On September 18, 1952, the New York Post charged that Senator Richard M. Nixon with having $18,235 in a secret slush fund. With the Republican campaign in trouble and the eventual likelihood that presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower would drop Nixon as his running mate, Senator Nixon appealed to 60 million members of the American public on September 23, 1952. During the televised speech, Nixon explained his financial condition, his personal history and explained that his wife Pat did not have a mink coat, but rather a respectable Republican cloth coat. However, the most memorable aspect his oration was the fact that he had only taken one thing: a little black and white spotted cocker spaniel that 6 year old Tricia Nixon named "Checkers" to which candidate Nixon retorted: "Regardless of what they say about it, we're going to keep it." With the "Checkers Speech," Nixon endeared himself to the American public; had he not delivered this speech, it is unlikely that Nixon would have ever become president in 1969. Entertainment Weekly ranks the "Checkers Speech," as 29 in the top 100 moments of television history.
Complete streamed audio of the speech 28:33
Complete speech transcript
Video excerpt where Nixon mentions Checkers the dog 1:26
A critique from the PBS Series: Great American Speeches
Entertainment Weekly's Television Top 100
Visit the gravesite of "Checkers" at FindAGrave.com