Richard Nixon photo

Remarks in Fort Wayne, Indiana

October 20, 1970

Governor Whitcomb, Congressman Roudebush, Congressman Adair, all of my other colleagues in the Congress, the candidates for the Congress:

I say first it is good to be back home in Indiana. All the years that I was growing up in California, my mother used to talk about "Back home in Indiana." And it was many years, as a matter of fact, until I got into politics, before I got a chance to come to this State in the year 1948.

I shall never forget the welcomes that I have had. And I shall always remember how warm they were. But I want to say tonight that here in Fort Wayne, the second city of Indiana let the record show, in fact, the way Fort Wayne is going, Indianapolis better watch out--and here in Fort Wayne where I have spoken so often, I wish to express my appreciation to all of those who from this county, from this city, who have come, those who have come from all over the State, for those that have worked in this rally, I understand that for as many as there are in this hall, there are that many who were turned away who couldn't come in. I'm sorry they couldn't come in. They can't stand out because it is raining outside.

But that is an indication that something is happening in this State. That is an indication that our candidates are going to win.

I know that before I came here, too, there had been a very fine musical program. I wish I could have heard it. The Concordia High School group over here, how about a hand for them? And the Indiana and Purdue group. Any city that can bring Indiana and Purdue together has to be quite a city, that is for sure.

And I wish to express my appreciation to all of the many messages that were sent before we arrived, and particularly for that wonderful headline in the Fort Wayne News Sentinel, "Welcome to Nixon Country." Thank you very much.

And now, as you know, I am here for the purpose of talking about the campaign of 1970. I am not a candidate. My name does not appear on the ticket this year. I am very grateful for the fact that every time my name has been on the ticket in Indiana--and that is four times--I have carried this State and that in the year 1968 Indiana gave the Nixon-Agnew ticket the biggest majority of any State in America.

When Indiana did that, Indiana expected something from the Nixon administration. It expected that we act on the problems that this country has. It expected that we act on the programs that I discussed during my campaign trips to Indiana.

We have tried to act on those problems. We have made some progress. But I can tell you--and I want to be very candid and frank in talking to this, what I know would be a highly sophisticated, political audience, because everybody in Indiana just is born on politics and loves it from the moment that he starts to grow up--I can say that a President can make speeches, a President can submit legislation, but in order to get what is needed in terms of his program, he has to have support in the Congress, in the House and in the Senate.

And it happens that in this present Congress, in 1968, we find that both the House and Senate were not under the control of the President's party. I do not complain about that. I respect the right of people to vote, as you do, for the party of their choice or the man of their choice.

But on the other hand, this is the time for the people of Indiana and the people of the Nation to look at the various candidates to determine whether or not they feel those candidates have been carrying out their wishes or whether they have been working in interests that they do not approve of.

And I will simply say this at the beginning. I think that the State in the Union which gave the Nixon-Agnew ticket the biggest majority, deserves at least one Senator who will support the President and not be against him.

I respect the right of people to disagree. I know that there are people who may believe that those who have opposed the various programs--and I am going to discuss them in one, two, three order tonight--that they were on the right side. But you decide.

I would like for you to forget Republicans or Democrats. Think of yourselves as Americans. Think of what you want for this country, think whether or not you want your Senator to vote that way or this way and then make your decision.

But I can tell you that an the great issues--the great issues involving foreign policy, which I have considered to be absolutely necessary in order to bring peace for a generation, not just for another election--in the next election, on the great issues involving the defense of this country, defense that I believe is vitally important if we are going to have the negotiations to reduce the burden of arms in the world; on the decisions involving the budget, decisions that have involved, in terms of the budget, whether or not we are going to see that runaway spending in Washington is controlled so that we do not have runaway inflation at home; and on the decisions involving some critical appointments to the courts in which judges, who stood firmly for the enforcement of law and order on a strict constructionist basis, were presented to the Senate and turned down---on these decisions both Senators from Indiana had been 100 percent against the President and I think it is time to change that. I think we need one who is for him.

