Partial Transcript of Remarks of the Vice President, Welton Street, Outdoor Rally, Denver, CO
Those of you who heard the television debate, the last one, will recall there was a difference in opinion toward that last of the debate as to the standard the people of America should apply in electing a President of the United States. My opponent suggested that the party that the man had should be a dominant feature in determining how you should vote, and I said, in answering that question, just the opposite. I said I was proud to be a member of my party, but I said that my study of history indicated that the American people in electing a President of the United States had traditionally not thought of party primarily, but they had thought of country. I say to you today that, as we enter this critical period of the sixties, it is not enough for Americans, be you Republicans or Democrats, to vote simply as your fathers or your grandfathers did. It isn't enough simply for you to vote for the party label; if you happen to be a Republican, to vote for me because I am one. I say that in this period in our history we must think not of the party first, but of America first - and it is on that basis that I present our case to you.
I say that because America needs in this critical period and the world needs the best man that either party can produce to lead it. So, it's on that basis that I ask this great audience here to listen to what I have to say, not only now, but as you listen to my opponent as well, in these days between now and November 8.
This must be the best decision that America can make, so all the American people must look deep within themselves and not make the easy decision - vote the way somebody else tells you to do; vote the way a label tells you to do, vote the way tradition tells you to do. You must look within yourselves; consider the men; consider their platforms, and make a decision for America. What does America need? What do we stand for? What do you want?
It is to this point that I first address myself.
I think we begin by saying that we Americans want progress. We want this Nation to move forward. That particularly is true out here in the West because our tradition has been one of progress. We have always moved to new frontiers and we have always looked for new frontiers; but, may I say, as we look for them and try to conquer them, we recognize that the way to do it is to develop the initiative of individual Americans.
I say to you today that in this whole field of progress I am proud to stand on a program which I think will produce the greatest progress that America has ever had, greater than we've had in the last 4 years, greater than we've had in the last 8 years, that will not just stand where we are, but will build on what we have.
This is what I stand for, and then I go further. I say to you that, whatever the issue may be, if we want better schools, we want better housing, we want progress in more jobs for more people at higher wages, we want to keep our dollar sound so we don't find our wages are eaten up by inflation or high prices, whatever the case might be, our programs are the ones that America needs that will produce progress.
Now, obviously, my opponent says exactly the same thing. He says, "If you want progress in schools and housing and education and health and welfare, vote for my programs."
So, this presents to you, the people, a problem. How do you decide it? How can you determine when two men, equally, it seems, devoted to their principles, equally believing that their programs are best, say we stand for programs that will produce progress?
My answer is this: You don't have to rely simply on what we say. You look first at our record, and on our record I want to say that when you examine it you will find that the programs that we have had, the ones based on our philosophy, have not just talked about progress; they have produced it in the last 7½ years.
Now, you heard the charge made that America has been standing still for the last 7½ years. I ask you just to look at the city
of Denver. I ask you to look at the surrounding territory. I ask you to go to any city in America, look at the new building, the new shopping centers, the new schools, the new hospitals, the new reclamation projects. My friends, anybody who says America has been standing still for the last 7½ years hasn't been traveling through America. He's been traveling some other country than this land.
Now, just to lay it on the line, what he could more accurately have said was that America was grinding to a standstill when we took over in 1953, because what did we find then? We found that we were mired down in a war in Korea. We found that our economy was being shackled by controls. We found that our Government was shot through with corruption. As a matter of fact, the only significant growth that took place in the economy of America in the 7½ Truman years - and those are the policies that my opponent wants to go back to - was during the Korean war years. I also want to point out that that growth was accompanied by record inflation, of 50 percent increase in prices in 7½ years, and in the Eisenhower years - let's recognize it - we have had phenomenal growth, but we've had economic progress without war and with inflation held in check - and I say that's what America continues to want to have.
Now, let me look at the philosophy. Why is it that I say that this program that we stand for has produced and will produce more progress than theirs? It's because our approach is altogether different. They say, whenever there's a problem, whether it's education or health, whether it's in the field of jobs or employment, that if there's a problem which needs to be solved, we go out to Washington; we set up a massive Washington program, we weaken the responsibility of the States; we take away the responsibility for the individuals, but Washington will do the job through its spending, through other programs.
And, so, as we look at their programs, we find that they sound very good because we don't have to do anything. The States have to do less. Washington is going to do the job.
What is our answer? Our answer is to start exactly at the opposite end of the spectrum. We say that in America the way to progress is not to start with the Federal Government and work down but to start with individuals and work up to the Federal Government. We say, then, that that's the reason we will make more progress than they will because we put responsibility on individuals rather than take it off. We strengthen the States rather than weaken them. We call upon all the energies of Americans, individual enterprise, State enterprise, local enterprise, and the Federal Government, and through this teamwork of effort we produce more than they do - and it will be that way in the future, just as it has been in the past. It's because all of their programs have the fatal defect of not being developed basically on faith in America and individual enterprise that they will not have the progress that we have.
