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(See Cover) Reminiscing last week about the job that took him to the White House. Harry Truman told a piece of personal history in homely barnyard simile: “I tried to argue with those fellows at Chicago [in 1944] that I didn’t want to be Vice Pres ident. I told them, ‘Look at all the Vice Presidents in history. Where are they? They were about as useful as a cow’s fifth teat.'” When he first said it, Harry Truman was roughly right; but today, any generalization about the uselessness of Vice Presi dents falls over the example of Richard Nixon, 36th Vice President of the U.S., who is one of the busiest, most useful and most influential men in Washington.

Nixon has made himself into a projection of President Eisenhower. He builds bridges from the White House to Congress, to Government departments, to the officials and people of other lands, to the press and to the U.S. public.

Much of his work is outside the spotlight’s edge. But his unique achievement in making a real job out of the vice presidency is signalized by a sharp fact: he is the first Vice President in history to preside over meetings of the Cabinet and of the relatively new (1947) National Security Council.

When press of other business calls Ike away in mid-meeting, Ike turns to Nixon and says, “Dick, you take over.” One day last August, during the President’s Denver vacation, Vice President Nixon was scheduled to be chairman of a full NSC meeting for the first time.

Staffers sitting around the room whispered among themselves about “how Junior will do.” Recalls one of them: “After two minutes we had forgotten we called him Junior. Everything seemed natural.” It seemed natural because Nixon (unlike Harry Truman, who was not even told about the atomic bomb until he became President) has become, with Eisenhower’s enthusiastic encouragement, steeped in knowledge of the U.S. strategic position and policy. His advice also carries as much weight as that of any of the men around Ike on such questions as internal security (including the McCarthy problem), labor policy, and general political tactics and timing.

To Be & Not to Do. The amazing redefinition of the Vice President’s job can be appreciated by a glance at the records of some of the first 35. They included a generous proportion of nonentities, some able men, and four towering figures: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John C. Calhoun and Theodore Roosevelt. Not one—not even the four greats—made anything of the job of Vice President.

Adams, who knew world political history as few men before or since his time, said that the vice’ presidency was “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” Jefferson found the post “tranquil and unoffending,” assuring him of “philosophical evenings in winter” and “rural days in summer.” When Henry Clay, defeated for the presidency, sourgraped, “I’d rather be right than President,” John C. Calhoun, just elected Vice President, said: “Well, I guess it’s all right to be half right—and Vice President.” But it wasn’t all right. Calhoun quit in disgust and got elected to the Senate. Teddy Roosevelt referred to his election to the vice presidency as “taking the veil.” Later, when he had succeeded President McKinley, Teddy was annoyed by the tinkling of the enormous “Jefferson chandelier” in his office, and ordered it removed. “Take it to the office of the Vice President,” he said. “He doesn’t have anything to do. It will keep him awake.” The trouble is that the Constitution does not give the Vice President much work to do. His sole, specific mission is to preside over the Senate. Since the jealous Senate has always made it plain that “preside” was to be interpreted in the narrowest possible sense, anybody who can stay awake can do that job.-*

If the Vice President is a strong character or has a political following independent of the President’s, he can easily get into trouble. (Calhoun and Henry Wallace are two who got too big for their vice-presidential boots.) Most Vice Presidents, great and small, have accepted the apparently inevitable and used the office as a stepping stone to oblivion. They have resigned themselves to a part in which the sole importance is being around if the President dies or is incapacitated.

A Mixed Bag. A random sample of Vice Presidents might include:

¶ Aaron Burr (1801-05), who put the accent on the vice. Taking advantage of a gimmick (since corrected) in the Constitution, Burr, running for Vice President with Jefferson (who was running for President), was almost able to get the top job for himself. While he was Vice President, Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, was indicted for murder, skipped to Georgia, returned to preside over the impeachment trial of Justice Samuel Chase, made a moving farewell address to the Senate and slammed the door when he walked out.

He drifted to New Orleans, got involved in a plot to take over part of the western Territories, was tried for treason, acquitted, and exiled himself to London, Sweden, Germany and France, where he lived by his wits and off his women.

