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17 Facts About the Checkers Speech

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The Checkers speech or Fund speech was an address made on September 23, 1952, by the Republican candidate for vice president of the United States, California Senator Richard Nixon.

The Vice President of the United States is a constitutional officer in the legislative branch of the Federal government as President of the Senate under Article One, Section Three, Paragraph Four of the United States Constitution.

The United States of America, commonly referred to as the United States or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.

Richard Milhous Nixon was an American politician who served as the 37th President of the United States from 1969 until 1974, when he became the only U.S. president to resign from office.

Richard Nixon-Checkers Speech (9/23/1952) by sodalitious

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Nixon had been accused of improprieties relating to a fund established by his backers to reimburse him for his political expenses.

Richard Nixon - "Checkers" Speech by MCamericanpresident

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With his place on the Republican ticket in doubt, he flew to Los Angeles and delivered a half-hour television address in which he defended himself, attacked his opponents, and urged the audience to contact the Republican National Committee to tell it whether he should remain on the ticket.

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the second-most populous city in the United States, the most populous city in California and the county seat of Los Angeles County.

The Republican National Committee is a U.S. political committee that provides national leadership for the Republican Party of the United States.

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During the speech, he stated that regardless of what anyone said, he intended to keep one gift: a black-and-white dog who had been named Checkers by the Nixon children, thus giving the address its popular name.

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Nixon, as he related in his address, came from a family of modest means, and had spent much of his time after law school either in the military, campaigning for office, or serving in Congress.

A law school is an institution specializing in legal education, usually involved as part of a process for becoming a lawyer within a given jurisdiction.

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After his successful 1950 Senate campaign, Nixon's backers continued to raise money to finance his political activities.

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These contributions went to reimburse him for travel costs, postage for political mailings which he did not have franked, and similar expenses.

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Such a fund was not illegal at the time, but, because Nixon had made a point of attacking government corruption, it exposed him to charges he might be giving special favors to the contributors.

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The press became aware of the fund in September 1952, two months after Nixon's selection as General Dwight D. Eisenhower's running mate.

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was an American politician and soldier who served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961.

A running mate is a person running together with another person on a joint ticket during an election.

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Within a few days, the story grew until the controversy threatened Nixon's place on the ticket.

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In an attempt to turn the tide of public opinion, Nixon broke off a whistle-stop tour of the West Coast to fly to Los Angeles to make a television and radio broadcast to the nation; the $75,000 to buy the television time was raised by the RNC.

A whistle stop or whistle-stop tour is a style of political campaigning where the politician makes a series of brief appearances or speeches at a number of small towns over a short period of time.

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The idea for the Checkers reference came from Franklin Roosevelt's Fala speech—given eight years to the day before Nixon's address—in which Roosevelt mocked Republican claims that he had sent a destroyer to fetch his dog, Fala, when the dog was supposedly left behind in the Aleutian Islands.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, commonly known as FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd President of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945.

The Aleutian Islands are a chain of 14 large volcanic islands and 55 smaller ones belonging to both the United States and Russia.

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Nixon's speech was seen or heard by about 60 million Americans, including the largest television audience to that time, and led to an outpouring of public support.

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A huge majority of the millions of telegrams and phone calls received by the RNC and other political offices supported Nixon.

Telegraphy is the long-distance transmission of textual or symbolic messages without the physical exchange of an object bearing the message.

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He was retained on the ticket, which then swept to victory weeks later in November 1952.

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The Checkers speech was an early example of a politician using television to appeal directly to the electorate, but has since sometimes been mocked or denigrated.

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Checkers speech has come more generally to mean any emotional speech by a politician.

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