Address at a Republican Rally in the New York Coliseum
My fellow Americans:
I have spent my adult life in public service. This I have been proud to do because of my unshakable belief in America's great destiny as the world leader for freedom, and because America represents the mightiest temporal power that has ever been developed here on this earth.
For almost 8 years I have served as the elected head of this Nation and its spokesman in the world scene.
Mindful of the many perplexing problems that have inescapably demanded from me a multitude of decisions of world-wide import, I present to you this evening reasons why I think this election to be a momentous event for us and for the free world. Beyond this I give you additional reasons for my support of Richard Nixon and Cabot Lodge.
Every one of us knows that the subject that most engages our national attention and causes the greatest concern to every individual, is the aggressive intentions of powerful Communist imperialism. Another is the family budget--its market basket. This I shall talk about in a day or so, possibly Friday evening.
But this struggle with the Kremlin has been with us for a long time and it will be with us for a long time to come.
Yet the world of today is not what it was when I took office 8 years ago. At home our economy has become immeasurably stronger. In every index by which we measure strength and development, the past 8 years have been the brightest of our history. Such strength and development form the sturdy foundation on which are built all our necessary programs for national prosperity and security at home and waging peace abroad.
The first difference the years have brought about internationally is that we were then fighting in Korea.
America was at war--a war into which the Nation had been allowed to drift by its leadership through weakness, through indecision, and through vagueness of purpose.
We were weak because the Government had cut back our Armed Forces to their lowest ebb since the beginning of World War II, leaving Korea undefended--
--indecision, because the Government had no intelligible plan for dealing with the Communist power in the Far East--
--vagueness, because neither our friends nor our enemies knew in advance of the attack where we stood on the issue of South Korea's independence and territorial integrity.
Six months after this administration took office, a cease fire order had been achieved that assured the safety of South Korea and ended the fighting.
Since that time we have had no single battle casualty in our Nation.
There have been no further gains of territory or population by Communist imperialism in any area where American influence and arms were involved.
We have successfully withstood an intensive campaign by the Soviet Union to absorb all of Berlin.
Moreover, the number of people who defect from Communist-controlled states is measured annually in the hundreds of thousands. And I point out that when people by the countless thousands will risk everything, including their lives, for the chance to join us on freedom's side of the Iron Curtain--there is no question in their minds about America's leadership.
My friends, there is no question in your minds. In fact, there seems to be only one individual who is bewailing America's strength and weakness, and he happens to be a political--the only one who is doing this thing is a political candidate, and he isn't here tonight.
My friends, this Government has spelled out our intentions to the world in unmistakable terms, for all to see and understand, as, for example, in NATO, Korea, the Formosan Straits, in SEATO, and in the Middle East.
We have built up the strength of our Armed Forces steadily, for the long pull. Our retaliatory forces are at a peak of power and readiness never before attained.
And, we have closely associated ourselves with other free nations in a common effort to preserve and expand freedom, to promote economic growth and political stability, and to help make life more meaningful for people the world over.
My friends, I do not cite these achievements, domestic and foreign, as a cause for smugness, either by our Nation or by me.
But neither can I understand how, in face of the record, anyone can seriously argue that the world leadership of the United States has been impaired. Perhaps only a wealth of personal experience can truly develop a reservoir of personal faith.
This is why I am so concerned about the leadership that our Nation will have next January.
The Nation needs leaders who have been immersed in the hard facts of public affairs in a great variety of situations--men of character who are able to take the long-range view and hold long-range goals--leaders who do not mistake minor setbacks for major disasters--and leaders who by their own records have demonstrated a capacity to get on with the job. We want men of inexhaustible strength and inexhaustible faith.
This is why I am so wholeheartedly in back of Richard Nixon and Cabot Lodge.
My friends, in their preparation for high office, the experience of Cabot Lodge and Dick Nixon has never been equaled.
These men didn't learn their lessons merely out of books not even by writing books. They learned these lessons by meeting the day-in, day-out problems of our changing world.
As my personal representative, I have sent Richard Nixon on major missions to most of the countries of the world. I have carefully weighed his advice and have made changes as a result of his insight and experience.
The work of Cabot Lodge as our permanent representative to the United Nations is universally known. The televised debates at the UN have brought into our very homes the proof of his two-fisted courage and skill.
Richard Nixon and Cabot Lodge have advised and helped me well for 8 years. They have my respect, my admiration, my friendship. They have character, ability, experience, and courage.
The problems they will have to face in the years ahead will not always be the same problems I have faced. But with Vice President Nixon and Ambassador Lodge at the helm, I can have full confidence that the fate of my country and your country is in strong and trustworthy hands. My friends, I promised Dick I would make this talk in I o minutes, and I have got 30 seconds to go. Yet for myself, I shall always be on the side of those who work for the betterment of America and the goal of a just peace in the world.
This is what these two men will do. In this sense, my friends, I shall always be part of their team. In these critical years before us, we need leadership with clarity of vision and steadiness of purpose.
We need leadership of maturity, proven experience and decision.
We need the leadership of Richard Nixon and Cabot Lodge.
Note: The President spoke at 8:40 p.m.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Address at a Republican Rally in the New York Coliseum Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234463