Richard Nixon photo

Partial Transcript of Speech by the Vice President, Armory, West Orange, NJ

October 04, 1960

With this kind of crowd, with the kind of enthusiasm and crowds we have had today in our motorcade in New Jersey, I say in this State we are on the march - and we're on the march to victory in November.

Now, I heard some shouts just before I was introduced to the effect that: "We want Nixon." I just want to say this: I want something, too. I would like to urge each and every one of you to consider the fact that in this election campaign we're not only electing a President and a Vice President, but we're electing a Senator and we're electing Congressmen as well, and I want to name those people because certainly I am proud to be with them, to stand with them, today: Cliff Case, your U.S. Senator: and in this great Republican county of Essex, let's give Wallhauser some help with Miele and Palmieri.

Let me tell you the reason that I always welcome the opportunity to mention those running for the House and the Senate - not only because it enables us to have responsible party government, but because there is always a tendency, you know, for people to get terribly excited about the presidential campaign and forget about the others - and, remember, they all count. They are all terrifically important to you. I commend these men to you as men of ability and our whole ticket up and down the line.

So, with that, may I turn now to the day that we've had in New Jersey. May I tell you some of my reactions to it and may I indicate to you the course that I think this campaign is going to take in this State and throughout the Nation.

In the first place, as you can gather, we have had big crowds, like this one. We've been tremendously inspired by these crowds because certainly it's a very humbling experience for someone to be able to travel through this State or any other State and see people who have waited a long time, who have come at some inconvenience to themselves, who, for example, are giving up tonight their favorite television program or something else they would rather be doing to be here to stand in the aisles.

But, in any event, I can tell you that to have you show this interest is, indeed, something that we will never forget. It makes us realize the tremendous responsibility that we have, and it also makes us realize the interest that you have, that the people of the United States have, in his election campaign. Let me tell you something about it. Just to give you three spots in the last 4 or 5 days:

Memphis, Tenn.: 35,000 people standing in the rain for an hour to hear a political program and to hear a speech.

In Boston, Mass., a place we expected very little in the way of crowds, for obvious reasons, a quarter of a million people - a quarter of a million people on the streets of Boston, Mass. - one of the greatest welcomes we've had in the whole campaign.

In upper New York State, just a couple of days ago, in the rains, torrential rains, thousands of people on the streets.

And today in New Jersey - you know the story, those of you who have traveled with us on this stage and those of you who are in this auditorium, so tightly packed, with your enthusiasm, recognizing the fact we have an overflow audience.

This certainly means something, and I'm going to tell you what I think it means. I think the American people this year are tremendously concerned about this election, and they should be. It's one of the most important elections that we shall ever have in this country because we're electing not only a President of the United States and a Vice President of this country; we're electing not only Senators and Congressmen, but we're selecting the leadership that America and the free world is to have in this critical period of the sixties - and that leadership may well determine the difference, the difference between victory and defeat, in the struggle for the world between the forces of slavery and the forces of freedom. It may well determine, in addition to that, the course of the world as far as our children are concerned - not only what happens here at home, whether we have the progress that we want in the way of schools and housing and in other fields, but also whether or not we have the peace that we want for our children as we have enjoyed it under President Eisenhower's leadership during these last 7 years.

And, so, I want to tell you what I have told audiences all over this country and what I again repeat to this audience: that it isn't enough in making the choice this year for the American people simply to vote a party label. It isn't enough for us to say, "This man wears the same label that I do." When we vote for a President of the United States in this critical period, I say the American people should elect the man, regardless of party who is best for him, and that is what our test is to you, and I say this year that, on that basis and based on what I have seen in all States of the Nation, millions of Democrats and Independents are going to join Republicans in voting for our ticket because it is best for America.

Why do I say that? Why this tremendous upsurge of interest all over the country?

I say it for reasons that all of you will understand. Because we stand for those things that the American people, regardless of party, want for this country.

What are they? Let's put them in the simplest terms. Consider yourselves. What do you want? What do you want from Government? You want a Government under which, first, you can make a good living - a job, a good income, prices held stable so that your dollars that you earn today will be worth a dollar when you happen to retire later on.

What else do you want? You want progress. We all agree that this Nation is the greatest nation in the world, and we're proud of the record - and may I say that I am immensely proud of the record - of our administration, proud of it because in every respect it has been one that has been good for the American people. It has been one that the American people will approve of.

But, my friends, we Americans want to move forward, and, moving forward, we want better schools. We want to move forward with better housing. We want to move forward in all the areas that spell progress in this country.

So, I say to you tonight that I stand and that my party in its platform stands for those things and those programs that will bring progress - better schools; better housing; development of the tremendous scientific resources of this country; development of a program in which we recognize and implement the rights of all people regardless of their race, creed, or color, to participate in America's growth and progress.

