nixon, richard

Nixon, Richard M(ilhous)

(born Jan. 9, 1913, Yorba Linda, Calif., U.S.—died April 22, 1994, New York, N.Y.) 37th president of the U.S. (1969–74). He studied law at Duke University and practiced in California (1937–42). After serving in World War II, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1946). As a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee, he received national attention for his hostile questioning of Alger Hiss. In 1950 he was elected to the Senate following a bitter campaign in which he unfairly portrayed his opponent as a communist sympathizer; the epithet “Tricky Dick” dates from this period. He won the vice presidency in 1952 as the running mate of Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower. During the campaign he delivered a nationally televised address, the “Checkers” speech (named for the dog he admitted receiving as a political gift), to rebut charges of financial misconduct. He and Eisenhower were reelected easily in 1956. As the Republican presidential candidate in 1960, he lost narrowly to John F. Kennedy. After failing to win the 1962 California gubernatorial race, he announced his retirement from politics and criticized the press, declaring that it would not “have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.” He moved to New York to practice law. He reentered politics by running for president in 1968, narrowly defeating Hubert H. Humphrey with his “southern strategy” of seeking votes from southern and western conservatives in both parties. As president, he began to withdraw U.S. military forces from South Vietnam while resuming the bombing of North Vietnam. His expansion of the Vietnam War to Cambodia and Laos in 1970 provoked widespread protests in the U.S. He established direct relations with China and made a state visit there in 1972, the first by a U.S. president. On a visit to the Soviet Union later that year, he signed agreements resulting from the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks between the U.S. and the Soviet Union held between 1969 and 1972, known as SALT I. In domestic affairs, Nixon responded to persistent inflation and increasing unemployment by devaluing the dollar and imposing unprecedented peacetime controls on wages and prices. His administration increased funding for many federal civil-rights agencies and proposed legislation that created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 1972 he won reelection with a landslide victory over George McGovern. Assisted by Henry A. Kissinger, he concluded a peace agreement with North Vietnam (1973), though the war did not come to an end until 1975. His administration helped to undermine the coalition government of Chile's Marxist Pres. Salvador Allende, leading to Allende's overthrow in a military coup in 1973. Nixon's second term was overshadowed by the Watergate scandal, which stemmed from illegal activities by Nixon and others related to the burglary and wiretapping of the headquarters of the Democratic Party. After lengthy congressional investigations and facing near-certain impeachment, Nixon resigned the presidency on Aug. 8, 1974, the first president to do so. Though never convicted of wrongdoing, he was pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford. In retirement, he wrote his memoirs and several books on foreign policy, which modestly rehabilitated his reputation and earned him a role as an elder statesman and foreign-policy expert.

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Nixon’s Enemies List is the informal name of what started as a list of President Richard Nixon’s major political opponents compiled by Charles Colson, written by George T. Bell (assistant to Colson, special counsel to the White House) and sent in memorandum form to John Dean on September 9, 1971. The list was part of a campaign officially known as “Opponents List” and “Political Enemies Project.” The official purpose, as described by the White House Counsel’s Office, was to “screw” Nixon’s political enemies, by means of tax audits from the IRS, and by manipulating “grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, prosecution, etc.”

In a memorandum from John Dean to Lawrence Higby (August 16, 1971), Dean explained the purpose of the list succinctly:

This memorandum addresses the matter of how we can maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in their opposition to our Administration; stated a bit more bluntly—how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.

The original 20 names in Colson’s memo (and his notes accompanying them) were as follows, although a master list of Nixon political opponents and another list, with a combined total of over 30,000 names, were developed later.

Verbatim text of Colson's original memo (with his comments)

"Having studied the attached material and evaluated the recommendations for the discussed action, I believe you will find my list worthwhile for status. It is in priority order."

