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Stephen Ambrose, Nixon Biographer, Dies, 66

Stephen Ambrose, the man who authored a three-volume biography of Richard Nixon, has died, aged 66.

Ambrose once said that he was a historian who was “fascinated by leadership”.

A report in the New York Times says:

Stephen E. Ambrose, the military historian and biographer whose books recounting the combat feats of American soldiers and airmen fueled a national fascination with the generation that fought World War II, died yesterday at a hospital in Bay St. Louis, Miss. Mr. Ambrose, who lived in Bay St. Louis and Helena, Mont., was 66.

The cause was lung cancer, which was diagnosed last April, his son Barry said. [Read more…]

Richard Bergholz, Journalist Who Provoked Nixon, Dies

The journalist believed to be the subject of Richard Nixon’s famous 1962 comment “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore”, Richard Bergholz, has died.

Bergholz was a political reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He had a stroke and died on December 26, aged 83.

The Los Angeles Times had given Nixon favorable treatment until a change of management in 1960. Berholz was the journalist who questioned Nixon in the 1962 gubernatorial race about Nixon’s allegations that his opponent, Pat Brown, was soft on communism.

After he was defeated by Brown, Nixon gave a famous “last press conference” in which he delivered a rambling speech with the “kick around” remark.

Nixon was portrayed as bitter and graceless, an attitude Al Gore was called upon not to copy a few weeks ago when conceding to George W. Bush.

New Book Alleges Nixon Took Pills, Beat Wife

A new book by Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power, alleges that Richard Nixon medicated himself with a mind-altering prescription drug whilst he was President.

The book claims that Nixon took Dilantin, given to him in 1968 by Jack Dreyfus, the founder of the Dreyfus Fund. Dreyfus claims he gave Nixon 1000 capsules and quotes Nixon as saying “to heck with the doctor” when advised that they should be prescribed.

Nixon was treated by the therapist, Dr. Arnold A. Hutschnecker, prior to 1968, but it has never before been claimed that he was treated during his time in the White House.

Dr. Hutschnecker, now 102, is quoted as saying of Nixon: “He didn’t have a serious psychiatric diagnosis. He wasn’t psychotic. He had no pathology, but he had a good portion of neurotic symptoms: anxiety and sleeplessness.”

The book also claims that Nixon beat his wife, Pat. It refers to a claim by John Sears, a Nixon aide during the 1968 campaign, that Nixon hit his wife in 1962, following his defeat in the gubernatorial race in California.

The book revisits a claim that during the 1968 election campaign the Nixon campaign pressured South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu not to agree to participating in peace talks in Paris.

The allegations are vehemently denied by Nixon associates and supporters.

John Ehrlichman, Watergate Conspirator, Dead At 73

John EhrlichmanJohn D. Ehrlichman, jailed for his role in the Watergate scandal, has died, aged 73.

Ehrlichman died in Atlanta, Georgia, of natural causes.

Ehrlichman was President Richard Nixon’s Domestic Affairs Advisor from the start of Nixon’s term in 1969. Together with H. R. Haldeman, who died some years ago, Ehrlichman formed part of the “Berlin Wall” that protected Nixon.

Ehrlichman and Haldeman were both sacked by Nixon in April 1973. They had been summoned to the presidential retreat at Camp David after Nixon’s counsel, John Dean, implicated them in the cover-up of the break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic Party’s National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel in Washington.

Nixon sacked Dean and called on Ehrlichman and Haldeman to resign.

Ehrlichman was convicted of obstruction of justice, conspiracy and perjury, and was jailed for four to eight years in October 1976. He spent 18 months behind bars.

Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974, following the passage of 3 articles of impeachment by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

Ehrlichman’s conviction arose from his false testimony to the Senate Watergate Committee and through his involvement in the burglary of the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, the psychiatrist who treated Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg was the Defence Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times.

The Speech That Might Have Been: Nixon Refuses To Resign

What might Nixon have said if he had decided not to resign?

Ray Price was President Nixon’s speechwriter. In an article in the New York Times on December 22, 1996, Price provided a copy of the draft of a speech he prepared for Nixon in which he vowed not to resign. The speech was never shown to Nixon.

Text of Ray Price’s non-resignation letter.

Richard NixonGood Evening.

With the deliberations of the House Judiciary Committee completed and its recommendations awaiting action by the full House of Representatives, questions have been raised about my own plans for dealing with the impeachment issue.

I have requested this time in order to tell you how I intend to proceed.

