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Cocker Spaniel in Presidential Speech

Updated on August 19, 2009

Richard Nixon's Dog Checkers

Checkers, an American Cocker Spaniel, named by Nixon's daughter was probably one of the more famous and seen of the presidential pets. This cute black cocker spaniel with white markings was given to the family by a traveling salesman in September 1952, when he was the running candidate for vice president of the Republican party.

Nixon used the pup as a political ploy, so to speak, as he was the first to use television in a campaign and the first to bring the dog into the race.

Nixon was always pretty big at speaking to the public, and the speech that is now fondly remembered as the Checkers Speech, is probably one of the first speeches he made public.

The Checkers Speech

At the time of the speech, Nixon had already been accused of accepting $18,000 ($140,000 in today's terms) in illegal campaign contributions, so he opted to give a live speech to the American public, which was broadcasted nationwide television and even on the radio.

He wanted to reveal where the money came from, which was more of reimbursement expenses versus personal use, and because the money was more towards an independent audit on his personal finances, the charges were dropped.

During the speech, NIxon denied claims about his wife's mink coat and a few other misconceptions about his family and the money. But, that wasn't the entire speech. Nixon, also, admitted to accepting the Cocker Spaniel, Checkers from Lou Carrol.

He didn't care how it looked, him accepting the gift, as all kids like dogs and regardless of anything, he and his family wee going to keep the puppy.

After the speech, many people thought that the Republican party would drop Nixon from the ballet, as the famous Checkers Speech became comical part of the election. But, Eisenhower used Nixon's "We're keeping the dog," as a subtle joke towards the Democratic party in regards to Nixon's performance in the Republican party.

Nixon's Checkers Speech Part 1

Political Speech

Many people believe that Nixon created the Checkers Speech because of the rumor that Eisenhower wanting to cut him from the ballet. He felt that if he went straight to the people, Eisenhower would not be able to cut him from the ballet.

Well, in any case, it worked. The Checkers Speech not only helped to keep Nixon on the ballet for the election, but the ploy worked to help the pair win the presidency and vice presidency by a large landslide.

So, using something near and dear to the American heart, a puppy, to keep him in the running for a presidential campaign and to keep up with political ploy to look out for oneself.

Well, Checkers died in 1964 at the ripe old age of 12 years old.

The Checkers Speech Part 2


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