The song is, according to the band, "a soundtrack to disillusion, hatred, love and never giving up". More specifically, the song is a sympathetic appraisal of former US president Richard Nixon and mentions some of his positive achievements, inevitably overshadowed by the Watergate Scandal. The timing of the single's release, two weeks before George W. Bush's victory at the 2004 US presidential elections, can also be seen as a statement by the band concerning the reputation of the USA's leadership at the time.
In an interview with Repeat Fanzine, the band also said it represents how they feel in comparison to Radiohead. Nicky in particular commented that they feel like Richard Nixon compared to Radiohead's John F. Kennedy: "'If Radiohead are Kennedy, then Manic Street Preachers are Nixon: the ugly duckling who had to try 10 times harder than anyone else. Paranoid megalomaniacs.'"
The sound is more electronic than most of their previous hits, indicative of a slight switch in sound on Lifeblood; according to the band the song contains no guitars.
"The Love of Richard Nixon" was released on 18 October 2004 by record label Epic as the first single from the band's seventh studio album, Lifebood. It hit number 2 in the UK charts.