Richard M. Nixon: [to a portrait of Kennedy] When they look at you, they see what they want to be. When they look at me, they see what they are.
Richard M. Nixon: Always remember: others may hate you. But those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.
[Nixon is making an impromptu nighttime visit to the Lincoln Memorial, where a group of young protestors have camped out]
Richard M. Nixon: Hi! I'm Dick Nixon.
[He starts shaking hands with the incredulous protesters]
Richard M. Nixon: [to one young protester] Hi. Where you from?
Student #1: Syracuse.
Richard M. Nixon: Oh yeah, the Orangemen. Now there's a football program. Jim Brown. And that other tailback... the one with the blood disease.
Student #1: Ernie Davis.
Richard M. Nixon: Yeah, right, right. I used to play a little ball myself at Whittier. 'Course, they used to use me as a tackling dummy.
Young Student: [Stepping forward] We didn't come here to talk about football.
Richard M. Nixon: Yeah, I understand that. How old are you, young lady?
Young Student: 19.
Richard M. Nixon: Yeah. Well, probably most of you think I'm a real SOB. I know that. I understand how you feel, but you know, I want peace too. But peace with honor.
Student #2: What does that mean?
Richard M. Nixon: Well, you can't have peace without a price. Sometimes you have to be willing to fight for peace, and sometimes to die.
Student #2: Yeah? Tell that to the GI's who are gonna die tomorrow in Vietnam.
Student #1: What you have to understand, Mr. Nixon, is we're willing to die for what we believe in.
[the other protesters say "Yeah!"]
Richard M. Nixon: [Turns and points to the statue of Lincoln] Look, that man up there, he lived in similar times. He had chaos and civil war and hatred between the races. Sometimes I go to the Lincoln room at the White House and just pray. But you know, liberals act like idealism belongs to them. That's not true. My family went Republican because Lincoln freed the slaves. My grandmother was an abolitionist, those Quakers who founded Whittier, my hometown... to abolish slavery. They were, y'know, conservative Bible folk, but they had a powerful sense of right and wrong. And 40 years ago, I was like you, looking for answers.
[the protesters scoff, unconvinced. Just then a gang of Nixon's aides, led by Haldeman, arrive and push through the crowd to come to his side]
Richard M. Nixon: It's OK, Bob, we're just rapping, my friends and I. In fact we agree on a lot of things, don't we?
Young Student: No, we don't! You say you want to end the war, so why don't you?
Richard M. Nixon: Change always comes slowly. I pulled out more than half the troops. I'm trying to cut the military budget for the first time in 30 years. I want a volunteer army. But it's also a question of American credibility, our position in the world.
Student #1: Come on, Mr. Nixon. It's a civil war between Vietnamese.
Young Student: You don't want the war, we don't want the war, the Vietnamese don't want the war, so why does it go on?
[Nixon hesitates. Haldeman whispers "We should be going" to him]
Young Student: You can't stop it, can you? Even if you wanted to. Because it's not you, it's the system. The system won't let you stop it.
Richard M. Nixon: There's... there's more at stake here than what you want, or what I want.
Young Student: Then what's the point? What's the point of being President? You're powerless!
Richard M. Nixon: [Firmly] No. No, I'm not powerless. Because, because I understand the system, I believe I can, uh, I can control it. Maybe not control it totally, but tame it enough to make it do some good.
Young Student: Sounds like you're talking about a wild animal.
Richard M. Nixon: Yeah, maybe I am.
Pat Nixon: I was thinking tonight - do you remember, Dick? Do you remember when you used to drive me on dates with the other boys? You didn't want to let me out of your sight.
Richard M. Nixon: Yeah, sure, a long time ago.
Pat Nixon: Yes, it's been a long time...
[sensing a signal, recoils]
Richard M. Nixon: I don't need that, buddy. I'm not Jack Kennedy.
Pat Nixon: [rebuffed] No, you're not. So stop comparing yourself to him. You have no reason to. You have everything you ever wanted. You've earned it. Why can't you just enjoy it?
Richard M. Nixon: I do. I do. In my own way.
Pat Nixon: Then what are you scared of, honey?
Richard M. Nixon: I'm not scared, buddy... You don't understand. They're playing for keeps, buddy. The press, the kids, the liberals - they're out there, trying to figure out how to tear me down.
Pat Nixon: They're all your enemies?
Richard M. Nixon: Yes!
