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Fun Presidential Facts – Richard Nixon

Here are some quick facts, opinions, quotes and other information on President Richard Nixon:

 

Personal Information on Richard Nixon:

  • Thirty-seventh President (1969-1974)

Interesting Richard Nixon facts:

  1. Richard Nixon’s first taste of politics came when he was elected President of his 8th grade class at East Whittier Elementary School. He would attend Fullerton Union High School which was an hour bus trip, each way. He was on their junior varsity football team, but he was seldom used.
  2. Richard Nixon is just one of four men to serve as President, Vice President, US Senator, and be a member of the US House of Representatives. John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, and Lyndon Johnson were the other three. Tyler and Andrew Johnson were also Governors. Tyler was the 23rd Governor of Virginia and Andrew Johnson was the 15th Governor of Tennessee.
  3. Richard Nixon is only sitting Vice President to lose a Presidential election and come back in a later election for the Presidency and win. Nixon, when he was Vice President, lost the 1960 Presidential election to John F. Kennedy. Nixon would come back, in the Presidential election of 1968, and defeat Hubert Humphrey for the Presidency. Nixon is also one of only five men to lose a Presidential general election and come back later and win the Presidency. The other four losers, who became winners are: Thomas Jefferson (lost the election of 1796 to John Adams and then defeated him four years later in the election of 1800), Andrew Jackson (lost the election of 1824 to John Quincy Adams and defeated him four years later in the election of 1828), William Henry Harrison (lost the election of 1836 to Martin Van Buren and defeated him four years later in the election of 1840), and Grover Cleveland (lost the election of 1888 to Benjamin Harrison and defeated him four years later in the election of 1892). As a side note, James Monroe, in the election of 1820, was pretty much the unanimous choice, but one lone elector, who probably wanted George Washington to go down as the only unanimously elected President, cast his single vote for John Quincy Adams. John Quincy Adams would win the Presidency four years later in the election of 1824. JQ Adams’ opponent would be Andrew Jackson, though.

My favorite Richard Nixon Quotes:

I am not a crook.
When the President does it, that means that it's not illegal.
Well, I screwed it up real good, didn't I?

If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats. But if you take no risks, you win no victories.

A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.

The press is my enemy.

I played by the rules of politics as I found them.

The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire.

Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.

Solutions are not the answer.

Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.

Scrubbing floors and emptying bedpans has as much dignity as the Presidency.

You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.

Richard Nixon blogs (click the title to go to that page):

Richard Nixon page on Presidential Crossroads (click “Richard Nixon” below):

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon Blogs:

His wife Pat and their engagement

Farewell Speech

Election of 1960

White House Years

What similar traits do I have with Presidents Nixon to Obama

Personal thoughts on Richard Nixon:

Strengths:

Ability to bounce back, Foreign policy experience, Driven

Weaknesses:

Stubborn, Paranoid, Above the law attitude

Presidential Greatness Scale (1-poor to 5-great): 2.1

Comments:

When I was in college I wrote a paper on who I thought was the worst President. After much research, I determined it was Richard Nixon. Although I have since changed my mind on that idea, I still believe the basic principle I used to argue that point is valid. The Constitution outlines very broad roles for the President, but one of those roles is to defend and protect the Constitution. Instead of defending the Constitution, I believe Nixon sometimes saw himself above that Constitution. Other “bad” Presidents were just not very good at the job, Nixon was good at most parts of the job, but he seemed to feel that everything he did, right or wrong, was okay. If you combine that with his paranoia, you get cover-ups. Nixon was, by far, better on the foreign front than he was on the domestic front. Most of that can probably be attributed to all the foreign trips Eisenhower sent him on when Nixon was Vice President. Nixon started opening our relationships with China by visiting there in 1972. He started détente with the Soviet Union. He ended our involvement in Vietnam and he also ended the military draft. He would also witness, like many of us, the first moon landing by Apollo 11. He would also establish the EPA. But Nixon’s negative campaign style would come back to haunt him. On the domestic front, there were the disasters of the 1973 Arab oil embargo, which led to gas rationing; wage and price controls, which lead to food shortages; elimination of the Cabinet-level US Post Office Department, and we see how successful the broke US Postal Service is working out for us; HMOs, everyone loves these health plans; allowing the dollar to float against other currencies, which everyone is upset with China doing today; and ending convertibility of the dollar to gold. Most of these domestic policy ideas were to combat inflation. They had a very short, effective lifespan, but they would cause inflation to come back with a vengeance during President Ford’s administration. Nixon will probably, by most people, be remembered as the only President to resign and for the Watergate scandal. But many future Presidents, especially Bill Clinton, would use Nixon’s foreign policy experience, even if they had to secretly let Nixon in the backdoor.

 

All the Presidents Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

All the Presidents Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

Favorite Richard Nixon book:

All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

Favorite Richard Nixon story:

I believe his life of paranoia was the most interesting part of his life to follow. About the only person he ever trusted 100%  was his mother. He was such a great thinker and he was gifted with so much talent. It’s just a shame that he spent so much time looking over his shoulder.

Most memorable Richard Nixon memory:

When I was younger, and Richard Nixon was President, I was developing a real interest in the Presidents. I sent Richard Nixon a birthday card. A few weeks later I got a thank you card back. It was just a pre-stamped card, but to me it was a treasured memory. I wish I still had it.

Favorite Richard Nixon possession (see picture at the top):

My Nixon bumper sticker collection.

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