The Manic's primary lyricist and rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards gained early notoriety by cutting the words "4REAL" into his arm with a razor blade. Since that episode and his later disappearance, now presumed dead, the band have been somewhat overshadowed by the events of Richey Edwards' troubled life. This provocatively titled single, is a sympathetic appraisal of someone else whose achievements were eclipsed by one event. "The main thrust of the song," bassist Nicky Wire explained to Repeat Fanzine
, "is the idea of being tarnished with a certain part of your life forever. With us, people might think of Richey's disappearance or 4 REAL.
With Nixon, people will always associate him with Watergate and being a crook, not the fact that he was the first president to go to China to build up relations. Or the way he de-escalated the arms race with the Soviet Union - quite admirable things."
Wire added concerning his sympathy for the devil: "There's always been a ridiculousness to Manic Street Preachers. Not humour, not funny-ha ha, but a question of 'Do they really mean it?' But there's probably more empathy [with Nixon] than I should admit. Nixon wasn't a good president, but he wasn't George W Bush. He was a brilliant man, and not all Republican presidents have been. I do think he's a fascinating character, particularly in today's climate. He probably ended the Vietnam War. Whatever you think his reasons were - and conspiracy theories abound - he signed off at the end of it."