Remarks Conceding the Presidential Election in Los Angeles, California
Vice President Nixon: Thank you! Thank you very much!
Audience: We want Nixon! NOW!
Vice President Nixon: Thank you! Thank you very much! Well, you know, I thought that we...I thought...I was going to say that I thought that we had the last rally of the campaign, but here we go again. [cheers and applause]
As all of you in this room know, and as all of you millions who are listening on television and radio realize, it is normally the custom for a candidate for the presidency or for any other office, not to appear until after the decision is definitely known, and all the votes are counted beyond doubt. However, I have been keeping some pretty late hours recently and, as some of you have, I know who have met me at the airports as I've come in with Pat on occasion. I know too that many who are listening in the Eastern part of the United States will find that it is now about 3:15 in the morning. And, before the evening was over I did want to have the opportunity to speak to those in this room who have been with us during the day, and also to those who are listening on television, to say these things:
First, to express to all of you who have done so much in this campaign, our appreciation. Words are really inadequate at times like this. We can only try to let you feel what we have in our hearts.
And I can say...[cheers and applause]...I can say that we never had a more...couldn't have had a more wonderful group of people in all of the fifty states than have been in our campaign. [applause].
And then too...and then too...I...[cheers and applause]. The other thing that I wish to do is this. I am sure that many are listening here who are supporting Mr. Senator Kennedy. I know that he too is probably listening to this program. [laughing and booing]
And as I look at the board here, while there are still some results still to come in, if the present trend continues, Mr. Kennedy, Senator Kennedy will be the next President of the United States.
Audience: [booing] No! No! We want Nixon! We want Nixon! We want Nixon!
Vice President Nixon: Thank you very much. And I want to say that one of the...I want to say that one of the great features of America is that we have political contests. That they are very hard fought, as this one was hard fought, and once the decision is made we unite behind the man who is elected.
I want all of you to know...[applause and shouts]...I want Sen. Kennedy to know and I want all of you to know that certainly if this trend does continue, and he does become our next president, he will have my wholehearted support and yours as well."
Vice President Nixon: And my friends...my friends, with that I want to say, again, my deep thanks to all of you who are here; to those who have listened on television and radio. And again, my congratulations to Sen. Kennedy for his fine race in this campaign, and to all of you...
Audience: NO! NO!
Vice President Nixon: I am sure his supporters are just as enthusiastic as you are for me, and I thank you for that. [cheers and applause] And, while because of interruptions, which I understand, I have not perhaps been able to make this as coherent a statement as I might have wanted to, I do want to say that having been to all of the 50 states of this nation since the nominating convention in Chicago, having seen the American people, seen them by the hundreds of thousands and perhaps the millions, in the towns and cities of America, that I have great faith about the future of this country. I have great faith that our people, Republicans, Democrats alike, will unite behind our next President in seeing that America...
Audience: We want Nixon! We want Nixon! We want Nixon!
Vice President Nixon: ...that they will unite behind our next president in seeing that America does meet the challenge which destiny has placed upon us. And that challenge is to give the leadership to the whole world which will produce a world in which all men can have what we have in the United States: freedom, independence, the right to live in peace with our neighbors.
And so with that...so with that let me say again my thanks to you, having had only two hours sleep last night and two hours sleep the night before, I'm now going to bed and I hope you do too!
Nixon's "official" concession came in a telegram sent at 9:47 a.m. Los Angeles time on November 9, a few minutes after Kennedy had cinched election by winning Minnesota's 11 electoral votes.
The telegram read: "I want to repeat through this wire congratulations and best wishes I extended to you on television Tuesday night. I know you will have the united support of all Americans as you lead the nation in the cause of peace and freedom in the next four years."
Richard Nixon, Remarks Conceding the Presidential Election in Los Angeles, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/345907