A Pilgrim stood
at the
     Gates of Hell---

        The Devil
   himself had
answered the bell.

He looked him over from head to toe
            and said: "My friend--
                      I'd like to know
   what you have done
            in the line of Sin
   which entitles you
               to come within?"

Then Richard M.--
                with his usual guile,
   stepped forward and said,
       with a bashful smile:
  "Just to be pertectly frank,
                           Mr. Satan,
 I don't really know.
                 But this,
 according to my information,
     is where lots of folks
       said I should go."

"That won't do!"
                     the Devil did sneer,
  "Not by old Satan's book,
     We accept no hearsay
             evidence here.
 You've got to prove
              you're a crook.

"This isn't the U.S. Congress,
    or that Washington
              Press Corps crowd.
 We want the facts!
    No rumors, or half-truths,
                 or biased opinions allowed!

"So out with it, Stranger,--
     if you want in,
  you'll have to define
in your own words, your Sin!"

Poor Richard's smile
       changed to a puzzled frown,
          and he pondered a while
              with eyes cast down.
    "I must," he decided,
        "make this sound very good.
  So I'll just lay it on him
     Like my enemies would."

Then looking old Satan
        right dead in the eye
                     he said:
 "All right, Mr. Devil,
     I'm tellin' ya' why!

"Now let me make
     one thing perfectly clear,---
  there's plenty of reason
       for me to be here.
I dabbled in politics
             'most of my life,
Some say that's more sinful
        than beating one's wife.

"I did time in Congress
         and some as V.P.
    and finally won
          the Presidency.
 So when I took over in '69,
      the fate of a Nation
            was entirely mine!
The Democrats had left
          one helluva mess,
 To clean that up
           required finesse!

"Why clean up a nice mess?"
          the Devil cried.
    "Why not just leave it alone?"
"Because I preferred,"
    Dick quickly replied,
   "to make one entirely my own!"

"So I chose for my Cabinet
          a motley crew.
  (With all the deals I'd made, to get elected
    what else could I do?)
  A Southern Strategy we needed,
        because of George Wallace.
After we had called him,
  he still wouldn't call us.
So Ol' Strom Thurmond,
  That 'States' Righter' nut,
        much tougher to crack
           than a pecan, but
 Supreme Court appointments,
      were a nice juicy plum.
And George was no match
        for Strom's mighty thumb.

"Then Rockefeller--He'd said:
    'I'll put you on that throne,
providing you're surrounded
    by men of my own.
Henry K., just for one
       must be close by your side,
to keep both my hands free
        and one of yours tied.

"Eliot Richardson, too,
        must play a big part.
we'll give him the Pentagon,
            just for a start.
I'll tell you where to switch 'em
         from time to time.
Between Henry and Eliot
         we'll keep you in line

'And--in case something
    drastic should happen to you,
 we've got as V.P.
                        my boy, Spiro Agnew,'

"That Eastern Establishment"--Dick then said,
-----"Totally without trust.
    but in order to win the election
        their support was a must.
  What they didn't know
         was my long-range plan,
  After '72,
        I would be my own man."

"You do sound like
               my kind of man."
  said old Nick,
         "but you could
                  just be putting
                        me on~"

"What more can I do to
      convince you?" asked Dick.

"Keep talking," said Satan.
        So Richard spoke on---

"Well, then, let me make
    one more thing perfectly clear.
         I'd been victim
             of a terrible smear.
  The Press had kicked
                     my butt so hard,
 I swore to get even
            with poet and bard.

"I'd let 'em know---!
        they'd soon understand,
  that 'Tricky Dick' was
   the most powerful man
      they'd ever met.
 They'd come to heel!
    'King Richard' would show 'em
            how to wheel and deal!"

"You're as boastful a sinner,"
          said Satan,
   "as any I've ever known.
But like that skeptical
             man from Missouri,
I always have to be shown."

