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Subject: E. A. Rogers, 82, Nixon's 'Checkers' Adviser

died March 13
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Date Posted: March 24, 2003 1:38:03 EDT

Edward A. Rogers, a media and political adviser who helped save Richard M. Nixon's career in 1952 with the Checkers speech, died here on Thursday. He was 82.

Mr. Rogers, a Cleveland native, was a broadcast executive for an advertising agency in California in 1950 when he met Nixon, then a congressman. Nixon asked him to help with personal appearances and television interviews.

Nixon was California's junior senator and Dwight D. Eisenhower's running mate in 1952, when he was accused of improperly accepting gifts from businessmen. Some of Eisenhower's advisers wanted to drop Nixon from the ticket.

Mr. Rogers said in a 1987 interview: "I told him that if he left it to the guys in the smoke-filled rooms, he'd never make it. I said he had to take his case to the people."

Mr. Rogers quickly set up a nationwide television broadcast that pre-empted the Milton Berle show. An emotional Nixon justified the legality of the gift fund and accused his opponents of smearing him. After saying he would not return the one personal gift, a dog named Checkers, which his daughters loved, Nixon ended by asking the public to tell the Republican National Committee that he should stay on the ticket. It worked, and Eisenhower kept him as his running mate.

Mr. Rogers is variously credited with writing, arranging or producing the speech. He also advised Nixon on the televised debates with John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential campaign.

Mr. Rogers is survived by his wife, Pat; four daughters, Nancy Rogers of Los Angeles; Priscilla Rogers of Fort Collins, Colo.; and Marian Pietsch and Linsley Pietsch, both of Sarasota; a son, Michael, of Nagano, Japan; a brother, Tom Rogers of Boulder, Colo.; and two grandchildren.

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