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Partial Transcript of Speech by the Vice President, 1960 Campaign Dinner, Boston Armory, Boston, MA

September 29, 1960

Thank you very much, Senator Saltonstall, for a very gracious and generous introduction.

As a matter of fact, as I stand before this great audience here in Boston, my heart and Pat's are full of thanks for making this one of the greatest days of campaigning that we've ever experienced.

I know you've been reading something about this campaign. We've had some tremendous crowds. We went down to Birmingham, Ala., and had 100,000 people there. We went over to Atlanta, Ga., and had 200,000 there. The crowds in Hawaii and San Francisco and Portland were recordbreaking. In the Twin Cities, in Minneapolis and St. Paul, 150,000 to 175,000 people, late on a Saturday afternoon. But nobody dreamed, and I least of all, that we would come into the home State of our opponent and break the record and have a quarter of a million people on the streets.

Well, all I can say to our opponents who have been taking this State for granted, and to some of our Republican friends who have been conceding it, is that we're going to give them the fight of their lives here in Massachusetts.

And one of the reasons we're going to be able to do that is because of the men you have seen introduced here tonight.

I could spend all the time up until 3 minutes of 10, when I have to quit because of television commitments, talking about these men, how I know them. Lev Saltonstall - you have said so much through the years by your votes that there is little I can add. But this is the theme I would like to bring home to the voters of Massachusetts. I know him on the national scene. He talks about my contributions in the meetings with the President, and I know his. He doesn't talk very often, but when he does he really hits the nail on the head.

And I want to say this - I know that there's a slogan running around Massachusetts to the effect that Massachusetts needs Lev Saltonstall. I want to change it. I want to change it to "America needs Lev Saltonstall in the Senate." We need him there, and we need his lovely wife there with the Senate ladies, too.

I have had an opportunity, of course, to see many candidates around the country, State tickets, and I can tell you that the Republicans here in Massachusetts can be proud of the fact that there isn't a slate any place in the Nation, Democrat of Republican, that is of higher quality, or made up of better campaigners, than this group. You can win with this group if you go out and work with them. You can win. There's no question about it.

And I'm just glad I'm on the ticket with them. I'm glad I have their support, and whatever it may be worth, I'm delighted to lend whatever support I have to them. Because when we look at this State, when we look at the conditions that were just described here a moment ago, I say that the people of Massachusetts - Republicans and Democrats and independents - have had enough of what they've been having and they want to reestablish in this State the standards of honesty and integrity and decency of our great Secretary of State, Chris Herter, and Lev Saltonstall - the kind of government they gave to Massachusetts. And John Volpe and his team will do that.

Then there's so much I would like to say about my congressional colleagues. I call them my colleagues because I was first in the Congress, and I often go over and spend time with them. Joe Martin had to leave a little earlier, but we have Larry Curtis here who is from this area, and all the rest. I can only say this - too often in presidential campaigns people can get terribly excited about the top spot, and they don't pay too much attention to the spots down the line.

Remember, we need Senators, we need Congressmen, we need people in the State offices, we need them in the State legislatures, up and down the line. I'm proud of the fine candidates for Congress here, and I think we ought to give them a hand, too, while we are passing the accolades around.

Now, I've been speaking about the crowds. We had a light day today. We started in New York and then went over to Vermont for a rally there, and then over to New Hampshire for a rally, and then came over here for a rally, and I guess we get to sleep here tonight, don't we?

Well, that's pretty good. Anyway, every day we've been having these tremendous crowds. We've seen excitement in the eyes and faces of people. We have noted that in the crowds are not only Republicans who are partisans, but Democrats and independents who are supporting our cause, and one question that is often asked me by people I meet who want comments on the campaign, is this - They say, "What are people interested in? What's the great issue? What's the unifying issue?" I've been all the way from Maine - I guess you call that down East here - to Hawaii, which is in the far, Far West. I've been in the South and I've been in the North, and in the Midwest, and in California, Oregon, and Washington - all of these States in the space of a couple of weeks.

There are differences in these States. I've been before labor groups and farm groups and business groups and there are differences among them, and in their attitudes on issues. But there is one unifying concern that united them all.

