Tuesday, September 24, 2013

August/September, 1973

I've fallen behind again, and so this will be a catch up post leading into the major events of October.

The Spiro Agnew story finally broke publicly in August, leading to a drawn out set of negotiations, feints, and jousting. Agnew battled through August and into September, but it was no good. He even attempted, at one point, to get the House to open impeachment proceedings against him, presumably figuring that party loyalty might save him in the Senate. But he was thwarted in that one by Majority Leader Tip O'Neill, who had, as Fred Emery says, another impeachment in mind.

With the Senate Watergate hearings now ended, the battle for the tapes, mainly at this point between Special Prosecutor Cox and the White House, was the main action. In August, Judge Sirica ruled that the tapes must be turned over to the court, where Sirica would further decide what Cox would get. Both sides appealed. In September, the Appeals Court floated another compromise involving transcripts authenticated by a third party, which the White House rejected.

Back on August 22, Nixon held a press conference. Practically every question was about Watergate; the only exceptions were two about Agnew, and the final question was about Cambodia.

The House Judiciary Committee was hard at work on basic research: how did impeachment work, anyway?

And Nixon's popularity stayed in the tank. Three Gallup polls were released in August and September 1973; Nixon's approval ratings were at 31, 36, and then 33 percent.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps someone can refresh my memory: was there any discussion about Agnew being a sacrificial lamb to divert attention from Watergate?


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