Describing it as “a personal word” added to the main body of his 1974 state of the union address, on the heels of a lengthy ovation following his expression of hope that a freshman lawmaker in the chamber that evening might one day look back at having begun his career during a Congress that ended America’s then–longest war and set it on a path toward its longest peace, President Richard Nixon took up the topic of “the so-called Watergate affair” on his own terms:
‘I believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of the matter to an end. One year of Watergate is enough.’
Nixon said in the address that he hoped having put in place “a new structure of peace in the world” would stand as the “chief legacy … from the eight years of my presidency.” Seven months and 10 days later, Nixon resigned, after 5½ years in office.
In his 1974 State of the Union, he had said he had “no intention whatever of ever walking away from the job that the people elected me to do for the people of the United States.”
The address 44 years ago — delivered, per Nixon, at “a time of great challenge and great opportunity” — also noted a number of achievements, including the halting of a “17-year rise in crime,” the advent of a “massive national effort to protect the environment” and the cessation “for the first time in a generation” of the military draft.