Richard Nixon photo

Remarks in Miami Beach, Florida

October 27, 1970

Governor Kirk, Senator Gurney, Congressman Cramer, all of the distinguished guests here on the platform, all of the members of this great audience:

I am very honored and proud to be back in the auditorium which nominated me for President of the United States in 1968. And I am proud that every time I have been on the ticket in Florida, in 1959, 1956, 1960, 1968, we carried Florida. Thank you very much.

And today, I am here not as a candidate, but I am here in behalf of others. I am here as one who speaks as one of you. As you know, my voting residence is California. I also own property in Florida. And I live in very good public housing in Washington, D.C. But as far as where I spend my time next to Washington, D.C., I am very happy that I have been able to spend more time in Florida than in any other State.

And so I speak as a taxpayer in this State, as one who loves this State, who sees its great future, and as that kind of an individual, I think I have a right and a responsibility to tell you what I think about the leadership in this State.

I believe that the reelection of Claude Kirk as Governor is in the best interest of the people of Florida, and I am for him all the way. He has the vision, he has the courage, to provide the leadership that this State needs. I say the vision and the courage because Florida is a State that has a great future.

I would estimate that in the next 25 years, it will probably grow more than any State in this Union. And now is the time to plan for that growth. Now is the time to see to it that that growth does not destroy the beauty of this State. Claude Kirk sees that problem. He gives great leadership for this State. I support him and the whole ticket in the State of Florida with you.

I am also proud to be here in behalf of our national candidates, in behalf of those who are the candidates for the Congress of the United States. I cannot mention them all. I know they have been introduced before.

But I want you to know that those who are running for the House in this State of Florida are among the best group of candidates I have seen in the whole Nation. They are a great team. Let's support them and elect them to the Congress of the United States.

Now I come to the contest in which there is an interest not only in the State of Florida but in the whole Nation, because what is involved here I would put in terms of a majority of one. I am referring not simply to who controls the next Senate. I am referring to the fact that in vote after vote in the past 2 years a change of one vote might have made the difference as to whether America was going to be strong or weak at the bargaining table, as to whether America was going to have a policy that would win the peace or lose the peace, as to whether America was going to have programs which deal effectively with the problem of crime in this country or ineffectively.

And it is because that one vote is so important that I am campaigning in Florida and in other States for men who, on their record, will stand with the President rather than against him on the great issues confronting the American people today.

Let me ask you to think of those issues for just a moment, not in terms of whether you are Democrats or Republicans, but in terms of being Americans and what is best for America.

I know that I would never have carried this State had it not been for Democrats as well as Republicans. I speak to the whole State and, through you, to the whole Nation.

I remember over 2 years ago when I spoke in this convention hall I made some promises to the American people, some promises I have tried to keep. Those promises didn't involve simply Republican policies. They involved what was best for America.

I promised that I would embark on a program which would bring peace in Vietnam and lasting peace in the world.

I promised that I would enact a program and stand for the enactment of a program that would bring peace at home and stop the rise in crime in this country. And I promised that I would stand for a program that would bring what all of us want, prosperity, progress, but prosperity without war.

That is what we want, and that is what we can have.

My friends, in the past 2 years, I have worked as President of the United States to carry out those promises I made to you and to the people of America right in this hall. We have made some progress. And when you think of the Presidency of the United States, that awesome position with all of its power, the most powerful man in the world, you think that he should be able to do anything.

But I can tell you that while the President has great power, he cannot do what needs to be done unless he has help. And I have come here to ask for help. I need more men in the House, more men in the Senate, who will support the President in the great issues which you have elected me to carry out in the campaign of 1968.

And here they are. When I came into office, here is what I found: 550,000 men in Vietnam with no plans to bring them home; casualties at 300 a week; no peace plan on the conference table; and we went to work. Instead of sending more men to Vietnam, we are bringing them home by the tens of thousands, and they are going to continue to come home. Instead of casualties going up, they are going down, and they will continue to go down under our leadership.

We have a peace plan on the conference table in Paris. Let me put it quite directly.

My friends, we are ending this war, and we are ending it in a way that will discourage those that would start another war. The problem is not in ending a war; the problem is in ending a war where we can win the peace.

Look back over the history of this country. I see some here old enough to remember World War I, World War II, Korea. We ended all those wars. But do you realize that in America, in this century, we have yet to enjoy a full generation of peace?

Well, I think it is time to change that. That is why I have stood for policies, and I am working for policies, that will end this war in a way that we can have a generation of peace for the last generation of this century.

And to do that, I need men in the Senate like Ed Gurney, who has given us such strong support, and another man in the Senate like Bill Cramer, who will give that same kind of support.

In order to do that, we also need the support for those programs that will keep America strong, so that when the American President negotiates for the limitation of arms, or in any other field, let's be sure that our President negotiates from strength and never from weakness. That is what Bill Cramer stands for and these candidates here on this platform.

I turn now to another problem that I discussed 2 years ago right in this hall. I pledged to the American people that the wave of crime in this country was not going to be the wave of the future, and it will not be the wave of the future with your help and with the support of men like Bill Cramer.

But listen to what happened. Eighteen months ago, a year and a half ago, I submitted to the Congress of the United States a comprehensive program to deal with organized crime, to deal with drugs, to deal with narcotics, to deal with pornography, to deal with obscenity.

And what happened? Nothing happened month after month after month, until just a few weeks ago, during the election campaign, bills finally reached my desk. I say that record isn't good enough.

We need a man like Bill Cramer in the United States Senate who would join with Ed Gurney in getting action in dealing with the problem of stopping crime in this country.