These things we stand for but you might well ask: "But, Mr. Nixon, after all, why should that be so appealing to Democrats and Independents and Republicans all over the country? Doesn't everybody want this kind of progress?"

And the answer is: Of course. But I'll tell you the difference. We have a program that will produce and they have one that won't, and we can prove it to them by the records.

Look at the record. Schools? We have built more schools in the last 7 years than were built in the previous 20.

Hospitals? More built in the last 7 years than in the previous administration or any administration in history.

Jobs? Increase in jobs.

Wages? What do we find there? The greatest increase in real wages in this administration, and prices held to one-fifth the rise that was in the previous administration.

Whatever test you want to make, my friends, when you compare the Eisenhower 7 years with the Truman 7 years, it's Eisenhower every time - and that's what we stand for.

Now, we stand not on this. We do not say this is where we are going to stay. We say that a record is not something to stand on, but something to build on, and we will build a better future.

But what about our opponents? What do they stand for? Well, they talk about new frontiers, but, my friends, when we examine their programs, they're old. They are the same programs. They are pale carbon copies of what we left in 1953 and America is not going to go back to what we left then. We're going to go forward, as we will under our leadership.

Let me put it another way - not in terms of the record, but in terms of our philosophy. Why do I say our programs will produce more in the way of progress than theirs ? Because our philosophy is one that will tap more of the resources in America than theirs.

Let me explain it very simply. Whenever they see a problem, you will find that they turn first to Washington and they say the Federal Government must set up a program, a program that weakens individual enterprise, that takes responsibility from people rather than putting it on them, that weakens the responsibility of the States and the local government and says Washington is the answer.

You know what we do? We start at the other side. We say that the way to progress in America is not to weaken individual enterprise, but to strengthen it. It's because our programs will stimulate the creative energies of 180 million free Americans, because we will tap those resources, that ours will produce progress, that theirs will not.

Now, they differ in another way, and I should point this out as well. We differ in the promises we make.

I've often been asked: "Mr. Nixon, how can you possibly expect to win an election in the United States when you're never able to promise as much as the other fellow?" And, so, I ask people to spell it out, and they say, "Well, you mention schools; you mention housing; you mention all these things that the people want, and in every instance your opponent comes in and says, 'I will spend more money than Mr. Nixon will spend.' Now, what's the answer?"

The answer, very simply, is this: As far as these promises are concerned, he isn't going to pay for them with Jack's money, but with your money.

Now, let's look at that situation. In other words, when you examine what a man running for public office tells you, when he says the Federal Government is going to do this and that or the other thing for you, remember, analyze everything he says, having in mind the fact he's not talking about what he's spending of his money for you, but yours; and I say the fact that our programs will do more and cost less is a recommendation for them rather than a recommendation against them. I say the fact that their programs will do less and cost billions more is the reason for Americans to vote against their programs and for ours.

There's another thing about promises, you know. It's so easy to go before this group and say, "I promise you whatever you want," and the next group and say, "I'll give you whatever you want," and eventually, of course, however, sometimes you get caught up with and one group meets the other and says, "Well, I wonder. Do you mean the same thing here as you meant someplace else?"

You know, I had a very interesting experience that I related a little earlier today. One young boy - I think about 12 or 14 - rushed up to the cars as we were going through. He said, "I'll tell you what I want you to promise." And I said, "What?" "A 4-day week for school," he said. Incidentally, if I had kept that promise, I might have gotten his vote, but I would sure have lost his mother's I'll bet. But let's suppose by making that promise, just putting it in its simplest terms, I could have gotten a vote a few years from now. On the other hand, it wouldn't have been right to make it because it wouldn't have been good for him - and that's exactly the point that I'm making here today. When I go before any group in this country - I don't care whether it is a group of labor leaders or a group of farm leaders or a group of business leaders - I make it very clear that, while I will always be a friend of all of these groups, I cannot make a commitment to be 100 percent for any of them because whoever is President of this country has to belong to all the people of America and not to any one group.

Now, let me spell this out in very direct terms as to how it affects you in one program. I was mentioning earlier today the farm program, and a few eyes were lifted and the question raised: "Why in the world is the Vice President talking about farm program up here in this highly industrialized area ?"

My reason, of course, is that a farm program is of great concern to the farmers and we have one that will solve the farm problem that will maintain farm income and increase farm income, but it is a program of abundance rather than one of scarcity. It is a program that will not fasten forever Government controls on the farmers, but will lead to lifting the surpluses and the Government from his back - and I submit that our program is better for the farmers than theirs. But his, our opponent's, is a different one. It is a program which promises the farmer everything but it isn't going to fool him for reasons that I'm going to mention. Look what it does to the consumer. I've had it analyzed. Now, listen to this: First of all, it would raise food costs, overall, by 25 percent.