Pat Nixon: You personally?
Richard M. Nixon: Yes! This is about me. Why can't you understand that, you of all people? It's not the war - It's Nixon! They want to destroy Nixon! And if I expose myself even the slightest bit they'll tear my insides out. Do you want that? Do you want to see that, buddy? It's not pretty.
Pat Nixon: Sometimes I think that's what you want.
Richard M. Nixon: [contemptuous] What the hell are you saying? Are you drunk? Jesus, you sound just like them now! I've got to keep fighting, buddy, for the country. These people running things, the elite... they're soft, chickenshit faggots! They just want to cover their asses and meet girls and tear each other down. Oh, God, this country's in deep, deep trouble, buddy... and I have to see this through. Mother would've wanted no less of me.
Pat Nixon: I just wish... you knew how much I love you, that's all. It took me a long time to fall in love with you, Dick. But I did. And it doesn't make you happy. You want them to love you...
[motions outward, indicating the public]
Richard M. Nixon: [interjects] No, I don't. I'm not Jack...
Pat Nixon: But they never will, Dick. No matter how many elections you win, they never will.
Henry Kissinger: Can you imagine what this man would be like had anyone ever loved him?
Richard M. Nixon: They can't impeach me for bombing Cambodia. The president can bomb anybody he likes.
[the day after John F. Kennedy's murder]
Richard M. Nixon: I bet if I was President they wouldn't have killed me.
John Dean: Can I ask you a question? How the hell do you have the temerity to blackmail the President of the United States?
E. Howard Hunt: That's not the question, John. The question is: why is he paying?
H. R. Haldeman: Eight words back in '72. 'I covered up. I was wrong. I'm sorry'. The American public would have forgiven him. But we never opened our mouths, John. We failed him.
John Ehrlichman: Dick Nixon apologize? That will be the day. Most of his armor would fall off.
H. R. Haldeman: You'll tell Mitchell?
[Ehrlichman nods. Haldeman turns to go, then hesitates]
H. R. Haldeman: And John... you *do* know that you and I are next?
Richard M. Nixon: [on TV] ... because people have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.
Henry Kissinger: Oh, God, I think I'm going to throw up.
J. Edgar Hoover: I want to see him.
Clyde Tolson: He works in the kitchen, Edgar.
J. Edgar Hoover: Not the boy, idiot. Nixon!
[after the Kent State shootings]
Richard M. Nixon: I'd like to offer my condolences to those families. But Nixon can't.
Richard M. Nixon: Presidents don't threaten. They don't have to.
Pat Nixon: When do the rest of us stop PAYING OFF YOUR DEBTS?
[while Nixon is being wheeled through hospital on a stretcher]
Alexander Haig: I'm in charge here!
E. Howard Hunt: John, sooner or later, sooner, I think, you're gonna learn a lesson that's been learned by everyone who's ever gotten close to Richard Nixon. That he's the darkness reaching out for the darkness. And eventually, it's either you or him. Your grave's already been dug, John.
Richard M. Nixon: Only when you've been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is on top of the highest mountain.
Mao-Tse-Tung: [Speaking through an interpreter] Is peace all you are interested in? The real war is in us. History is a symptom of our disease.
Alexander Haig: I'm afraid we have another problem, Mr. President.
[He hands him a paper. Nixon glances at it]
Alexander Haig: June 23rd, '72, sir. The part that's underlined. Your instructions to Haldeman regarding the CIA and the FBI.
Richard M. Nixon: So?
Alexander Haig: Your lawyers feel it's the..."smoking gun".
Richard M. Nixon: It's totally out of context. I was protecting the national security. I never intended...
Alexander Haig: Sir, the deadline is today.
Richard M. Nixon: Can we get around this, Al?
Alexander Haig: It's the Supreme Court, sir. You don't get around it.
[Nixon awkwardly puts his arm around John Dean, his legal counsel]
Richard M. Nixon: John, I want you to get away from this madhouse, these reporters, and go up to Camp David for the weekend. And I want you to write up a report. I want you to put everything you know about Watergate in there.
John Dean: You want me to put it all in writing. Over my signature.
Richard M. Nixon: Well, nobody knows more about this thing than you do, John. The details, that stuff, I don't know about.
John Dean: Sir, I'm not going to be the scapegoat for this. Haldeman and Ehrlichman are in just as deep as me.
