Richard Nixon photo

Remarks at Longview, Texas.

October 28, 1970

Senator Tower, Congressman Bush, all of the distinguished guests on the platform, and all of this very great audience here in Longview:

I want to say first that, as I read on the plane coming from Florida about this stop, I found that I could proudly say today that I was the first President of the United States, while in office, to visit Longview. And I am glad to be here.

After this kind of a welcome, I can assure you I think other Presidents are going to come here, too. And I hope to be back.

I have noted, of course, that, as we get in the final days of the campaign, there have been a few comments to the effect that outsiders are coming into Texas. I just want to reply in this way: I don't think the President of the United States is an outsider any place in this country.

I feel that way particularly because of the editorial that I saw in the Longview Daily News, and also in the morning Journal.

I have appreciated very, much the welcome that you have given and the wonderful welcome that we have here. And may I say, too, that I am so delighted to come back to this part of Texas which I visited first in 1952 and to see some of the groups that I saw then still here. The Kilgore College Band--they are out there. I understand they had a picture of the Rangerettes with me when I was a candidate for Vice President in 1959. As I saw them coming in, I can tell you that not a one of them looks a bit older than when I saw them in 1952. And it is one of the really exciting and fine groups.

But let me also pay my tribute and also my thanks to the Tyler College Band. Are they here?

To the Gladewater High School Band. It is here. To the Jarvis Christian College Band.

Now, my friends, I know that you have been standing here for a long time. I realize that to come to an airport is a great chore. I could see, as the plane circled to come down, that some of you must have walked for miles, literally, to get here.

So, consequently, I want to bring my message to you as well as I can, as briefly as I can, as directly as I can, in the tradition of this State, because I know that you like plain talk. You like it straight from the shoulder. I like to talk that way.

I want to speak to you about your State, your representation in Washington, your representation also in Austin, and, also, if I could, at the conclusion, something about the future of America as I see it, completely beyond any partisan terms, and particularly in view of the fact that we have so many young people here who are the future of America--and it is a good future, believe me.

First, I am proud to be on this platform with some very fine candidates. I am proud to endorse, as I have endorsed previously, and I endorse it here, in the heart of east Texas; I endorse Paul Eggers for Governor of this State.

I do so because I happen to know him personally and like him. You know that. I appointed him as the General Counsel for the Treasury Department. He rendered distinguished service. And there he learned what it means to handle the great problems involving the finance of the United States of America. He is a man who, in State government, will know how important it is to keep down that spending so that you can keep down your taxes.

That is the kind of a man you want in the Governor's office in Austin. He is a man who understands the other problems of government, one who will take a firm stand for the enforcement of the law in a fair way; one who will be firm for equality of opportunity for all people, and, above everything else, who will be for progress for this great, progressive State.

I endorse him enthusiastically. I am glad to be here with him on this platform today.

And now I would like to turn to the race for the United States Senate. It probably is not news to you Texans, because you follow politics pretty closely out here, that this is a race that is being watched all over the country. It is being watched because this is a race that could go either way. It will be determined, as will so many other races in this year, probably by what happens in the last week before November 3d.

So, what I say to you, what I say to you who may be listening on television or radio: Will you listen? Will you listen not in terms of saying, "Well I am a Republican" or "I am a Democrat, and so I am going to listen to see whether or not I should vote Republican or Democrat."

The issues before America these days are too important to think in terms simply of a party label. We have to think in terms of what is best for America. And it is because I believe that George Bush will do better for Texas and better for America that I am for George Bush for the United States Senate.

I want my position to be absolutely clear. I could endorse him solely because he is a member of my party, as he is. I could endorse him solely because I like him personally, as I do.

But I say to you that in this particular instance I have examined his qualifications. I have looked at them carefully. I would like for you to do likewise.

And these are some things that I would have in mind if I were a Texan thinking about the man who was going to go to Washington to represent me in the United States Senate.

