U.S. President Resigns
By Sue Schuurman
AUGUST 17, 1998:
24 Years Ago This Week
On Aug. 9, 1974, Richard Milhous Nixon became the first U.S. President to resign from office and thus barely avoided being impeached by Congress for the Watergate cover-up. These days the word impeachment is back in our daily banter, yet the atmosphere is dramatically different. Whether because the issue is adultery and cover-up rather than a break-in and cover-up or the "booming" economy or our post-Vietnam, post-Watergate political cynicism, Americans don't seem nearly as eager to boot our current "Teflon" chief executive, President Bill Clinton, out.
"Nixon Prepares to Resign
"WASHINGTON--Richard M. Nixon prepared to tell an expectant nation tonight that he would resign as President.
"Word that the President had decided to leave office rather than undergo the trauma of impeachment came from sources in the White House. ...
"Congressional sources said the President's resignation--first in the 198-year history of the Republic--would be effective at noon on Friday. ...
"His presidency mortally wounded by the repeated blows of the Watergate disclosures, Nixon made his decision the same week he delivered the most devastating blow, the announcement on Monday that he had withheld damaging evidence from the prosecutors, Congress and his own lawyers.
"Within hours, his support in the House of Representatives, where an impeachment debate was scheduled to begin Aug. 19, evaporated.
"Resignation News--It Surprised None
"ALBUQUERQUE--A little anger. Some disgust. A note of sarcasm. Much relief. But no surprise.
"These were the reactions of dozens of Albuquerqueans today as news spread like wildfire of the president's expected decision to resign. ...
"County Clerk Emma Gonzales, a Republican who keeps a portrait of the Nixon family on her mantle at home, said, 'It's a sad, sad situation. I think we all need to pray' adding that she 'probably would take down the color portrait of the Nixon family now.' ...
Police Chief Bob Stover said he was 'kind of dumbfounded' by the reports that Nixon would resign. 'He's maintained his innocence right up to the last. I thought he would go ahead and fight the whole thing.' ...
"There was no real surprise in the lounge of the Plaza Hotel in downtown Albuquerque when the announcement was made for Nixon's 7 p.m. television address.
"'I've been with him all this time--but now I'm not,' (said) one patron (who) vigorously shook his cigar at the TV screen.
"'Me neither!' a companion chimed in. ... "
Source: The Albuquerque Tribune;
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