He returned to New York, practiced law successfully for 24 more years, married an aging prostitute who in a year accused him of infidelity. At 80, Burr, full of years and dishonor, died after making a will in favor of two illegitimate daughters, aged 6 and 2. CJ John Tyler was nominated for Vice President (1840) by the Whigs because, as a Jeffersonian, he was a nuisance to them in the Senate. A month after he was inaugurated, Tyler was playing marbles in a Williamsburg street when Daniel Webster’s son brought him the news that President William Henry Harrison was dead of pneumonia. Tyler picked up his marbles, went to Washington, became a better

President than anybody expected, died in 1862, just after being elected to the Confederate Congress.

¶ John Cabell Breckinridge (1857-61) complained that President James Buchanan consulted him only once—and that was on the wording of a Thanksgiving proclamation. But if he found the vice presidency dull, the rest of his life was not. He ran for President against Lincoln, splitting the Democratic vote and assuring the defeat of Stephen Douglas, later became a combat major general in the Confederacy, and then its Secretary of War. He refused to surrender, fled to Cuba, stole a ship, became a pirate, moved to London, then to Toronto, and died, with his citizenship rights unrestored, in his old Kentucky home. CJ Levi P. Morton (1889-93), a Vermont-born New York banker who was one of the richest men of his day, picked the wrong term to be Vice President (with Benjamin Harrison). He turned down a chance at the Republican nomination in 1880 (he might have succeeded Garfield), and another chance in 1896 (he might have succeeded McKinley). Morton was an efficient fund-raiser for his party, entertained lavishly at his town and country houses, kept a herd of purebred cattle, tried to popularize milk by saying: “I serve milk alternately with champagne—one costs the same as the other.” Alternating milk with champagne, he lived to be 96—the record for Vice Presidents. ¶Thomas R. Marshall (1913-21) had the humility the vice presidency requires. He was not too dignified to pose on the Capitol steps wearing a World War I German helmet. After Woodrow Wilson had a stroke with 17 months of his term left, Marshall refused to consider taking over the presidency. Bored by a pompous Senate speech about what the nation needed, Marshall turned to a clerk, muttered: “What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar.” Marshall is remembered with affection largely for this remark and for saying that the condition of a Vice President is like that of a man in “a cataleptic fit. He is conscious of all that goes on, but has no part in it.”

On the Ball. So firmly was the vice presidency fixed in the American mind as the symbol of uselessness that it was easy for the musical satire, Of Thee I Sing, to establish Alexander Throttlebottom as the quintessence of vice presidentiality.

Richard Nixon, heir to the Throttlebottom dynasty, realized the painfully narrow limits of the job and, in the best vice-presidential tradition, made jokes about it. On Election Day 1952, Candidate Nixon and a friend were tossing a football on Laguna Beach, Calif, with three marines who happened by. Chasing a fumble, Nixon and one marine almost collided. Recognition lit up the marine’s face. He exclaimed: “Good God, you’re some kind of a celebrity!” Answered Dick Nixon: “No, I’m not a celebrity. I’m running for Vice President.”

But Nixon refused to have Throttlebottomness thrust upon him. Now 41 (last week), he is the first Vice President to be born in the 20th century. He is a new kind of politician and, with a fresh approach, he was able to see that the mid-20th century problems and responsibilities of the Government’s executive branch created an opportunity for a new kind of Vice President.

The Chief Executive now presides over an enormous bureaucracy of civilian and military experts whose work cannot be closely shaped by the President. Each service tends to go its own way, pursue its own interests and those of the citizen group most directly interested. How can a President maintain unity and cohesion of policy? In recent years, Presidents have had growing staffs of White House aides. But an aide has no authority, little prestige. He cannot really represent the President. And the President cannot spread himself thin over his thousands of responsibilities.

Eisenhower and Nixon are engaged in an effort to strengthen the executive branch at the top, to enlarge the presidential influence in the Congress and the bureaucracy. If it works—and it seems to be working—the new function of the Vice President may help to solve a crisis of modern government: the conflict between the unity of national policy represented by the President and the divisiveness and multiplicity represented by Congressmen, specialized administrators arid their attendant pressure groups.

