#OTD20 | September 23, 1952

Richard Nixon Defends Himself with the Checkers Speech

September 23, 1952: Richard Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower's running mate, goes on television to address allegations concerning a fund established by his backers.

Facing mounting pressure and calls to step down, Richard Nixon takes a groundbreaking step: he speaks directly to the American public on live television.

"My fellow Americans, I come before you tonight to tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation."

In a masterful display of oratory, Nixon employs the story of a gift, a dog named Checkers, to humanize himself and appeal to the values of ordinary Americans.

The Checkers speech not only saves Nixon's political career but also becomes a defining moment in the use of television for political campaigns. It sets a new standard for politicians facing scrutiny and has leaves a lasting imprint on American political history.

Viewing Options

Richard Nixon, as vice-president and president, appears in a number of our programs, including "Post-War Years," "Vietnam," and "Cold War."

Preview

Preview short excerpts from "Post-War Years," "Vietnam," and "Cold War."

Stream

View programs featuring Richard Nixon in our members-only Streaming Room™.

Subscribe

Explore subscription plans for our premium content portal, the Streaming Room™.

Additional Resources

Access more information from Media Rich Learning and curated off-site sources.

American Rhetoric

Read and view the entire 'Checkers' speech at the American Rhetoric website.

Richard Nixon Foundation

"How ‘Checkers’ Changed the Game of Television" from the Richard Nixon Foundation blog.

The Atlantic

"The Checkers Speech After 60 Years" from the Atlantic.

#OTD20

Step back in time to experience the significant events that happened on this day in the 20th century.

President Harry Truman smiling and holding up the Chicago Daily Tribune newspaper with the incorrect headline "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.

November 2, 1948: Truman Defeats Dewey

#OTD20 — November 2, 1948: President Harry Truman defeats Thomas Dewey of New York in one of history’s most shocking political upsets.

Read More
A flak-damaged Sea Venom aircraft with campaign markings on the deck of HMS Eagle, with crew members nearby, following a sortie over Egypt in November 1956.

October 31, 1956: Suez Crisis Escalates as UK and France Launch Operation Musketeer

#OTD20 — October 31, 1956: The Suez Crisis escalates as the UK and France launch Operation Musketeer to recapture control of the Suez Canal.

Read More
Vintage poster illustrating the Lend-Lease Act, featuring the flags of the U.S., the U.K., the Soviet Union, and China, along with an image of a military tank.

October 30, 1941: Roosevelt Approves $1 Billion Lend-Lease Aid to Britain

#OTD20 — October 30, 1941: President Roosevelt makes approves $1 billion in Lend-Lease aid to Britain, demonstrating U.S. support for the Allies during WWII.

Read More
Colorized photo of Dr. Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho walking side by side, with Tho waving to onlookers.

October 26, 1955: Ngo Dinh Diem Proclaims Republic of Vietnam

#OTD20 — October 26, 1955: Ngo Dinh Diem proclaims the establishment of the Republic of Vietnam, appointing himself as its inaugural president.

Read More
Vladimir Lenin, with his hat in hand, addressing a large crowd in Petrograd.

Bolshevik Revolution — October 25, 1917 (O.S.)

#OTD20 — October 25, 1917: Explore the 1917 October Bolshevik Revolution in Russia that ushered in Soviet rule and laid the groundwork for the Cold War.

Read More
Hungarian revolutionaries standing atop a tank, waving their flag in a crowded square with a historic building in the backdrop.

1956 Hungarian Uprising: The Battle for Freedom October 23 | #OTD20

#OTD20 — October 23, 1956: The Hungarian Uprising begins when mass demonstrations escalate to open revolt and Soviet occupation.

Read More
Customers and staff in a 1960s electronics store stop to watch President John F. Kennedy on television as he addresses the nation about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

October 22, 1962: JFK Address Nation on Missiles in Cuba

#OTD20 — October 22, 1962: JFK addresses the nation on the Soviet missile buildup in Cuba, leading to the gravest moment in the Cold War.

Read More
Group of 1940s Hollywood celebrities and film industry professionals gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol building.

The HUAC Hearings: The Red Scare Comes to Hollywood | #OTD20

#OTD20 — October 20, 1947: The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) begins its controversial hearings into alleged Communist infiltration of Hollywood.

Read More
Gas station with closed pumps and a sign reading 'PUMPS CLOSED' during the 1973 OPEC oil embargo.

October 17, 1973: OPEC Oil Embargo – America’s Energy Wake-Up Call

The 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo triggers gasoline shortages and rationing in the U.S., prompting a reevaluation of the nation’s energy policies.

Read More
Colorized photo of Dr. Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho walking side by side, with Tho waving to onlookers.

October 16, 1973: Kissinger and Tho Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

#OTD20 — October 14, 1946: Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho receive the Nobel Peace Prize for their diplomatic efforts in the Paris peace accord.

Read More
Protesters marching with a large sign that reads: 'end the war now. send the troops home' during the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam.

October 15, 1945: The Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam – A Day of Nationwide Protests

#OTD20 — October 15, 1969: Hundreds of thousands across the U.S. unite in a massive protest against the Vietnam War.

Read More
Young lady smiling at a sign in a storefront window that reads 'United States Controlled Prices... This store is enlisted'.

October 14, 1946: Truman Lifts Price Controls on Meat

#OTD20 — October 10, 1986: President Reagan and Soviet leader Gorbachev meet in Reykjavik to discuss arms control. Despite high hopes, they leave without no major agreements.

Read More

Remarkably social