Richard Nixon photo

Remarks in Kansas City, Missouri.

October 19, 1970

Attorney General Danforth, Senator Pearson, Congressman Hall, Congressman Winn, the next Governor of California, Kent Frizzell--I am sorry--the next Governor of California is Ronald Reagan. The next Governor of Kansas is Kent Frizzell---that is one way to get on television-and all of those who are the candidates on the State ticket in Missouri, those who are the candidates here in the audience in the front row, and those from the State of Kansas and from the State of Missouri who have welcomed me so warmly, and more important, who have cheered so loudly for the next Senator from the State of Missouri, Jack Danforth:

I am glad to be back in Kansas City. I remember my visit here in 1968. I remember that when I came here they were saying that it was not possible to carry Missouri. They are saying the same thing, some of them, about Jack Danforth today. We carried it in '68. He is going to carry it in 1970, because I sense a great tide running in this country and I sense it running in this hall.

I see it among the people along the motorcade routes. I feel it among the audiences that I speak to. I feel it also in this country, as I travel over it from State to State.

And speaking first of this State, I want to tell you why I feel so much at home here and so appreciative of your welcome.

First, as you know, I am somewhat of a football fan. And I am always honored to be in the city of the champions of the world, the Kansas City Chiefs.

I didn't make any votes in Minnesota with that one, did I?

Also, I am very honored to be here because Kansas City, Missouri, is right next door to Kansas City, Kansas.

And I recall my visit to Kansas State a few weeks ago, the wonderful reception we had there. I met the fine candidates. I know the splendid services being rendered in the United States Senate by Senator Bob Dole and Senator Jim Pearson and I know that they would say, if they were speaking here, that they would like to have just one more vote with them in the United States Senate, in the person of Jack Danforth.

And I am very proud to endorse wholeheartedly, as I did in Kansas, and I will do it here, Kent Frizzell, their candidate, the candidate for Governor. I believe that he is a strong man and will be a strong Governor in that State. I am proud to be here on the platform with him today.

And now, if I may come to the subject of the Senate race here in the State of Missouri, I want to discuss it in a way that will be somewhat surprising to you.

I listened to Doc Hall's1 moderate rhetoric. [Laughter] I am going to have you write some speeches for Vice President Agnew.

1Representative Durward G. Hall of Missouri.

And I know that in this State and believe me I appreciate the tradition of this State--I know that in this State that it is a great tradition to put on a fighting campaign. I like to put on a fighting campaign, particularly when I am the candidate.

But I want to say to you today, that I want to give you today the arguments. I want to talk to you, not in terms simply of why we are against the other fellow, but why we are for Jack Danforth and why he ought to be the next Senator from the State of Missouri.

I could say that for a number of reasons, one, because he is a Republican and I am a Republican; second, because he is a man who is one of our bright new stars on the political scene, a young man with all of a great future ahead of him. As he spoke here so quietly with such poise and such confidence, I could think of that voice in the chambers of the United States Senate. It would be a fine voice. It would be listened to, believe me.

I know his opponent. I know the other Senator from Missouri. I have nothing personal against either of them. I know them both personally.

But it seems to me that when Missouri in 1968 cast its votes for the Republican President, and when he has attempted, as Jack Danforth has so eloquently pointed out, to bring new leadership to this country, new leadership to bring peace abroad, to restore peace at home, to stop the rise in the cost of living, to reform government, and when on virtually every major issue when there was a real test, both votes in the Senate from Missouri were against the president, I think if the President carried Missouri, he ought to have one Senator that is going to be with him from Missouri and that is Jack Danforth.

Understand, I don't mean all the time. I don't expect that. I respect and you respect a man that disagrees or a woman that disagrees with you on this issue or that one. But what I am suggesting to you, my friends, is that today what we are going to decide on November 3d, is more important than that I happen to like this man, this young vigorous man of the future, as I do, the fact that he is a member of my party, which I am proud that he is, what is important is that we are deciding the future of America. That future is going to be determined more by the makeup of the next United States Senate, than perhaps by anything that happens in the elections this year.

There is a reason for that, a very strong reason, because the Senate, as Bob Dole will tell you, is very evenly divided. I am not referring party-wise. I am referring right at the present time, it is very evenly divided.

You have noted whenever the great issues have come up, there is usually a majority of one that determines it, or two or three. And so, it means that you, in this State of Missouri, are going to determine not just one Senator out of 100, you are going to determine, by yours votes, as to whether or not that majority is going to be for the kind of leadership that the President is trying to give or against it-not for him personally, that is not important, but for what he stands for and what he is trying to do for the country.

