Obama's Syria speech unlikely to sway a skeptical public

tags: Syria




WASHINGTON — With support for the war in Vietnam sagging and mass protests erupting around the nation, President Nixon invited cameras into the Oval Office in November 1969 and spoke directly to Americans.

Seated behind a desk, reading from a prepared text, Nixon explained why an immediate withdrawal would be a blow to freedom and democracy, outlined a plan "to end the war in a way that we could win the peace" and promised to turn over much of the fighting to Vietnamese troops.

Playing to mainstream America's patriotism and its skepticism of the counterculture, he concluded, "And so tonight — to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans — I ask for your support."

The speech changed public opinion about Nixon — his approval ratings soared to the highest point of his first term. But opinion about Vietnam changed only very slightly, and even that shift proved a momentary blip, erased within weeks....




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