John Ehrlichman: You got people dying because he didn't make the varsity football team. You got the Constitution hanging by a thread because the old man went to Whittier instead of Yale.
Richard M. Nixon: She got it, Bob. 19-year-old college kid.
H. R. Haldeman: What? Who?
Richard M. Nixon: She understood something it's taken me 25 years in politics to understand. The CIA, the Mafia, those Wall Street bastards...
H. R. Haldeman: Sir?
Richard M. Nixon: The Beast. 19-year-old kid. She called it a wild animal.
H. R. Haldeman: Yes, sir.
Gordon Liddy: We rendezvous where? The Watergate, room 214. When? At 0300 hours.
Frank Sturgis, Watergate Burglar: Jawohl, Mein Fartenfuhrer.
H. R. Haldeman: [Watching Nixon on TV announcing the resignations of him and John Ehrlichman] Six bodies.
Julie Nixon: [hesitantly] Did you, Daddy? Did you cover it up?
Richard M. Nixon: Do you think I would do something like that, honey?
[On losing the 1960 Presidential election to John F. Kennedy]
Murray Chotiner: They stole it fair and square.
[to a White House portrait of Dwight Eisenhower]
Richard M. Nixon: I hope I haven't let you down.
Henry Kissinger: [to Chairman Mao] Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
J. Edgar Hoover: There's already been one radical in the White House. I don't believe it could survive another.
John Dean: This is the sort of thing that Mafia people can do, washing money and so forth. We just don't know about these things because we're not criminals.
[On whether or not he wants more money]
E. Howard Hunt: In Richard Nixon's long history of underhanded dealings he's never had better value for his money. If I were to open my mouth all the dominoes would fall.
Richard M. Nixon: It's the President's personal property. I will never give up my tapes to a bunch of Kennedy-loving Harvard Democrat cocksuckers.
Jones, Jack: Detente with communists? Detente! Sounds like a couple of fags dancing.
Richard M. Nixon: Do you miss Cuba, Manolo?
Manolo Sanchez: Yes, Mr. President.
Richard M. Nixon: We let you down, didn't we. Your people.
Manolo Sanchez: That was Mr. Kennedy, sir.
Richard M. Nixon: You don't think he was a hero?
Manolo Sanchez: [shrugs] He was a politican.
Richard M. Nixon: Did you cry when he died?
Manolo Sanchez: Yes.
Richard M. Nixon: Why?
Manolo Sanchez: I don't know. He made me... see the stars.
Richard M. Nixon: How did he do that?
[a beat. Nixon is deep in thought]
Richard M. Nixon: All those kids... Why do they hate me so much?
Presidential Lawyer St. Clair: Sir, don't you think all these deletion marks in the transcripts make it look as though you do nothing but swear?
Richard M. Nixon: I hate these cocktail parties. John, I'm in hell. I'll be mentally dead in two years and physically dead in four.
John Mitchell: Make some money, Dick. Prove yourself to the Wall Street crowd. Let Goldwater and Rockefeller take the fall against Kennedy.
Richard M. Nixon: I don't know why. I miss making love to the people. I miss entering a room. I miss the pure acting of it, John. I gotta get back in the arena.
Richard M. Nixon: Well you live pretty well out here. I understand why you want to keep your budgets classified.
Henry Kissinger: If they harass you, I too would resign, and I would tell the world why.
Richard M. Nixon: Don't be stupid. The world needs you, Henry.
Richard M. Nixon: I'm not a quitter, never have been. But I'm not stupid either. A trial would kill me, that's what they want. They won't get it.
Richard M. Nixon: Do ever think of death, Dick?
Richard Helms: Flowers are a continual reminder of our mortality. Do you appreciate flowers?
Richard M. Nixon: No, no they make me sick, and they smell like death. I had two brothers die young... Well let me tell you. There are worse things than death.
Richard Helms: Yes?
[special effects have turned his eyes completely black]
Richard M. Nixon: There's such a thing as evil.
Richard M. Nixon: I never thought Kennedy was ready for the presidency.
John Ehrlichman: Well, sir, it turns out one of the people implicated is still on the White House payroll.
Richard M. Nixon: Who? Not another damn Cuban?
H. R. Haldeman: No sir. A guy named Hunt. Howard Hunt, sir.
Richard M. Nixon: [Fear creeping on his face] Hunt? Howard Hunt?
John Ehrlichman: We created Frankenstein with these damn Cubans.
