Richard Nixon slunk into the El Capitan Theater with the weight of an uncertain future boring down through his head into every filament of his body. “Judgment day,” he muttered, “Judgment…” Clutched in his sweaty, nervous hands were several sheets of paper containing the outline of the speech he was going to deliver in the Theater later that night. However, the seats would all be empty, utterly devoid of people. Richard Nixon would be giving a speech to a camera, broadcasting across America to an estimated sixty million people. Tonight, Richard Nixon fought for his future. Nixon had recently become embroiled in a scandal about some funds given to him for non-campaign use. He had used them to pay for a few extra trips to and from DC, and a variety of upkeep uses that kept his staff greased and productive. The media caught on one day, and began accusing him of having the fund: its legality was in question. And so, Richard Nixon was in the theater today for one reason – to give a thirty-minute speech that would hopefully clear his name. The Vice Presidential candidate’s aides and people who worked at the theater scuttled around the room like ants. A young man who worked at the El Capitan Theater, Frank Isaac, gangly and awkward, called to him from on the stage. “Hey, Mr. Nixon! You gonna’ tell anyone wha’ your speech ‘s gonna say?” Nixon looked up from his notes and gave Frank a blank stare. “You’ll see it when everyone else sees it, kid. I don’t want anyone leaking this to the press, understand? Got it?” Franks smile stayed on his face, but anyone could tell that the joy behind it had fled for a while. “Yes, Mr. Nixon. “ He finished adjusting one of the prop chairs on stage and left on the right side. The stage held a single bookcase, a desk, and two chairs. They stood in the middle; the sides of the stage were empty. Nixon smirked and motioned to his close aide, Murray Choitner. “Isn’t it funny, Choit?” Murray Choitner, well aware of the horrible jokes Nixon made, said, “Why is it funny, Mr. Nixon?” On his face was a false smile – the eyes gave away his inner discomfort. Nixon replied, unexpectedly, without a terrible joke. “America will think that I’m just sitting in my office. It’ll be like the camera just came in and caught me out of nowhere, and I’ll have to give the speech on a whim. Choit… Americans don’t know a thing about how things really are in Washington. Everything is ready-made. They won’t know that I’m standing in front of rows and rows of empty chairs. Just like they don’t know how DC really works. They don’t get how we have to manipulate and move around and position ourselves. We’re supposed to be respected gentlemen, Choit. But we’re just cutthroats in tuxedos, that’s it. If they think funds are a bad thing, they got another thing coming…” He spoke in a placid manner, almost robotically. It was clear he was in the midst of deep thought and reflection. Choitner was surprised. “That’s very deep, Mr. Nixon. I guess you’re going to cut a few throats today?” Nixon chuckled and looked into Choitners eyes. “Ah hahahaaah! You’re god-damned right I am, Choit. I’m gonna tear them a new one!” He departed Murray Choitners presence and moved towards the stage, now empty of workers. He climbed upon the stage, sat down in the chair behind the desk, and began practicing the subtle body movements to be made on TV a few hours later. Every twitch counted, every blink could be interpreted the wrong way. The speech, meant to seem spontaneous, was choreographed with the tenacity of a ballet. The quiet dance of body language rivaled even the speech itself in the imprint it could leave on an audience. For hours, Richard Nixon perfected his speech. He locked eyes with the camera, a staring contest with nothing less than America’s future at stake. Richard Nixon did not seem particularly nervous – he kept up the aura of calm intellect that every politician was required to have during a speech of this magnitude. Finally, the time came. Richard Nixon’s wife, Pat, a curly-haired blonde, came and sat down in a seat near her husband. Nixon gave her a little nod and said, “Alright. Here’s what you do. Look at me. Just keep your eyes on me the whole time, Patty. Look at me intently. If the beautiful wife looks interested, then everyone will be interested. Understand?” Pat Nixon smiled at her husband and asked with playful sarcasm in her voice, “Anything else, Lieutenant?” Nixon, still locked in combat with the camera, replied, “I love you more than anything.” “I know.” The cameraman walked in and began setting up the camera for use. Nixon shouted out to him, “How long till you’re ready to go?” The cameraman yelled back, “Uh, around five minutes.” Richard Nixon sighed and took one last look over his notes. Five minutes later, he looked up at the camera and began to speak. His contemporaries would describe the speech as masterful in its wording, pointed in its attacks, devastating to the opposition. Fifty years later, they would describe it as a political speech transcending the ages and becoming one of the greatest of all time. Nixon’s body language was perfect – the inherent awkwardness of his casual conversation melted from his body. In front of the camera, a droopy-looking man became a figure of respect, a fighter for justice, a man who loved his country. He told the story of a dog he received as a gift, of how he lived a modest life in which he was just as vulnerable as every other American, of the time he spent in the military, of the threat of communists and crooks, of the way his enemies were trying to frame him. He asked that his accusers be investigated for personal funds in the same way he was. That night, sixty million people watched Richard Nixon make the greatest speech of his lifetime. In the viewing room, all of his aides clapped and cheered with every point their Vice-Presidential candidate made. They laughed and yelled and cried with joy as live on television a scandal-ridden man rid himself of the shackles of controversy. Richard Nixon’s wife Pat stared at him intently, not because she was told too but because she was genuinely interested in what her husband had to say. America was Pat Nixon that night. Thirty minutes after it began, the speech ended. The camera clicked off and Nixon was unconsciously declared the winner of the staring contest. He sighed with relief and slunk over to the chair from which he had begun his speech. Before he could sit down, Pat was by his side. “Richard, you did great! I was very impressed, and I'm so proud of you!” Nixon started up at the ceiling. He had kept up an aura of relaxation throughout, but now that there was no need, the energy drained from his body like water through a leaking pipe. “Thanks, Pat. I don’t think I did so good. I think I screwed it up. Big-time.” Pat looked genuinely confused. “Don’t talk that way, Richard!” The aides came running in, whooping and hollering congratulations to Mr. Nixon. “You did it!” “You tore them up, Dick!” “Marry me, Richard!” “You’ve saved us all!” The cameraman had tears running down his face. Nixon waved them down and pulled himself out of the chair. “Let’s get back on the bus, boys. I’ve had a long day and I want to go to bed. Let’s let the guys who work here clean up.” There was a sad vibe to his walk as he descended the stairs towards the aides, Pat close behind. Richard Nixon slunk out of the El Capitan Theater with the weight of an uncertain future boring down through his head into every filament of his body. “Judgment day,” he muttered, “Judgment…” Clutched in his sweaty, nervous hands were several sheets of paper containing the outline of the speech he had delivered in the Theater minutes before. The seats were crowded with elated aides telling him about the unprecedented power of his words. Richard Nixon had given that speech to a now-silent camera, had broadcasted across America to an estimated sixty million people. Tonight, Richard Nixon had fought for his future and won, though he didn’t learn the full extent of his victory until a few hours later. More donations poured into his personal fund that week than he had ever received in his entire political career.