AUTHOR'S NOTE: The author thanks Dean J. Fafoutis and the journal's anonymous referees for their thoughtful comments, Kara Dunfee and Cory Lewis for assistance with the H. R. Haldeman Diaries, and the Rockefeller Archive Center, Gerald R. Ford Foundation, Caterpillar Foundation, and Everett McKinley Dirksen Center for grants-in-aid of research.
The Knowles Affair: Nixon's Self-Inflicted Wound
Version of Record online: 16 FEB 2004
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Volume 30, Issue 3, pages 443–463, September 2000
How to Cite
KOTLOWSKI, D. J. (2000), The Knowles Affair: Nixon's Self-Inflicted Wound. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 30: 443–463. doi: 10.1111/j.0360-4918.2000.00123.x
- Issue online: 16 FEB 2004
- Version of Record online: 16 FEB 2004
- Cited By
The Knowles affair, a forgotten chapter of the early Nixon presidency, caused quite a stir in 1969. The administration's five-month-long attempt to elevate John H. Knowles, a moderate Republican, to the post of assistant secretary of health, education, and welfare (HEW) for health and scientific affairs aroused opposition from the American Medical Association and Senate Minority Leader Everett McKinley Dirksen, a Republican of Illinois. The imbroglio revealed weaknesses in Nixon's decision-making and administrative style, drew considerable criticism in the press, and helped to undermine the position of HEW Secretary Robert H. Finch, until then a presidential favorite. For students of the modern presidency, the Knowles case showed how a minor dispute can become important when stoked by ego, ambition, bungling, and press leaks.