Source Material: His Heart's Abundance: Notes of a Nixon Speechwriter



    1. Speechwriter for candidate and then President Richard M. Nixon, 1967-70. He also was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan in 1976, 1978, and throughout the 1980 presidential campaign.
    Search for more papers by this author


Richard M. Nixon used rhetoric as a means of solving specific political problems. Yet, despite his reputation as a pragmatist and a “nuts-and-bolts” politician, he was always asking his speechwriters for an elusive, never-defined but, to him, all-important quality he called “heart.” The least experienced member of his speech-writing team, William F. Gavin, was able to provide that quality, especially in Nixon's acceptance speech in Miami Beach in 1968. Gavin describes what it was like to write for a man who hid his heart from public view but always wanted “heart” to inspire his rhetoric.