Let us well understand what the issue is. I realize that in an election campaign everybody is against crime. Everybody, of course, is for peace. But let me say that the real problem is not simply being for the laws and the judges who will stop the rise in crime in an election campaign, but who will be for those laws and will stand for those judges and approve those judges all year round, and Bill Cramer will do that in the United States Senate.

And we need also, my friends, men in that Senate who understand the future of America, who recognize that in this great State of Florida, with all the beauty of its oceans and its inland waterways, that we must pass this heritage on to our children. We must stop the pollution of the air and the pollution of the water, and the destruction of our places of beauty.

Let's see that our young people have what we have. My friends, this is a beautiful country. Let's pass it on more beautiful than we received it to the young people of America.

Bill Cramer, in those weekly meetings of the legislative leaders, has stood firmly for the programs in the field of the environment, to clean up our air, to stop the pollution of our waters. And, my friends, we need that kind of strong support in the Congress of the United States and in the Senate of the United States. And he will provide it.

Now, my friends, let me come to a very specific point. That is, why should a man who has the experience that Bill Cramer has, why does he have an advantage over another man who may be well-intentioned but who does not have the experience?

I will tell you why: Because I have noted in those legislative leaders' meetings that when Bill Cramer has a problem, with that fine legal mind of his, he advocates action to deal with it. He is the author, for example, for the anti-bombing bills, for the antiriot bills. I say that that kind of experience, which he's developed over 16 years of service in the House of Representatives, will mean that he who is a big man in the House will begin as a big man in the United States Senate. And that is what Florida deserves in the United States Senate.

There is another subject on which he has spoken out, and on which he has acted and not just talked. I know that all of you are aware of my position on the very difficult problem of our schools here and in other States in this country. I believe that the first requirement that all of us want, whatever our background, what all of us want for our children, is quality education. And I believe that the best education comes when we send our children to that school that is closest to home, the neighborhood school.

That is why a man who stands firmly for that proposition, who stands firmly against that kind of busing which is used only for the purpose of racial balance, in my opinion, represents what is best for all of the people of this State and of this Nation, the right kind of education, education which is in the best interest of equal opportunity for all and fairness to all.

Now, finally, I would not want this occasion to pass without speaking, if I could, to this television audience and also to this audience here in this hall with regard to the young people of America.

I want to speak to you about them, because night after night on that television screen, you will see violence. A bomb destroyed, for example, a bank 10 miles from my home in California yesterday near the campus of one of our State universities.

And we saw violence in the University of Wisconsin. Night after night you see on the television young people shouting out obscene slogans, trying to shout down speakers, even trying to shout down the President of the United States.

Well, they are not going to be able to do it.

I know the impression that many Americans have, and I read some of the columnists and others who say those who try to shout down speakers, those who engage in this kind of protest, that they are the majority of young Americans or at least will be the leaders of the future.

I have news for you: They are not a majority of young Americans, and they will not be the leaders of the future of America.

My friends, the leaders of the future of America are the millions of young Americans who go to school to study, the millions of young Americans who want change, and I hope they always do, who are dissatisfied with things as they are, and I hope they always are--people who, however, recognize that the greatness of America is that this country provides a method for peaceful change, and who also recognize that in a system that provides a method for peaceful change there is no cause that justifies violence or resort to violence or lawlessness.

To those who are young, and to your parents and to your teachers, could I tell you something about America, perhaps, that needs to be said more often.

We hear what is wrong about this country. We hear that our foreign policy should be criticized. I have traveled to most of the countries of the world, and I have traveled recently as the President of the United States to countries, to Communist countries, to non-Communist countries. And hundreds of thousands of people have come .out to cheer the President of the United States.

I will tell you why: because they know that the United States is the strongest nation in the world, hut that the United States will never use its strength to destroy freedom; only to defend it. We will never use our strength to destroy the peace.

I am proud of the fact that the United States Of America, as the strongest nation of the world, stands for peace in the world. Let's be proud of our country and stand up for America.

And again I say, there are problems here at home. Too many of our people are poor. Too many of our people do not have the chance they should have. There are things that should be done in many, many areas.

But, my friends, again, look at America. We are fortunate in that we are the only country in the world that is rich enough that we have the means to provide a decent income for every person in America. That is the greatness of America. Let' s be proud of it and be thankful of it.

Now I have a final message for you, and for all of you who are listening on television tonight. On November 3d you will be making a very great decision. It will involve your future. It will involve the future of Florida. It will involve the future of America.

I ask you to think not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans what is best for America. I ask for the support that I need to bring peace abroad, real peace, to restore peace at home, and to have the prosperity that we all want-prosperity without war and without inflation.

My friends, I have another message for you. Oftentimes, as I travel through the country, and as we find, as we have here tonight, a few who indicate opposition, there are those who say, "How do we answer those who engage in violence? How do we answer those who try to shout down a speaker?"

And my answer is, "Don't answer in kind. It is time for the great silent majority just to stand up and be counted."

The way you answer is by the most powerful action, more powerful than any four-letter epithet that you can imagine, and that is by your votes. Go to the polls on election day. And I urge you to vote. I respect you if you vote differently from what I urge you to do. Let it be a majority decision.

But, my friends, I say go to the polls and, as you vote, remember 2 years ago the people of Florida elected as President of the United States a man who had made certain promises.

I am trying to keep these promises. I will keep those promises. I need help to keep them. I need Bill Cramer in the United States Senate. Give him that opportunity.

So, my friends, there is your answer. With your votes on November 3d, you can tell America what the real majority thinks in this country.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 8:36 p.m. in the Miami Beach Convention Hall.

Richard Nixon, Remarks in Miami Beach, Florida Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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