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From the Archives: ‘This is my last press conference’ Nixon said in 1962

Sixty years ago, after losing his 1962 race for the governorship of California, an embittered Richard Nixon famously told reporters at the Beverly Hilton Hotel that they wouldn’t have Nixon to kick around any more.

The news conference did not prove to be Nixon’s last. By 1968 he was back in the public spotlight, running successfully for President of the United States.

Covering Nixon’s so-called “last press conference” for the Union was reporter Peter Kaye. Kaye had worked as a spokesperson for two Nixon campaigns — when he was Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vice presidential running mate in 1952, and eight years later when Nixon ran to succeed Eisenhower in the White House.

Kaye later said he had been caught unprepared when Nixon walked into the pressroom on Nov. 7, 1962, and ended up jotting his notes of the speech on the only writing surface at hand, his checkbook.

From The San Diego Union, Thursday, Nov. 8, 1962″

Nixon concedes, Says He’s Quitting Politics


Nixon Bows Out With Jab At Press

By Peter Kaye, San Diego Union Staff Writer

BEVERLY HILLS —Richard Nixon fought his way off the political scene yesterday.

Angered and hurt by his failure to unseat Gov. Brown, the former vice president told 200 newsmen at the Beverly Hilton Hotel here yesterday:

“As I leave you, I want to know how much you’re going to be missing. You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.”

Nix had spent a virtually sleepless night in his hotel suite here. He had held off a concession statement on election night in the futile hope that late Southern California returns would reverse the Brown trend and he had not been expected to appear publicly yesterday.

But moments after a spokesman announced Nixon had conceded and was on his way home, the Republican candidate walked into the roomful of reporters. He wasted no time in reviving his old feud with the working press.

“All members of the press,” he began, “are so delighted that I lost. I have appreciated press coverage of this campaign. each of you covered it exactly as you saw it.

“I don’t believe the press should feel publishers should order the to write one way. I have no complaint about press coverage. I will never complain about it. I think each of you should be free.”

Nixon said newsmen have had a lot of fun at his expense ever since the Alger Hiss case 14 years ago.

“You’ve had an opportunity to attack me,” he added, “and I think I’ve given as good as I’ve taken.

“I think it’s time for our great newspapers to have the same objective and full coverage that television has. Thank God for television and radio for keeping newspapers honest.

Nixon said newspapers have the right to use reporters with strong feelings for or against a candidate.

“But I hope what I’m saying today will at least make television, radio and the press recognize their great responsibility to report all of the news,” he said, “and if they give a candidate the shaft, they will put one lonely reporter on the campaign to report what he said.”

File source

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