"Well, my first deal," said Dick,
     "was with old Chairman Mao.
Like snapping my fingers,
    I showed the 'Libs' how
to pull off a trick they'd
          been trying for years.
  (Even though it caused
    some of my friends a few tears.)"

"Very good!" said the Devil,
         "In dealing with Mao,
  you're in my kind of comp'ny,
       But tell me just how
 you could do that without
     getting into a row with
           some other good buddies
                of mine in Moscow?"

"Oh, they fussed a bit,"
       our Richard replied.
  "But I soon brought 'em
          around to my side.
They rattled thier rockets,
          But I had 'em beat.
They had to come to see me
                 for some wheat.
It took double-dealing.
      (to you that's no fault)
I just sold 'em some wheat,
     and gave 'em some SALT."

"That's real tricky, Dick,"
        the Devil conceded.
    "It adds a great
            deal to your claim."

"I hope," Richard said,
     "you'll not think
               me concieted,
    But that's how I got
               my good name."

"Conceited or not,"
                 said Satan,
  "you'll have to show still more,
      to prove that those
           Slick tricks weren't
                just a scam."

"Well, another trick
     I pulled," said Dick,
"was to take our boys
              out of a war
that had been dragging on
     for years in
              South Vietnam."

"You took men out of war?"
         the Devil cried.
   "Then you surely can't claim
                 to be on my side!"

Satan started to close
        his Iron Gate
  but paused as Richard
                shouted: "Wait!
Mr. Devil,

     you must understand;
I didn't do that
      for the good of the Land!
Just ask any newsmen
                     with whom you're connected.
I only did it
        to get re-elected!"

"Well-l-l, that does make a difference" the Devil said,
      "providing that you can prove
  you did it for selfish reasons
        and not because of Love
   for your Country,
         or your Countrymen,
who'd suffered or
                died in battle.
 You must--as did those
       who first sent them there--
 just think of them
         as chattel."

"What's more to prove?"
                    asked Richard.
  "you have the testimony
      of a host of commentators
        who'll assure you
                     I'm a phony."

"I'll tell you," said Satan
    "just one more time,
I don't accept hearsay!
 Is there
       anything else
           you can tell
                of yourself
                      that will prove
                            you were going
                                   my way?"

Said Richard,
   "To understand
       all of my sinning,
you must hear my story
         right from the beginning.

"My first trip to Congress--
  Well, right from the start,
the Libs were all eager
    to tear me apart,
for taking that seat
         from a gal they adored
And once I was seated you'd've
    thought they were gored.

"They howled in great anquish,
    o'er that and o'er this;
  especially the things
     that I did to Al Hiss.

"Then during the time
     that I spent as V. P.
 They plastered that
  'Tricky Dick' label on me.

"'Course I didn't mind that,
I wear it with pride.
I'm not only tricky,
     I've got a tough hide.

"I never lost an election
    'til my first
           White House bid.
That was 1960
       against that Kennedy kid.
And I didn't lose
      that one to J.F.K.
but Chicago's Boss Daley
       and old L.B.J.
They stole that election
    in Cook County
       and the South!
I could have protested,
  but never opened my mouth.

"Then again in California--,
    Oh how the Press did rave,
When I lost a bid for Governor
         they started dancing
                on my grave.
Prematurely, it turned out.
    you could hear their teeth grate
       when I came back
to haunt them in 1968.

"This time I out-tricked them.
    (I still didn't cheat.)
It was a close race
      but they knew
              they'd been beat!"

"As a matter of fact,
         I was there," said the Devil.
"I never miss an election.
      Don't ask me
           who I voted for,
It wasn't an easy selection."

Said Richard,
   "Now just to be perfectly frank,
         it wasn't enough.
                1960 still ranked.
Deep in my gut,
    it twisted and hurt.
                I swore in '72
I'd rub some noses in the dirt."

"Ahh-h, Vengeance!"
    hissed Satan,
      "oh how I eschew it.
Just how, my good man,
     did you set out to do it?"

