mean, I have great Jim Jordan, and all these congressmen are great. They’re really incredible people.
  • 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.
  • Imagine a man. A mean man. A mendacious man. In many ways, a mad man. A man who mocked minorities, including African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews, and gay people. A man who cynically capitalized on the racism of Southern whites in the course of his campaigns. A man who cheated in an election he was already going to win by covering up a break-in at the Watergate hotel. Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, won his first election in the shadow of the death of Robert Kennedy. His second election, a landslide win over liberal George McGovern, felt like one last boot stomp on the ashes of the sixties. And, of course, Nixon resigned office in the greatest presidential scandal of the 20th century. Yet, in between those curtains of American despair, Nixon ended up accomplishing a whole lot. He did the unexpected—his executive orders and his legislation helped the poor, minorities, women, the environment, and the world. Nixon, dare I say it, was progressive. He was conservative, and he clothed his ideas in conservative rhetoric, but he was progressive.
  • There are moral intentions and there are moral consequences. The floral consequences of Richard Nixon’s presidency—most of which are overshadowed by Watergate—contradict his intentions. Would the opposite be any better? The revolutions of the 20th century—of Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin—attest to the grotesque transformations of the most moral intentions. The unrelenting ocean of history washes away our motives, our hopes, our dreams. All that remains is our actions. And we will remember Nixon’s actions: his biggest mistake, the scandal which will forever define his presidency and life. But if we dig through his legacy, we would find gems which shine brighter in today’s light.
  • Today is a time of much historical revisionism. We look for sins in the lives of saints. I understand this tendency—greatness doesn’t excuse evil. To worship another human is to forget who a human being is in the first place. But the truth goes both ways. What about finding the good in disgraced figures? What moral lessons might we gleam from such an exercise? I am not talking about dictators, or mass murderers, or perverse evildoers. I am talking about Richard Nixon. I am talking about our presidents, our parents, our favorite characters, our friends, our artists, and our acquaintances. People who make great mistakes but also do great good. People who say prejudiced things and then do justice. People who are human. What are we to make of such people? Richard Nixon, by many accounts, was a mean man. But there was good in him. More importantly, there was good he did. And that’s worth remembering.
  • Forty years ago public outrage about the actions of President Richard Milhous Nixon, lead by his long time liberal critics, forced him to be the first U.S. chief executive to resign the presidency. Critics screamed about Nixon’s extra-legal and extra-constitutional conduct as protestors ringed the White House chanting "Jail to the Chief." Nixon’s men had spied on their fellow citizens, allegedly used the IRS to harass their political enemies, waged war without the consent of Congress and used the CIA in an effort to hide their crimes. No man, Nixon’s critics assured us, was above the law. For his transgressions, Richard Nixon was forced from office, evading prosecution only because of a presidential pardon. Yet by any reasonable measure, Nixon’s sins seem venal compared to those of President Barack Obama.
  • Nixon’s men illegally wiretapped his political opponents -- and they went to jail for it. When the FBI used warrantless surveillance to wiretap and intercept the mail of anti-war radicals, those who did so were charged, tried and convicted. Obama has used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to guarantee any surveillance the government wants without probable cause. Nixon spied on a virtual hand-full. Barack Obama’ s NSA wire-taps the entire nation and monitors the e-mails of thousands. Nixon talked about using the IRS to harass his opponents but there is no evidence that he successfully did so, yet illegal use of the IRS was among the Articles of Impeachment voted by the House of Representatives. Obama’s IRS has actually used the IRS to harass conservative groups. Can you imagine the liberal outcry if IRS officials under Nixon referred to liberals as “a—holes’ and “crazies”?
  • Nixon’s impeachment included the charge that he evaded Congress’ sole authority to declare war by bombing Cambodia. Yet in Libya Obama said that only he had the inherent authority to decide what is a “war” and that no congressional approval was necessary. He proceeded to bomb Libya, destroy its military and spend more than a billion dollars in borrowed money in support of one side, who was not aligned with the United States, in a civil war. Nixon’s men considered the murder of investigative journalist Jack Anderson. That’s nothing compared with Obama’s assertion that he has right to kill any U.S. citizen without a charge, let alone conviction.
