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"Spiro Agnew: He Sure Had A Way With Words"

By Bill Sievert


"The charges against me are, if you'll pardon the expression,
damned lies. I am innocent of these charges. If indicted, I will
not resign." -- September, 1973.

Within a month after these remarks, Spiro Theodore Agnew had to eat this last
taste of vice-presidential oratory, a task that did not come easy to a man
who spent most of his five years in the public spotlight. Before Agnew is
forgotten amidst the crisis surrounding his former boss, let's review some of
the words he gave us to remember him by:

*

"If you tell me hippies and yippies are going to be able to do the
job of helping America, I'll tell you this: They can't run a bus;
they can't serve in a government office; they can't run a lathe in
a factory. All they can do is lay down in the park and sleep or kick
policemen." -- September 2, 1968.

*

"A Nixon-Agnew administration will abolish the credibility gap and
reestablish the truth -- the whole truth -- as its policy."
-- September 21, 1973.

*

"I've been into many [ghettos] and, to some extent, I'd have to say
this: If you've seen one city slum, you've seen them all."
-- October 18, 1973.

*

"We can afford to separate [protesters] from our society with no
more regret than we should feel over discarding rotten apples from
a barrel." -- October 30, 1973.

*

"My 14-year-old daughter, Kim, wanted to wear a black armband to
school to demonstrate against the War. I told her I had no
objections if she really understood the facts. So I took a lot of
time to tell her [about] the situation. She said, 'I understand
what you're saying, but I don't agree.' So I said, 'Kim, I have
given you the arguments for not just getting out, and you just
haven't given me a logical argument against it. So there will be no
black armband and no participation in a demonstration.'"
-- October 6, 1973.

*

"I find it hard to believe that the way to run the world has been
revealed to a minority of pushy youngsters and middle-aged
malcontents." -- October 9, 1973.

*

"The student now goes to college to proclaim rather than to learn.
A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete
corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as
intellectuals." -- October 18, 1973.

*

"For millions of Americans, the network reporter who covers a
continuing issue, like ABM or civil rights, becomes in effect the
presiding judge in a national trial by jury... I am asking whether
a form of censorship exists when the news that 40 million Americans
receive each night [with its] instant analysis and querulous
criticism is determined by a handful of men responsible only to
their corporate employers and filtered through a handful of
commentators who admit their own set of biases."
-- November 3, 1973.

*

"To penetrate the cacophony of seditious drivel emanating from the
best-publicized clowns in our society and their fans in the Fourth
Estate... we need a cry of alarm, not a whisper." -- February, 1970.

*

(In reaction to protests over the invasion of Cambodia on the day
before the Kent State massacre): "I think if the War were over, they
would find something else to use as an excuse for throwing firebombs
into the Bank of America." -- May 3, 1970.

*

"Ultraliberalism today translates into a whimpering isolationism in
foreign policy, a mulish obstructionism in domestic policy, and a
pusillanimous pussyfooting on the critical issue of law 'n' order."
-- September 10, 1973.

*

(On his role as political spokesman and hatchet man for Nixon):
"Clearly, President Nixon wants me to do this, just as he did it for
President Eisenhower. It's the most virile role I have."
-- January, 1972.


On October 10, 1973, Spiro T. Agnew lost his virility, and was forced to
resign his office under charges of income tax evasion and graft.


- Rolling Stone, 11/22/73.

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