Debate on the committee’s impeachment recommendations is scheduled to begin on the House floor two weeks from today — on Aug. 19.

In the wake of the Judiciary Committee’s action, there has been a very substantial erosion of the political base that I would need in order to sustain my position in the House of Representatives. Therefore, at this time it appears almost a foregone conclusion that one or more articles of impeachment will be voted by the House, and that the matter will go to a trial in the Senate. . . .

It is not my purpose tonight to argue my case. There will be time for that later. Rather, I want to explain how I intend to proceed.

I also want to tell you about one new piece of evidence I have discovered, which I recognize will not be helpful to my case — but which I have instructed my attorneys to make available immediately to the Judiciary Committee. . . .

In the past several days, I have been engaged in an intensive review of the 64 taped conversations covered by the Special Prosecutor’s subpoena and the Supreme Court’s recent order that they be turned over to Judge Sirica. With one exception, I have found that they bear out what I said on April 29 when I announced my decision to make public the original transcripts: that the evidence I have turned over to the Judiciary Committee tells the full story of Watergate, insofar as the President’s knowledge or involvement is concerned. These 64 additional tapes are being turned over to Judge Sirica. . . . As they become public, which they undoubtedly will, the truth of this will be evident.

The one exception is a conversation I held with H. R. Haldeman on June 23, 1972, which concerns my instructions with regard to coordination between the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. In reviewing the tape it is now clear to me that Mr. Haldeman and I did discuss the political aspects of the situation, and that we were fully aware of the advantages this course of action would have with respect to limiting the possible public exposure of involvement by persons connected with the re-election committee. Because this conversation took place just a few days after the break-in, I know it will be widely interpreted as evidence that I was involved from the outset in efforts at cover-up.

Let me take a moment to explain why I did not make this public sooner, although I should have. In May of this year I began a review of the 64 tapes subpoenaed by the Special Prosecutor, but then postponed completing it pending the decision that was finally handed down 12 days ago by the Supreme Court. In the course of that earlier partial review I listened to this tape, but did not focus on it thoroughly. I did not at the time consider it inconsistent with my past statements, nor did I have transcripts made or advise my staff or counsel about any possible concern with it.

I now recognize this as having been a serious mistake, because as a result of it my counsel, my staff, and others, including members of the Judiciary Committee, who defended my position did so on the basis of facts that were incomplete. . . .

Let me turn now to the future.

There has been a great deal of speculation that I would resign, rather than face trial by the Senate. Some cite the erosion of my political base, and say that this either dims or dooms my chances in the Senate. Some cite the costs to the nation of more months of distraction and uncertainty. Some say I should not see the Constitutional process through, because even if vindicated by the Senate I would be so weakened politically that I could not govern effectively for the remainder of my term.

Some suggest that if I persevere, I am not only ignoring what they consider the inevitable outcome, but doing so at considerable political risk.

Indeed, when I reviewed the June 23 tape, and realized the interpretations that will probably be placed on it, I seriously considered resigning.

I have thought long and hard about all of these questions. . . . I have explored the questions thoroughly with my family.They share in my belief that the Constitutional process must not be aborted or short-circuited — that having begun, it must be carried through to its conclusion, that is, through a fair trial in the Senate. . . .

If I were to resign, it would spare the country additional months consumed with the ordeal of a Presidential impeachment and trial.

But it would leave unresolved the questions that have already cost the country so much in anguish, division and uncertainty. More important, it would leave a permanent crack in our Constitutional structure: it would establish the principle that under pressure, a President could be removed from office by means short of those provided by the Constitution. By establishing that principle, it would invite such pressures on every future President who might, for whatever reason, fall into a period of unpopularity. . . .

Whatever the mistakes that have been made — and they are many — and whatever the measure of my own responsibility for those mistakes, I firmly believe that I have not committed any act of commission or omission that justifies removing a duly elected President from office. If I did believe that I had committed such an act, I would have resigned long ago. . . .

For me to see this through will have costs for the country in the short run. The months ahead will not be easy for any of us. But in the long run — whatever the outcome — the results will be a more stable form of government. Far more damaging than the ordeal of a Senate trial, far more damaging that even the conviction and removal of a President, would be the descent toward chaos if Presidents could be removed short of impeachment and trial.

Throughout the Western world, governmental instability has reached almost epidemic proportions. . . . In the United States, within the last dozen years one President was assassinated; the next was in effect driven from office when he did not even seek re-election; and now the third stands on the verge of impeachment by the House of Representatives, confronted with calls for his resignation in order to make the process of removal easy.

