Sunday, January 16, 2011

A half-century of political dirty tricks

By Mark Feldstein
Friday, January 14, 2011

Fifty years ago next week, Richard Nixon stood uncomfortably on the Capitol's inaugural platform and watched his rival John F. Kennedy being sworn in as president. "We won" the election, Nixon fumed, "but they stole it from us."

Indeed, the dirty tricks that helped defeat Nixon were more devious than merely the ballot-stuffing of political lore. In one of the least-known chapters of 20th-century political history, Kennedy operatives secretly paid off an informant and set in motion a Watergate-like burglary that sabotaged Nixon's campaign on the eve of the election.

It began in the fall of 1960, when the Kennedy campaign spread word that Vice President Nixon had secretly pocketed money from billionaire Howard Hughes, whose far-flung business empire was heavily dependent on government contracts and connections. Reporters for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Time magazine corroborated the allegations, but their editors feared publishing such explosive information in the last days of the tightly fought campaign. READ MORE

Courtesy: The Washington Post