Nixon's passion and devotion to politics was renewed and re-energized by his visit with JFK. Party inspired by something JFK said during the visit, Nixon wrote a book titled Six Crises, in which Nixon was remarkably candid about Alger Hiss, the "Checkers Speech", and his loss to JFK in 1960. Again and again, Nixon struggled with how to reconcile his introverted nature with the necessity of being an extrovert in order to be successful in politics.
Writing the book was mentally and physically taxing, in that Nixon again became worn down and lost 10 pounds. Nixon was living alone in an apartment in Los Angeles, then after a bit he rented a house in order to enhance the writing process . . . while he was writing the book, Nixon was technically working for a law firm, which provided necessary income.
Nixon was oddly flat while campaigning against a conservative Republican challenger as well as Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, the Governor of California. By the fall of 1962, Nixon was trailing Brown in the polls, and needed a debate against the Governor to try and catch up. On 1 October 1962 in San Francisco, Nixon debated Brown. A question was asked specifically to Nixon that dealt with the behavior of his (idiot) brother, who was trying to cash in on Nixon's celebrity with the "Nixon Burger". Time and again, Nixon was in a no-win situation in terms of the questions he had to answer compared to Brown, who kept getting relatively easier questions.
A Los Angeles Times reporter went after Nixon hard every time he claimed that Brown was soft on Communism. Dick Tuck, the dirty trickster hired by JFK/RFK to harass Nixon during the General Campaign of 1960, was doing so again, this time on behalf of Brown (and indirectly for the Kennedys). After the debate, Nixon knew he was going to lose, in part due to the unfair treatment by the California press, but also due to the Cuban Missile Crisis . . . whatever momentum Nixon had by early-October was halted-or-reversed by Election Day.
The morning after he lost the election to Brown, Nixon decided to confront the reporters who had antagonized and mistreated him during the campaign. During what he called his last
press conference, Nixon told the media how much they'll miss not having "Nixon to kick around anymore". The sadness of his loss in California and the aftertaste of the press conference stayed with Nixon for years, according to his daughter, Tricia.
The Establishment press wrote Nixon off for good. ABC aired a show titled "The Political Obituary of Richard Nixon" hosted by Howard K. Smith, featuring Alger Hiss as a special guest. Three months later, Nixon was again audited by the IRS, as he was in 1961 and 1962. Nixon blamed Attorney General Robert Kennedy for the abuse, which meant more items were filed in his Kennedy dirty tricks ledger. Not long after the Assassination of JFK, Nixon decided to move to New York City in order to make a clean break from politics, but still be part of the action.
Nixon joined a reputable law firm (but not one of the city's elite) where he was made a temporary partner; among the partners was Leonard Garment, who would remain connected with Nixon all the way through Watergate and beyond. Nixon learned to appreciate the telephone even more as his favorite method of communication and persuasion; the phone allowed Nixon to concentrate on the words instead of appearances and social niceties/graces.
The Supreme Court case was Time, Inc. v. Hill: Time was accused of sensationalizing a home invasion suffered by the Hill family. Nixon delivered an excellent oral argument, but the Supreme Court ruled against Nixon and the firm. Nixon viewed the result as another press conspiracy against him; Nixon told Garment that he never wanted to be reminded of the case.
Nixon believed that he should always look forward, but he constantly dwelled on the wounds from his past.
By 1965, Nixon decided to make another play for President in 1968, and to do so, he needed to get back in the political arena. Nixon campaigned hard for Republican candidates in the Congressional Elections of 1966, and by doing so not only became politically visible again, but also earned many political chits in the process. After Goldwater's disastrous campaign in 1964, Nixon wanted to bring the Republican Party back towards the center. As Nixon campaigned for others, it became clear that he was a hawk in Vietnam, but moderate on social policy. Nixon also accepted the reality of "Big Government", but he wanted to see it trimmed down at least somewhat.
But in early-1967, Nixon declared a personal "moratorium" on politics: Nixon didn't travel, make speeches, raise money, woo Republicans, or earn political markers for later use. Nixon's timing was beyond-shrewd, in that 1965 - 1967 featured political anger nationwide in the extreme. The Harris Polling Organization created an "Alienation Index" in order to measure public anger . . . and the results were off-the-charts. Politicians other than Nixon tried to ride the waves of anger without getting rolled, and largely failed while Nixon remained upright offstage.
According to Leonard Garment, Nixon's yellow pad was his "best friend" . . . Nixon loved to analysis and strategy. On 22 December 1967, after the traditional Nixon Christmas Party, the yellow pad came out, and Nixon wrote down all the reasons why he should NOT run for President. The ambition was still there, but Nixon feared humiliation, and worse, no future in politics, and therefore no purpose in his life if he ran and lost again. Nixon went to Key Biscayne to spend "quiet time" with his best friend, BeBe Rebozo, and the Reverend Billy Graham was there as well, recovering from a lung infection. Simply put, Nixon viewed himself as a Man of Destiny, despite his faults, at least the ones that he actually acknowledged to himself. Nixon was never much into self-analysis, which Nixon believed was weak and phony . . . Nixon's greatest fear was to be thought of as weak.
Nixon liked to be surrounded by vigorous-and-loyal young men, and his "Body Man" that kept Nixon apart from the rank-and-file, and that charmed those that needed to be charmed was Dwight Chapin. Chapin had the graces of an Ivy Leaguer (he was at USC) without the attitude, and was drawn to Nixon, and was willing to put up with Nixon's rare outbursts and many quirks. Chapin was the extension of the Nixon campaign's Chief-of-Staff, the handsome-and-chilly H.R. Haldeman, whose job was to basically be Nixon's "S.O.B.". As time went on, Haldeman would spend more waking hours with Nixon than anyone else, including his wife Pat.
Haldeman was a Nixon volunteer in 1952, an "Advance Man" in 1956, and by the early-1960s he was in Nixon's "Circle of Trust". Haldeman's right-hand man was John Ehrlichman, who had worked for Nixon as a mole in Nelson Rockefeller's campaign in 1960. Both Haldeman and Ehrlichman were Christian Scientists, and they both brought discipline and a touch of arrogance to the Nixon campaign. With Haldeman and Ehrlichman, the "New Nixon" was a much colder politician . . . but also much "cooler" . . .