Let me talk to that issue, then. What are we trying to do? What do you want? What do we vote for?

I remember that campaign. I remember what I said when I was here. Some of you may remember.

In 1968, as I campaigned in Missouri, and in January of 1969, when I was inaugurated as President of the United States, I found that we had been in the war in Vietnam for 5 years.

I found that we had 550,000 Americans there. I found that there was no plan to bring them home. There was no plan that had been presented, a peace plan at the conference table in Paris.

I found that it was necessary to do something to bring that war to an end and win a just peace, and so we began. Here is what we have done. Listen.

Instead of sending more to Vietnam as has been the case for the past 5 years, we have been bringing them home and we will continue to bring men home and replace them with South Vietnamese.

Instead of the battle going up and up and up, and the casualties at 300 a week as they were when we came in, they have gone down and down and down, and they are going to go lower because we are for the kind of a program that is reducing the lives that are being lost in Vietnam.

And instead of the United States standing there without any kind of a peace plan, we have offered, as you have heard on television 2 weeks ago, a peace plan which offers a cease-fire without any conditions, a peace plan which offers to negotiate a political settlement, a peace plan which offers to have a conference with regard to all of Indochina so that we can withdraw all foreign forces from that area--and further, a peace plan which would do something that ought to have been done long ago. Even though we have far more of their prisoners than they have of ours, we say let's release the prisoners.

I think that this is the kind of a plan that is fair and it is certainly one that Americans can proudly stand on.

Now, my friends, I can tell you we are on the road to ending this war. We will end it, if necessary, through continuing the process of replacing Americans with South Vietnamese, a longer road; or we will end it, if we can, through negotiation if the North Vietnamese are willing to accept our offer to negotiate.

But the important thing for us to bear in mind is how and why we must bring this war to a conclusion in the fight way.

Before we came into this hall tonight, I saw, as you saw--and as a matter of fact they were rather loud, I could hear them on the top floor of the Muehlebach [Hotel]--a few people who were saying, a few hundred, I understood this, who were saying, "End the war." They were saying it in words a little more expressive than that, but they were saying end the war-now. End it now.

Let me ask you something: You all know that the President of the United States as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces could have ended the war the day that I came in. But my friends, ending the war isn't the problem. We ended World War I. We ended World War II. We ended the Korean war. And I say this particularly to these young people sitting down here and who are scattered all through this audience. Even though we have ended three wars in this century, we have yet to have a generation of peace. What we want to do is to end this war in a way that will discourage aggression and reduce the chances of another war. Let's have a full generation of peace for America.

That is what we are doing in Vietnam. That is why we have also worked out a cease-fire in the Mideast. That is why we have kept the strength and are keeping the strength of America up, but are indicating our willingness to negotiate with the Soviet Union to limit nuclear arms.

The United States commitment to peace is unquestioned. But let us remember, it is important if we are going to have a peace, not just peace for the next election but peace for the next generation, that the United States be strong and not weak unless we get a mutual reduction on the part of our strength and on the other side as well.

And so, my friends, I say to you on this great issue, the issue of peace, we stand for peace. We are ending the war. We are going to have a just peace. One that will bring peace in the Pacific and will increase the chances for peace in the world. And we need help, support in the United States Senate for that kind of responsible policy. We can get that kind of support from a man like Jack Danforth.

I looked back over my notes in 1968 when I was here in Kansas City. I find I talked about something else, the rise in prices, the cost of living. And you know that it has continued. You remember what had happened. Prices were going up. They have continued to go up until we have finally checked the rate of inflation over the past 3 months.

Now let's come to a key point: Why have they gone up? Very simply: because the previous administration, over a period of years, had spent far more than the tax system would produce with full employment. And when you do that, when you have runaway spending in Washington, you have runaway prices at home. And I say, let's get the big spenders out of Washington and get the savers into Washington. And Jack Danforth is a saver.

And now, let's turn to that exciting issue of reform. This is enormously interesting, particularly to our young people and it should be, because I suppose for those in our generation, we could make do with the policies of the past. But they aren't good enough for the problems of the future or even of the present, and that's why this administration has offered the most exciting and revolutionary program of reform in this century.

Let me tell you some of the things that it does. Jack Danforth has touched upon them. I will spell them out only briefly.

Revenue sharing. What does that really mean? I will tell you what it means. For 190 years we have seen power in this great country of ours flow from the people and from the cities and from the States to Washington, D.C. And now I say it's time for power to flow back from Washington to the States and to the cities and to the people of this country.

