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Nixon resigns -- recalling 1974

For anyone who lived through the turbulent '60s and early '70s, there were many unforgettable events -- not least among them Aug. 8, 1974, when President Richard M. Nixon announced that he would resign. It's chilling to recall his televised address or to read news stories from that day -- here's the Washington Post coverage -- when our country suddenly carried the whiff of a banana republic.

Of course, the Post led the way in covering the Watergate scandal that triggered Nixon's resignation. And two Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, turned that coverage into the memorable book, "All the President's Men." (It was also adapted into a compelling movie, transforming journalists into stars, if only for an all-too-brief moment.)

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That book has been on my shelf for years, and it should be required reading for every journalism student. In fact, it should be required reading for every politician, a reminder that the take-no-prisoners, partisan combat can turn a country upside down. A lesson for today, perhaps?

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