First, he is a young man, a young man in terms of whoever would be in the United States Senate, but a man who has great experience in the House of Representatives. In the period of just 4 years George Bush has a voice that has been heard in the House of Representatives. His voice will be heard in the Senate, and it will be heard in the White House. You can be sure of that.

And with another young man, a young man with very great experience, one of the strongest men, one of the best supporters this administration has, with John Tower and George Bush, you will have one of the greatest teams that ever came out of Texas, and that is saying a lot.

I have got to be careful what I say about these Texas teams. The last time I named Texas number one I couldn't go back to Pennsylvania.

But now for a moment may I ask you to consider not simply these qualifications that I have mentioned, the fact that George Bush is experienced, the fact that he will work hard, the fact that he will get things done for Texas--all of these things are important.

Let us consider the responsibility, if you will, for a moment, that the President of the United States has. I would like for you to think of what I promised I would try to do for the American people when I was elected 2 years ago, and what I need and what I am trying to do, where George Bush stands on those issues, and why I believe that his election would be helpful-not to me as an individual but to those principles that America, I believe, wants implemented by the President of the United States.

Let me begin. What do Americans want above everything else? You know what it is. We think of our young people and, of course, we want a good life. We want good education and good health and good security as they get older. But, above everything else, we want them to live in a world of peace. And so, from the moment that I became President of the United States, I have been working for that cause.

Let me make one thing very clear in that respect, incidentally. I appear here in Texas, in the home State of the man who preceded me in this office. He, too, was devoted to peace. He worked for peace. And I am very proud to say that we in the Republican Party are showing a former President the respect that he deserves, far more than those of his own party are showing, and we should show that.

The question that we have, then, and you should know, is, what are we trying to do to bring peace? I will tell you very briefly.

One, we are bringing men home from Vietnam, and they will continue to go home.

Two, by moving on the enemy sanctuaries in Cambodia, we were able to destroy the supplies and, therefore, reduce our casualties to 'the lowest in 4 1/2 years.

Third, we have a peace plan on the conference table in Paris. And I can simply sum it up by saying that a plan which will end the war and win a just peace has been put in motion. We are going to have peace.

But the important thing is this, and I make this distinction so that all of you will understand why we are doing what we are doing and why we need the kind of support that George Bush and John Tower will give us in the United States Senate.

Sometimes I see young people, and some older ones, carry signs saying "Peace now. End the war now." Why not? I'll tell you why. Any President who has the responsibility for the lives of our young men doesn't want any war, not one casualty. He would want to end it immediately.

But would you look back over the history of this country? I was born in the year 1913. I can see a few others here who were born then or a little sooner. And in my lifetime, in this century, did you know that America has never had a generation of peace?

We have ended wars all right. We ended World War I. We ended World War II. We ended the Korean war. But then it seems that we get in another war before that generation ends its life.

I say let's end the war in Vietnam in a way that will discourage those who would make another war. Let's have a generation of peace for Americans. We are doing it. George Bush, John Tower support that policy.

And then further, beyond this war, it is essential that the United States, and particularly its President, be able to negotiate with any major power--and I speak particularly of the Soviet Union--to negotiate for the reduction of the great burden of arms in the world, thereby reducing the danger of nuclear war in the world.

But I would only suggest that if we are to negotiate any kind of a settlement that will last, it is vital that the United States President negotiate from a position of strength and not from weakness. Let's have a strong United States of America.

I know that George Bush, just like John Tower, will stand for that kind of strength that a President needs if he is going to be able to work for the kind of peace that we all want--peace that will last for a generation, not just for a next election.

And then I come to a related issue at home. When we came into office, we found that crime had been going up in this country at an alarming rate. It went up 158 percent during the sixties. So we decided to do something about it. I asked for the enactment of stronger laws.

I appointed stronger judges. I named a strong Attorney General of the United States of America. And, as a result of this, we have begun to make progress in the fight against crime.

But I can tell you that we are not finished. There has been too much delay in getting some of these bills on the President's desk--18 months to get a bill to deal with organized crime, 14 months to get a bill dealing with narcotics.

