Trivia: How Well Do You Know Richard Nixon?

On January 9, 1913, Richard Milhous Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California. See how much you know about Richard Nixon with these trivia questions about the 37th president of the United States...

ADVERTISEMENT

Nixon Participated in Three Historic Firsts. What Were They? # It even has its own stamp: Nixon's visit to China had far-reaching implications that were both good and bad. Nixon participated in the first televised presidential debate, was the first U.S. president to visit China when it was not officially recognized by the United States, and was the first sitting U.S. president and Vice President to visit the Soviet Union. The debate was thought to be the key to Kennedy winning the election instead of Nixon; the visit to China resulted in China being formally recognized by the United States, Taiwan being kicked out of the United Nations, and a greater acceptance of acupuncture in the United States.

During the advance visit in 1971 by a team of U.S. dignitaries and press, one of the reporters, James B. Reston, fell ill with appendicitis. To soothe post-operative pain, the Chinese doctors used acupuncture, which was not nearly as well-known in the United States then as it is now. This incident, which would not have happened had Nixon not planned to visit China, was what really brought acupuncture to U.S. attention.

What Four Effects Did Nixon Have on Popular Culture? # One of the odder presidential meetings: Elvis Presley requested to speak with Nixon in 1970 about becoming a federal drug agent while gifting Nixon a gun. Despite his image as a fairly stern, conservative politician, Nixon left a heck of a mark on popular culture. Most of these were unintentional; his infamous "I am not a crook" line became so well known that it has made appearances in animated TV series such as Futurama, as one example. Another unintentional mark was the gift of a first name to Bart Simpson's friend, Milhouse.

Nixon was also part of the odd meeting with Elvis Presley in December 1970, during which Elvis presented the president with a gun as a gift. However, Nixon did purposefully participate in one of the major pop culture memes of his tenure: an appearance on Laugh-In in 1968. He delivered one of the show's signature lines in such an odd -- but calculated -- manner that it became a memorable event and likely helped him get re-elected.

ADVERTISEMENT

What Was Nixon Not Cut Out For? Nixon's life story reads like that of a genius polymath; he excelled at music, won a grant to Harvard (although he couldn't attend due to family obligations), was near the top of his law school class, was accepted to the FBI (his position was eliminated before he could start the job), and appeared as both a vice-presidential and presidential candidate multiple times. However, the one thing he couldn't do was run a business. Nixon tried his hand at running a citrus business in the 1930s, making orange juice and selling the frozen juice. The business failed, mainly because of the fact that they were trying to freeze pure juice instead of concentrate. However, Nixon definitely did what he could to help the company, even taking on cutting and juicing tasks himself.

What Act Made Nixon Look Like a Winner After He Lost the California Gubernatorial Election? One act that stood out during the 1992 campaign was then-candidate Bill Clinton's appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show, playing the saxophone. However, that wasn't the first time a politician got musical on a talk show to improve his image. Nixon had Bill beat by almost 30 years, appearing on The Jack Paar Show in 1963 and playing a song that he (Nixon) had written.