  1. Arnold M. Picker, United Artists Corp., New York; Top Muskie fund raiser. Success here could be both debilitating and very embarrassing to the Muskie machine. If effort looks promising, both Ruth and David Picker should be programmed and then a follow through with United Artists.
  2. Alexander E. Barkan, national director of A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s Committee on Political Education, Washington, D.C.: Without a doubt the most powerful political force programmed against us in 1968 ($10-million, 4.6 million votes, 115 million pamphlets, 176,000 workers—all programmed by Barkan’s C.O.P.E.—so says Teddy White in The Making of the President 1968). We can expect the same effort this time.
  3. Ed Guthman, managing editor, Los Angeles Times national editor: Guthman, former Kennedy aide, was a highly sophisticated hatchetman against us in '68. It is obvious he is the prime mover behind the current Key Biscayne effort. It is time to give him the message.
  4. Maxwell Dane, Doyle, Dane and Bernbach, New York: The top Democratic advertising firm—they destroyed Goldwater in ’64. They should be hit hard starting with Dane.
  5. Charles Dyson, Dyson-Kissner Corporation, New York: Dyson and Larry O’Brien were close business associates after ’68. Dyson has huge business holdings and is presently deeply involved in the Businessmen’s Educational Fund which bankrolls a national radio network of five-minute programs, anti-Nixon in character.
  6. Howard Stein, Dreyfus Corporation, New York: Heaviest contributor to McCarthy in ’68. If McCarthy goes, will do the same in ’72. If not, Lindsay or McGovern will receive the funds.
  7. Allard Lowenstein, Long Island, New York: Guiding force behind the 18-year-old “Dump Nixon” vote drive.
  8. Morton Halperin, leading executive at Common Cause: A scandal would be most helpful here. (A consultant for Common Cause in February-March 1971) (On staff of Brookings Institution)
  9. Leonard Woodcock, United Auto Workers, Detroit, Michigan: No comments necessary.
  10. S. Sterling Munro, Jr., Senator Henry M. Jackson’s aide, Silver Spring, Maryland: We should give him a try. Positive results would stick a pin in Jackson’s white hat.
  11. Bernard T. Feld, president, Council for a Livable World: Heavy far left funding. They will program an “all court press” against us in ’72.
  12. Sidney Davidoff, New York City, Lindsay’s top personal aide: a first class S.O.B., wheeler-dealer and suspected bagman. Positive results would really shake the Lindsay camp and Lindsay’s plans to capture youth vote. Davidoff in charge.
  13. John Conyers, congressman, Detroit: Coming on fast. Emerging as a leading black anti-Nixon spokesman. Has known weakness for white females.
  14. Samuel M. Lambert, president, National Education Association: Has taken us on vis-a-vis federal aid to parochial schools—a ’72 issue.
  15. Stewart Rawlings Mott, Mott Associates New York: Nothing but big money for radic-lib candidates.
  16. Ron Dellums, congressman, California: Had extensive EMK-Tunney support in his election bid. Success might help in California next year.
  17. Daniel Schorr, Columbia Broadcasting System, Washington: A real media enemy.
  18. S. Harrison Dogole, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: President of Globe Security Systems—fourth largest private detective agency in U.S. Heavy Humphrey contributor. Could program his agency against us.
  19. Paul Newman, California: Radic-lib causes. Heavy McCarthy involvement ’68. Used effectively in nationwide T.V. commercials. ’72 involvement certain.
  20. Mary McGrory, Washington columnist: Daily hate Nixon articles.

When this list was released, Daniel Schorr read it live on television, not realizing that he was on the list until he came to his own name.

Master list of political opponents

According to Dean, Colson later compiled hundreds of names on a “master list” which changed constantly. The full list includes many notable people and publications, including Jane Fonda, Bill Cosby, Barbra Streisand,The New York Times, and The Washington Post.


Actor Paul Newman stated that his inclusion on the list was one of his greatest accomplishments.

In Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, Hunter S. Thompson expresses disappointment in not having been included on the list.

Carl Djerassi's autobiography The Pill, Pigmy Chimps, and Degas' Horse states that President Nixon awarded him the National Medal of Science when he was on the Enemies List. He learned this from an article in the San Francisco Examiner a few months later.

Cultural References

In the Simpsons episode "Homer's Enemy" (Season 8, Episode 23, first broadcast May 4th 1997) Nixon's enemies list was referenced when Moe the bartender admits to also having many enemies and pulls out a list to illustrate. It is revealed that Moe's enemies list was simply Richard Nixon's but with Nixon's name scratched out.

Moe: As hard as it is to believe, some people don't care for me, neither.
Homer: (shakes head) No, I won't accept that.
Moe: No, it's true. I got their names written down right here, in what I call my, uh, "enemies list".
Barney: (takes the list from Moe and reads it) Jane Fonda, Daniel Schorr, Jack Anderson... Hey, this is Richard Nixon's enemies list! You just crossed out his name and put yours.
Moe: Gimme that! (snatches the list and writes down) Barney... Gumble..."


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