Why is that important? That is important not just simply as an exercise in political science. It is important because I think the people of Missouri and the people of Kansas and the people of Kansas City know better how to plan their lives than some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C. Let's get the decisions made right back out here.

But you see, that is very easy to say. You talk to a Governor or anybody that wants to be Governor. You talk to a mayor or anybody that wants to be mayor and he will say, "We don't have the money." That is why we have proposed a program in which the Federal Government would share some of the tax revenues that we collect with the State governments and with city governments so that this matter could be handled there at the city and the State level.

Isn't it about time that we did this? And if it is about time to do this, give us the men in the Senate and in the House that will vote for that kind of program.

In the field of reform, I want to turn briefly to welfare reform, since Jack Danforth mentioned it in his introduction. First, let us understand what we all feel very deeply in our hearts. Every American wants to be sure that anyone who. needs assistance and who cannot care for himself receives assistance. We can be very thankful that this country is rich enough, as we enter the last third of this century, to provide adequately for the needs of all the people in this country, if they are unable to help themselves.

This is a wonderful thing. It has never happened in any country in the history of the world before. It is because we are rich and because we are strong. It is because, for example, our agriculture has produced as much as it has, and our industry has produced as much as it has that America is able now to look at a program in which we can provide for every family that needs it, a floor of dignity on which to stand in terms of its income. That's family assistance.

But there is another side to the coin. If a program has the effect of making it more profitable for a man not to work than to work, if it encourages a man to desert his family rather than to stay with his family-and that is what the present welfare program does--I say it is time to get rid of that program and get another one.

And if a man is able-bodied, if a man is trained for a job, if a man then is offered a job and if he refuses to work, I say the taxpayers should not subsidize him for loafing. That is something that we believe in.

And that will be reform of our present program. Welfare costs go up and up and up. The number of people on the rolls go up and up and up. But let us provide that basis for dignity for every family that needs it, and particularly for the children of that family, but let's quit subsidizing those who are able to work, can have jobs and do have jobs, or could get them, and refuse to take them. This very simply is something that I believe you are for.

Since I am speaking in the city, I should mention, too, the programs that we call--generally are described as the subject of the environment. This covers a lot of things, you know, pure air, clean up the air, clean up the water, open spaces, parks, not just parks far out in the West or in the middle of the country but parks in ,the cities and the rest, so that the quality of life may be improved.

This administration, as you will note if you have heard my State of the Union Message, has come forth with a program that is more progressive, more far-reaching, more farsighted in this field than has ever been offered before. We still have not had action.

We need men in the Senate, men in the House that will support it.

And may I say in that connection, we are very proud of the fact that in the House of Representatives from the State of Kansas, for example, we have men like Larry Winn, then from the State of Missouri, men like Doc Hall. We need more. Send us some in the House as well as the Senate.

But, my friends, in this field of reform, insofar as our environment is concerned, it is possible now for this great wealthy country to provide the means to clean up our air so that we are not going to find 15 or 20 years from now that we will be the richest country in the world, but choking to death with smog, poisoned by the water, terrorized by crime, and with all the problems that are involved in traffic jams and so forth in our cities.

We are looking ahead. But in order to get these programs through, we need a man in the United States Senate who also is looking to the future and not to the past, and Jack Danforth is that kind of a man, a man of the future rather than a man of the past.

And now one other subject I want to cover, and that is one that is on the minds of every American, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, whatever their party affiliation may be--Jack Danforth referred to it--the problem of crime in this country, of disruption.

I just got a report that in my home State of California, at the University of California campus at Irvine, only 10 miles from where I live, a bomb blew up a scientific laboratory, not one for defense in this case, but one that was used for the purpose of the environment, a senseless act, the kind of terrorism that we see over this country, sometimes in our universities, sometimes in our cities.

We all know what was the situation when we came into office. Crime went up over 150 percent in the 8 years of the two previous administrations. And so we tried to do something about it. I will tell you what we have done.

I submitted 18 months ago--and Doc Hall and Larry Winn, Senator Dole will bear me out--I submitted to the Congress the most comprehensive crime control legislation ever presented before the Congress, legislation that would deal with organized crime, that would deal with narcotics, that would stop the flow of pornography and filth into the homes, particularly of those of our young people.

And yet, what has happened? Only one of those major proposals has come to my desk for signature, the one on organized crime. The others still wait action.

What we need in the Senate of the United States, what we need in the Congress of the United States--and listen to me very carefully--is not simply men that are against crime. Everybody is against crime. But we need men who are against it, and will work against it and vote against it, and talk against it all year round, and not just at election time. Jack Danforth is that kind of a man.

