>>> former first lady pat nixon's 100th birthday would have been this friday. to mark the occasion, the nixon librabrary has released some letters from her husband. let's just say they give us a whole new picture of the man known in for in history for a whole lot of other things. our report tonight from nbc's mike taibbi.
>> reporter: to describe richard nixon, who would use the words "playful, corny, romantic"? after all, his boldness and brilliance were matched and overwhelmed by his ruthlessness that led to the water gagate scandal and to these words.
>> i shall resign tomorrow at noon.
>> reporter: now the letters from the ambitious young lawyer just moved to washington, d.c. and pretty thelma catherine ryan, known to all as pat. he writes to his irish gypsy, he pines to be with her every day and every night, dreams of long sunday rides, weekends in the mountains or just reading together in front of fires. and about love? he told bryant gumbel that like his quaker mother, he never spoke or wrote the word in his public life.
>> she never said "i love you" because she considered that to be something very private and very sacred. and i feel the same way.
>> reporter: but in his letters to pat -- did he ever say in the letters "i love you"?
>> yes. he called her his dearest heart.
>> reporter: sandy quinn, a friend of nixon's throughout, has his favorite among the letters, the young suitor as formal as his quaker roots while writing after his own ardor.
>> falling in love with thee, my dearest heart.
>> reporter: when his beloved pat died in 1993, nixon's grief was searing.
>> he said, whatever you remember about pat nixon, remember the sunshine of her smile.
>> reporter: the smile his letter showed so captivated him for more than half a century. mike taibbi, nbc news, california.