This is one of the most famous quotes from former President of the United States Richard M. Nixon. He was being interviewed about the Watergate tapes and made a sidebar comment concerning his finances and several investments. Here is the actual quote from the President to Mr. Quinn of the AP Managing Editors Association from back in 1973:
I noted in some editorials and perhaps in some commentaries on television, a very reasonable question. They said, you know, "How is it that President Nixon could have a very heavy investment in a fine piece of property in San Clemente and a big investment in a piece of property in Florida," in which I have two houses, one which I primarily use as an office and the other as a residence, and also an investment in what was my mother's home, not very much of a place but I do own it--those three pieces of property.
I want to say first, that is all I have. I am the first President since Harry Truman who hasn't owned any stock since ever I have been President. I am the first one who has not had a blind trust since Harry Truman. Now, that doesn't prove that those who owned stocks or had blind trusts did anything wrong. But I felt that in the Presidency it was important to have no question about the President's personal finances, and I thought real estate was the best place to put it.
But then, the question was raised by good editorial writers--and I want to respond to it because some of you might be too polite to ask such an embarrassing question--they said, "Now, Mr. President, you earned $800,000 when you were President. Obviously, you paid at least half that much or could have paid half that much in taxes or a great deal of it-how could you possibly have had the money? Where did you get it?"
And then, of course, overriding all of that is the story to the effect that I have a million dollars in campaign funds, which was broadly printed throughout this country with retractions not quite getting quite as much play as the printing of the first, and particularly not on television. The newspapers did much better than television in that respect, I should point out.
And second, they said, "How is it that as far as this money is concerned, how is it possible for you to have this kind of investment when all you earned was $800,000 as President?"
Well, I should point out I wasn't a pauper when I became President. I wasn't very rich as Presidents go. But you see, in the 8 years that I was out of office--first, just to put it all out and I will give you a paper on this, we will send it around to you, and these figures I would like you to have, not today, but I will have it in a few days--when I left office after 4 years as a Congressman, 4 years as a Senator, and 8 years at $45,000 a year as Vice President, and after stories had been written, particularly in the Washington Post to the effect that the Vice President had purchased a mansion in Wesley Heights and people wondered where the money came from, you know what my net worth was? Forty-seven thousand dollars total, after 14 years of Government service, and a 1958 Oldsmobile that needed an overhaul.
Now, I have no complaints. In the next 8 years, I made a lot of money. I made $250,000 from a book and the serial rights which many of you were good enough to purchase, also. In the practice of law--and I am not claiming I was worth it, but apparently former Vice Presidents or Presidents are worth a great deal to law firms--and I did work pretty hard.
But also in that period, I earned between $100,000 and $250,000 every year.
So that when I, in 1968, decided to become a candidate for President, I decided to clean the decks and to put everything in real estate. I sold all my stock for $300,000--that is all I owned. I sold my apartment in New York for $300,000--I am using rough figures here. And I had $100,000 coming to me from the law firm.
And so, that is where the money came from. Let me just say this, and I want to say this to the television audience: I made my mistakes, but in all of my years of public life, I have never profited, never profited from public service--I have earned every cent. And in all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice. And I think, too, that I could say that in my years of public life, that 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. I have earned everything I have got.
Iron Noder 2017