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Richard Nixon - The Checkers Speech

Time: Tuesday Sep 23, 1952

Place: El Capitan Theatre, Los Angeles, California, U.S

Details: In mid-September, the Republican ticket faced a major crisis. The media reported that Nixon had a political fund, maintained by his backers, which reimbursed him for political expenses. Such a fund was not illegal but it exposed Nixon to allegations of possible conflict of interest. With pressure building for Eisenhower to demand Nixon's resignation from the ticket the senator went on television to deliver an address to the nation on September 23, 1952. The address, later termed the Checkers speech, was heard by about 60 million Americans—including the largest television audience up to that point. Nixon emotionally defended himself, stating that the fund was not secret, nor had donors received special favors. He painted himself as a man of modest means (his wife had no mink coat; instead she wore a "respectable Republican cloth coat") and a patriot. The speech would be remembered for the gift which Nixon had received, but which he would not give back: "a little cocker spaniel dog … sent all the way from Texas. And our little girl—Tricia, the 6-year-old—named it Checkers." The speech prompted a huge public outpouring of support for Nixon.



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