Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tricky Dick's Nemesis

The Prankster who Outfoxed Tricky Dick

When Nixon sought the presidency, his opponent, John F. Kennedy, hired a mole named Dick Tuck to play pranks on him. The day after the first debate (a contest many felt Nixon had won), Tuck spun the results by hiring an elderly woman wearing a Nixon button to hug Nixon in front of reporters and console him for losing the debate.

Two years later, when Nixon ran for governor of California, Tuck had children in Los Angeles' Chinatown greet him with a sign reading "Welcome Nixon" in English and beneath the greeting, "What about the Hughes loan?" in Chinese--a reference to a controversial loan Nixon's brother had received. Nixon, who didn't understand Chinese, posed smiling next to the sign, then tore it up in front of reporters when Tuck told him the translation.

During a whistle-stop train tour on the same campaign, Tuck disguised himself as a conductor and ordered Nixon's train to pull away from the station just as Nixon had begun a speech to the crowd.

Worst of all, when Nixon ran for President in 1968, Tuck hired pregnant women to show up at his rallies wearing T-shirts that read "Nixon's the One."

Nixon, who'd mastered the art of dirty tricks early in his career, came to both despise and begrudgingly admire Tuck. During his 1972 presidential re-election campaign, Nixon ordered aides to develop a "Dick Tuck capability." -- David Borgenicht and Turk Regan


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