Now, that's too complicated. Let's get it right down to what it would mean. Every quart of milk under this program costs 6 cents more; a dozen eggs 28 cents more; a chicken 22 cents a pound more; pork 23 cents a pound more; beef 15 cents a pound more; every loaf of bread 2 cents more.

This is what the farm program as it was announced by our opponent at his speech in Sioux Falls would do to food prices in this country.

Now, let me say that's going to have quite an effect on the grocery bill. It's going to have quite an effect on inflation. In addition to that, it's going to have an effect on the supply of all of these products because it will reduce the supply of beef and pork per person below that which we had during rationing in World War II, and you remember what that was.

It would also result in, one, reducing employment on the farm a million; reducing employment off the farm by another million, an in addition to that, it would put the United States behind even the Soviet Union in the production of some of these critical items like meat and milk.

As far as the farmer is concerned, it would liquidate 1 out of every 5 farm jobs; it would tighten controls. All these things it would do.

And, so, tonight I say to you: When you consider the promises that a man makes, remember, they're made far off in Sioux Falls, but they affect not only the farmer there; they affect the people here.

And so tonight I challenge our opponent - I challenge him: One, to refute these things I have said, because this is based on an analysis point by point, by experts in the field. I challenge him to say whether or not food prices will be raised 25 percent, because if they are, the people of America are entitled to know it.

I challenge him to say whether or not our meat supply will be reduced. I challenge him to say whether or not we will find a reduction in farm jobs. I challenge him to say whether there will be a reduction in nonfarm jobs, whether or not there will be inflation.

Why do I raise these points? Because, my friends, when we are electing a President of the United States, dealing with issues that are so terribly important to the country, all the people of this country are entitled to know what his programs will do, and I say in this instance that our opponents have offered a farm program, one, that will not help the farmer; it would hurt him. It's a program that would not help the consumer; it would hurt him.

And I say the American people on this program alone ought to reject his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States.

And now, if I could turn to my last point: What else do people want from government? They want jobs. They want good housing programs, health programs, an opportunity to get all these things for their children; but, above everything else, our people want to be around to enjoy the good life that we have in this country.

Putting it another way, the greatest test to which you must put me and my colleague, Cabot Lodge, the greatest test to which you must put our opponents is this: Which of the two teams can best provide the leadership that will keep the peace for America without surrender and extend freedom throughout the world?

And Alec Smith will tell you there's no issue more dominant than that because of his long service in that field. He knows its tremendous importance and the critical importance of it now. Bob Kean will tell you the same thing, and he has the same kind of background. He's had the opportunity to see what these world problems are.

Cliff Case will tell you the same thing. Why do I emphasize it today particularly? Because we have it right in our front yard, so we can see it - Mr. Khrushchev visiting the United States, talking at the United Nations. And, so, tonight I submit to you, first, our record; second, our experience; and, third, our program for keeping the peace without surrender and for extending freedom, on the record - on the record.

We have heard, and we're going to hear, a lot of criticism of this record, and where our opponents think it's wrong, they have a responsibility to criticize it, and they will; but we have a responsibility to defend it where we think they're wrong, and on the record, may I say, that all the criticism in the world of the Eisenhower record cannot obscure the fact that it succeeded. How? Because it succeeded in ending one war and keeping us out of other wars, and in bringing peace without surrender today.

Now, I turn to experience. I, of course, will not comment on my own experience - that is for you to decide - but I can certainly comment on my running mate's, and I will say this: No man in the world today has had more valuable experience, and I don't think any man could have done a more effective job of fighting for the cause of peace and freedom than Henry Cabot Lodge, as our Ambassador to the United Nations.

And I pledge to you tonight that he will work with me, work with me as President Eisenhower has used his Vice President and even extending the opportunities that I have had, work with me in strengthening the instruments of peace like the United Nations, strengthening the instruments of peace like the Organization of American States, developing new organizations where necessary that will extend freedom and keep the peace throughout the world.

Now, what else do we have to recommend in addition to that? We have been part of this record. For 7½ years we have sat in the Cabinet, in the National Security Council. We have participated in the decisions on the great situations on Lebanon, on Quemoy and Matsu and others that have involved avoiding war on the one side and surrender on the other.

And one other point we should point to: We know who our opponents are. We have sat across the conference table from Mr. Khrushchev. We know the Communist leaders and, knowing them, I believe we know how to deal with them - and that is what we offer you today.

How do you deal with them? One, recognizing that they are ruthless men, dedicated to the fanatical purpose of overwhelming the whole world, by any means, if necessary. This means that the United States must maintain the position that it has, whatever the cost, today and that is keep our military strength at the level where no one will dare start anything in the world - and we will do that.

