Tags: Presidential History | richard nixon | pets | president

First Pets: Four-Legged or Feathered Friends of President Richard Nixon

By    |   Tuesday, 12 May 2015 01:28 PM

Richard Nixon had three dogs living in the White House during his presidential term, from 1969 to 1974, but his love for pets was established long before. While he was a vice-presidential candidate with Republican presidential nominee Dwight Eisenhower.

Shortly after Eisenhower selected Nixon as his running mate, then-Sen. Nixon was accused of misusing some $18,000 in campaign contributions, which threatened their 1952 campaign. Nixon went on national TV on Sept. 23, 1952 in a 30-minute address funded by the Republican National Committee.

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It would become known as Nixon's "Checkers speech." Nixon strongly defended his actions in the talk while attacking his opponents. His mention of Checkers, however, is what many historians and political observers believe may have saved his candidacy and Eisenhower's rise to the presidency, according to the Presidential Pet Museum.

Nixon assured the audience he intended to keep one of his campaign gifts: a black-and-white Cocker spaniel puppy named Checkers. The dog was a gift to his daughters, Tricia and Julie, from a supporter in Texas. It was considered one of the first effective speeches by a politician in the relatively new medium of television.

Checkers never actually lived in the White House, but stayed with the Nixon family until he died in 1964, four years after Nixon lost a White House bid to John F. Kennedy and four years before he won the 1968 presidential election against then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

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King Timahoe, an Irish setter, was a gift to the newly elected president by his staff in 1969. King Timahoe is a hamlet in County Kildare, Ireland, home of Nixon's ancestors. He said it was "a good Irish name."

Tim, as the family called him, was once seen on an NBC Evening News report sneaking a large piece of cake at a surprise party for Nixon's 61st birthday in 1974. The dog was also popular during photo ops when dignitaries and heads of state visited the White House.

Tim loved playing with Tricia and Julie's dogs at the White House. Pasha, a Yorkshire terrier, was Tricia's pet and Vicky, a French poodle, was Julie's dog.

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Richard Nixon had three dogs living in the White House during his presidential term, from 1969 to 1974, but his love for pets was established long before. While he was a vice-presidential candidate with Republican presidential nominee Dwight Eisenhower.
richard nixon, pets, president
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2015-28-12
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 01:28 PM
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