The Checkers Speech

  • The Checkers Speech

  • Richard Nixon

    My Fellow Americans,

    Profile Picture of Richard Nixon in The Checkers Speech
  • I come before you tonight as a candidate for the Vice Presidency and as a man whose honesty and -- and integrity has been questioned.

  • Now, the usual political thing to do when charges are made against you is to either ignore them or to deny them without giving details.

  • I believe we've had enough of that in the United States, particularly with the present Administration in Washington, D.C.

  • To me the office of the Vice Presidency of the United States is a great office, and I feel that the people have got to have confidence in the integrity of the men who run for that office and who might obtain it.

  • I have a theory, too, that the best and only answer to a smear or to an honest misunderstanding of the facts is to tell the truth.

  • And that's why I'm here tonight.

  • Richard Nixon

    I want to tell you my side of the case.

    Profile Picture of Richard Nixon in The Checkers Speech
  • I'm sure that you have read the charge, and you've heard it, that I, Senator Nixon, took 18,000 dollars from a group of my supporters.

  • Now, was that wrong?

  • And let me say that it was wrong.

  • I'm saying, incidentally, that it was wrong, not just illegal, because it isn't a question of whether it was legal or illegal, that isn't enough.

  • The question is, was it morally wrong?

  • Richard Nixon

    I say that it was morally wrong -- if any of that 18,000 dollars went to Senator Nixon, for my personal use.

    Profile Picture of Richard Nixon in The Checkers Speech
  • I say that it was morally wrong if it was secretly given and secretly handled.

  • And I say that it was morally wrong if any of the contributors got special favors for the contributions that they made.

  • And now to answer those questions let me say this:

  • Not one cent of the 18,000 dollars or any other money of that type ever went to me for my personal use.

  • Every penny of it was used to pay for political expenses that I did not think should be charged to the taxpayers of the United States.