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I Am Not a Kook: Richard Nixon's Bizarre Visit to the Lincoln Memorial

English: Richard Nixon boarding Army One upon ...English: Richard Nixon boarding Army One upon his departure from the White House after resigning the office of President of the United States following the Watergate Scandal in 1974. 日本語: ホワイトハウスを去るリチャード・ニクソン (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Richard Nixon had some pretty strange moments as president -- an Oval Officemeeting with Elvis Presley during which the pill-addled singer lobbied to be deputized as a federal agent-at-large in the War on Drugs; Nixon's declaration to a roomful of newspaper editors at the height of the Watergate scandal, "I am not a crook;" Nixon asking Henry Kissinger to kneel down and pray with him and then bursting into tears the night before he resigned.

But perhaps the most bizarre moment of the Nixon presidency took place in the early morning hours of May 9, 1970, during which Nixon, with his faithful White House butler in tow, made an impromptu visit to the Lincoln Memorial and engaged in a rambling dialogue with student protestors. The incident took place at a tumultuous time in the Nixon presidency, shortly after the invasion of Cambodia and the resulting explosion of outrage on college campuses, culminating in the killing of four students at Kent State University on May 4. Nixon's erratic behavior during the Lincoln Memorial visit would have even his closest aides wondering if the president was losing it. Nixon's Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman would write in his diary hours after the Lincoln Memorial visit, "I am concerned about his condition," and note that Nixon's behavior that morning constituted "the weirdest day so far."  

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