The Wheel of Fortune. The young man who has undertaken this formidable task was born at Yorba Linda, Calif, to Hannah Milhous and Francis Anthony Nixon. When Dick was 13, his older brother Harold contracted TB. Hannah Nixon took him to Arizona where, on visits, Dick earned money as barker for a wheel of fortune carnival booth. In Whittier, Calif., where the Nixons had moved after their Yorba Linda lemon grove failed, Frank and the boys kept the home, grocery store and filling station going. After five years in Arizona. Harold died* and Hannah returned to Whittier, where she worked 18 hours a day in the store. As the oldest surviving son, Dick had to carry a heavy burden of family responsibility. Recalls his brother Donald: “None of us had too much time to play. Dick had a lot to make him serious.”

At Whittier College, young Dick Nixon showed two qualities that are still conspicuous in his makeup: hard work, and a passion for simplified expression. One evening the political history students had a party. For a time the ice cream was missing, and so was one of the invited students. Presently, in rushed the missing boy—Richard Nixon. He dumped the ice cream on the table, said that he could not stay because he had to make more deliveries for his father’s grocery, and left. Whittier’s President Paul Smith remembers that Nixon used to write very brief answers on exams. “At first you thought that he couldn’t answer the question in that short a space. But, by golly, he had gone to the heart of the problem and put it down simply.” Nixon got an A.B. degree from Whittier (second in his class), won a scholarship to Duke University Law School (in faraway North Carolina), where in 1937 he finished third in his class.

Back home in Whittier, Nixon practiced law and married Thelma Patricia Ryan. When war came, he went to Washington as a lawyer for the OPA. Soon fed up with bureaucracy, he got a Navy Commission and went to war—in Ottumwa, Iowa, in the Solomon Islands, and in Hagerstown, Md., emerging a lieutenant commander.

Mud & Rabbits. He went back to Whittier—and promptly ran for Congress against able, New Dealing Jerry Voorhis. It was a tough, bitter campaign. Southern California politics has not yet discovered Technicolor: white is still white and black is mud. Voorhis’ record included some respectable anti-Communist credentials, but he was vulnerable as a friend of the C.I.O. and of its national Political Action Committee. Although the Los Angeles PAC. which was Communist-dominated, did not endorse Voorhis, Nixon pinned the PAC label on his opponent, who had the support of many California PAC leaders.

Another Nixon charge: Voorhis had his name on only one piece of legislation, a bill transferring responsibility for the rabbit population of the U.S. from the Department of the Interior to the Department of Agriculture. Before laughing crowds, Candidate Nixon made the most of it. He beat Voorhis (who quit politics and California).

Congressman Nixon, a husky (5 ft. 10 in.. 180 Ibs.), black-browed young man with a fire in his eyes, typified an eager new generation of Republicans. Spared the bitterness of futile opposition during the long, lean years of the New Deal, Nixon went to Washington with a positive approach. He voted with the bulk of his party on 78% of the issues; most of his deviations from the party were on the liberal side. To become an “Eisenhower Republican.” Nixon did not have to twist away from his voting record. What Eisenhower stands for today is remarkably like what Nixon was voting for in 1947-52. But Nixon was just another promising young Congressman when the Alger Hiss case broke in the summer of 1948.

“That Richard.” So convincingly did Alger Hiss deny Whittaker Chambers’ charges, that the House Un-American Activities Committee was about to call off the investigation and run for cover. But Committee Member Nixon detected ominous hedging in Hiss’s testimony. “I was a lawyer and I knew he was a lawyer.” Nixon recalls. “I felt [he] was just too slick … If Hiss was lying, he was lying in such a way as to avoid perjury, with a very careful use of phrasing … It was very possibly an act, it seemed to me.”

To get facts, Nixon worked around the clock, often traveling to Chambers’ Maryland farm. Sometimes he would stop at the York (Pa.) farm where his parents were living temporarily. Says Hannah Nixon: “That Richard looked so tired I thought he would break apart. Then he’d go to the piano and play for maybe an hour. When he sat up, he looked refreshed and ready to go on down to the Chambers farm.” In the second Hiss trial, Nixon’s efforts paid off.

Armed with his Hiss case success, Nixon ran for the Senate in 1950 against Helen Gahagan Douglas, and won by a 680,947-vote margin.

