President Richard M. Nixon: More Little-known Facts and Trivia

Some more little-known facts and trivia about the President of the United States Richard M. Nixon.


-During one of his 1960 debates with Kennedy, Nixon demanded that his opponent "apologize" for the salty language being used by former President Harry Truman in Truman's vigorous anti-Nixon campaign. As Nixon pointed out to the television audience: "I can only say that I am very proud that President Eisenhower restored dignity and decency, and frankly, good language to the conduct of the Presidency. And I can only hope-should I win this election-that I would approach President Eisenhower in maintaining the dignity of the office." Kennedy's reaction was off-camera laughter. A few minutes later, the debate over, Nixon retired to his dressing room and exploded in front of reporters. "That fucking bastard," he said, "he-he wasn't supposed to use notes!"

-At the close of a business trip to Finland in 1965, Richard Nixon, then in private law practice, impulsively took a 20-hour train ride to Moscow. At 11 o'clock at night, he knocked on Khrushchev's door. Khrushchev was not at home. Nixon had to satisfy himself with a deputy director of Moscow State University and a policeman who happened to be near Nixon on the street, both of whom he tried to debate. In 1967, for no apparent reason, he went to Moscow once again, visiting Sokolniki Park, the site of his famous "kitchen debate" with Khrushchev 8 years before. Once more Khrushchev himself was unavailable, and Nixon had to entertain himself by debating with passersby.

-Nixon was the only President in American history who managed to visit all 50 States while in office.

-During his campaign for Republican candidates in 1970, Nixon was riding in a motorcade in St. Petersburg, Fla., when a motorcycle policeman was thrown from his vehicle and severely injured. The President rushed up to the suffering policeman and expressed his sympathies. The officer replied pathetically that he was sorry the motorcade had been delayed. Then there were some moments of embarrassing silence, until Nixon blurted out: "Well-do you like the work?"

-During the last day of his visit to China in 1972, Nixon was escorted by a weary Chou En-lai through an exhibition of export merchandise in Shanghai. The President stopped for a moment and peered through a magnifying glass at a tiny seed of ivory on which was engraved Mao Tse-tung's "Ode to the Plum Blossom." With a sigh of admiration, Nixon informed the world of something it had little suspected. "Art is my weakness," he said.

-Nixon's favorite President was-of all people

-Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Psychologists might point out that Wilson's martyrdom would naturally appeal to Nixon's own well-developed martyr complex. Moreover, Nixon obviously envied Wilson's intellectual credentials. "I think he was our greatest President of this century," Nixon once said. "You'll notice too that he was the best educated." When he moved into the White House, Nixon ordered that LBJ's desk be removed and had it replaced by the old, half-forgotten desk that had been used by President Wilson.

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