Let's look at these various issues. And let's start with the one that is most important of all, particularly with so many young people here, people who are thinking of their future, young men who are thinking of the possibility that they may be in the service, young women who are thinking of the possibility that their husbands or their brothers may be in the service, may be subjected to the penalties of war.

When we came into office, we confronted a problem. We had had a war that had been going on for 5 years--men had been going out to Vietnam in increasing numbers for 5 years, casualties had been going up. Five hundred and fifty thousand Americans were in Vietnam. There was no plan to bring any of them home. The casualties were 300 a week. There was no peace plan on the table for negotiation in Paris. And then we came into office. We went to work.

First, we adopted a plan, not the cut and run, but a plan in which we were bringing Americans home from Vietnam. And for the past 20 months, instead of sending more Americans to Vietnam, they have been coming home by the tens of thousands, and they will continue to come home under this administration.

We have made some hard decisions. We made the hard decision, for example, with regard to destroying the sanctuaries that the enemy had in Cambodia. As a result of that, the casualties that were 300 a month had been cut down so that it is the lowest in 4½ years. And they will continue to go down because of the decisions that we have made.

Third, we have presented a peace proposal--a peace proposal that has received universal approval among most observers here in the United States and a great deal of approval abroad, except from those that you might expect to oppose it--a peace proposal that is one of the most generous, one of the most farsighted certainly, ever offered in such a situation: a cease-fire without conditions, a conference for all of Indochina, a political settlement that would be fair to both sides and allow both sides to be represented in the political process, and this--even though we have far more of their prisoners than they have of ours--an offer to exchange prisoners now as a humanitarian act. This is what our proposal included.

Where do we stand?

Where we stand at the present time is that we are pressing our proposal. We will continue to press it. We are continuing our program of training South Vietnamese and bringing Americans home. If they do not accept our proposal we will end the American involvement in that way and that will work.

What I am saying to you, we have a plan which is ending the war, which is reducing our casualties, which is bringing the boys home, but we need Senators and Congressmen who understand the plan and who will support it.

Let me come to a very precise point. Why not now? Oh, I have heard all over this country, and I well understand it, particularly some young people say "peace now." Or why at least don't you go along with what the Senate wanted to go along with--at least it seemed they wanted to go along with it, and we had a very small majority to defeat the Hatfield-McGovern resolution, which, of course, was supported by both of the Senators from Indiana--I, of course, was opposed to it--why not go along with a proposal which will say we will get out in a very brief period of time, regardless of what happens to South Vietnam?

Let me tell you this: What all of those proposals finally come down to is end the war, end it now, or end it in 6 months from now, but end it and have peace.

Think for a moment. When I was elected President of the United States, I was Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces automatically. I could have brought all the men home right away. I would have ended the war.

Why didn't I? I will tell you why. I look back over the history of this country in this century. We have been in four wars. We ended World War I. We ended World War II. We ended the Korean war.

And, yet, we have yet to have in this century a full generation of peace. You see, the problem is not to end the war. The problem is to end the war in a way that you will discourage those who might start another war. And I say let's end this war in a way that we win the peace and have a full generation of peace for the young Americans.

That is what I stand for. That is what Dick Roudebush stands for. That is what Ross Adair stands for. He is a tower of strength on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. I need him there. We want him back.

And it is that proposition that the two Senators from Indiana, those presently holding those positions, have opposed when key votes have come up.

Let's understand I do not question their honesty in reaching the other conclusion. But I say to you, Americans have had enough of fighting wars and losing the peace. This war we are going to win the peace, and we are going to end it in a way that we can have a generation of peace.

Let's look beyond the problem of Vietnam. As you know, we have a cease fire in the Mideast. It is a tenuous situation. But at least there is no shooting going on there. That is an accomplishment, and we hope to have it extended.