You know what it is? Oh, they're interested in jobs. They're interested in good income on the farms. They're interested in better schools and hospitals and health. They're interested, as we all must be, in making America's dreams of equality of opportunity for all a reality, so that men like Mr. Khrushchev can't come over here and point a finger at us, as he did at the United Nations a few days ago but above all, as much as people are interested - from their special groups or their special sections - in other issues, they know the most important thing is to be around to enjoy the solutions to our domestic issues.

They know, in other words as Lev Saltonstall has already implied, that the great issue before America is which of the candidates for the Presidency, which of the candidates for the Vice Presidency, can furnish the leadership which will keep the peace without surrender for America and the world.

Now, in the time that remains tonight, I would like to talk about that issue and the issues that are related to it. Obviously, I'm a little prejudiced about which team can do it, and I'll have more to say about my colleague when we go on television here on the program which is to follow.

As far as the record and as far as the experience is concerned, we'll leave that for the moment. I will come back to it later.

Now where the program is concerned, there are certain things that Cabot Lodge and I stand for, things that I can only summarize, but things that need to be emphasized and reemphasized over and over again.

First, we are men who know those who threaten the peace of the world. We have met them. We have dealt with them.

We know the kind of men they are. And I can tell you that they are men who - as you know, because you had an opportunity to see them recently at the United Nations - are ruthless. They are men who are fanatically dedicated to what is wrong.

They are men who are convinced that they're going to win. They are men who respect power and who do not play the international game according to the rules of the game and, therefore, we cannot have in the Presidency or the Vice Presidency people who do not understand the situation. We must have leadership, which will develop programs which will deal with the kind of men who threaten the peace of the world. Now, what kind of programs are they?

We begin with one essential, and that's power - military power, first of all. Lev Saltonstall should talk on this question. He is one of the great experts on it in the U.S. Senate - in the country, for that matter. The statement was made that we're the strongest nation in the world. This is true, but we can't be satisfied with just staying there, because the world changes. They are moving and I can assure you, and it is our pledge as we run in this campaign, that we will keep America the strongest nation in the world, and whatever it may cost, we will ask the American people to pay for it because we believe this is essential.

We need this strength - why? Not because we want to use it aggressively. Not because we want to dominate anybody else in the world but because we are the guardians of peace, and as the guardians of peace we must have the power to discourage those who threaten the peace. It's just as simple as that. We must also have the power that will discourage those who threaten the peace from ever being in a position where at a diplomatic conference they'll be looking down the throats of those who represent the United States.

So, you can see how we feel on this issue, and I think you can trust us on what we will do on it.

A second point: if America is to win this struggle for peace without surrender, if we are to win it, and win the struggle for extending freedom throughout the world, we also are going to have to be economically strong and powerful. How strong does this mean? It means maintaining the strength we presently have. It means maintaining the gap which presently exists between the Soviet economy and ours. We're over twice as productive as they are today. But, on the other hand, here again we're in a race.

I remember Mr. Khrushchev saying, when we were in Moscow:

We're going to catch you, we're going to pass you by, and when we go by you, we're going to wave, and say, "Come on, follow us, do as we do or you'll fall hopelessly behind."

He said he was going to catch us in 7 years. What's the answer? The answer is he will not catch us, not in 7 years or 70 years, provided we remain true to the principles that have made America the richest, the strongest, the most productive nation in the world today.

What are those principles? They are the principles that have been in force in this administration. But you've heard the charge made by our opponents, that America has been standing still.

Let me tell you, my friends, anybody who says America has been standing still in these last 8 years hasn't been traveling in America. He's been traveling in some other country. That's all that I can say.

You go around this country and see - see the progress. And if you want to make a comparison, compare the 7½ Eisenhower years with the 7½ Truman years before. Take any index. Schools? Well, we built more in 7 years than they did in 20. Hospitals? More hospitals than they ever built. Wages? Wages have gone up five times as much as they went up in that administration, and prices have gone up one-fifth as much.

And so, we find the average American worker, 67 million strong, 15 percent better off in this administration as compared with 2 percent in the 7 Truman years.

By any index you take, you find that America has grown. It has grown more prosperous, more strong in these years. We haven't been standing still. Is this enough?

Again, my answer is - "No." It isn't enough because, again, we're in a race, as I have described. And America must continue to grow, continue to grow at every possible speed because, unless we do, when you're in a race those who are attempting to catch up may pass us.

