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Richard Nixon's Checkers Speech

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by

Haylee Morgan

on 5 November 2014

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Transcript of Richard Nixon's Checkers Speech

Richard Nixon's Checkers Speech
Context
Nixon running for vice president with Eisenhower
Rhetorical Questions
"We hear a lot about prosperity these days, but I say why can't we have prosperity built on peace, rather than prosperity built on war? Why can't we have prosperity and an honest government in Washington D.C. at the same time?"
Exigence:
The accusation of him accepting bribes and the American public turning on him
Purpose:
to get the American public back on his side, to do damage control
Message:

He is one with the common people, he wants what is best for the country. He is an honest man that doesn't take bribes.
Tone:

conversational, patriotic, noble, friendly
Audience
The American people
Families
The common man
Republican party
Statistics/Data
"We have a house in Washington, which costs $41,000 and on which we owe $20,000. We have a house in Whitter, California which cost $13,000 and on which we owe $3,000"
Remarkable Aspects
Detail regarding his family
By: Michaela Murray and Haylee Morgan
Works Cited

Videos
http://watergate.info/1952/09/23/nixon-checkers-speech.html
Political Cartoon
http://didweactuallystartthefire.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/caric_nixon_cartoon_dog.jpg
Pictures
http://arflovers.com/images/content/02_28_06_nixon_big.jpg
http://www.newbreen.com/Documents/caric_nixon_cartoon_dog.jpg
http://presidentialpetmuseum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/RichardNixoandhisdogCheckers.jpg
http://mentalfloss.com/sites/default/files/nixon-checkers_11.jpg




Appeals

Appeal to Emotion
(Sense of family pride, and sympathy)
Refers to family often

Appeals to Common Man
"I should say this, Pat doesn't have a mink coat. But she does have a very respectable Republican cloth coat."

"I own a 1950 Oldsmobile car."
Appeals to Patriotism
Supports the common man and the American dream
"It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he had sent all the way from Texas...and our little girl Tricia, the six year old, named it Checkers. And you know the kids, like all kids, loved that dog...regardless of what they say about it, we are going to keep it."
Refers to Checkers
"Well, that's about it. That's what we have. And that's what we owe. It isn't very much. But Pat and I have the satisfaction that every dime we have got is honestly ours."
Portrays himself as an average family man
Stands up for common man


"Mr. Mitchell...made this statement that if a man couldn't afford to be in the United States Senate, he shouldn't run foe Senate. And I just want to make my position clear. I don't agree with Mr. Mitchell."

"I also feel it is essential in this country of ours that a man of modest means can also run for President."
"...remember Abraham Lincoln--you remember what he said--"God must have loved the common people, he made so many of them.""
Claims he wants what is best for his country
"I am going to campaign up and down America until we drive the crooks and the Communists and those that defend them out of Washington..."
"What did we do with this money? What do we have today to show for it?"
Directly addresses the audience's questions, pleases the audience and gives them answers. Relives the tension between audience and him. Reassures the audience.
Gets the audience to think, states his political views and what he wants for the country, persuades the audience toward him and Eisenhower's side.
Adds credibility to his claims of being a "common man" and makes the audience feel closer to him, makes his claims more plausible
Anecdote
Includes a letter written by a 19 year old woman

"I can't vote in this presidential election, but believe me if I could, you and Eisenhower would certainly have my vote."
"My husband is in the Fleet Marines in Korea...we have a two month old son he has never seen."
Persuades the audience to like him and Eisenhower,
influences the audience, and appeals to their sympathy

"Our little girl Tricia, the six year old, named it Checkers"

"Pat is not a quitter. After all, her name is Patricia Ryan and she was born on Saint's Patrick's day, and you know the Irish never quit."
Creates identities for his family, makes audience connect with him more, more likely to sympathize with him
His Call to Action
"Let them decide whether my position on the ticket will help or hurt. And I am going to ask you to help them decide...And whatever decision I will abide by it."
Gives the audience power, leaves his fate in their hands
Paints him in a noble light, he wants what's best for his country
Shows he trusts the people to make the best decision for their country.
Nixon accused of having secret fund for his personal expenses
Accused of taking bribes
Received a dog from a supporter in Texas

Public opinion of Nixon turned
Nixon appeared on TV with this speech in response
Full transcript