We also are beginning to conduct negotiations with the Soviet Union on the limitation of nuclear arms. What a great thing that will be if we can get some kind of an agreement. It will be difficult, because their interests are different from ours.

But on the other hand, if we are going to get an agreement, it is essential that the United States maintain its strength so that we have some cards to play when we go to the conference table.

And that is why I have asked both the House and the Senate to provide the necessary strength for the United States, including the ABM system, which would be essential in the event that the Soviet Union were to negotiate, because if prior to negotiation we were to give up or reduce our own preparedness, it would mean they would have no reason to reduce their own arms strength.

So, here again, it is a very difficult proposition to understand, because I am sure to the average person, they say, "Why doesn't the United States, if it wants peace, just disarm? Why do we build any new arms system?"

Let me say nobody wants peace any more than I do. And I know that nobody wants peace any more than young Americans do. I know how you feel. I remember how I felt before World War II.

But I can tell you this: We have in the world today an opportunity, better than we have had at any time since World War II, where the United States, because it is the most powerful nation in the free world, if it has the courage, the stamina, the judgment, and the wisdom, can lead the way to a generation of peace. But in order to have that generation of peace, we need to have backing for the President of the United States, and we need it in the Senate; we need it in the House.

And that is the reason why Dick Roudebush is so essential. He will back me. He will not be against me on these critical issues of providing for a generation of peace.

Let's come to the other issues. I will discuss them more briefly, because I used the first one to prove a point, the point that we do not question the right of men honestly to disagree as to what is the best road to peace. But on the other hand, when you have an administration with the President, with the responsibility, then the question is: Is he going to have the backing that is necessary for him to conduct the foreign policy of this country? I ask for that backing. I ask for it from Indiana.

Let's come to the problems at home. I know that all of you are concerned, as I was in 1968, about the rise in the cost of living. I am concerned about it today. I am not satisfied with the way that that problem is being handled, because I would like to see the rise in the cost of living checked more quickly than it has been checked.

But let me go to the cause again. The reason that we have seen prices go up at home is that there has been too much spending in Washington, D.C., and one thing that I have got to tell you is that on that score we again have a clear difference of opinion.

Everybody wants to certainly appropriate those funds that are necessary for the programs that are in the best interests of this country. But, on the other hand, we must recognize that when Government in Washington, as was the case in the previous administration, year after year spends more than the tax system at full employment will produce, it means that prices are going to skyrocket at home. We have changed that. We have tried to change it. But we have not had the cooperation of the Congress that we should have.

Oh, the cooperation of your Congressmen, House Representatives from Indiana, yes. They have been sturdy, strong men, and you can be proud of them and every one of them ought to be reelected, and more, too. We need them there in the House of Representatives.

Here again in the United States Senate, if you picked up your morning paper you will find that a bipartisan committee, a joint committee of the House and Senate found, that in this Congress, already the Congress has appropriated in terms of authorizations almost $6 billion more than what the President has asked for.

And so the question again comes, do you want to stop the rise in the cost of living? If you do, then we have to have backing, backing again for making the right decisions, the right decisions on this key point.

What we need are Congressmen and Senators down in Washington, D.C., who will have the courage to vote against that spending program that might benefit some special interest group, that might benefit some people, but would raise prices and taxes for all people.

Let's start thinking of the prices and taxes of all people and get that Government spending down in Washington, D.C. That is what we want and that is what Dick Roudebush stands for.

Then we come to the area of reform. The great problem today is whether or not we continue to spend billions of dollars on the programs of the past. Some of them are good. Some of them should continue to be funded. Others need to be reformed. We have reformed the postal system, as you know. And that will pay dividends in the years ahead.

And I have offered reforms in the field of the environment. We have offered an historic program that Ed Whitcomb as a Governor and all of his fellow Governors are interested in, in which the Federal Government will begin to share revenues with the States.

We have not got it passed yet, because we don't have the votes in the House and the Senate to get it. You can help us get the votes.