On this one issue alone, we need him in the United States Senate. He is an expert. He has been the Attorney General of this State. He is for law, he is for order, and he is for justice. And we need all three.

If we are going to have respect for law, we have to have laws that deserve respect. He is that kind of a man. He will render enormous service not only to this State of Missouri but to this whole Nation by being in that Senate and working day after day for the kind of legislation that will stop the rise of crime and deal effectively with this problem all over the United States.

It can be done, because I am convinced that the people of the United States will back up that kind of program if their representatives in the Senate and House will vote for it. And you can be sure I will sign the legislation when it comes to my desk.

I mentioned a moment ago that as we came into the doors tonight, there were a few shouting some slogans. And as I came in, two or three of the ushers expressed concern about it. I want to give you my attitude on that as I have other audiences.

Jack Danforth has referred to the fact that on this campaign trail, Saturday and also today, I had a few rocks in Vermont, a few shouters in New Jersey and North Dakota and Ohio and so forth.

But let's keep it all in context and let's be absolutely fair as to what is involved. You know, night after night, if you look at your television, what do you see? You will see a few demonstrators shouting their smutty four-letter words, shaking their fists. You will hear about a bombing here or an act of violence there.

And you get the impression that that is the majority of American youth. I have news for you, if you didn't have or ever had that opinion.

I was at Kansas State 3 or 4 weeks ago, as you know. And when I was there, I found that the great majority of the students were ones that did not approve of that kind of action. Oh, they didn't approve of everything I said, I am sure.

And to the great credit of the young generation, they don't like things as they are. They want progress, as I do. They want to change the environment, as I do, and Jack Danforth does. They want, of course, programs that will lead to peace and lasting peace and that is certainly something I am working for every waking hour, you can be sure.

But also, let us understand the younger generation has been given a bad name by a few violent demonstrators. They do not speak for youth and they do not speak for America.

Now, my friends, when I mentioned that that happened at Kansas State, I think you should know that Senator Dole reported to me that some of those in the press in their columns said, "Well, that was Kansas State. That wouldn't happen on the campuses in some of the eastern schools or the other midwestern schools or the western schools."

Let me tell you why. Sure, that was Kansas State. But I was up in Wisconsin the other day, and you know, they had a very terrible bombing, you recall, in which a university professor was killed, one who was doing research.

And a student came up to me, as I was about ready to speak at a testimonial dinner for Bart Starr. He said, "Mr. President, I just want you to know, I go to the university, and the great majority of the students at the University of Wisconsin do not approve of that kind of thing."

They want an education. They may disagree, but they believe, as you believe, that in a system that provides for a method for peaceful change, there is no cause that justifies resort to violence.

In Ohio State today, I ran into students, scores of them, and that was the same message that came through loud and clear.

And so now, I am talking particularly to all of this great audience here. I want to tell you what your answer should be. How do you answer that--violence, terror, four-letter obscenities? Don't answer in kind. You don't need to, because you have a more powerful answer than that. The most powerful four-letter word is a clean word. It is the most powerful four-letter word in the history of men. It is called vote--v-o-t-e.

And, my friends, I say that the answer to those that engage in disruption, to those that shout their filthy slogans, to those that try to shout down speakers is not to answer in kind, but go to the polls on election day and in the quiet of that ballot box stand up and be counted, the great silent majority of America.

That is your answer. Vote for those men that your conscience tells you will be best for America.

I close simply by saying since I am speaking primarily about this fine young man who is your candidate for the United States Senate--he is a young man; he is a man of the future rather than the past; he is a man who has strong ideas about what is best for America; he is a man that can bridge the generation gap; he is a man that can provide the kind of leadership that we need in the Senate of the United States, particularly on this issue of providing order and progress and justice under law--the great question the voters of this State have to answer this time very simply is this:

You have a choice, a choice between one man who honestly believes that he is right in opposing the programs that I have described, most of them on virtually every occasion, and another man, a man of the future, who says it is time for reform, it is time for programs that will win a just peace, it is time for programs that will protect Americans against the rise in crime and the rise, of course, in disruption and in other areas.

I say to you, my friends, that this is a time when the voters of Missouri have an opportunity. The man of 'the hour, the man for this year and the man for the years to come is Jack Danforth. Give him your vote.

Note: The President spoke at 8:53 p.m. in the Kansas City Auditorium.

Richard Nixon, Remarks in Kansas City, Missouri. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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