“You’re My Boy.” Less than two years later, Dick Nixon was the Republican nominee for Vice President. He was running a smooth, effective campaign when a thunderstorm burst over his head: disclosure of a private fund raised by backers in California to pay some of his political expenses while he was a Senator. Democrats bellowed that the money was 1) raised from favor-seeking-California fatcats, and 2) used to provide Nixon with luxuries. They demanded that Ike drop his running mate. Some Republicans did, too. Ike called for the facts and let the storm blow.

National emotions were at gale force when Nixon took to a nationwide TV hookup with his memorable “Checkers”*speech. The Democratic charge appealed most to those who did not know the laws and rules governing U.S. politics. Nixon could have made a technically solid defense by expounding the rules. Instead, he met the attack at its own untutored, emotional level. In a masterpiece of political showmanship, Nixon explained his fund in simple terms, projected his engaging personality onto thousands of screens, and turned a desperate back-to-the-wall defense into a victory. Nixon got a sensationally favorable audience response, flew to Wheeling, W. Va., where Ike threw his arms around him and said “You’re my boy.”

Until campaign’s end, Nixon’s enemies tried to smear him with new charges of bribery and corruption. None was even remotely proved, and one was based on forged evidence. When Ike and Nixon were elected, a favorite Democratic crack was: “The country can probably survive it as long as Ike lives out his term, but the thought of Nixon being one heartbeat from the Presidency is terrifying.” Much of the anti-Nixon feeling stemmed, consciously or unconsciously, from the resentment of those who were wrong about Alger Hiss when Nixon was right.

Mr. Fixit. Soon after he took office as Vice President, Nixon became the Administration’s “Mr. Fixit,” the handyman with a ball of friction tape who bound up leaky pipes and raw wires. This job was one for no mean plumber, for it involved some explosive fixtures, notably Joe McCarthy. As an investigator with a far, far better record of success, Nixon was in a position to argue with McCarthy. His most effective tactic was to persuade Joe that some of his projects would backfire and hurt Joe. As a result of such warnings, McCarthy called off his investigation of Allen Dulles’ Central Intelligence Agency, his threat to make a Senate floor fight against confirmation of Harvard President James B. Conant’s appointment as German High Commissioner, and his demand for a statement by Ike on the delicate details of East-West trade restrictions.

At least once—when McCarthy took credit for forcing Greek ship owners to stop their China trade—Nixon decided that McCarthy’s efforts in the case were, on balance, for the good. Backing Joe, Nixon served as catalyst in working out a

McCarthy-Dulles communique, in which the Secretary of State agreed that what Joe had done in the case was all right.

During last year’s congressional session, Nixon made his voice heard more and more. He arranged military briefings for congressional leaders, lobbied in the House of Representatives for the Hawaiian statehood bill, and saved the foreign-aid bill from impending defeat at the hands of junior Republican economizers. When the Bricker amendment to curb treaty-making power came up, the Cabinet thought the whole issue would blow over if Ike denounced it. Not so Nixon. “You’ll be running into a buzz saw,” he told the Cabinet. He knew the bill was not a passing senatorial fancy. Result: the Cabinet decided to work for a compromise.

In the fight over Defense Secretary Wilson’s cut in the Air Force budget, Nixon shrewdly counseled that the Democratic attack would overcome Wilson’s exposed position unless Ike threw his full weight behind it. As it turned out, no less was needed. Nixon broke a Cabinet dead lock on the St. Lawrence seaway project by telling .Ike that Canada will build the seaway without U.S. participation, if necessary. Since the seaway was both right and inevitable now—instead of delaying further—the President promptly proposed U.S. participation in the seaway.

Mr. Standin. Successful as Mr. Fixit, Nixon gradually assumed the more important role of Mr. Stand-in for the President. No man can push himself into that position, and Dick Nixon did not push. He let Ike take the initiative at every stage. Nixon’s part was to demonstrate that he could take responsibility, wade through mountains of factual homework, handle older and more powerful men tactfully, and, above all, that he had no policy but Ike’s policy.

