Services Writing

Watch Those Acronyms

As the 1972 election campaignwas approaching, strategists for President Richard Nixon had a problem. They wanted to announce the formation of a re-election committee. But there had been some question raised in the media about whether Vice-President Spiro Agnew would be on the ticket. They couldn’t call it “Citizens for Nixon-Agnew” because that would pre-empt the President’s decision. And they couldn’t call it “Citizens for Nixon” because that might appear to be throwing Agnew under the bus. They turned to the resident master of language, William Safire, who was then writing speeches for the President. His suggestion? “Committee to Re-elect the President.” Read