The New York Times’ Danny Hakim has written an interesting and timely profile of Ed Cox.  Accompanying the article is a slide show of several photographs, beginning with Mr. Cox’s wedding to Tricia Nixon in the White House Rose Garden in June 1971, through his current role as the putative New York State Republican Chairman (he is uncontested in the election for the position to be held today in Albany).

He appeared on American television screens nearly four decades ago, a blond-haired Princeton man in cutaway and striped trousers who married Tricia Nixon in a Rose Garden ceremony.

Edward F. Cox became an adored son-in-law to President  Richard M. Nixon, appearing at the president’s side during some of the nation’s most pivotal moments, including Nixon’s teary farewell address in 1974.

Now, Mr. Cox, 62, is re-entering public life, taking on a task that many see as impossible: reviving the demoralized and shrunken Republican Party in New York…

Mr. Cox grew close to his father-in-law, and recalled traveling the world on good-will missions with his wife and going to China with Nixon after he left office. He has ferried messages between Chinese and South Korean trade missions and met  Fidel Castro at the Palace of Justice in Havana. He recalled a trip to the Soviet Union during the Nixon presidency in which he had to mediate between a KGB general and the Secret Service.

There were happy moments — his wife can even be heard on the Nixon White House tapes gushing to her father, “Eddie passed the bar.” Then there were more difficult moments, like standing behind his father-in-law during his final address as president. “During his farewell, he asked me to bring him a book,” he recalled. “I was working with him the night before and got it from the library — it was where Teddy Roosevelt wrote about the death of his wife, his first wife, ‘The light went out of my life,’ ” Mr. Cox said, referring to passages Nixon read during his speech.

“Obviously, it was a very emotional time, it was extraordinary,” he added. “He was a man who really had control of himself, but also saw the bigger picture and what he was doing in the bigger picture.”

Speaking of the lessons he had learned from his front-row seat, he said of politics, “You’ll get bloodied, and sometimes it’s tough, but there are moments when you’re on the mountain peak.” “That’s what public life is about,” he said. “You have to be willing to take those ups and downs if you’re going to accomplish something.”


Edward Cox at a the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York.  (Photo for The New York Times by Chang W. Lee.)

The article analyzes the problems —and the opportunities— Mr. Cox will inherit with the State Chairmanship.

The cerebral, centrist Mr. Cox represents a break from the parochial Republican county leaders who have led the state party in recent years, presiding over disastrous electoral results. In the 2006 election, Republicans were shut out of all statewide offices, and in 2008, they lost control of the State Senate, their last power base. The absence of Republican star power means that Mr. Cox will play an outsize role as a voice of the party, whose leaders will gather Tuesday in Albany to elect a new chairman; Mr. Cox is the only remaining candidate for the post. Despite the odds against the party, he said he believed a wave of Democratic scandals could be a boon for Republicans in New York.