Richard Milhous Nixon was “not a crook,” or so the 37th U.S. president would have us believe. But such denials at a Nov. 17, 1973, news conference meant little or nothing by then, six months to the day after North Carolina Sen. Sam Ervin opened two weeks of often-riveting, live televised hearings on the Watergate scandal (see Day 1 above).
Millions of U.S. households bore witness to the Senate Watergate Committee’s tactical destruction of White House subterfuge, methodically convincing Americans that perhaps “Tricky Dick” was more than some absurd distortion of the president’s legacy-in-waiting.
READ MORE: Where Are Watergate Burglars Now?
A month after the televised hearings, which started May 17, 1973 (see Day 4 below), an astonishing 97 percent of Americans had heard of Watergate, according to the U.S. Senate website. And 67 percent believed that President Nixon had participated in a cover-up of the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington.
Nixon never confessed and declared that “I have never been a quitter” right before he did just that.