Second, it means keeping the economy of this country strong and sound and productive and free. You've heard a lot about the growth of the Soviet economy as compared to ours. I remember Mr. Khrushchev said, "Mr. Nixon, we're going to catch you in 7 years, and when we catch you and go by you, I'm going to wave and say, 'Come along; follow us and do as we do or you're going to fall hopelessly behind."'

Let me tell you, my friends, he isn't going to catch us in 7 or 70 years if we stay true to the great principles that have made America the strong Nation that it is today.

But he will catch us if we make the mistake of adopting programs that would blunt individual enterprise, that would discourage investment, that would discourage incentive.

That is why again our programs will produce progress and theirs, I am convinced, will not.

Military strength, economic strength. What else is needed? Diplomatic firmness. By diplomatic firmness, I do not mean

belligerence. I mean the kind of firmness without belligerence that President Eisenhower has displayed, and in that connection just let me say this I noted in the paper the other day Senator Kennedy was quoted as saying this; he said: "I'm tired of reading in the paper what Mr. Khrushchev is doing. I'm tired of reading in the paper what Mr. Castro is doing. I want to be able to read in the paper what the President is doing."

Well, let me tell you something: If he would quit talking a little while and start reading, he'd find out what the President of the United States is doing. He isn't doing the things they're doing. No. He isn't making a fool of himself at the United Nations, as Mr. Khrushchev did.

Why doesn't he answer back in kind? Well, there are two main reasons for that: One, he has the responsibility never to heat up the international atmosphere by engaging in a war of words. But, second, my friends, when you're confident of your strength, when you know you're right, you never get down to the level of an insulter. You keep the dignity of your office.

No, he isn't doing what Mr. Khrushchev is doing. He isn't attempting to muscle into the Congo unilaterally. You can read about that in the paper. It makes news. It's spectacular. But what do we do? We work through the United Nations to try to save the Congo, and we're succeeding.

I say the President does not set up as Mr. Khrushchev does a spectacular phony disarmament plan. He sets forth before the United Nations a program that will work, one that will make certain that when one party disarms, the other does likewise, and unless we have that kind of agreement, America can never reduce its strength - and I know all of you agree with that.

And, so, I say to you tonight: I stand here speaking of this record. I stand here talking of experience, but most of all, I stand here to tell you that my colleague and I, knowing the men with whom we deal, know that we can never rest for a moment on our record, that we must move forward militarily. We must move forward economically. We must always keep the initiative in the diplomatic arena, and we will.

We must do all of these things and, in addition to that, we must not just hold the line for freedom. We've got to extend it, extend it to the new nations, newly developing around the world, extending it to the people behind the iron curtain as well.

And what does this mean? It means developing in this country not only in its President and its Vice President, but in its people, another kind of strength - the most decisive of all. What is it? I've seen it. Others, Alec Smith has seen it as he has traveled abroad. You've seen it. I saw it in Poland a year ago. We went there on a Sunday afternoon. There was no announcement as to when we were to arrive or as to where the cars were going to travel in the downtown area, but word gets around in a Communist country or any dictatorial country and a quarter of a million Poles were on the streets. They were a wild crowd, wilder than this one even. They were shouting "Niech Zyje America."

And, as the car was stopped in the middle of the streets, eight times in downtown Warsaw, I had a chance to look into their faces, and a lot of them were smiling. All of them were cheering, and half of them, grown men and women were crying with tears running down their cheeks. Why? Not because America was strong militarily or rich economically. They knew that. But Khrushchev had been there a week before and he had bragged of that kind of strength and they hadn't given him that kind of reception. No. Because America now, and for all of our existence, has stood for something more than military strength and economic strength. We have stood for moral and spiritual ideals that caught the imagination of the world 180 years ago.

We've got to strengthen those ideals. What are they? They are very simple, but they're bigger than this country. They belong to the whole world - our faith in God; our belief in the dignity of all men; our belief that the rights that men have to freedom come not from men, but from God, and, therefore, cannot be taken away from men; our belief that every nation has a right to be independent; that all people have a right to be free. These things we believe. These things America stands for. These things America came into the world to preserve, not only for Americans, but for the whole world; and these are the things I pledge to you, with your help, because you must help - these things with your help, by strengthening the ideals of America in our schools, in our homes, in our churches, with your help, we will carry these ideals to the whole world - and as we do that, we will win this struggle, and we will win it - why? Because America is strong - not only militarily and economically, but because we have something to offer that the Communists cannot offer. We will be on the right side and, as you help us to be on the right side, we will win this struggle for peace and for freedom.

It is that that Cabot Lodge and I ask for the opportunity to serve you and this Nation. It is in that spirit that we ask for your help in this campaign.

And now go out and do the job.

Thank you.

Richard Nixon, Partial Transcript of Speech by the Vice President, Armory, West Orange, NJ Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project