Richard Nixon photo

Remarks in Mount Prospect, Illinois

October 29, 1970

Governor Ogilvie, Senator Percy, Senator Smith, all of the distinguished guests on the platform, and this very great audience here in Mount Prospect at Prospect High School:

In checking my notes, I find that I have a proud distinction today: the first President of the United States ever to visit Prospect, and I'm glad to be here.

I appreciate very much the warm welcome that we received. I remember the meeting in 1968. I recall something about "Ooh-Aah" then. And I had forgotten. Now I remember.

Thank you very much.

I want to express appreciation, I know all of you will, for all of those that have participated in the program. That marching hand from Prospect High School-how about a hand for them--the marching band from Elk Grove; the marching band from Hershey High School; and from Wheeling High School--that is one way to bring all these high school rivals together. They are all for each other today. Also, I am very proud to stand here today on this platform in the presence of a number of fine candidates. I am going to talk particularly about the candidate for the United States Senate. But I am also very happy to have here our candidates for the county offices and candidates for the Congress.

I have a special feeling about the man who is running for the office of county executive here--Joe Woods. He has been the sheriff of this county. He has been one whom I have known for many, many years.

All of you have known him and I have known him as a man who has a marvelous record in the field of law enforcement. But I know him, too, as a man--and this is the important thing--who has the respect of the men with whom he works. And he only gets that by being a good administrator. He is the kind of a man you need to run this county, Cook County.

I am very proud, too, to be here with the people whom I have worked with in Washington, D.C., some of whom are on em again. Send them to Washington and we will get the job done. This is your team, our team. Thank you.

I want to talk to you about this Senate race here in Illinois, both in terms of the State of Illinois, but also in terms of the Nation. The eyes of the Nation are on this State. It is a critical State. It is a State that makes the difference in a national campaign as to whether a man will be elected President or not be elected President. It is the State that this year could well make the difference as to whether we have in the United States Senate--and listen to this very carefully--a majority of one.

I am not referring to a majority of one in terms of who is going to be the majority leader or the minority leader, but a majority of one in terms of great issues that are beyond whether you are Republicans or Democrats, issues that involve our children, their future, your future, peace abroad, peace at home; the chance that all of us want to develop in this country what we have not had for many, many years: prosperity and progress, but without war and without inflation.

And in the United States Senate, we have a very closely divided situation. In vote after vote over these past 2 years, we have had men who honestly disagreed, but men who reached different conclusions from the programs that we have tried to implement from the national administration.

And in instance after instance, a change of one vote would have made the difference.

So, you are talking today not simply about another Senator from Illinois who will go down there to continue the fine team of Chuck Percy and Ralph Smith in the United States Senate, you are talking about the man, the one man, who might make the difference as to whether the President of the United States, who has the responsibility to carry out policies for all the people, will have people who will vote with him or will vote against him. on the great issues that you asked him to do something about.

We need Ralph Smith because he will be with us and not against us on those great issues. That is why I am here.

I do not suggest that we expect a United States Senator or United States Congressman to come to Washington and vote 100 percent for whatever the President says. I like a man who is independent. You have independent men from this State, and you have one in Ralph Smith.

But I am going to talk today about just four issues, four because, particularly with so many young people here, I know you study these things in your social studies and in your history classes and political science. To all of those who are voting age, it seems to me fight now, as I travel around the country, there are four great concerns the American people have.

Do you know what is interesting about it? I recall so well, just 2 years ago, speaking in this very hall. I remember the four things that I talked about. And interestingly enough, those four great issues that I talked about 2 years ago are the ones that people are concerned about today. They wanted action then. That is why I won the election in 1968. The people wanted action on those particular issues.

And what I am here to do is to try to get the support that we need, that I need, but particularly that the Nation needs, so that we will be able to carry out the pledges that I made right here in this hall, I made to the people of Illinois, I made to the people of America.

All of you will remember the first pledge. It had to do with a major concern of older Americans and younger Americans, all Americans, and people throughout the world, and that is: I pledged that I would work for lasting peace in the world. Here is what I found when I came into office.

I found that we had a war with 550,000 men in Vietnam, no plans to bring them home, casualties 300 a week, with casualties going up, no peace plan on the conference table.

I went to work. And what we did is that instead of sending men to Vietnam, we have been bringing them home by the tens of thousands and we are going to continue to bring them home.

Instead of having the situation with our casualty list going up and up, they are the lowest in 4½ years, and they will continue to go down, because of the leadership we have provided. And we have a peace plan on the conference table, a peace plan that we were finally able to make because of the success of our other programs, a peace plan which offers a cease-fire, an exchange of prisoners, a political settlement, and a mutual withdrawal of forces.

Let me tell you where the situation is right now, today. The war in Vietnam is being brought to an end. It will bring peace in Vietnam, but the important thing is how we are bringing it to an end.

