32 Years Ago Today: Nixon Quit

August 8, 1974 is a red-letter day in Orange County politics. On that night, and I remember it well, President Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace for his abuse of power in the Watergate scandal and its coverup.

I was 13 and watched the NBC Nightly News as they outlined “this historic night.” We cheered Nixon’s announcement.

My grandfather worked the 3:30 p.m. shift at my hometown’s Copper Mill and he read the New York Daily News every day. He brought home a copy of the paper on August 9; its headline is two words in the largest type/font size I have ever seen: NIXON QUITS! He told me to keep the paper because it might be worth something someday. It’s in a frame, hanging in my office, yellowed with age and the smell of old basement, but that issue of the New York Daily News is a priceless gift in more ways than one.

When I moved to Orange County, I called my Dad to tell him how close the Nixon Library was. And in his own Blue collar humor, asked how much the good folks at the Nixon Library charged to allow patrons to relieve themselves on the president’s gravesite. No love lost there at all.

I will visit the Nixon Library someday just to see how revisionist history is practiced. And with an empty bladder.

  3 comments for “32 Years Ago Today: Nixon Quit

  1. August 8, 2006 at 10:17 pm


    You might want to actually go there before making a jdugment.

    You’ll be surprised to find a large section devoted to Watergate — unlike the Clinton Library, where his impeachment was dropped down the memory hole.

  2. August 9, 2006 at 8:53 am

    Have you been to the Clinton Library Matt? I’ll be real interested to see how you guys on the right support Giuliani or Gingrich if they land the GOP nomination in ’08; both are serial adulturers who carried on affairs in office.

    There’s no Marilyn Monroe Room at the JFK Library in Boston either. The Reagan Library glosses over Iran-Contra.

    Presidential Libraries in general scrub the faults of their subjects. But you’re right; I need to go to Nixon’s Library just to show my son what Watergate was all about.

  3. August 14, 2006 at 5:32 pm


    No, I haven’t been to Clinton’s. I’m relying on articles by others who’ve been there commenting on the absence of any reference to the impeachment period. Upon further research, it appears I am incorrect. A CBS News.com article states:

    The Lewinsky matter is covered in an alcove dedicated to the “politics of persecution.” The display lumps together Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America” and independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s Whitewater investigation.

    From the Nixon Library website:

    The Watergate Gallery
    The Watergate Gallery is our largest exhibit dedicated to a single subject. It describes Watergate as a political struggle between President Nixon and a Democratic Congress which had strongly opposed the Administration’s policies in Vietnam during his first term. The exhibit also outlines the other issues with which the President was contending during Watergate, including U.S.-Soviet relations and Mideast peace. Visitors can listen to the key portions of the so-called “smoking gun” conversation from June 23, 1972, in which the President is first given John Dean’s idea for covering up Watergate.

    As for Giuliani and Gingrich: are you trying to hoist me on a hypothetical petard?

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