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Richard nixon's november 1962 press conference

The meaning of «richard nixon's november 1962 press conference»

The so-called "last press conference" of Richard Nixon took place on November 7, 1962, following his loss to Democratic incumbent Pat Brown in the 1962 California gubernatorial election. Appearing before 100 reporters at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, an embittered Nixon lashed out at the media, proclaiming that "you don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference."[1][2]

Nixon's electoral loss in his home state, failing to capture what was then a traditionally Republican state that he had carried in the 1960 presidential election, combined with his actions at the press conference, was seen at the time as permanently damaging his chances at playing a role in national politics. While Nixon played almost no role in Barry Goldwater's resounding defeat in the 1964 presidential election, Nixon won the presidency in the 1968 election, making a political comeback that seemed nearly impossible after the "last press conference."[3]

At the time, California had been considered a reliably Republican stronghold. Following World War II, all of the state's governors and US Senators had been Republican until Pat Brown was elected Governor of California and Clair Engle was elected U.S. Senator in 1958, bucking the trend.

US President Dwight Eisenhower, with Nixon as his vice presidential running mate, had carried California in both 1952 and 1956, and Nixon defeated John F. Kennedy there in the 1960 presidential election. Nixon was widely viewed by the California Republican Party as its best hope for defeating the popular Brown to retake the governor's mansion, itself perceived as a prominent stepping stone for a rematch against Kennedy in 1964.

In a hard and bitterly fought campaign, early polling showed Nixon winning by a significant margin. The polls showed Brown, who made a point of not beginning to campaign until late in the season,[4] closing the margin in the days before the election, but Nixon was still favored to win. Brown won the election, and the 5% margin stunned Nixon and political pundits nationwide.

As election results came in on Tuesday, November 6, Election Day, Nixon and his staff monitored results at a suite in the Beverly Hilton Hotel in what was becoming a tighter race than expected. Nixon's press secretary Herbert G. Klein held a news conference at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, telling the assembled reporters that despite trailing Brown by 90,000 votes at that time, Nixon was going to bed without issuing a concession, as there appeared to be sufficient uncounted votes in reliably Republican Orange County and San Diego County to overturn Brown's margin.[1]

As the night progressed, the returns showed a tide of additional votes for Brown, who had pulled 250,000 votes ahead of Nixon. By 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nixon sent a congratulatory telegram to Brown that read, "Congratulations on your re-election as Governor. I wish you the best in your great honor and opportunity which you now have to lead the first state in the nation." Klein appeared before the press and started his press conference with the announcement that Nixon would not speak to the media; 10 minutes into Klein's press conference, an aide notified him that Nixon would indeed speak to the media.[1]

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