Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Remarks in Cleveland at a Reception of Republican Women

November 04, 1960

My friends:

Having had now 8 years experience in political life, I have made it a point never to miss a gathering of women. I have found out through my statistical department that there are some millions more of you than there are of men, and this alone makes a meeting with a women's crowd something endearing to the politician's heart.

Now we know that we are in a political struggle today, and I just want to say as my first word this: I do hope that each of you will remember that when you are in the voting booth that for once you are not part of a crowd, you are not part of a group, you are not a part of a sect or anything else--you are there alone with your conscience and your convictions. No matter what your convictions, you pull down the lever or you make your mark in that place; because the opportunity we have in voting is to do our part in this particular point in our history in trying to make the United States what our highest ideals and what our deepest aspirations want it to be.

So I say this with all the seriousness and the solemnity that I can bring to bear. This is something that you must not do carelessly. This must be something that comes from both your head and your heart.

Now in this political campaign I find my part of it is criticised for this and that, or I am told what I should do or should not do. This morning in my Washington paper, big headlines said that it was very bad that I had become a part of a rescue squad.

Well, I told my friends, and I have told the crowd of men a few minutes ago, that I was very proud to be in a rescue squad. I joined one in 1952, and it was made up of millions and millions of Americans who believed that our country should be rescued from certain things:

A war that no longer meant anything, where we had gained the basic objective of protecting South Korea and it was ended with honor.

We wanted to be rescued from inflation. We wanted to be rescued from controls that were then existing all over the costs of wages and things and services and everything that we used and bought. We wanted to be rescued from military weakness which itself was one of the reasons for drifting into that Korean mess--and we certainly wanted to be rescued from the mess in Washington.

Now the millions of you that joined that rescue squad and joined in that rescue work have something that I think you will be proud of all your lives.

In the last 8 years you not only stopped some of the things that we thought were bad for the United States, but you helped this Nation get on a path that led toward the realization of our ideals and our aspirations.

You have, in your material accomplishments, written an 8-year history that is the brightest of our entire American history.

If you of Cleveland--each of you--would compare Cleveland today, or your own home for that matter, with 1952--in this city, though: how many homes have you built, how many hospitals, how many new roads, new schoolrooms? What have we done in increasing the real wages of our workers? What have we done to make this a better city?

I believe if you could really carry your memory back to 1952, you would find that you have been part of an operation that was not only one of rescue, it was one of constructive work, to bring this Nation to the place which you think it ought to go.

Now of course this is work that is never done, and there I just want to compare an election, any election, with a sort of a sprint race.

Of course the big task in a sprint is to get across the line first, because in the hundred yards that you are running, you put your entire heart, your head, every muscle, all your training, all your knowledge, just to break that tape, and then when you have broken that tape, you are done.

But an election is not quite that. After you break the tape you have won this sprint in the election--now what are you going to do?

A fire department does not run through the streets just to. make a record in timing. What it does is to get there to put out the fire and do something constructive to save the things that need to be saved, and possibly even to establish the conditions under which the householders can begin to rebuild.

There is something to be done after this election is won. That is again something that I think we ought to give our heads and our hearts a chance to ponder, because we are sometimes--and certainly I think that one of our young hopefuls thinks of our election too much this way, just to get across that line first.

We need to do that in order to get the chance to do something constructive, but that is where the real work begins.

This Nation is the first in power, first in free world leadership. It is first in its intellectual capacity throughout the Nation. You people-every one of you--have a right to be proud of your Nation and what you have done in these past 8 years--indeed, in what you have done with your lives.

But you still have the distance to go, and in the last day let us all pray that each of us is worthy of this Nation and each of us can say, "I have done my best to help it be the country that we believe it should be."


Note: The President spoke at 2:40 p.m. in the Whitehall Room at the Sheraton-Cleveland Hotel.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks in Cleveland at a Reception of Republican Women Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234520

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