Here is where we have the difference, the difference between the various candidates throughout the country. We see it here in Illinois. We see it in many other States. It is a very simple one. There are those who say, "End it now," or "End it 6 months from now," or "12 months from now." "Set a date. The most important thing is to end it, no matter how."

Let me tell you, that would be the easiest thing I could do. After all, the President of the United States is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. I could simply order all the men home and everybody might have a sigh of relief and say, "The war is over."

Could I recount a little history for you? Look back over this century. I was born in 1913, and in my lifetime there have been four wars. There was World War I; we ended it. There was World War II; we ended it. There was the Korean war; we ended it.

But do you know, and I say this particularly to this younger generation, that in this whole century, we have not had a full generation of peace.

The problem is not to end the war. The problem is to end the war in a way that we discourage the warmakers so that we can have a generation of peace for Americans and that is what we are working for and that is what we are doing.

Your Senator, Ralph Smith, understands that issue. He has supported this administration on that issue. Because he understands it, because he supports us, it means that he has often provided what could be the majority of one. We need him. If we want that generation of peace, if the President is going to be able to carry out the pledge that he made to the American people, not just peace for the next election but peace for the next generation, we need a man like Ralph Smith in the United States Senate that will stand with him and not against him on this great issue.

After talking about foreign policy, let's come right close to home. I see a number of people here who will probably be out shopping a little later in the day, some of the ladies will. You are not going to like what you find as far as the prices are concerned. Prices seem to be going up. They were in 1968. You remember I talked about it here in 1968. I remember exactly what I said. I said that what we had been having over the past 8 years had been the situation where government was spending billions of dollars more than it was taking in in taxes, and that when a government spends more than it takes in in taxes year after year after year, $50 billion--that is the amount that was spent, more than we took in in taxes in the previous 8 years from 1961 to 1968--when that happens, the effect is to raise prices throughout the country.

That is one of the major causes of inflation. I said to the American people, I said to the people of Mount Prospect, to the people of Illinois, when we get to Washington, we are going to cut the Federal budgets where we can cut them, cut the Federal budget so that we can take the pressure off of prices.

So, we need help on this issue.

Let me tell you why it is vitally important. There are many programs that we need for the spending of Federal funds, and those programs I have asked for, those programs we will approve.

There are others, however, that go far beyond what we need, which involve runaway, irresponsible spending. Now, the big spenders think that they are going to be the big winners on November 3d. Well, they are going to be the big losers, because the people are tired of big spenders in Washington, D.C.

I say quite directly, if you want to stop the rise in your grocery bill, if you want to stop the rise in your clothing bill, if you want to stop the rise in prices, one of the major things you can do is to elect a man who has the courage, as Ralph Smith has, to go to Washington and, when he finds that he has to make a decision, will make the hard and courageous decision to vote against a spending program that might help some few people someplace in the country, but would raise prices for all people. He is that kind of a man. That kind of courage we need in the United States Senate. A majority of one could make the difference. There might be the one-- Ralph Smith, the one.

All over this country I have found that there has been an enormous interest in the problem not only of peace abroad but peace at home. Americans are concerned about that. I understand it. All of us understand it because we are a peaceful people, we are a law-abiding people. We are very proud of that tradition in this country.

Americans have been shocked by the fact that in the sixties, for example, crane went up 158 percent in this country: the use of drugs and narcotics, the flow of pornography and obscenity into the homes of our children, the fact that we find organized crime going up and up, and street crime, the fact that we needed action. I talked about it in 1968.

I pledged that I would do something about it. And we have done something about it.

First, we have gotten a strong Attorney General and we have backed him up, right up and down the line.

Second, I have appointed strong men to the judiciary up and down the line, men who will strengthen in their decisions the peace forces rather than weaken the peace forces as against the criminal forces.

Third, I have asked for legislation-now listen to what happened to this legislation. Eighteen months ago--Chuck Percy will bear me out, Bob McClory, who worked on this and contributed to it enormously in the House of Representatives, will bear me out--I submitted legislation to deal with organized crime, with pornography, with obscenity, with drugs and narcotics. And it stayed in the Congress. Nothing happened until just a few weeks ago, as we approached the election, the bills finally began to reach my desk, and I have signed them. It is better late than never.

But I say to you that we have to have a sense of urgency more than that. And what we need in the United States Senate is a man that will vote for the laws, who will also speak out on this subject very strongly, not just at election time but all year round. And Ralph Smith does that.

He is the kind of a man that stands firmly with us on this issue. Now, that is what we are going to do. We are going to see to it through our laws, through our courts, through every other device that we can legitimately use, that the wave of crime isn't going to be the wave of the future, the heritage for these young people whose fate is entrusted to us.

