President Richard M. Nixon: Nomination for Vice-President to Ike

About future President Richard M. Nixon's nomination as vice-presidential candidate on Eisenhower's ticket.

As the Senate's youngest member (he was 38) Nixon spent most of his time supporting General MacArthur in his call for "victory" in Korea, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in his pleas for "liberation" of the Chinese mainland. Nixon also found his way onto Joe McCarthy's Government Operations Committee and worked closely with the Wisconsin senator in exposing communist subversion. In his spare time, Nixon kept a close eye on the developing battle for the 1952 presidential nomination. The liberal-moderate wing of the Republican party was working hard to assure the nomination of General Dwight Eisenhower and to block the selection of arch-conservative Robert Taft. Though Nixon was ideologically much closer to Taft, the moderate leaders correctly guessed that the California senator would put personal advantage ahead of principle. New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey, who was spearheading the Eisenhower drive, told Nixon in secret that if Ike were nominated, Nixon would be his most likely choice as a running mate. Inspired by that prospect, Nixon did everything he could to undercut Taft's candidacy, telling his conservative audiences that even though Taft would make a "fine President," he couldn't possibly be elected. At the republican convention, Nixon performed further services to the Eisenhower cause by skillfully undermining the favorite-son candidacy of his fellow Californian, Governor Earl Warren. When Eisenhower finally won the nomination, he was persuaded to follow through on Dewey's earlier promise to Nixon. Many delegates still had their doubts about "Tricky Dick," but they did not have the energy to act on them. As one Republican recalled: "We took Dick Nixon not because he was right wing or left wing--but because he came from California and we were tired."

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