Wednesday, September 23, 2009

“Regardless of what they say about it, we’re going to keep it” – Richard Nixon’s “Checkers Speech”

On September 23, 1952, Richard Nixon delivered his now famous “Checkers Speech.” Two months after being selected as Dwight D. Eisenhower’s running mate, Richard Nixon decided to use the medium of television to appeal to the American public directly. He had been accused of using money raised for his senate campaign for private/political uses. In an attempt to clear his name and retain his spot on the Republican national ticket, Nixon appeared on television and disclosed his own financial history. He told the audience how much money he and wife Pat had at that time, and how much they owed (and to whom). After listing what he owed, Nixon reaffirmed that he never accepted any gift without payment, except for a pet dog given to his children which they named “Checkers.” He said that he would not be returning his children’s dog, "Regardless of what they say about it." Nixon also indicated that he would not be stepping down from the Republican ticket. Ultimately, Nixon asked the audience to contact the Republican National Committee to say whether or not he should stay on the ticket. The response to his address was overwhelming. An estimated 60 million Americans heard his speech. As history shows, Nixon did not step down as Eisenhower’s Vice-Presidential nominee, and the two swept the election in November.

Here is the “Checkers Speech” broken up into two parts:

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