Nixon to Speechwriter: “If you think I oughta resign, put that in, too”

I’m a regular collector of speechwriting lore, but in a 1977 Associated Press archive, I turned up a yarn I’d never heard before.

On April 29, 1973, President Nixon turned to speechwriter Ray Price and asked for help in announcing that he was firing aides H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman. Price came in with the final draft, Nixon remembers:

And I said to him, “Ray,” I said, “if you think I oughta resign,” I said, “put that in, too, because I feel responsible.” Even through I did not feel I had, ah, engaged in these activities consciously. Well, he didn’t put it in. And, ah, I must say at that time, I seriously considered whether I shouldn’t resign.”

Interviewed by the AP, Price remembered being “astounded at the suggestion,” and not taking it seriously. “You have to remember that it was a very emotional time.”

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