Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011


Checkers didn't live to see Richard Nixon become president, but the black and white cocker spaniel helped make it all possible. In 1952, when allegations of an illegal slush fund arose while then-Senator Nixon was running for vice-president, Tricky Dick delivered a nationally televised address to defuse the scandal. It would become known as the "Checkers" speech, for in the context of providing his "complete financial history," Nixon said there was one gift his family received that, by golly, he would not return: his daughters' dog. "The kids, like all kids, love the dog," Nixon said. "And I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it." Checkers proved to be Nixon's best friend indeed. The speech was a hit, Nixon remained the Republican vice presidential candidate, and he and Dwight Eisenhower won the election.