Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Anniversaries II



Another Great Moment in Media History: On Sept. 23, 1952, the Republican vice presidential candidate -- that's the guy wearing the Nixon mask, above -- went before the public to explain his side of a slush-fund scandal:

I have a theory, too, that the best and only answer to a smear or to an honest misunderstanding of the facts is to tell the truth. And that's why I'm here tonight. I want to tell you my side of the case.

Shown here is the part about the dog, which is why this has gone down in history as the "Checkers speech." You'll want to stay tuned for the foreign-policy stuff, though; in functional theory terms, the speech looks like a defense, but it's also a full-throated attack. With a few other gems thrown in:

Now let me say that, finally, this evening I want to read to you just briefly excerpts from a letter which I received, a letter which, after all this is over, no one can take away from us. It reads as follows:

Dear Senator Nixon:
Since I'm only 19 years of age I can't vote in this
Presidential election but believe me if I could you and General Eisenhower would
certainly get my vote. My husband is in the Fleet Marines in Korea. He's a
corpsman on the front lines and we have a two-month-old son he's never seen. And I feel confident that with great Americans like you and General Eisenhower in
the White House, lonely Americans like myself will be united with their loved
ones now in Korea.
I only pray to God that you won't be too late.

Could Nixon actually go 15 minutes without telling a lie of some sort? Well ...

And, now, finally, I know that you wonder whether or not I am going to stay on the Republican ticket or resign.

Let me say this: I don't believe that I ought to quit because I'm not a quitter. And, incidentally, Pat's not a quitter. After all, her name was Patricia Ryan and she was born on St. Patrick's Day, and you know the Irish never quit.

I think I first saw this one in a NatLamp trivia quiz back in the Watergate days, but: Her name was Thelma Catherine Ryan, and she was born March 16, 1912.

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