Now, there is one other difference I should point out, and this has often been mentioned to me, particularly by younger people who are concerned about voting. They come up and they say, "Mr. Nixon, you say your programs are more for progress in health and education and welfare, and this and the other thing, than your opponent. How can you say that when they'll spend more? Doesn't it mean when somebody says he's going to spend more for this program and that program, than you will that he's more for the people than you are?"
Let me give you a very simple answer to it. Whose money is he going to be spending? Not Jack's money, but yours.
And, so, you see, if we can get more progress, whether it's in schools or housing or welfare or in jobs or in reclamation, in any of these fields, through a Federal program which spends less and brings more out of individuals and more out of the State and local level, then I say the American people want that, and I say the very fact that my opponent's programs would spend billions of dollars more, would require raising prices, raising taxes or both, is a reason not to vote for them, but to vote against them and to vote for programs that will produce progress in the way that we have been moving in the last 7½ years and in which we will move even faster in the next 4 years.
And now, may I turn to what is basically the most important issue of all. What could be more important than a job or a better school system? What could be more important than developing the great resources of the West, all of these things that I have been talking about? Of course, the answer is: More important than all these things is for every one of us and our children to be around to enjoy the good things we produce.
And I say to you that the most important test that you must apply to the two candidates for the Presidency is this: Which of them is better qualified, by experience, by judgment, by background, to keep the peace without surrender for America and the world?
Now, in this field again you have the problem of testing and of choosing between two men, their experience and their background. I point first to our record, and in this area I know our record has been subjected to criticism. There are those who have criticized it, particularly in this political year, on the ground that our prestige is at an alltime low. We find that we have no friends throughout the world. Our military is becoming weaker. Our economy is becoming weaker. The Soviet Union is going to catch us. We're second rate in education, so on down the line.
My friends, let's just lay it on the line as to what the facts are. As far as the record is concerned, all the criticism in the world cannot hide the truth, and the truth is that the American people will be eternally grateful to Dwight Eisenhower because under his leadership we ended one war we have kept the Nation out of other wars, and we do have peace without surrender today.
But some may say, "What about our prestige, Mr. Nixon? Isn't it falling? Aren't we having problems in the world?"
And the answer is: Yes; we're having problems, and we're going to continue to have them, but the question is, with the Communists on the move throughout the world, not whether you have problems. The question is how you deal with them. Do you avoid war on the one side or surrender on the other? And we have avoided both war and surrender in the last 7½ years, and we will continue to, with your help and your assistance, in the next 4 years.
I think perhaps the most amusing comment that's been made in this whole field was what Senator Kennedy suggested a few days ago in New York, when he said, "You know, I'm tired of reading in the paper what Mr. Khrushchev is doing, and I'm tired of reading in the paper what Mr. Castro is doing." He said, "I want to read in the paper what the President of the United States is doing."
And all I can say in answer to that is this: If he would just stop talking and start reading, he'd find out what President Eisenhower has been doing.
No, I'll admit that he hasn't been doing some of the things that Senator Kennedy has suggested. He hasn't been apologizing or expressing regrets to Mr. Khrushchev for defending the security of the United States. And I know that he hasn't been making a fool of himself at the United Nations like Mr. Khrushchev has, either.
President Eisenhower has stood for peace. He's always been willing to go the extra mile, to negotiate, but he has also stood for principle, and that is what we must do - firmness without belligerence.
Now, let us look at our qualifications. I cannot speak of my own appropriately, compare them with my opponent's, but I can certainly speak of my running mate's, and I'll say this about him: No man in the world today has had more experience or could have done a better job in my opinion in fighting for the cause of peace and freedom than Henry Cabot Lodge as our Ambassador to the United Nations.
Why is that important? Because as Vice President he will work with me in developing and strengthening the instruments of peace like the United Nations. He will work with me and carry out assignments, whether in the Near East or other parts of the world, using those great talents of his for negotiation, on behalf of the cause of peace and on behalf of the cause of extending freedom.
What do we offer you? Well, we offer you, first, our experience - 7 years working with the President of the United States. We offer you our experience in dealing with Mr. Khrushchev. We have both had the opportunity of sitting across the conference table from him. We have had the opportunity to know what kind of a man he is, and I will only say this: That we are men who, knowing what he is, will always see that America maintains the strength that it needs, because we know that here is one of the most ruthless men in the world. We know that he and his colleagues are determined to conquer the world, by any means, if necessary, and we know that, whatever we may have done, militarily, economically, that it isn't enough to stand pat on it.
And I want to say this to this great audience today: I am proud of the record of this administration in making America the strongest nation in the world. I am proud of the record of this administration in making us the most prosperous nation and moving ahead economically.
