'I screwed up on Watergate and I paid the price'

AS President, Nixon was arrogant yet excruciatingly shy, incapable of small talk. But he was a phrasemaker. This selection illustrates the complexity of the man:

This is my last press conference . . . You won't have Nixon to kick around any more. - 6 November 1962, to reporters, after he had been defeated by Pat Brown for the Governorship of California.

If a vocal minority, however fervent its cause, prevails over reason, this nation has no future as a free society . . . And so tonight to you the great silent majority of my fellow Americans, I ask for your support. - 3 November 1969, as President, attacking opponents of the Vietnam war.

North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that - In a 1969 speech.

If, when the chips are down, the world's most powerful nation . . . acts like a pitiful, helpless giant, the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy will threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world. - His 1970 TV speech announcing the US strike into Cambodia.

There will be no whitewash at the White House - 17 April 1973, on Watergate.

I want you all to stonewall it. - 1973 presidential transcript on Watergate.

(Expletive deleted) of course I am not dumb and I will never forget when I heard about this (adjective deleted) forced entry and bugging. I thought: what in hell is all this? What is the matter with these people? Are they crazy? I thought they were nuts] A prank] But it wasn't] It wasn't very funny. I think our Democratic friends know that too. They know what hell it was. They don't think we'd be involved in such. - 28 February 1973, while talking about the break-in at Watergate.

I welcome this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I am not a crook. - 8 November 1973 to newspaper editors, defending himself against charges that he had evaded income taxes.

I screwed up on Watergate and I paid the price. Mea culpa. But let's get on to my achievements. You'll be here in the year 2000 and we'll see how I'm regarded then. - 30 November 1978, to the Oxford Union, during a trip to Britain and France.

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