04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT
The usually reticent Patricia Nixon Cox, elder daughter of late President Richard M. Nixon and Pat Nixon, stepped forward yesterday to deny claims made in a sensational new biography of her father. British journalist Anthony Summers's "The Arrogance of Power," published Monday, claims that Nixon beat his wife on several occasions, most notoriously when he lost the 1962 California gubernatorial election. It also said he was hooked to a prescription mood-altering drug, which had been given to him without a prescription. "Because I lived at home with them and my sister (Julie)," Cox told the Associated Press, "I can state unconditionally that at no time during 1962 or ever did my father ever strike my mother, or did my mother ever have physical signs or bruises of the type claimed in this book." She added, "My mother was not a fragile flower. She was very strong. She would have left forever if anything like that had happened."