Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Remarks at a Republican Men's Luncheon in Cleveland

November 04, 1960

My friends:

Of course we don't have to be reminded we are in the midst of a political campaign, and I have been a little amused by some of the descriptions of my part in this campaign. This morning my headlines in the Washington papers said that I was a member of a rescue squad.

I said this is right, in 1952 I joined with a good many million Americans to rescue us from a lot. We were able to rescue the Nation from a war that no longer had any real meaning except calling for casualties every day, where we had already the objective we said we wanted, which was to gain the safety of South Korea. So that was solved--and with honor. Then we rescued it from inflation, and George Humphrey and I were called a good many names in trying to rescue it from a lot of controls that were then over our economy, prices on both labor and the costs of things and services. And we were rescued from military weakness which was the principal cause of ever getting into the Korean struggle in the first place.

And finally we were rescued from the philosophy that could see China go down the drain with five hundred million people, by far the vast majority of whom wanted to stay on this side of freedom and indeed looked to America as their great friend and champion.

So I am very proud to be in this rescue squad, because I think that the millions with whom I joined at that time have done a very splendid job.

And then of course we hear about the country standing still. I would just like to see this one test: when we say America and the American economy, in a way sort of an amorphous idea, the entity that we are thinking about is just so vast we don't grasp it very well. But I would like to see on billboards around this town--I would like to see Cleveland put up somewhere, what they have done, how many more homes you have built, how many hospitals, how many more roads, how many businesses have come in, what is the increase in population, the increase in its real wages, and the very great flattened-out curve of the cost of living since 1952. I would like to see those things just on a billboard to remind ourselves that we haven't exactly stood still. Either that, or I don't understand the word--the term.

Now I am on my way today to go to Pittsburgh for a little politicking, but I just want to make one observation: too many candidates--and here I am talking about the one on the opposing side, seems to me to think of this election as a little bit like we do a hundred-yard sprint. You put everything you have got into it, you call on every resource of mind and heart and muscles just to get over that line. That's the election day. Now the proper way to look at election day, in my opinion, is: what are you going to do after you get over that line? It is not in the race. In the race, all you have to do is break that tape and that's that. You are number one. In this race it is not good enough to be just number one. What are you going to do now?

I think of going back to the sports field again, and let's take a baseball game. Well, you have cracked out a grounder and you put in your last ounce of energy and you just happen to make first base. But you don't stop there. First base is the beginning. Now you call on all your alertness, your skill, your energy--and you count on your teammates, you count on the people that are working with you. And the purpose of that getting on first base was to get you around to count a run.

Now we want to think of the things that are coming behind this election. It is necessary to be number one over the line, but after you get there, we are going to do something about it, not merely to stand up and "huzza" after the results and say, "Well, we were number one," and go on about our business.

The Nation is too important to think of this race in those terms, and I think it is too often thought of in exactly that way.

And then finally I have this one observation: we talk so much or we hear so much about a second-rate country, second-rate in this and that and the other thing, whether it's space or whether it's schoolrooms or whatever. By the way, all these things are so ridiculous that they don't have to be refuted, but it leads me to this observation: suppose you had one of the players on Ohio State and he was forever saying, "You are a second-rate bunch of 'muckers.'" "You don't look good to me." "Now if you just make me your coach, this will be a much better team and we would go places, we would be world champions without even walking on the field."

Now I submit that any of the players that is running down his own squad all through the season, all through the year, is not himself going to make a very good coach.

Thank you very much and goodbye.

Note: The President spoke at 2:28 p.m. in the Wedgwood Room at the Sheraton-Cleveland Hotel.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks at a Republican Men's Luncheon in Cleveland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234517

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