What does that mean to you? It simply means this: It means that after 190 years of government and power in government flowing from the people and the States to Washington, D.C., it finally begins to flow back from Washington to the States and to the people where it belongs. And I think we want that in Indiana and in America.

But it isn't enough to do that, because what we have to recognize, too, if that power is to come back, the funds to handle the programs must come back. That is why revenue sharing is so important.

So it is in the welfare field. Here again, rather than to continue a program that has had faults that we are all aware of, what we need to do is to reform it, reform it in a way that every family that needs assistance receives assistance. But, on the other hand, reform it in a way in which any individual who is able to work and is trained for a job and then refuses to take a job should not be subsidized by a taxpayer of the United States of America.

I could go on. In the environment, that is an area where we are thinking again of our young people. We want you to have clean air and clean water and cities that are safe to live in without the enormous problems that they have at the present time.

We want the open spaces of America not to be despoiled. We must decide now about that or we are going to find 20 years from now that it will be too late.

Here again, we need support, and we are going to get it, from the men that I support here on this platform tonight.

And now I come to another point of very great interest, I know, to every audience that I have spoken to, all over the United States.

When I campaigned in Indiana in 1968, I referred to the fact !that crime had been going up in the previous 8 years of the two previous administrations at an alarming rate. It went up by 150 percent.

I also referred to the fact that it was necessary to have two things: one, some new laws, give the law enforcement officials some new tools; and two, some new judges, some judges that would enforce the law with a strict construction with regard to those who were engaged in criminal activities.

As I put it, it is time--I believe it was time then, I believe it is time now--that we have judges that recognize the necessity of strengthening the peace forces as against the criminal forces in their decisions in the United States of America.

Being against crime is like being against sin. Everybody is against it. What has happened, though? The first proposals that I sent to the Congress of ,the United States 18 months ago were in this field: for organized crime, a proposal calling for action in the field of narcotics and dangerous drugs, a proposal calling for action to stop the flow of pornographic literature and obscenity into the homes of our children, a proposal dealing with D.C. crime.

Eighteen months later, for the first time, the first bill reached my desk, the organized crime one. We expect to have one on narcotics next week. The obscenity bill, we don't know what the fate of that is going to be.

As far as the judges are concerned, we have found that on two nominations that were sent to the Congress, to the Senate of the United States, the Senate, which it had every right to do insofar as its constitutional power, rejected them. But now, let's come to the critical point.

I say that we need in the House and in the Senate, we need Congressmen and Senators who will recognize that it is necessary to vote laws that are necessary to fight crime, to talk against it, to act against it, to support judges who are against it, not just in election time but all year round. And Dick Roudebush is that kind of a man.

That brings me to another point. I suppose you wonder in a State like this, "Well now, Indiana is a big State, an important State. It only has two Senators out of 50. What difference does one vote make?"

Do you realize that the present Senate is divided on the major issues that I have already discussed in instance after instance by one vote or two votes, usually? A shift of two Senators could have made the difference.

In the field of foreign policy, in the field of defense policy, in the field of the approval of judges, in these areas, a shift of one or two could have made the difference.

And that is why it is so critically important to have from this State that man who might make the majority of one, that would determine whether or not the President, not as an individual, because that isn't what matters, but the President, who did receive a vote from the people of Indiana, gets the power to do what he promised to do.

That is all I ask, nothing more. And I think that is what Indiana wants us to have.

In this great audience in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I cannot miss the opportunity, because there is such a large number of young people here, not only from the colleges and the universities but from the high schools, to talk about a subject that has been certainly discussed on radio and television and in the newspapers as much as any subject that I have mentioned up to this point and perhaps even more.

It is the subject of student protest and student unrest. Turn on your television tonight, almost any night. You know what you see. You see a picture of young America, usually violence, bombing, burning, shouting obscenities, shouting speakers down. And you get the impression that maybe that is what young America is.

