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Vice-President Spiro Agnew, Who Made Nixon Look Good: 5 Facts, from Sex to Bribes

Spiro Agnew was no women's libber.
Spiro Agnew was no women's libber.

On this day in 1973, the Vice-President of the United States resigned from office after pleading no contest to accepting bribes.

Pretty big deal, right? But Spiro Agnew has been largely lost to history, remembered mostly for his odd name.

Richard Nixon picked the obscure Maryland governor as his running mate in 1968, and Agnew quickly became a rightwing favorite for his scorching attacks on the media and effete intellectuals, which sounds nothing like what the statesmanlike GOP is up to these days.

Agnew had hopes of becoming president, but Nixon grew to believe he wasn't worthy of the office and wished he could replace him. How convenient that the FBI came up with a criminal case.

Five things you might not know about Agnew:

5. He "starred" in this ad You think Democrats laughed at Sarah Palin? Check out this TV ad from the Hubert Humphrey campaign.

4. Silence of the lamb After his resignation, Agnew never talked again to a) Nixon or b) any reporter. He did write an autobiography that implied Nixon and his staff would have had him assassinated if he hadn't resigned.

3. Convenience is important You're vice-president, but you're still getting your 5 percent kickback on Maryland construction contracts. You can't exactly go to some seedy bar to pick up your payments, and the kick-backers can't exactly write a check. What to do? According to the FBI, you just have the contractors come to your White House office and hand over the wads of cash. Classy.

 

2. The ladies' man Agnew was not only old-school when it came to the financial perks of holding office, he was also traditional when it came to women. Ron Kessler's In the President's Secret Service reports Agnew had several affairs while vice-president, which is only to be expected when you're regularly hanging out with Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and astronauts. You can't not get pussy in that situation.

1. Erased from history Unlike almost all other presidents or veeps, Agnew's grave marker does not mention his time in the White House. His official gubernatorial portrait was removed from the Maryland capitol building for 16 years until a Democratic governor put it back up.


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