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Spiro Agnew

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Spiro Theodore Agnew (November 9, 1918 - September 17, 1996) was the 39th Vice President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1973 with President Richard M. Nixon.

In 1973, he became the second person to resign the vice presidency. Unlike John C. Calhoun, who resigned to take a seat in the Senate, Agnew resigned on October 10, 1973, while under investigation for accepting bribes during his tenure as governor of Maryland in 1967: the payments were kickbacks in return for government contracts. Before resigning, Agnew had insisted he was innocent, but then pleaded nolo contendere (no contest) to a single charge of failing to report income.

Mr. Agnew was known for his speeches in which he would attack his opponents with near-lyric turns of phrase. One of his most famous is the phrase "nattering nabobs of negativism", a phrase for which Agnew speechwriter William Safire[?] claims the credit, and "an effete corps of impudent snobs". Both these expressions refer primarily to the press corps (which brought down both Agnew and Nixon).

Agnew is also generally credited with the term "radiclib", an abbreviation of "radical liberal". This term notably surfaced in the Watergate scandal, in White House Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman's September 12, 1970 notes on a plot by Nixon to create "a front that sounds like Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to support the Democratic candidates and praise their liberal records, etc., publicize their 'bad' quotes in guise of praise. Give the senators a 'radiclib' rating."

Agnew became a lightning rod for public opinion when he publicly and angrily denounced critics of US war policy in Vietnam.

Agnew was replaced as Vice President by Gerald R. Ford.



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