But, you know, there is something you can do, and I do not want to miss this opportunity to mention it. A couple of days ago in Kansas City I went to a hospital to visit two policemen. They were very brave men, rather young men; they were men who had been injured in a bomb blast when they were working in a very depressed area of the city and working in a very humanitarian cause in one of our major Federal programs, to try to bring better information to the people of that area with regard to respect for law, the decencies that make a society livable.

Yesterday, as we were driving in one of our motorcades in Florida, a motorcycle officer was hit by a truck. He fell off the motorcycle. It fell on top of him. I stopped the car; I went over to shake his hand. His arm was broken; his leg was broken. His head was bleeding.

I said, "I am sorry that this happened." Do you know what he said? "Gee, I am sorry I spoiled your day. I am sorry I can't stand up and salute."

Let me say something to you. Our law enforcement officials in this country have a hard job. It is a dangerous job. Sixty-six have been killed already this year, many of them in senseless murders and bombings. Hundreds have been injured. They aren't paid enough. Now, we may not be able to pay them enough and we may not be able to give them the laws that we need, but there is one thing that we can give the law enforcement officials and not just at election time. Let's give them the respect and the backing that law enforcement officials deserve in this country.

Then, finally, there are programs for progress--I have talked about here--it seems so long ago, 2 years ago--programs in which we would reform our government: a program of revenue sharing which Governor Ogilvie is so very much interested in, in which the revenues of the Federal Government will be shared with the States so that the States will be able to handle their problems here rather than having them handled from Washington, D.C., programs of welfare reform, programs of cleaning up the air and the water, the environment, so that these young people can have what we have, a beautiful America, and not have the air polluted and the water poisoned and all of the beautiful places destroyed.

These are all programs of reform that this administration stands for. They are programs that we have had support for from these men who are in the House.

We have had strong support from Chuck Percy. We have had strong support from Ralph Smith. There, again, we need Ralph Smith in the United States Senate so that we can, I can, not as an individual, but as a man who was elected President, who made certain promises to the American people, so that I can keep the promises that you elected me to keep. We can do that only with your help.

Let me say a word about the President. When you go back, they will ask you to write, many of you, a little theme, I suppose, about what the President talked about. And one of the things you read a lot about these days is the power of the President. I don't want to be self-effacing about that in a personal sense, but let me talk about the office for a moment.

The President of the United States, because we are the most powerful and the richest country in the world, is the most powerful man in the world. But the President of the United States, while he can do a great number of things with his power, cannot act effectively for his people, for the American people, to carry out the pledges that he makes to them unless he has help from the Congress, from the House and from the Senate. That is what this is all about. It is part of our system.

I respect the right of people who disagree with my policies. But, after all, I was elected in 1968, and I intend to keep my promises, and I need Ralph Smith in that Senate to help me keep my promises to the American people.

One note: With all of these young people here, and particularly, perhaps, I should say this to the older ones, I am so delighted to see you here. I have appreciated the way that you have listened.

I know that sometimes these days when you look at television night after night you see on that television screen a distorted picture of America. I don't blame the television people. After all, what is news is usually bad news rather than good news. That is what makes the news.

So we will have a rally with thousands and thousands of people, and there will be a few demonstrators out shouting four-letter words or trying to shout down a speaker, and they will show their picture on the television screen.

Or you will see rocks thrown, as was the case in Vermont, at the President of the United States, you will see their pictures on the television screen, or you will see a bomb thrown or a building burned.

So the violent few, the radical few, over and over again, they come across your television screen. So Americans get the impression that the radical few are either a majority of American youth or are going to be the leaders of the future.

Let me tell you something. I have been around this country. I have been to most of the major States, and I have seen lots of young people. I have seen some of the radical few.

But despite what you have seen on that television screen, despite what you have read in columns, and despite what you have seen in the newspapers, the radical few are not a majority of American youth today, and they are not going to be the leaders of America tomorrow.

American youth, to its great credit, is idealistic. It wants change; it wants peace in the world; it wants peace at home; it is not satisfied with the way things are. And that is the way young people should be, because that gives vitality and strength to our system.

But they also recognize that our country's glory is that it provides for peaceful change, and that when a system provides for peaceful change there is no cause that justifies resort to violence.

So I simply say to you, all of you here, on November the 3d you have a chance to speak out. People often ask me, "How do you answer those that shout, try to shout down a speaker? How do you answer those that give a false impression of America?"

Don't try to answer them in kind. You don't have to. You can do it another way. The way you can answer them is by your votes on November 3d. That is the time, on November the 3d, that is the time when we are really going to see what America is like. That is the time when the great silent majority of America can stand up and be counted with their votes and stand up and be counted for America, for those programs that will build America, and for, in my opinion, a man like Ralph Smith and our congressional candidates here who will stand with the President of the United States so that he can carry out his promises to you and to the people of America.

Note: The President spoke at 9:30 a.m. in Mount Prospect High School.

Richard Nixon, Remarks in Mount Prospect, Illinois Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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