When US President Abraham Lincoln’s name cropped up, he brought out an extract from Richard Nixon from his book "Leaders". He read, "Lincoln’s consuming passion during the time of crisis (the American Civil War 1861-65) was to preserve the Union. "Towards that end he trampled individual liberties. His justification was necessity. Explaining his sweeping violation of constitutional limits, Abraham Lincoln wrote in a letter in 1864: My oath to preserve the Constitution imposed on me the duty of preserving by every indispensable means that government, that nation, of which the Constitution was the organic law. Was it possible to lose the nation and yet preserve the Constitution? By general law life and limb must be protected, yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life, but a life is never wisely given to save a limb. I felt that measures, otherwise unconstitutional, might become lawful by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the Constitution through the preservation of the nation. Right or wrong, I assumed this ground and now avow it" unquote. Pervez Musharraf laughingly hoped that this would not be misconstrued, "The period after Oct 12, 2002 is of great concern to me, not only to maintain the momentum of reforms enacted but to sustain continuity. I want to strike the right balance so that the system can not be manipulated by any individual’s discretion for his own selfish, personal motives. I am confident about taking bold decisions, "because I have no skeletons in my cupboard, I can look you in the eye!", unquote.
So, just to be crystal clear. It is Lincoln through Nixon.
From this undated interview on the General's website:
Q. Which book have you read recently and really enjoyed?
A. Leaders by Richard Nixon