History’s Undelivered Speeches

August 8, 1974. President Richard Nixon sits in the Oval Office, addressing the American people. He tells them: I’m going to resign. The news is shocking, but not unexpected. Today, it might even seem inevitable. But in the days leading up to the big decision, Nixon himself didn’t know what he would do. At night he roamed the halls of the White House, torturously weighing his options. He even ordered a speechwriter to draft a statement announcing his refusal to resign. Sally Helm sits down with political speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum to talk about this curious kind of a document: a speech that could’ve changed history if only it had been given. They discuss what Nixon, and two other speech givers, would have felt preparing multiple drafts, as they faced an uncertain future, and how the world would be different had these speeches been given.

Special thanks to our guest: Jeff Nussbaum, author of Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History.

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