I want to tell you I have been around this country a bit over the past few weeks. I was at Kansas State. I was in Vermont. I was in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio and I went there to Ohio State. I was in Tennessee today and North Carolina. And in many places we had a little problem.

Vermont, they threw a few rocks. Several other places, they tried to shout me down. In other places, they shouted the usual four-letter words. And so on down the line.

But let me tell you: I think it is time to state what the facts are. If you were to simply read the newspapers and look at the television, the amount of space that those who engage in that kind of protest are concerned, as distinguished from peaceful protest, the amount of space they get gives you the impression that that kind of young American is either a majority of young Americans or will be the leaders of the future.

Well, I have got news for you. They aren't the majority of young Americans today and they aren't going to be the leaders of America tomorrow.

I know young America. Yes, let's get it very clear. Oh, they don't agree with all of the policies of the Federal administration. They want peace, as I want peace. They want, certainly, action on many problems, and they want it faster perhaps than we can get it. And they criticize this and they want change and I always hope they will, because that is the way a country grows, a great free country. We always want our young people to raise questions--and to raise them, but also to have in mind this great fact: that our system for 190 years has produced the greatest progress that civilization has ever known in any country and the reason is that it provides a means for peaceful change.

America is a very different country today from what it was 190 years ago. It has changed over and over again. But it has been changed by peaceful means. And my friends, in a country that provides the method for peaceful change, there is no cause that justifies resort to violence or lawlessness. That is what the young people of America believe in.

And now, I come to what you can do about all this. In Kansas City the other night, last night, as a matter of fact, some of the people who had to walk through a few demonstrators to get into the auditorium came to me afterwards. "What do we do about those people?" They were, you know, the usual lot, shouting a few four-letter words and all that sort of thing.

And I gave them this answer, and I am going to give it to you: You don't answer in kind. The answer to violence is not to resort to violence. The answer to smutty four-letter words is not to use them in return. I will tell you what the answer is.

The answer to this small, vicious minority is for Americans to stand up and be counted and stand up and be counted for America.

The answer, my friends, the answer is for the great silent majority of Americans-and I believe there is a majority-the great silent majority of Americans to speak out, and you can speak out in a very quiet, but with a very powerful voice, the most powerful voice in the history of mankind.

On November 3d, you walk into that polling booth and you pull that shutter behind you and you vote. And when you vote, that vote is the most powerful voice in the whole world. That is where the silent majority can make itself heard. That is where the silent majority is going to make itself heard this November. And that is where you will have an opportunity to determine, here in the State of Indiana, whether the State that did give--and I am very grateful for this-the President the biggest majority that he had in 1968, is going to provide for him a strong voice in that United States Senate, as well as people in the House including your own Ross Adair, but a voice in that Senate particularly who, on the critical issue of foreign policy, on the critical issue of strong national defense, on the critical issue of reform, on the critical issue of providing, for example, progress, aid to our elderly citizens through an automatic escalation of their social security-as is the program we have advocated and as he has supported---on the critical issue of standing firm against crime and violence and supporting the President when he appoints judges who are also going to stand firm against those activities. There is your chance.

My friends, I think the case for the voters of Indiana is clear. I do not know a State in which a Senate campaign is more clear-cut than this. It has nothing to do with personalities. It goes far beyond party lines. One man honestly believes that the best interests of the country will be served by opposing the President on all of the major issues that I have mentioned tonight.

The other man believes that the best interests of the country will be served by supporting the President.

And I say to you, I ask not support for me as an individual. I say I ask support for Dick Roudebush, because I think it is best for America, best for Indiana, and best for you.

I understand that there are 5,000 people downstairs in the overflow auditorium. And if they are still listening and if they are still there, I am going to go down and say hello to them. Is that all right with you?

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 7:45 p.m. in the Fort Wayne Coliseum.

Richard Nixon, Remarks in Fort Wayne, Indiana Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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