John Ehrlichman: What's this Bay of Pigs thing? He goes white every time you mention it.
H. R. Haldeman: It's a code.
Richard M. Nixon: [on Martha Mitchell] How can you put up with her, John?
John Mitchell: Well, I love her. That, and she is great in bed.
Earl in Training Film: I just don't understand it.
Richard M. Nixon: You see, when I saw Bobby lying there on the floor, arms stretched out, his eyes staring... I knew then I'd be President. His death paved the way, didn't it? Vietnam, the Kennedys, cleared a path through the wilderness just for me. Over the bodies. Four bodies.
H. R. Haldeman: You mean two. Two bodies.
Richard M. Nixon: Four.
[He walks up to a portrait of Abraham Lincoln]
Richard M. Nixon: How many did you have? Hundreds of thousands? Where would we be without death? Abe? Who's helping us? Is it God or is it death?
Johnny Roselli: [to Hoover while seeing Nixon walking to them] Your boy's on the way up!
James McCord, Watergate Burglar: Years of decency and clean living are over!
Richard M. Nixon: [on her daughter's wedding] This is the happiest day of my life!
Henry Kissinger: If a Rockefeller can't be the President of the United States then what is the point of democracy?
Richard M. Nixon: The point of democracy is that even the son of a grocer can become president.
Nelson Rockefeller: And you came damn close, Dick. How are you?
Richard M. Nixon: Hi, John.
Nelson Rockefeller: New York treating you all right? I'm sorry I haven't been able to see you at all.
Richard M. Nixon: You're looking happy.
Nelson Rockefeller: Happy, Happy, Dick Nixon. You remember him.
Happy Rockefeller: Nice to see you again.
Richard M. Nixon: You're obviously making him happy.
Nelson Rockefeller: Repartee, Dick. That's marvelous.
Richard M. Nixon: What you predicting?
Nelson Rockefeller: Your boy Goldwater are gonna split the party?
Richard M. Nixon: Some say you are, Rocky.
Nelson Rockefeller: Let me tell you something. Every time the Republican party is a home to extremism, we lose the goddamn election. You oughta know that better than anybody.
Richard M. Nixon: Yeah.
Nelson Rockefeller: This guy Goldwater is as stupid as McCarthy, and McCarthy never did you any good in the long run, now, did he? That's right.
H. R. Haldeman: You making any statement?
Richard M. Nixon: Thank you, Fidel Castro!
Pat Nixon: You're not going to blame Castro, are you?
Richard M. Nixon: I'm sure am. Goddamn missile crisis united the whole country behind Kennedy and he was supporting Brown. People were scared, that's why.
Pat Nixon: I suppose Castro staged the whole thing just to beat you.
Richard M. Nixon: Buddy, before you join the jubilation of my being beaten again you should remember that people vote not out of love but fear. They don't teach that at Sunday school or the Whitier Community Playhouse.
H. R. Haldeman: [leaving the room] I'll go check with our people.
Pat Nixon: I'm glad they don't, Dick. I'm glad they don't because life is tough and it is unfair and sometimes you forget that in your self pity.
E. Howard Hunt: [on Gordon Liddy] He thinks he's Martin Bormann.
Richard M. Nixon: They always underestimated old Nixon, see. We're gonna fight just as dirty. This is sudden death, gentlemen. We're gonna get 'em on the ground, stick in our spikes and twist and show them no mercy. So, uh, starting today, no one in this room talks to the press without checking with Mr. Haldeman here. That means we're on complete freeze on The New York Times, CBS, PBS, Jack Anderson and The Washington Post. Mr. Haldeman is the chief high executioner from now on. Don't come whining to me when he tells you to do something. That's me talking. And if you do come to me, I'm gonna be tougher than he is. Anyone who screws with us, his fucking head comes off. You got that?
John Mitchell: [to a pushy reporter] Stick that up your keister, fella.
Pat Nixon: I have always stood by you. I campaigned for you when I was pregnant. During Checkers, when Ike wanted you out, I told you to fight. This is different, Dick. You've changed. You've grown more bitter, like you're at war with the world. You didn't use to be that way. I'm 50 years old now, Dick. How many millions of miles have I traveled? How many millions of hands have I shaken of people I just don't like? How many millions of thank you notes have I written? Its as if I went to sleep a long time ago and missed the years in between. I've had enough.
Richard M. Nixon: What are you saying? What are you talking about?
Pat Nixon: I want a divorce.