Nixon’s prominence as an anti-communist soon brought him greater national attention. General Dwight Eisenhower, the 1952 Republican presidential nominee, selected Nixon as his running mate at the Republican convention in Chicago on July 11, 1952.
Two months later, the New York Post published an article claiming that campaign donors were buying influence with Nixon by providing him with a secret cash fund for his personal expenses. Nixon defended himself against the allegations, saying the fund was neither secret nor unusual, and produced an independent audit that showed the funds had been used solely for political purposes. To counter his critics, Nixon appeared on television before the largest audience in history to date. On the live national broadcast, Nixon detailed his personal financial history and then outdid his detractors by saying his family had accepted a campaign gift for them: a beloved black-and-white cocker spaniel named Ladies who had the intention to conserve. the speech was a huge success, shoring up his support with the Republican Party base, demonstrating his appeal to the general public and thereby keeping him on the Republican ticket, and demonstrating the importance of television as a political medium.
In November 1952, Eisenhower and Nixon defeated the Democratic ticket candidates, presidential candidate Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson and running mate Alabama Senator John Sparkman, by seven million votes.
under eisenhower, nixon made the vice presidency a visible and important office. Nixon chaired meetings of the National Security Council in the President’s absence and made many goodwill tours of foreign countries in an effort to bolster support for American Cold War policies. On one of those trips to Caracas, Venezuela, on May 13, 1958, the protesters spat on the Vice President and Mrs. Nixons at the airport. Later that day, rioters stormed Nixon’s motorcade, injuring the Venezuelan foreign minister and making Nixon realize that he might actually be assassinated. Nixon drew international attention for his coolness in the face of anti-American protests.
in july 1959, eisenhower sent nixon to the soviet union to represent the united states at the opening of the american national exhibition in moscow, the soviet capital. While touring the exhibit with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, the couple stopped at a model of an American kitchen. there they engaged in an impromptu discussion about the American standard of living that quickly turned into an exchange about the ideological and military strength of the two countries. Nixon’s performance in the “Cooking Debate” further elevated her stature in the United States.
In 1960, facing little competition, Nixon won the Republican nomination for president, electing former Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., then the US. Ambassador to the United Nations, to be his running mate. The 1960 election was a close contest between Nixon and the Democratic nominee, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy, who had also been elected to Congress in 1946. Many observers then and since concluded that the turning point came during the first televised debates. Wearing little makeup, Nixon looked pale and awkward, while Kennedy appeared calm, collected and confident. In November, Nixon lost to Kennedy by less than 120,000 votes, or 0.2 percent of the popular vote.