This country bears enormous responsibilities to itself and to the world. If we are to meet those responsibilities in this and future Presidencies, we must not let this office be destroyed — or let it fall such easy prey to those who would exult in the breaking of the President that the game becomes a national habit.

Therefore, I shall see the Constitutional process through — whatever its outcome.

I shall appear before the Senate, and answer under oath before the Senate any and all questions put to me there.

Senator Bob Dole’s Remarks At Richard Nixon’s Funeral

Senator Bob Dole, Republican Minority Leader, spoke at Richard Nixon’s funeral in California.

Senator Bob Dole

Remarks by Senator Bob Dole at Richard Nixon’s funeral.

I believe the second half of the 20th Century will be known as the age of Nixon. Why was he the most durable public figure of our time? Not because he gave the most eloquent speeches, but because he provided the most effective leadership. Not because he won every battle, but because he always embodied the deepest feelings of the people he led.

One of his biographers said that Richard Nixon was one of us. And so he was. He was a boy who heard the train whistle in the night and dreamed of all the distant places that lay at the end of the track. How American. He was a grocer’s son who got ahead by working harder and longer than everyone else. How American.

Nixon and DoleHe was a student who met expenses by doing research at the law library for 35 cents an hour while sharing a run-down farmhouse without water or electricity. How American. He was the husband and father who said that the best memorial to his wife was her children. How American. [Read more…]

Remarks By California Governor Pete Wilson At Richard Nixon’s Funeral

The Republican Governor of California, Pete Wilson, spoke at Richard Nixon’s funeral.

Text of remarks by Gov. Pete Wilson at Richard Nixon’s funeral.

Richard Nixon has a beautiful family, and he was devoted to them. Anyone who ever saw them together knew that his beloved Pat, and his girls, Tricia and Julie were everything to him. He was so proud of them, of his sons-in-law, Edward and David, and his grandchildren. But he also had a much larger extended family, a family of those who worked for him and with him — and I was and am very lucky to be a part of that family.

I was one of the many young men and women in whom he inspired the same fierce loyalty that he gave to us. From the first, I was struck by the quality of his personal generosity. When we met in 1962, he’d already debated Khrushchev and President Kennedy. He’d already run for President. He’d been a major political figure on the world stage. But, still, he had time to talk to and to help an eager young advance man who could offer him little but energy and enthusiasm. [Read more…]

Remarks By Dr. Henry Kissinger At Richard Nixon’s Funeral

Nixon’s former Secretary of State, Dr. Henry Kissinger, spoke at Nixon’s funeral.

Remarks by Dr. Henry Kissinger at Richard Nixon’s funeral.

During the final week of Richard Nixon’s life, I often imagined how he would have reacted to the tide of concern, respect, admiration and affection evoked by his last great battle. His gruff pose of never paying attention to media comment would have been contradicted by a warm glow and the ever-so-subtle hint that another recital of the commentary would not be unwelcome. And without quite saying so, he would have conveyed that it would mean a lot to him if Julie and Tricia, David and Ed were told of his friends’ pride in this culmination to an astonishing life. [Read more…]

Remarks By Dr. Billy Graham At Richard Nixon’s Funeral

Richard Nixon’s funeral was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Billy Graham.

Remarks by Dr. Billy Graham at Nixon funeral.

On behalf of the family of Richard Nixon, I welcome you who have gathered to join with them in paying final respects to the memory of Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States.

Today, in this service, we remember with gratitude his life, his accomplishments, and we give thanks to God for those things he did to make our world a better place.

Through this service, may our dedication to serving others be deepened, and may our eyes be lifted to that which is eternal. Let us hear the word of the Lord, our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and Earth. Our God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. [Read more…]

Remarks By President Clinton At Richard Nixon’s Funeral

President Bill Clinton spoke at Richard Nixon’s funeral at Yorba Linda.

Remarks by President Clinton at funeral of Richard Nixon.

President Nixon opened his memoirs with a simple sentence: “I was born in a house my father built.” Today, we can look back at this little house and still imagine a young boy sitting by the window of the attic he shared with his three brothers, looking out to a world he could then himself only imagine. From those humble roots, as from so many humble beginnings in this country, grew the force of a driving dream — a dream that led to the remarkable journey that ends here today where it all began. Beside the same tiny home, mail-ordered from back East, near this towering oak tree which, back then, was a mere seedling. [Read more…]