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CNN Original Series Tricky Dick continues with spotlight on Nixon presidency

Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon earned the nickname Tricky Dick for many good reasons. Pic credit: CNN

On the next CNN Original Series Tricky Dick, the network and producers will focus on the 37th president of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, who was less flatteringly referred to as Tricky Dick.

CNN is continuing to focus on past American presidents who served in the Oval Office and whose legacies are celebrated, scrutinized and at times criticized.  Based on our preview clip below, it appears President Donald Trump wasn’t the first president in the USA to rip the Washington Post news organization.

CNN’s new series Tricky Dick will be presented in four episodes and it opens with audio tapes of private conversations that former President Richard M. Nixon had while president. The recorded chats were colored with bad language and outright threats on reporters. In the tapes, he criticizes the Washington Post and their reporters at the time with real passion and anger.

On the heels of The Kennedys and The Bush Dynasty (which aired March 3), CNN is now exploring one of the most controversial American presidents, Richard M. Nixon’s reign.

Why was Nixon’s presidency controversial?

President Nixon was almost impeached and before this could happen, he left the White House by resignation on August 9, 1974. This was the only time a U.S. president has done this.

This was all due to the Watergate scandal that emerged and it altered public perception of the executive office. Nixon was found to have ordered the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C.

It was the cover-up of this act and refusal to hand over evidence that led to the threat of impeachment and Nixon’s resignation.

Nixon was given a pardon by his successor, President Gerald Ford.

Who was Richard M. Nixon?

Nixon was a complicated and canny educated man who was a devout Quaker. He was the 37th president of the United States from 1969 to 1974 and was the 36th vice president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. His public life in political office preceded this and he was a U.S. representative and senator from California.

Nixon was widely considered a brilliant politician with regards to foreign policies and he was a very good student in his earlier years, achieving a full ride scholarship to Duke University School of Law.

After his schooling, he returned to Whittier California and was a litigating attorney and even dipped his toe in the acting world, starring in a Whittier Community Playhouse production of The Dark Tower. That is where he met his wife, Patricia Ryan, who eventually became First Lady and who bore him two daughters.

During World War II, Nixon signed up for the Navy and served in the Naval Reserve though his religious beliefs (he was a Quaker) did not allow him to consider combat and direct warfare. He moved up the ranks in the Navy and eventually served in the Pacific Theater, earning a commendation for his competency and ability to organize the logistics of the massive US push in the Pacific as the war between Japan and the USA was in full swing.

Nixon ran for President back in 1960 and he lost to the more telegenic John F. Kennedy, who beat him by only 113,000 votes. The famous debate showed Nixon in an unflattering light and was considered to be the push that the younger handsome Kennedy needed to win.

Later on, Richard Nixon suffered a stroke at age 81 and he passed away in April of 1994.

Tricky Dick, a four-part series that tracks the rise and fall of President Richard Nixon, will premiere on Sunday, March 17, at 9/8c on CNN.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
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