"The first major attack on Nixon's integrity came in 1952 when there were some unexplained contributions from wealthy California businessmen to a fund upon which Nixon had apparently been drawing for his own use. Eisenhower wanted to drop Nixon as his running mate on the Republican ticket, but Nixon appeared on television to defend himself in what became known as the Checkers speech. Having dwelt at length on his humble origins and his advancement in life through his own efforts, Nixon admitted that he had accepted a gift after the nomination -- namely, a spaniel puppy, which his daughter had christened Checkers. He told how his kids loved the dog and how, whatever anyone said, the family was going to keep it. Thousands of telegrams of support poured into Republican headquarters, and Nixon remained on the Republican ticket, though cynical observers described the Checkers speech as 'a slick production.'"
[The Richard Nixon mask was the best-selling political item among American costumers between 1997 and 2002. (Harpers, Oct. 2002)]