So, I pledge in this field that we will continue to present in the future programs which will rely not on sending every problem to Washington, but which will say that Washington should do those things that can't or won't be done at the State level or the individual level - programs which, above all, will be based on the principle that the greatest engine of progress in America is not government, but people - 180 million individual Americans.

Now of course, there are those who might say: "We've been reading the papers, Mr. Nixon; we've been looking at television, and as far as your programs for progress and the pledges for progress are concerned, we hear that your opponents say they're going to outdo you."

Now, let's look at their record for just a moment - the record that they made in the last session of the Congress. They have a performance gap. Let's call it that for the moment. It's about as wide as the missile gap they left us at the beginning of this administration, and which we've been closing ever since under the leadership of President Eisenhower.

Let's look at what I would like to call the Kennedy Congress. Look at it - two Democrats to one Republican in that Congress. Look at it - the party standard bearer just back from the national convention, eager to prove his mettle, the majority leader of the Senate - well, he was trying to prove something. I don't know what, but he was there. The veteran Speaker of the House, he was trapped by all this, and so he had to help, too, and so with this enormous legislative power, more power than ever before existed in leaders and in a legislative power in the United States - what happened? Oh, they labored, yes. They talked. But what did they produce?

They promised a 25-percent minimum wage increase in place of the program that President Eisenhower asked for and that could have been passed and should have been passed. What did the workers get? Nothing at all.

They promised Federal aid to education, a bill which was extreme rather than the one that President Eisenhower asked for that would have done something for our schools that needed to be done. What did they get? Nothing at all.

A huge Federal housing program. Did they get that through? Not at all.

I could go on down the line, but let me in summary say this. When you look at that session of the Congress, it was a monumental failure, and I say a monumental failure is no recommendation for leadership for the United States of America today. The leadership default of a month ago in the Congress is a pretty weak reed on which to base claim for the biggest job in the world. High hopes? Yes. High spirits, lofty expressions - these are great. We have them, too. They are all commendable, but they are a poor substitute for solid performance, and on performance they haven't produced and they can't produce and wont - Why? Because they would go back, go back to policies that we left in 1953.

You've heard about these new frontiers. We all travel to new frontiers. America is a young country. It will never grow old, but if we are going to travel to new frontiers, we've got to travel bearing in mind again that the source of our strength are people, individual enterprise, and Government must always recognize this in its programs.

And we must recognize it as far as the devices are concerned that they would use to cross these new frontiers.

What are they? Not new programs. Not programs as old as those we left in 1953. We're not going to go back to that. We're not going to go back to policies that would lead to inflation, as theirs would. We're not going to go back to Government controls, as theirs would in many fields.

I would say in looking at this Kennedy Congress that it rejected Senator Kennedy, and America said ''No'' to his proposals. That's why the Congress did what it did, and America is going to say "No" to him on November the 8th for the very same reason - because the proposals are wrong and out of step with what the American people think.

Now, I have much more left to say, but I have only a few minutes before you have to listen to me on television. What I would like to say before the television goes on is just this. I know what it takes to put on a dinner like this. I remember when I came into the hotel a few minutes ago I asked some people, "Are you coming to the dinner?"

They said "No - we couldn't get in."

And I couldn't believe my ears - couldn't get into a dinner at $100 a plate - couldn't get in.

And then I see people sitting way over here in the corner, poor chairs, and I see people way over there who can't even see the speaker. The problem is not me - they ought to be able at least to see Pat.

When I think of that, when I think of all you have contributed, your time and your efforts, when I think of the work of Tom Pappas, Lloyd Waring, and all the rest of you, I can only say our hearts are very full and that Pat and I can only hope that in these weeks ahead - and they will be hard ones because we're campaigning this country as it's never been campaigned before - 50 States - and, believe me, that's a job - but I'll say we will never forget the reception we had in Boston on this 29th day of September. We will never forget this dinner - and most of all, we will never forget your generosity, your friendship, your patience. We only hope we can be worthy of it both before and after the election.

Thank you very much.

Richard Nixon, Partial Transcript of Speech by the Vice President, 1960 Campaign Dinner, Boston Armory, Boston, MA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project