And what we need in the Senate, in the House of Representatives are men who will strongly support the laws and the judges that are necessary to stop the rise of crime and to see that the wave of crime is not the wave of the future in America.

It can be done, and we need your help in order to do that.

And then third, there is another problem that comes very close to home. I see a number of ladies here, and I imagine a lot of you have been shopping today, or maybe you're going to go a little later in the day. You are going to be worried about prices because they have been going up.

As you worry about those prices, you wonder about what the Government can do.

I will tell you what we have done, what we can do, what we will do with your help.

We found that inflation was going up and up at a time we came into office. One of the reasons for its going up was that Government had spent $50 billion more than it took in in taxes in the years prior to the time that we got there. So we have tried to turn that around. That is why we have been cutting areas of the Federal budget, cutting areas of the Federal budget because we realize that unless we stop that kind of spending it will mean that prices will continue to go up.

Let me put it more directly. In the first 5 years af the sixties, we had unemployment that was too high. In the next years of the sixties, we had inflation that was too high, and we had it also with war. What this country should have, what it deserves, what we are working for, and we are making progress toward that end, is prosperity and progress without war and without inflation.

That is what we can have and that is the kind of a policy that we have adopted.

I don't know of any man in either House or Senate who better understands that issue than George Bush--his service on the Ways and Means Committee, his understanding of Government finance, his recognition of the necessity for doing what is important, for spending when it is important for the future of the country.

But when it comes to a basic decision of whether he votes for something that is going to maybe benefit a few people, but raise prices for all the people, he has the courage to say, "I am going to think of all the people," and that is the kind of men we need in the United States Senate and in the Congress.

And now to the future. I speak of not just ending a war and bringing peace abroad and at home, not just about stopping the rise in prices. But I think of those things that we need to do to build a better America.

Every few years in the history of this country we have to have a period of reform. And we have tried to make this a period of reform. We have made some progress, but we need to make more.

Rather than pouring billions of dollars into old programs, programs that have failed, we say the time has come to look at our education program, to look at our health program, to look at our welfare program, and to reform those programs so that the money that we spend will do the job rather than just putting good money into bad programs, because when you do that, you end up with bad money and bad programs.

And so what we are doing in this field-it involves many areas--the area of the environment, with which so many of you are familiar. But let me take one that I understand has become an issue here in this Texas campaign.

I want to talk about the welfare pro, gram. I want to talk about it very directly and I want to talk about it with the concern that I know that every good Texan has for anybody who needs help.

First, we in this country, because it is a rich country, do want to provide assistance for any family that needs assistance. But when we look at the present welfare program, do you know what has happened?

We have found that millions more have been added to the welfare rolls at a cost of billions of dollars with no end in sight. I will tell you why it is wrong.

When a program makes it more profitable for a man not to work than to work, when it encourages a man to desert his family rather than stay with his family, it is time to get rid of that program and get another one in its place.

So, this administration stands for a new program, one that will provide a floor of dignity without the degrading aspects of welfare for those families that need it.

But, one that will also have a work requirement and a work incentive. I will put it very bluntly: If a man is able to work, if a man is trained for a job, and then if he refuses to work, that man should not be paid to loaf by a hardworking taxpayer in the United States of America.

That is the program we stand for. It is the program that George Bush and John Tower stand for. We need that kind of reform. It is something that all of us want.

And then one other issue that I know that everybody is interested in: I am so glad to see so many young people. I understand school was let out--probably a good reason for coming to a rally. Was it? Well, let it out tomorrow.

In any event, education, let's talk about it very directly. Nothing is more important to the future of America than good education, and particularly education for our younger people so that they can all have an equal chance to go up. Let me say in that respect, I share something in common with the former President of the United States, Mr. Johnson. We both came from poor families. And we beth saw in our own lives the realization of the American dream at the very highest level.

We all want to fulfill the American dream. But, you know, we can't fulfill the American dream unless every American has a chance to fulfill his own dream. That is why I want equal opportunity for education, for jobs, for all areas, for every American, and you want it, too.