"My Strategy--"
                  said Richard,
  "end the war in Vietnam.
Not too soon--.
    (I had four years and
        the economy was in a jam.)
So I spent money like mad,
      like it was going
         out of style.
The 'Great Society' under me
        was greater by a mile.

"How the liberals loved it
     when the debt soared
          out of sight.
Some conservatives complained
        But 'Revenue Sharing'
                 set that right.

"I gave the farmers
                what they wanted.
     Business--. Even crooks--.
Pardoned Jimmy Hoffa
    and got Labor on my hooks.

"Now, Mr. Devil
      get the picture--
   understand my position.
In the '72 election
   we even named our opposition.

"That was dirty!
    You'd have liked it!
        You'd have been real proud!
Why--you could have been
     my campaign manager.
         My folks were
                 your crowd!"

"I'll remind you,"
        said the Devil,
     "since you think
            you're such a smarty.
I've long been influential
    in every Political Party."

"But there's more!"
         Dick quickly added.
   "My real 'coup de grace,'
       was to bring the boys home
          to a patriotic 'Hoo-Rah!'"
For there's nothing ever better
        to unite us all as one,
than the ending of a war
       or one properly begun.

"It worked, Mr. Devil~
    Just exactly as I'd planned.
I got the biggest victory
        in the history of the Land.

"I was King of all the Nation!
     'King Richard, I was named!
But then it all turned sour.
          I was disgraced.
     And I was shamed."

You're very convincing,"
                the Devil said,
"But I hope you appreciate
    what a difficult task
       it is to decide
    just who shall pass
         through this Gate.

"One qualification for admission
    to my domain of
     brimstone and fire
is to prove to me
     beyond all doubt
    that you're an
               accomplished liar.

"So I have one angel of a problem.
    A dilemma, there's no denying.
I can never be sure
     someone's telling the truth
        about how good they are
                 at lying!"

"Well," said Dick,
             "if you're not certain
   that I'm giving you the facts,
     'most anyone will verify
                that I cheated on my tax.
I took every deduction
         I legally could,
some of which others
        didn't think that I should.
And that, I assure you,
        is very, very, bad.
No one else had
      done such things
         and folks were really mad!"

Sneered Satan
       "For Hade's Sake,

  don't give me that!
Cheatin' on taxes
        is strictly old hat!
And--compared to your last
      predecessors in office,
You, my dear fellow,
    are naught but a novice.
Politicians and businessmen
            deduct for their beers.
And some preachers
     evade taxes
          all through the years,

"That won't do at all!
      Doesn't even begin!
         cheatin' on taxes
                  was never a Sin!"

Poor Dick was crestfallen.
   It looked like he'd failed
       all chance of admission,
           the way Satan railed.

  But then, the Old Devil
       more gently did say:

"Now Richard,
       I really do like you!

   And I'd like to invite
           you in for to stay.

So think, man!
                  what did you do
which caused enough
     of misery for
          friend and fellow men,
to demonstrate for certain
     that you fit in
             with my plan--?"

Then Dick just knew
          he had it made!

     The answer seemed
              right there!
He spread his arms
        and heartily said:

"Mr. Devil!!
       You're surely aware
 of the strife and turmoil
         that I caused--
        the misery--
              and hate--
when I refused to sell
       the White House
to pay for

Old Satan blanched
       and backed away.
"Good Lord!"

    he finally managed to say,
"Are you that Richard?
          Then, please!
                Go away!!"

He slammed and barred
         his iron door,
    as Poor Richard lifted
               his palms to implore:

"But why, Mr. Devil?
    Have I not sinned enough?"
"More than plenty!" said Satan.
                "I fear you're too rough!
    Why, if I were to let you
      join in with my mob,
         from what people
       tell me,
you'd soon have
                  My job!"

"That's just hearsay!"
                Dick shouted.
But the Devil was gone,
     So once again
        Richard was standing alone.
And it seemed like he'd been here
        for such a long time,
'Twixt Hades and Heaven!