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How Two U.S. Presidents Dealt with Anger

In his book Being Nixon: A Man Divided, author Evan Thomas recalls the occasion when then President Richard Nixon received word that former president Dwight Eisenhower had died. Eisenhower had asked Nixon to deliver his eulogy. Thomas writes:

Sitting by the fire on a cold early spring evening, Nixon began to muse to his speechwriter, Ray Price, about one particular quality that set Eisenhower apart. "Everybody loved Ike," Nixon said, not a little enviously. "But the reverse of that was that Ike loved everybody." Nixon went on: "He never hated his critics, not even the press. He'd just say, 'I'm a little puzzled by those fellows.'"
Price could picture Nixon's mind working, catching himself. Nixon knew that what he had said was not quite true. It was too much to believe that Ike never felt anger. The difference was that, after a blowup, the anger passed, while Nixon let it fester. At some level, Nixon might have wished to emulate Eisenhower. But he couldn't. Possibly, he did not want to; resentment, though toxic, was vital to Nixon.

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