Nixon pets Checkers, a dog given to him by a supporter and the namesake
of his groundbreaking national television address.
Photograph by Bob Gomel, The LIFE Images Collectio, Getty Images
There’s something about September 23 that brings out the dogs among politicians.
On this day in 1952, vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon made a
speech that defined his career and set the tone for the next six
decades of political communications—and that speech would forever be
named for his pet cocker spaniel, Checkers.
Nixon’s speech came eight years to the day after President Franklin
Delano Roosevelt delivered what would come to be called his “Fala
Speech,” due to its reference to FDR’s beloved Scottie dog, Fala.