Ron Ziegler

Ron Ziegler

Ronald Louis Ziegler (May 12, 1939 – February 10, 2003) was White House Press Secretary during United States President Richard Nixon's administration, from 1969–1974, and Assistant to the President in 1974.

Ziegler was born to Louis Daniel Ziegler, a production manager, and Ruby Parsons, in Covington, Kentucky. He was raised Presbyterian [ [ Ron Ziegler ] ] and graduated from Dixie Heights High School in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. First attending college in Cincinnati, Ziegler transferred to the University of Southern California in 1958, and graduated in 1961 with a degree in government and politics. He worked at Disneyland as a skipper on the popular Adventureland attraction, The Jungle Cruise.

He worked as a press aide on Nixon's unsuccessful California gubernatorial campaign in 1962. In 1969, when he was just 29, Ziegler became the youngest White House Press Secretary in history. He was the White House press secretary for the Nixon administration during the political scandal known as Watergate. In 1972, he dismissed the first report of the break-in at the Watergate Hotel as the discussion of a "third rate burglary," but within two years Nixon had resigned under threat of impeachment.

Particularly in the period following the resignations of such senior administration officials as Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, Ziegler became one of Nixon's closest aides and confidants, defending the President until the bitter end, urging Nixon not to resign, but rather fight impeachment in the Senate. During the unfolding political scandal, Ziegler himself appeared at least 33 times before Congress. After Nixon's resignation in 1974, Ziegler remained very close to him; he was on the airplane that Nixon took to San Clemente as Gerald Ford was sworn into office.

In 1988, Ziegler became president and chief executive of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, living in Alexandria, Va. before retiring for health reasons in 1999. He later moved to Coronado Shores (Coronado, Ca.) where he died of a heart attack at age 63.

Notable quotes

*"Certain elements may try to stretch the Watergate burglary beyond what it is." –1972, referring to "Washington Post" reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.
*"This is the operative statement. The others are inoperative." –April 17 1973, retracting previous statements that had been revealed to be false.
*"I would apologize to the Post, and I would apologize to Mr. Woodward and Mr. Bernstein." He continued, "We would all have to say that mistakes were made in terms of comments. I was overenthusiastic in my comments about the Post, particularly if you look at them in the context of developments that have taken place." May 1, 1973; the previous day, White House counsel John Dean and Nixon aides John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman had resigned, as the Watergate scandal progressed. [ [ CBS News, Feb. 10, 2003 "Watergate Press Secretary Dead At 63"] ]
*"If my answers sound confusing, I think they are confusing because the questions are confusing and the situation is confusing."
*"Thank goodness, I was one of the few members of the Nixon White House staff who was never indicted and I was not part of the cover-up." — on Larry King Live, alluding to the 11 convictions and numerous indictments in the scandal. []
*"I was the only one on that plane to San Clemente with Nixon when power changed hands. I was there with Nixon in exile. I will publish a good book someday." –1981.
*"I'm proud of what I did as press secretary, I don't feel the need to apologize; there are some things, however, I would have done differently" –1981. []
*"The president is aware of what is going on. That is not to say that there is anything going on." –1972, referring to the investigation of the Watergate scandal.


External links

* [ Former NACDS President & CEO Ronald L. Ziegler Dies ]
* [ Ron Ziegler's Obituary with summary of his years with Nixon]
* [ Ron Ziegler, former Nixon press secretary, dies in Coronado]
* [ Washington Post editorial] , June 21, 1972, published soon after the burglary.
* [ Watergate 'Spin Doctor' Dies] , BBC News.

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