  • While Nixon was known for his “Enemies List,” the former head of the National Security Agency’s global digital data gathering program says that Obama also has an enemies list stored by keyword, which has been used to take down perceived political enemies such as General Petraus. During his re-election campaign Obama even brazenly posted his enemies list on-line as a not-so-subtle threat not to donate to his opponents. How Nixon’s critics would have howled if he had publicly targeted Sen. George McGovern’s donors. Because of Obama’s iconic status on the left, liberals are silent as Obama shreds the Constitution in ways Richard Nixon would have marveled at. Democrats scoff at the notion of the impeachment of Obama for crimes far more serious and reaching than of those committed by Richard Nixon.
  • Commentators portray Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a more organized and calculating Donald Trump. In reality, DeSantis most resembles Richard Nixon -- disciplined, stiff and intense. Both lack Trump's charisma and ease before voters. Also unlike Trump -- but very much like Nixon -- DeSantis effectively deploys powers of the state for political gain. And DeSantis also mimics Nixon's cruelty, his willingness to place constituents in harm's way in the pursuit of political gain.
  • The good news for DeSantis is that Nixon won election as president despite also having a combative and unlikable personality. The bad news for him is that voters in 1968 were unaware of Nixon's cruel streak. Fearful that his opponent, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, would gain from peace in Vietnam, Nixon secretly derailed peace talks then underway in Paris. His cynical act prolonged the war by five years, ruthlessly adding more than 20,000 additional American deaths, plus hundreds of thousands of additional Vietnamese deaths. In contrast to Nixon, DeSantis' cruel streak is already evident to voters. It includes demonizing LGBTQ youths. He is mimicking Russia's Putin, Hungary's Viktor Orban and others throughout history who similarly sought political advantage attacking the vulnerable -- the Irish, Rohingyas, Jews, African Americans, Uyghurs and now the LGBTQ community.
  • Principled Republicans were pivotal in rejecting the amorality of Richard Nixon, ejecting him from the White House in 1974. In contrast, only a handful of today's House or Senate Republicans supported Trump's impeachment for the attempted decapitation of American democracy on Jan. 6, 2021. That shift signals that Nixon's dark amorality now permeates the party, a mania enabled by conservative billionaires and Rupert Murdock's laudatory Fox News and Wall Street Journal. Like Richard Nixon, today's Republican leaders refuse to draw red lines, cruelly accepting avoidable deaths among the party faithful as merely a price to be paid for political gain. Thousands of party leaders are mimicking the cruelty and pathologies of Nixon in seeking political advantage -- but on a far larger scale that dwarfs his Vietnam brutality. DeSantis certainly reflects this generalized devolution. But history suggests that DeSantis may well fade like Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and others, his front-runner status only temporary. The real challenge for America is how to purge the Republican Party of Richard Nixon.
  • One has to understand the human problem of a man who had spent all of his life trying to become President whose personality really did not lend itself to politics. He didn't like to meet new people. He didn't like to give direct orders. He didn't like face-to-face confrontations—all the things you have to do as President. He made himself do all these things. And just when he had achieved, for the first time, a tremendous electoral victory, everything collapsed on him.
  • Nixon had the quality that...he thought of himself as acting best in crisis. And there was a lot in that. But it reached the point where one sometimes had the impression that he invited crisis and that he couldn't stand normalcy.
  • I don't think Nixon has a friend. I've known him for a long time. I've interviewed him many times, in one of which, at the very end of the interview, I asked him, 'Mr. Nixon, can you ever relax with anyone?' And he said—it was rather pathetic, to me, Dick—he said, 'No, I never can. I can never really let my hair down with anybody.' And then I said, 'Not even with Pat?' And he thought for a moment and he said, 'No, not even with Pat.'"
  • On 27 October 1970, the administration of president Richard Nixon passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, as part of their "war on drugs". According to journalist Dan Baum writing in Harper's Magazine, a Nixon adviser, John Ehrlichman, later admitted to him in an interview: "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and Black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or Black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and Blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

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