Richard Nixon photo

Remarks at Huntington, West Virginia

October 26, 1972

Thank you very much. Mrs. Nixon and I want to tell you how very much we appreciate your wonderful welcome. I was just talking to Governor Moore and he was telling me that you only learned at 12 o'clock that we were going to be able to stop here before going over to Ashland, and what a marvelous crowd you have--I understand from West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. Right. Three States.

There isn't room on these steps, incidentally, for everybody, but I am going to have a word to say in a moment about that. But I want you to be sure to see everybody who is here. First, Mrs. Nixon. Pat, will you step up here so they can see you?

And now Mrs. Moore, the First Lady of West Virginia.

And next, Arch Moore, the Governor of West Virginia. Just stay right here, Arch, because I am going to have something to say about you.

One thing I said to Arch Moore when we were moving down the line here was that I thought this airstrip was a little bit short. That is why we had to bring this Convair in. He said you were taking care of that. I just want you to know that as soon as you get a long enough strip, I hope to bring the Spirit of '76, that big plane, right into this airport.

Also, I think you should know that we are very proud that this is the second visit we have been able to make to West Virginia since assuming office as President. We remember the wonderful day at the Elkins Forest Festival in 1971, in the fall. I remember, too, that on that occasion I paid my respects to a great West Virginian who since that time has traveled a great number of miles, and we have traveled with him.

Since that time in '71, as you may know, and, of course, you all do from having followed the papers and the television, we have traveled to Peking, to Moscow, to Warsaw--in fact, the first President of the United States ever to visit these three capitals of Communist countries.

Let me say the man who flew us--and I would say this is no overstatement-probably one of the greatest pilots of all time, is, of course, a West Virginian, Colonel [Ralph] Albertazzie. Wherever we went, whether it was to Peking, halfway around the world, or Moscow, a third of the way around the world, or Warsaw, about a fourth of the way around the world, he was always on time, just as he was here tonight in West Virginia, his own State.

Come over here. Come on, so they can see you. Here he is--Colonel Albertazzie.

Now, if I could just say a few words to you about the campaign which now is drawing to a close, I would like to speak to you not as a partisan, but as all of you are and all of us try to be, as an American, speaking about your State and our country.

First about your State. I have known Arch Moore for a great number of years. I knew him when he was in the House of Representatives, and in the last 4 years I have had the privilege of working very closely with him when he has been the Governor of the State and I have been in the White House. I am here to ask the people of West Virginia, whatever your politics may be, whether you are Democrats or Republicans or independents--I am asking you to give us the chance-Arch Moore and me the chance--to work for 4 more years for the good of West Virginia and the good of this country.

Now, I was going to go down the list of things that Arch Moore has talked to me in these past 4 years about West Virginia, but it is too long and I wouldn't get over to Ashland for the speech I am supposed to make there in a few minutes. Let me tell you one thing, however: I had a decision to make about the black lung bill. I know that doesn't affect many of the people in this audience. However, it affects many of the people in West Virginia, Kentucky, all over this part of the country. It was a difficult decision because of some technical factors about the bill. I will never forget, however, the day that Arch Moore came to the White House. He sat there in the Oval Office. You know, he doesn't pound the table. He doesn't shout. But, boy, does he come across. So I signed the bill, and, Arch Moore, we thank you for coming in for that.

Could I now say a word--and this is something I could say in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, California, Maine, New Hampshire, anyplace in this country--a word about this election and what it means in terms of the younger generation particularly, and all of us, whatever our age may be. I know that in our hearts tonight, above everything else we want a world of peace. As all of you have read or heard on your television tonight, there has been a significant breakthrough in the negotiations with regard to Vietnam.1

Tonight I can say to you with confidence that because of the progress that has been made, I am confident that we shall succeed in achieving our objective, which is peace with honor, and not peace with surrender, in Vietnam.

There are still differences to be worked out. I believe that they can and will be worked out. But let me go on beyond that.

America has been in wars and has ended wars before in this century, but the great tragedy is that we end one war and then, before a generation is over, we are in another one. And the goal that I have sought, the goal that all of you want, that all Americans want, is not just a peace that is simply a period of rest between wars but real peace that will last.

Did you know that in this whole century we have never had a full generation, young people growing up for a full generation without war? We had World War I, and then World War II, and then Korea, and then Vietnam. I think that is enough. What I want is a generation of peace, and beyond that, another generation of peace. And that is why not only are we ending the war in Vietnam in a way that will promote the interest of lasting peace, but that is why we went to Peking, that is why we went to Moscow.

The differences between the Government of the United States and the philosophy that we hold to, and the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Soviet Union are very great. The Communist and our systems will always be different. But in the world in which we live it is essential that we build a system in which we can have differences between governments, but in which the people of those nations can be friends.

It is important that the Russian people and the American people not be enemies. It is important that the Chinese people--and that is one-fourth of all the people in this world--not be enemies of the United States. I am not suggesting tonight that in this past year in which these historic journeys have taken place that we have achieved the millennium. There is much more to be done. What I am telling you is that if you give me the chance in the next 4 years, we are going to make more progress building that generation of peace that everybody wants for all Americans and all the world.

And beyond that, we want to do something else. We want something that we haven't had since President Eisenhower was President in 1955 and '56, and that means prosperity, full employment without war and without inflation. We are working toward that goal; we are moving toward it. We are not there yet, but we are going to continue to fight inflation. We are going to continue to work for policies that will have growth for our economy, because we want every boy and girl, young man, young woman in this country, to have an opportunity for a job if he is willing to work and able to work. We think we can achieve that goal. We ask for the opportunity to continue the policies that have come so far in achieving it already.

The third point I wish to make is this: As we move into a period of peace in the years ahead, I want it to be, and all of you want it to be, a period of progress. I think of West Virginia. You, of course, live here. I have visited here quite often. This is a beautiful State. It has so much to see, and you, the people of West Virginia, are a good people. You are a strong people. You are a patriotic people. You are builders of America. You love this country. I want the people of West Virginia to go forward with all of the American people toward an era of progress and opportunity and prosperity without war, such as we have never seen.

What I am simply saying to you at the last of my remarks tonight is this: I do not speak to you as a partisan. I speak to you with no bitterness about this campaign, but I speak with you, as we should as we begin the closing days of the campaign, about our hopes and about our ideals. And I will say to you simply, what I want for the next 4 years is that the next 4 years will be the best 4 years in this Nation's history. Give us the chance; let us do the job.

1 Earlier the same day, Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, held a news briefing on progress in the Vietnam peace negotiations. The transcript of the news briefing was released by the White House and is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presldential Documents (vol. 8, p. 1565).

Note: The President spoke at 7:14 p.m. at a rally at Tri-State Airport. He spoke without referring to notes.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at Huntington, West Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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