"This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office" is how President Richard M. Nixon began his final television speech on August 8, 1974 -- 40 years ago.

He was, and still is, the only sitting U.S. president to resign from office.

Although many thought President Bill Clinton might be the second, he managed to survive.

Nixon's rise to power took many years, and his fall was quick.

Re-elected by the largest (at that time) popular vote landslide in U.S. political history in 1972, less than two years later the disgraced leader of the free world was boarding a helicopter and turning the Nation's keys over to Grand Rapids' own Gerald Ford.

Here is the 15-minute, 14 second video of Nixon's final TV address. (He was later pardoned from his alleged misdeeds by President Ford.)

After hearing the tapes and reading the transcripts of Nixon in office, I firmly believe if the American public knew what kind of an actual leader Nixon was--paranoid, cruel, criminal, a racist and degrading towards women--he would have NEVER been re-elected, and quite possibly run out of Washington with an angry mob following.

I have little recollection of Watergate, since I was only 4 at the time. I far remember more about Elvis dying than Nixon and Watergate. I do, however, remember my father showing me a Nixon "frozen" 2 dollar bill. Since 2 dollar bills wern't yet in circulation, This was obviously a fake. I remember it as plain as day.


My father is a former auto worker, pro union, and is a staunch Democrat. My parents had a picture of Franklin Roosevelt of their bed (my mother to this day tells me 'It creeped her out, and that's why I was an only child') So to have a fake Republican Nixon bill in the house , looking back, was weird.

Of course many will say this was one of our Government's finest hours. This is the way the system should work. It also helps the people learn about the elected officials in ways they usually don't get to. It also shows a valuable lesson in how bad judgement and
bullying can lead to a man's entire career downfall. Im not defending Nixon by any means, but he did do a lot of good in office that goes largely forgotten. Cancer research, poverty and hunger ending programs, head start, women's equality initiates, and he even invented the internet. Oh wait, that's Al Gore.

Yet all he will ever be remembered for is this statement.

"Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office."

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