As the No. 2 man in the executive branch of the U.S. Government, as Ike’s standin, Vice President Nixon, accompanied by his wife, last October set off on a 45,539-mile, ten-week, globe-girdling trip to spread good will in the Far East and to find some facts. As usual, the Nixon method was to keep it simple and work hard.

Nixon’s simple way to express friendship: shaking hands with close to 100,000 amazed Asians. Aloft between countries, while Pat wrote thank-you notes to the last stop, the Vice President prepared for the next stop with intensive briefings by embassy officials. Since Nixon’s return, and partly as a result of his findings, certain viewpoints are gaining headway in Washington. Among them:

China. The U.S. must not even talk about recognizing Red China. One reason: such talk would discourage 13 million overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia from their present strong anti-Communist drift.

Japan. The Communist menace, especially in the labor unions, has been underestimated. Needed: more encouragement of non-Communist laborites.

Indo-China. Strategically and economically, Indo-China is three times as important as Korea. Needed: stepped-up U.S. assistance (equipment, not men) for the French effort to win the war.

India. The U.S. should not appease Nehru. Reason: he is contemptuous of such weakness.

Iran. The British are not seizing their opportunity to be reasonable in the oil dispute; their stubbornness may provoke another crisis.

Back in Washington, Nixon found that his prestige had grown with the success of his trip. He took up his role of adviser on domestic policy, argued the Cabinet into proposing changes in the Taft-Hartley Act, reversing a decision to duck such political dynamite in an election year. Sold on Nixon’s view, the Cabinet asked Ike to plump for the amendments in a major speech. This time the Vice President sounded a note of caution: save the President for the real fight: don’t waste his prestige where it isn’t needed. The Cabinet agreed. Then it assigned the Vice President the job of nursing the improvements through Congress.

On Capitol Hill, Nixon is a presidential agent, not a congressional leader. His fellow Californian, William Knowland, the Senate Majority leader, has immediate access to the President when he wants it, so Nixon would never dream of telling Knowland, “This is what the President wants.” Knowland must decide what bills the Senate will take up; Nixon can only advise the President on what to ask for. Knowland must worry about every Administration program; Nixon leaves many of them to White House liaison men. Another difference: Knowland may, on occasion, disagree publicly with the President; Nixon submerges his views if they conflict with Ike’s.

The Common Touch. Vice President Nixon and his wife Pat (she hasn’t used the Thelma since grade school) live in a $41,000 home in Washington’s Spring Valley. Their two exuberant daughters, “Tricia,” 7, and Julie, 5, wake Nixon every morning at 7:15. From then until after breakfast is his only time to play with them. At 8 he leaves for the Capitol and a full day of meetings, handshaking, appointments and phone calls.

Pat’s day is almost as full as her husband’s. She does most of the laundry and housework, half the cooking and all the marketing. The live-in maid’s job is mostly baby-tending. With Nixon seldom home, Pat has learned to repair squeaky stairs, sticky doors, faucets, light fixtures. She even tried to install one of her husband’s Christmas presents, a new shower head, but her pliers failed her. In an average week, she answers 200 letters, many of them requests for recipes (her favorites: tamale pie. walnut clusters). Pat’s afternoons are crowded with lunches, charity benefits, bazaars.

For both the Nixons, most evenings involve formal dinners. A Nixon New Year’s resolution is to try to hold such engagements down to four a week. Nixon would like to spend the time thus saved with . his family and his friends—but that is not how he will spend it. He has more homework to do. more preparations for the Cabinet and NSC meetings, and for the quiet, persuasive two, three-and four-man conferences held in his office under the Jefferson chandelier. If it tinkles, as it did in Teddy Roosevelt’s day, Dick Nixon will probably not notice. He is too busy understanding the complex problems well enough to state them in simple language, too busy concentrating on how the thousands of details fit the big picture in Ike’s mind, too busy being the first incumbent in the vice presidency to upgrade it into a man-size job.

Charles G. Dawes on one occasion failed to stay awake. He was napping in his hotel when a critical tie vote came up in the Senate, and did not reach the chamber in time to break the tie.

A younger brother, Arthur, aged 7, died in 1925. “

Regardless of what they say,” Nixon told listening millions, he would keep cocker spaniel Checkers, a gift from a Texan. Last week Checkers gave birth to five mongrel pups.

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