Richard Nixon photo

Excerpts of Remarks of the Vice President of the United States, Springfield, Missouri Airport

September 21, 1960

Senator Kennedy made it clear in his speech last night that he intends to continue his campaign of criticism of the alleged weaknesses of the United States while Mr. Khrushchev and his colleagues are at the United Nations. This is his privilege as a candidate.

I would suggest, however, that, particularly at this time, any American who points out to Mr. Khrushchev and the world those things that he thinks are wrong about the United States has an obligation to emphasize even more strongly those things that are right.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Kennedy should have made himself a spokesman for this line of national self-disparagement at the very moment the United Nations Assembly members were voting 70 to 0 in favor of policies which the United States has steadfastly supported from the beginning, against the all-out opposition of the Communist bloc, in the Congo.

The whole free world has interpreted this vote as a great victory for the United States and the ideals of peace and freedom for which we stand.

But Senator Kennedy says that all we are doing is "outtalking" and "outshouting" Mr. Khrushchev.

If Senator Kennedy intends to continue to address himself to Mr. Khrushchev and the Communist leaders, I say the American people will hold him accountable for his words. It is necessary, I believe, to point out some of the consequences of shooting from the hip and distorting the facts about America and American strength, military and economic.

There is an example in today's papers of what I have in mind. The Chinese Communist newspaper, "The People's Daily," seizes on a statement by Senator Kennedy to charge that in capitalist countries millions of people go hungry in the midst of plenty. The newspaper refers for proof to a statement by Senator Kennedy that 17 million Americans go to bed hungry every night, a statement which the Senator has made a number of times during his campaign for the Presidency, and which apparently is based on an Agriculture Department report that one-tenth of the U.S. population lacked the proper diet - not that they were going hungry.

Another example is Senator Kennedy's statement that if Alaska still belonged to the Soviet Union, it would already have a hydro-electric dam project in which there has recently been State interest.

Another is his recent campaign statement that Mr. Khrushchev could well be tempted to make the most of "how much faster your economy is growing than ours."

I find it difficult to understand why, in the present world situation, anyone would make statements about America that are so unfounded, but the Senator last night gave us another clue as to why it happens:

We need a President in the sixties, he said, who "acts first and acts fast."

I suggest that on the strength of the Senator's own statements we can conclude that what America needs in the sixties is a President who thinks first and acts wisely.

Richard Nixon, Excerpts of Remarks of the Vice President of the United States, Springfield, Missouri Airport Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project