In this field of education, let us recognize that there are some problems. There is the problem of our schools and the law, the legal requirements that have been handed down by the courts. We have the responsibility for following the law. We will follow the law. But I also think it is important to make this point: It is certainly for all of us to consider absolutely essential, that we think, above everything else, of quality education for all of our children--for white children, for black children, for children whatever their background--quality education.

That is my first objective in any education program. And in my view, if you are going to have quality education for a child, and particularly for a young child, you will have it best by having that child go to school closest to home in his own neighborhood and not some place else.

That is why George Bush, John Tower, and I, Paul Eggers, all stand firmly for the neighborhood school and against busing, which the law does not require solely for the purpose of racial balance. Because that is quality-education and it is what Americans want and what they deserve.

And now one final point. I mentioned during my talk here today the fact that I was so delighted to see so many young people.

Since I am speaking for the first time in Texas, I would like to tell you a little about where I have been and what we have seen. I have been to a lot of States, and we have had some exciting meetings. I don't think I have ever seen one quite as widespread as this inside this hangar. They said we would have it all in the hangar and look at all those people way out there. I don't even think they can hear.

But I can say this: One point that I have noted in several meetings, and perhaps, as you look at television you have seen it, sometimes we have young people who are there.

Sometimes, as in Connecticut, they carry the Vietcong flag. Other times they try to shout down the speaker, the President of the United States. Other times they shout out four-letter obscenities in the presence of the crowd.

And sometimes you must get the impression out here in this State, as you look at television of those rallies, and as you look at what has happened in recent months--a bombing here, a burning there, a violent protest there, trying to shout down speakers--that this radical few among our young people, that they are a majority of the young people of America or that they are the future leaders of America.

Well, I have news for you. I have seen this country. I have been in the North, in the East, in the West, and the South, and the radical few among our young, they are not a majority of the young, and they are not going to be the leaders of the future in the United States of America.

I will tell you, don't lose faith in the young people of America. They do not want to see things as they are, and they shouldn't. The great, it seems to me, asset that this younger generation has is that it cares it cares about peace in the world; it cares about the underprivileged.

The young people want change, but they want peaceful change, not violent change. And the young people of America deserve credit for that. As we look at the radical few, let's not blame the millions of good young Americans that go to school and believe in what is right in America.

And to those young people, may I bring you a message: Sometimes you must wonder about America. You must hear on television sometimes, or you read in a column in the newspaper, that America is a sick society, that our foreign policy has brought us disrespect abroad, that people fear America abroad and at home. Well, let's just understand what the truth is.

There are some things wrong with this country. We have made some mistakes and we will make same more. But as you look at what is wrong with America, don't overlook what is right. I have had the privilege, as your President, to travel to a number of countries over these past 2 years, and hundreds of thousands of people have come out.

In Communist Yugoslavia, 350,000 stood in the rain for 2 hours just to see a motorcade go by at 40 miles an hour. Huge crowds in Spain and in Italy and in India, all over the world--why?

Not simply because I as an individual was there, but because I represented to them America. And you can be proud of your country's foreign policy. Yes, we have made mistakes, but did you realize that while America is the strongest nation in the world, there is no nation in the world that fears that we would use our strength to destroy freedom or to break the peace. We can be proud of that, and we should stand up for that principle.

And the millions of people in this world, they look at America and they realize that in this country there is more freedom, there is more opportunity, there is more chance for progress than in any country in the world.

So, as we look at America today, let us remember, only in America could a President of the United States make recommendations to a Congress, recommendations in education, in health, to take care of our aged and those who cannot care for themselves, that, in effect, would provide for them a floor which is higher than the ceiling would be for three-fourths of the people in the world.

My friends, and particularly my young friends, remember America is a great country. We are a great people, and we share a great future. And you have an opportunity, all of you, to participate in that future. It is because I believe that Paul Eggers is a man of the future, it is because I believe that George Bush is a man of the future that I endorse them for the offices which they are running for in the State of Texas.

Note: The President spoke at 4: 40 p.m. at the Gregg County Airport.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at Longview, Texas. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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