Pat and Richard Nixon entered the White House with an intimate knowledge acquired during the Eisenhower administration, where he served as Ike’s vice president. People called the Nixon administration the “Imperial Presidency” because of the pomp and circumstance he so enjoyed, going so far as to dress the White House guards in special brightly colored uniforms. It made them look like they were members of the Foreign Legion. Although that didn’t last long, the title “Imperial” stuck throughout the administration.
Nixon’s public image was terrible, but when with friends or in small groups, he really was quite witty. He was also a man who was greatly concerned about his country and the role it would play, worldwide, in the future.
When he ran against Kennedy, the election was so close he could have demanded a recount, but explained, “The order of transfer of responsibilities from the old to the new could be delayed for months. The situation within the entire federal government would be chaotic.”
When it came to light in the New York Herald Tribune that there had been voting frauds, Earl Mazo, a reporter for the Tribune launched an investigation by running a series of articles. Early in December 1960, one month before JFK’s inauguration, Nixon invited Mazo to his home for a chat.
“Earl,” he said as they shook hands, “these are interesting articles you are writing, but NO ONE steals the presidency of the United States.” He went on to say, “The country would be torn by partisan bitterness if there was an official challenge of the election results, and the damage to America’s foreign relations might be irreparable.”
“Our country,” he told Mazo, “can’t afford the agony of a constitutional crisis and I damn well will not be a party to creating one just to become President.” Mazo agreed to drop the editorials.
Nixon’s problem was that he was elusive, inexplicable, strange, and hard to understand. To Harry Truman, however, there was no mystery. Truman’s anger was understandable. Nixon launched his career in the late 40’s charging that the Truman administration was riddled with Communists and traitors. Indeed, he even started a whisper campaign against his opponents, finally winning the election.
Nevertheless, the people got what they voted for and America survived. One night on CNN’s Larry King Live, the former president was asked by King, “Is it hard to drive by the Watergate?”
“Well,” said Nixon, “I’ve never been in the Watergate.”
“Never been in the Watergate!” cried King, somewhat surprised.
“No,” replied Nixon, “other people were in there, though—unfortunately!”
After hearing JFK’s inaugural address, Nixon ran into Ted Sorenson, an aide to Kennedy. Said Nixon to Sorenson, “I wish I had said some of those things.”
“What part?” asked Sorenson, “The part about ‘Ask not what your country can do for you?’”
“No,” replied Nixon, “the part that starts ‘I do solemnly swear.’”
At an autograph reception in 1962 when Nixon’s book Six Crises was published, he asked one purchaser to whom he should address his greeting. The purchaser, knowing what a challenge his name would be, said, “You’ve just met your seventh crisis. My name is Stanaslaus Wojechzleschki.”
Knowing he had not done well in the first-ever televised debates against Kennedy, Nixon referred to himself as a dropout from the electoral college because he flunked debating.
President Nixon was either loved or loathed. Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill said, “The irony about Nixon is that his pre-Watergate record is a lot better than most liberals realize. It was Nixon, after all, who opened the doors of China and who eventually brought the troops home from Viet Nam.”
In contrast, Harry Truman said, “Richard Nixon is a no-good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he’d lie just to keep a hand in.”
And Governor Jimmy Carter once said, “In two hundred years of history, he is the most dishonest President we’ve ever had. I think he was a disgrace to the presidency.”
All I can say is draw your own conclusions, there is good and bad in everyone.
In spite of it all, the President and Mrs. Nixon knew how to throw a bash.
Pat Ryan met her future husband at a little theater group in Whittier, California. In 1938, she was playing the female lead in a play titled The Dark Tower. The leading man, Richard Nixon, had just returned to town to practice law. Two years later they were married and very soon after moved to Washington, D.C., where Nixon had accepted a job as an attorney in the Office of Economic Management. After the war, Mr. Nixon ran for Congress as a Republican candidate of California’s 12th Congressional District. The year was 1946, and this marked the beginning of one of the most controversial political careers of anyone who has ascended to the presidency. Nixon’s political career spanned twenty-nine years, and lasted until the day he resigned the presidency, August 9, 1974.
Although Nixon was never really accepted by the moneyed Eastern establishment, through hard work he fared very well, especially after he ran against JFK and moved to New York City to practice law. It was then that Nixon grew wealthy. It’s a shame he could never trust people; he would have been a great president, especially in foreign affairs, had he not been quagmired in scandal, losing his Vice President, Spiro Agnew, and himself resigning in disgrace.
The social highlight of Nixon’s first administration was the wedding of their daughter, Tricia, to Edward Finch Cox, in the Rose Garden of the White House. A lavish buffet included smoked Pacific Rim salmon, prime ribs of beef, sautéed shrimp in coconut, and a seven-tier, 350 lb. wedding cake that was five-feet wide at the bottom, decorated with lovebirds and the initials of the bride and groom.
During the first year in office, President and Mrs. Nixon entertained over 50,000 guests, which is a record. The kitchen was kept very busy in those days and some of the recipes follow.
"I must say this is the best recipe software I have ever owned."
"Your DVO cookbook software saves me time and money!"
"I saw lots of recipe software for PC computers but I was having a hard time finding really good mac recipe software. I'm so glad I discovered Cook'n! It's so nice to have all my recipes in a computer recipe organizer. Cook'n has saved me so much time with meal planning and the recipe nutrition calculator is amazing!!!
My favorite is the Cook'n Recipe App.