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Richard Nixon: The gushy, romantic side of 'Tricky Dick' (+video)

Richard Nixon's love letters to Patricia Ryan showed a romantic young man. The letters from 1938, reveal Nixon, the 37th US president, as idealistic, poetic.

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Richard Nixon's romantic side is revealed in new exhibit at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
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Long before Richard Nixon rose to power and fell from grace, he was just another man in love.

Decades before he became known to some as "Tricky Dick," Nixon was the one penning nicknames (sweet ones) to his future bride in gushy love notes that reveal a surprisingly soft and romantic side of the man taken down by Watergate.

Nixon shared the stage with Patricia Ryan in a community theater production and six of the dozens of letters they exchanged during their two-year courtship will be unveiled Friday at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum as part of an exhibit celebrating the 100th birthday of the woman Nixon playfully called his "Irish gypsy."

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In Nixon's letters, he recalls their first meeting in flowery prose, daydreams about their future together and waxes poetic about the first time his "dearest heart" agreed to take a drive with him.

"Every day and every night I want to see you and be with you. Yet I have no feeling of selfish ownership or jealousy," he writes in one undated letter. "Let's go for a long ride Sunday; let's go to the mountains weekends; let's read books in front of fires; most of all, let's really grow together and find the happiness we know is ours."

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