(CBS 11) – One of America’s most challenging times goes back to 1972: an election year for President Richard M. Nixon.
Nixon had served in Congress prior to being Vice President under Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1952-1960.
He ran for President in 1960 against Senator John F. Kennedy but lost the Electoral College even though he won the popular vote.
After the loss, he told the press how lucky they were that they would “not have Nixon to kick around anymore.”
By 1968, the Vietnam War had consumed the Johnson Administration and triggered protests coast o coast. Johnson did not run for another term. But Nixon did, with his running mate, Spiro Agnew, and won.
On June 17, 1972, it was reported that the Democratic National Convention headquarters in Washington at their Watergate offices had been vandalized. As time went on, it became more evident of wrongdoing involving the Nixon Administration. I was in college then and this was one of the first times I saw “wall to wall” coverage on TV of Congress’ investigation of the break in. It was also the first time we heard the phrase, “What did The President Know and when did he know it?”, spoken by Senator Howard Baker from Tennessee.
Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974. He was the first American President to resign before his term was up.
Gerald Ford took the oath of office as the 38th President and served out the rest of Nixon’s term.
This was the first time for Americans to witness a Presidential resignation on both radio and TV.