Richard Nixon photo

Excerpts of Remarks of the Vice President of the United States, Prepared for Delivery at the Airport, Schenectady, NY

September 30, 1960

Several days ago at Charleston, W. Va., I said Senator Kennedy should correct his false statement to the effect that 17 million people go to bed hungry every night in the United States. I said he should do this while Mr. Khrushchev and his Communist Colleagues are still in the United States because his statement - an obvious distortion - is being used by the Communists in their propaganda against the United States.

The press reports that the Senator in Buffalo revised his earlier statement somewhat, and in effect, thus admitted his abuse of fact in this instance. He is to be commended for his action.

Unfortunately, however, his use of distortion as the basis of campaign argument has continued unabated, and we can expect our opponents abroad to continue to pick up his inaccurate statements as grist for their propaganda mill.

For example, during the debate Monday night he said that: "The Soviet Union by 1975 will be producing more power than we are."

This is a gross distortion of the truth.

The facts are that if America stood absolutely still, if we built not one additional hydroelectric project between now and then, the Soviets would be faced with the monumental task of building eight Grand Coulee dams a year from now until 1977 just to catch up to where America is today in hydroelectric power.

But, of course, we are not standing still. During the Eisenhower administration, 53 new hydroelectric projects or new units of existing projects have been authorized, well over half the total completed in the preceding half century.

This is not even to point out that at our present rate of progress America will be producing, in addition to hydroelectric power, large quantities of power from atomic energy by 1975 and that our power production from coal and gas will also far exceed that of the Soviet.

Senator Kennedy has a right and responsibility to point out how he believes we should strengthen America. But he owes a responsibility to the Nation, as well as to his party, not to distort the image of America. Constructive criticism of our faults is one source of great strength in a free country. But downgrading what America has done and is doing in comparing our achievements with those of the Soviet Union does not help us at home and results in our being slandered abroad. It is not necessary to tear America down in order to build her up.

Senator Kennedy should immediately correct these factual distortions of the strength of the American system. He should also stop making them, even for the purposes of the campaign. The American people have the intelligence to separate fact from fiction in a political campaign but the Communists will not concede them that in their propaganda.

It is not enough that the Senator say, as he did yesterday, that "We are the strongest nation on earth today." The Communists will overlook this truth and circulate only the falsehood.

If the Senator will stick to the facts, the American people will weigh his arguments carefully enough. He will lose no real opportunities to advance his candidacy at home and America will lose nothing abroad.

Richard Nixon, Excerpts of Remarks of the Vice President of the United States, Prepared for Delivery at the Airport, Schenectady, NY Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project