Text Us: #30930
Phone: (800) 616 WBEN
Business: (716) 843-0600
A   A   A

VIDEO: 40 Years Ago Today, Pres. Nixon Resigns



On August 8, 1974, President Richard Nixon announced his resignation, effective the next day, following damaging new revelations in the Watergate scandal.


 

One year earlier, on this same date, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew branded as "damned lies" reports he had taken kickbacks from government contracts in Maryland, and vowed not to resign - which he ended up doing.  The resignations set the stage for Gerald Ford, first appointed to replace Agnew- and then replacing Nixon,  to be America's first un-elected president.
 
Roger StoneEmbedded image permalinkExclusive WBEN Audio Hear WBEN guest host Michael Caputo talk of Nixon aide & longtime political operative Roger Stone, a man that famously wears a Nixon tattoo on his back   
 

HEAR STONE  & CAPUTO on  Nixon
  Meanwhile Today.....
@Dick-Nixon on Twitter


If you believe the media reports, Richard Nixon suffered a stroke in 1994 and died days later at age 81. He is buried in his native Yorba Linda, California, silent as the country marks the 40th anniversary of his resignation.

But the many obsessives among the 7,000-plus followers of  @Dick-Nixon couldn't be blamed for sharing the president's suspicion of reporters. The "Nixon" on this Twitter feed has never been more alive, sounding off on everything from the Russians to the Academy Awards, lashing out at old enemies and sizing up such possible presidential contenders as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

"He is a smart fellow. But he should stop swinging at pitches he can't hit yet," reads a recent tweet.

The (at)Dick-Nixon feed is neither tribute nor parody but an uncanny reincarnation that has some Washington insiders and political junkies marveling that someone could so well capture the phrasing, savvy, tenacity, profanity and world view of our 37th president.

"He has his voice and his mentality down cold. And he also makes me laugh," says Elizabeth Drew, an author and journalist whose Watergate-era book, "Washington Journal," was reissued in May.

"I never got to meet Nixon, so this is the next best thing for me," says author and journalist Robert Draper, who has written books about Congress and the George W. Bush administration and is the grandson of Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski.

Admirers have speculated that the account manager is a politician, a journalist or even a member of the Nixon family. But Twitter "Nixon" is, apparently, 33-year-old playwright and New York resident Justin Sherin, born years after the president left office. Drew has met him and befriended him. John Weaver, a Republican strategist who worked on the 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns of Sen. John McCain, said that he had spoken with Sherin. Both Drew and Weaver are among his followers.

During a recent interview at a bar in Grand Central Station, Sherin said that he had long been fascinated by Nixon and his "weird" and "convoluted" way of expressing himself. In 2008, he began tweeting excerpts from Nixon's taped White House conversations. Around four years later, he decided to bring the former president into the 21st century, combining historical and original material.

"I try very hard either to use something that he did say in a similar context or that I could argue he would have said when faced with such a situation," says the clean-cut, round-eyed Sherin, whose plays include "Mickey Mouse Is Dead," a 2006 off-Broadway production about McCarthy-era blacklisting at the Walt Disney studios.

The former president and his wife, Pat (also dead, or so we've been told), reside on Twitter, as they did on Earth, in Saddle River, New Jersey. The president makes occasional trips to Washington and vacations in Key Biscayne, Florida. Some messages are initialed by former White House press secretary Ron Ziegler, who supposedly joined the afterlife in 2003.

Nixon on Twitter is impressed with Hillary Clinton ("She is cold, cold, tough as hell. That is the good side") and dismayed by President Barack Obama. ("The current president strikes me as a fellow who is reading from a book written by a lot of Ivy Leaguers who've never been to Moscow"). He is grateful for his supporters, seething that he doesn't have a deal for his latest book, "Realism," and mindful of his eternal rivals, the Kennedys

"Teddy had the best political skills out of any of them. Jack would rather be in the pool, Bobby burned witches," he tweeted.

On the Nixon feed, you get the calculating Nixon ("The ecology thing is crap for clowns. But there's votes in it"). You get Nixon on gays ("Our granddaughter is an actress. So many people in that line are gay. We go to the plays, shake their hands. They seem happy"), and Nixon on American cities ("Have you been to Tampa? My God. Nothing but Cubans and houses of prostitution)."

"He seems to know everything there is about Nixon," Weaver says of Sherin. "He also has the president's keen political analytical skills, and he has that streak within Nixon that undid the president."

The newest Nixon is understandably preoccupied with the current anniversary. (Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974.) He has blunt words for his former aide and whistleblower, John Dean ("He knows how to lie. Why do you think we judged him effective?") and for the newspaper that broke the Watergate scandal, The Washington Post - now owned by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos - and star reporter Bob Woodward.

"Woodward still gets a check from the Post, you know," Nixon observed. "I was not aware that Bezos enjoys paying fellows who don't work."

Call him names, if you will. The president only gets angry with those he respects.

Just don't call him finished.

"All these bastards saying how young they are," he tweeted last month. "We're still here, by God. We'll outlive you all."

AP Photo
 In this Aug. 9, 1974 file photo, Richard Nixon waves goodbye with a salute to his staff members outside the White House as he boards a helicopter and resigns the presidency on Aug. 9, 1974. He was the first president in American history to resign the nation's highest office. (AP Photo, File)


President Nixon tells a White House news conference, March 15, 1973, that he will not allow his legal counsel, John Dean, to testify on Capitol Hill in the Watergate investigation and challenged the Senate to test him in the Supreme Court. (AP)


This picture, with Gerald Ford seated behind him, shows President Nixon delivering the State of the Union message in January 1974. The following August, Nixon would step down as the 37th president with a 2,026-day term, urging Americans to rally behind Ford. President Ford fully pardoned Nixon one month later. (AP)


President Richard Nixon pounds his fist on the podium as he answers a question during his televised appearance before questioners made up of members of the National Broadcasters Association in Houston, Texas, March 19, 1974. President Nixon declared that dragging out Watergate drags down America. (AP)
 

Hiding Behind The Camera:

(CBS) In the moments before President Richard Nixon announced his resignation, he ordered almost everyone out of the Oval Office.

"Only the CBS crew now is going to be in this room during this," Nixon said. "Only the crew."

The crew included George Christian, then just 27 years old.

enreid5.jpg"There were only two people allowed from the crew in the room, and one of them was the cameraman and the other was myself, to make sure things worked," Christian told CBS News correspondent Chip Reid.

His job was crucial but he worried that Nixon would tell him to leave, too.

"I'm standing there with an Afro, bell bottoms and not looking like I'm doing very much, like I just roamed into the room," Christian said.

So he hid behind the camera. It was Christian's first time in the Oval Office.

"I was more than nervous," Christian said. "I was scared to death!"

Christian said he "could sense the embarrassment" when Nixon gave his resignation speech.

The emotion came later -- when he said goodbye to the White House staff.

Christian was in the room when Nixon said his mother was a "saint."

"He talked about his mother and it was, it was sad and I actually felt compassion for him at that moment," Christian said.

Christian, who has covered a lot of big news events in 40 years, says the Nixon resignation ranks at the top.


"I've been fortunate enough to be in places where I would have paid CBS to be there. This was one of them, and I would have paid a lot. And I think a lot of people would have," Christian said. "I had a front row seat. I wasn't sitting though - I was standing, hiding behind a camera."

 


Poll
To what do you attribute the double-digit growth of "millennials" moving to or near downtown Buffalo?
  It's "trendy"
  Increased job opportunities in the city
  Affordable real estate and rents
  All of the above
 
View Results