September 26, 1973 - The Saga Of Spiro - The Age Of Dirty Tricks.

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This was a Wednesday in 1973 that probably should have been a Monday, the way things played out. News for September 26, 1973 had much to do with vice-President Spiro Agnew and the on-going investigation of Bribery charges leveled against him. The case and the Grand Jury Trial was moving forward, despite Agnew's attempt at requesting a bid for a House investigation. The House said no. Agnew worried aloud that he wouldn't be able to get a fair trial under any other circumstances and even fellow Republicans were saying "what makes you so sure it won't be any different in the House?". Still, Spiro was adamant about not quitting, even though rumors were rife that the gist of a White House meeting earlier between and Agnew and Nixon was all about that.

And down the hall, the Watergate Hearings switched gears, after hearing much testimony, including some sordid details from E. Howard Hunt over his alleged circulating of a phony cable implicating President Kennedy in the overthrow of the South Vietnamese government in 1963 and the assassination of Diem. No doubt the switching of gears had more to do with airing out of the room from the stench. But the hearings ground on, with focus on the aspect of Dirty Tricks in the field of elections.

Nixon aide Patrick "Lock n' Load" Buchanan was called upon, and reluctantly appeared (after refusing a subpoena) to give somewhat disjointed and abstract testimony regarding his take on the practice and what tactics would he be willing to employ in order to win an election.

Pat Buchanan: “What tactics would I be willing to use? Anything that was not immoral, unethical, illegal or unprecedented in previous Democratic campaigns (laughter). Now there’s a line across which political tricks should not go, quite clearly. One of them, obviously was in Florida – the salacious attack on Senators Jackson and Senator Humphrey which, and I think another was against us, against the President when phone banks at McGovern’s campaign I believe were used in California to get near-violent demonstrations to deny the President of the United States the right to speak. These things clearly got out of hand and, I think in both campaigns . . .my own view is that there is sort of four gradations. There are things that are utterly, really outrageous and I would put that in there along with the demonstrations against vice-President Humphrey in ’68 which denied him an opportunity to speak for almost a month. Then there’s dirty tricks. Then there’s Political hardball, and then there’s pranks and I think you almost have to leave it to the individual and his own sense of ethics as to what is permissible and there’s no question that the line was probably breached in both campaigns in ’72 and perhaps in previous ones.”

And the band played on.

Meanwhile, Beef prices were going down and cattle ranchers were in fits because of it. The House Commerce Committee approved legislation that would require the President to impose mandatory allocations on all petroleum products. Commentator David Brinkley offered his assessment on proposed troop reduction in Europe. Newly installed Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was hitting the ground running.

Baseball legend Willie Mays retired from baseball, going out to the roar of 50,000 grateful fans in the stadium and millions more watching and listening on Radio and TV. And legendary Italian film icon Anna Magnani dies at 65.

One of those days - as reported by John Chancellor and NBC News for September 26, 1973.

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