But, my friends, with the threat we face in the world we cannot stand still. We have got to increase our rate of growth. We have got to increase our strength. We have got to make America stronger constantly. Why? Because we're in a race, a race for survival, a race which Mr. Khrushchev has challenged us, and he said, "I'm going to overtake you, not only militarily, but particularly economically, in this nonmilitary area," in the battle for the uncommitted nations, which may well decide the whole struggle for the world.
And that's why when I speak to audiences like this, I say it would be easy to say we're doing enough. It would be easy to say I stand on the record, but I say to you: No; we must move forward from here, and that's why I have advocated programs in science, programs in education that will see to it that we develop to the full the tremendous human resources of our country, see that no young man or woman of ability lacks the chance to get a higher education so that no young scientist or doctor or lawyer or minister will fail to be developed.
We must see to it, for example, in the field of reclamation that we continue to move forward. And just let me say a word about that. There's been so much talk about what we have not done in this field that I'm going to welcome an opportunity right here in Colorado to answer some of the worst misrepresentations of this campaign.
Now, first of all, it's been said, Gordon Allott was telling me on the way down in the car here today, that the Vice President has opposed the projects for Colorado because he's from California.
Well, I would suggest that they're talking about the wrong man. Senator Kennedy was recorded against the upper Colorado, and I was for it, and it's about time that all the people in Colorado knew it.
To show you how much he knows about this subject, he said in our first TV debate that the Soviet Union was going to catch us by 1975 in the production of hydroelectric power. To show you how foolish that statement is, Do you know what they would have to do to catch us? They'd just have to build eight Grand Coulee dams each year for 25 years to catch us. That's all. That's all.
So, that shows you what he understands about it. No. We in the West know this problem, and I should point out that if you look at the record, 39 percent more new starts in this administration than we had in the previous one is an indication of what has been happening.
I would simply point out that in this instance that we find that my opponent, rather than I, is a Johnny-come-lately in his support of reclamation in the West and in the State of Colorado.
Now, why is all this necessary? Why do we develop the reclamation projects? Why must we develop our education and our science?
One, because we must believe in America, and America must move always forward; but there's another more significant reason, the one that I've touched upon a moment ago, because we 're in a race and America can afford to do nothing less than to develop to the full, to the very fullest, all of the resources of this country, and if we develop them to the full, there is no question but that we can win this struggle in which we are engaged.
Now, having spoken of these resources, however, may I say this final thing with regard to it: This means not just the Federal Government. It means also private enterprise. It means also local government. It means calling on all the resources of America, because if we say we're going to fight them just with government, we're meeting them on their own ground. The power of America is in its people, and that is where we're going to beat the Soviet Union every time.
I close my remarks very appropriately, I think, with a reference to perhaps the most eloquent words uttered on this program today, the invocation. What possibly could an invocation have to do with the world's struggle?
I have traveled a great deal in the world, as you know, 55 countries, on both sides of the Iron Curtain. I know the uncommitted Africans, the uncommitted Asians, and those in Latin America that are trying to decide which way to turn. It would be easy to tell you that if America were militarily strong and economically strong that that settles it all, but it doesn't. We must remember that in this great struggle what will be decisive in the final analysis will not be our military strength, and not our economic strength - they both will count - but what will be primarily decisive will be the strength of the things we believe in, our ideals. What are they? Our faith in God; dignity of men; our belief that the rights of men to freedom come not from men, but from God, and, therefore, cannot be taken away by men; our belief that the ideals for which America stands belong not just to us, but belong to the whole world - and some might say: "But, Mr. Nixon, of what strength are such things as these when you are dealing with a ruthless dictator who speaks only of atheistic, gross materialism, who only has respect for power?"
And you know what the answer is? The materialists and the militarists throughout the centuries and the tyrants have always underestimated the power of moral and spiritual strength. One hundred eighty years ago America was a weak country militarily and a weak country economically, but one of the strongest nations in the world. Why?
Because we stood for something. We believed in the right things, things and ideals that are bigger than America, the ones that I have referred to, and it is this that we need in this struggle. And here you can help. Here all the people of America must draw upon their resources, because the kind of strength that I speak of, the strength of our ideals, must come from the churches, from the homes; it must come from the schools of America. And I say to all of you: Keep America strong militarily and economically, yes; but, above all, keep her idealism strong; see that our young people know what it means to be an American citizen; see that our faith is stronger ultimately than the Communist faith, because that is what will be decisive, and that is what the next President of the United States, above all, must carry with him in this battle.
And, so, my friends, I say to you: This is our case. We say we stand for a strong America, for progress, but we stand for peace without surrender, but, above all, if you give us the opportunity, we believe we can give America and the free world the leadership that will win this struggle, and win it because America stands for the great ideals of freedom for which we came into the world to preserve, and which it is our destiny to extend. It is this case that I present to you today, and, with your support, we know that our instruments - and, above that, our ideals - will prevail, not only in America, but in the world. Thank you very much.
Richard Nixon, Partial Transcript of Remarks of the Vice President, Welton Street, Outdoor Rally, Denver, CO Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273833