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Richard Nixon: 1913-1994 : Reflections On Nixon's Legacy

April 27, 1994

"Leaders in statecraft and students of international affairs will long look for guidance to President Nixon's tremendous accomplishments. He suffered defeats that would have ended most political careers, yet he won stunning victories that many of the world's most popular leaders failed to attain."--President Bill Clinton

"To Nancy and I, he was a cherished friend and brilliant counselor. Richard Nixon understood the world. He understood politics, power and the fragile yet undeniable force of history. There is no question that the legacy of this complicated and fascinating man will continue to guide the forces of democracy forever."--Former President Ronald Reagan

"As President, his foreign policy accomplishments laid important groundwork for efforts of the presidents who have succeeded him. . . . President Nixon continued to share his insight through his writings and travels throughout the 20 years since he left office, and each of his successors has benefited from his counsel."--Former President Jimmy Carter

"History will give Richard Nixon enormous credit for his accomplishments."--Former President George Bush

"The Watergate tragedy ought to be closed at the present time and I hope it will be. It was one of the most unfortunate incidents in the history of the American political scene. The book's closed. Let's look forward to the future."--Former President Gerald Ford

"His work to clean up the environment, change our nation's welfare system, improve law enforcement, and reform health care serves as an inspiration to us today as we seek to place the 'American dream' within the grasp of all our citizens."--President Bill Clinton

"If there's a fair opportunity to evaluate, he'll be seen as a terribly flawed leader, to be pitied because of his loneliness and his insecurity and his bellicosity and his vindictiveness."--Ramsay Clark, attorney general under President Lyndon B. Johnson

"Richard Nixon, with his great strategic mind and intelligence, was always in the arena, even when he was out of office. And he always rose above his defeats. He devoted his energy and mind to issues that were central. He took positions, he was not afraid of controversy. He is known for his brilliance in foreign policy, but history will recognize his immense contribution to domestic policy, most especially in the area of civil rights."--George P. Shultz, labor and treasury secretary during the Nixon administration and secretary of state in the Reagan administration

"Long after Watergate is forgotten, his opening to China, his creation of an Environmental Protection Agency, his commitment to a strong America and to containing the Soviet empire will be remembered."--Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.)

"What history will remember is that Nixon was the only President who could go to China without being redbaited by Richard Nixon. People have been talking about how hard it was for him to govern when he was elected in 1968, because the country was so divided. But history will note it was divided largely because Nixon himself deliberately divided it."--David Halberstam, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who has written extensively about the Nixon era

"There are really two Richard Nixons. There is the paranoid politician, a man who picked at every sore he could find on the body politic, and there in the same body was this overarching geopolitical thinker. You've got to find a way to weigh them together." --Richard Lamm, former governor of Colorado and currently director of the Public Policy Institute at the University of Denver

"It is very difficult to think of our party and our country's politics without him. There will be a hollowness, a vacuum, a void created by his absence that I don't know, really, who will be able to fix or replace."--Tom Fuentes, chairman of the Republican Party in Orange County

"At some point we'll have generations of people who are not bearing the baggage of scandal, or Watergate, or whether he was guilty of this, or guilty of that. We'll see him in a broader perspective. Eventually, I think he will have been seen to have this vision, the ability to project Americans' interest into a different time frame."--Ken Khachigian, a San Clemente political consultant

"I think history will treat him very kindly as they realize how very, very right he usually was. All of the Presidents that have come after him have recognized this and would seek his counsel."--Lois Anne Lundberg, chair of Orange County GOP 1977-84

"Nixon's life and the media are intertwined. He was made by the press and destroyed by the press."--Cal State Fullerton professor Tony Fellow, who says Nixon's presidency helped shape the history of American media

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