Richard Nixon photo

Remarks in Rochester, Minnesota

October 29, 1970

Governor LeVander, Congressman Quie, all of the distinguished guests on the platform, and all of those who have welcomed me and our guests so very warmly on this occasion to Rochester:

It is very difficult to respond to such a welcome, not only the welcome we received here but the one downtown, which delayed us just a bit, but for a very good reason when people are so friendly.

I think my feelings can be expressed first in this way: that it is good to be in MacGregor country and, also, it is good to be in Viking1 country.

I got myself in trouble with that one. I have been to Dallas, however, already. I have already been to Kansas City. But I am going to Los Angeles tomorrow.

All that I can say, based on the Vikings' record up to this point, it is good to be in the land of champions, and I am proud to be here with champion candidates.

I don't know who does the recruiting for the Vikings, but if they need anybody for that front four or for blocking, just go downtown. Those young people downtown are the strongest, most vigorous young people we have ever seen.

I also want you to know that I realize that in the middle of the day for so many of you to come is a sacrifice of your time.

I also am aware of the fact that we have some wonderful musical entertainment here. The Lourdes High School Band--which side are they on?--and the West Concord High School Band, on the right? Well, let's give them all a hand. And the Mayo High School Southtown Singers, are they here?

For all of those who have come, thank you very much.

What I have to say today will be primarily directed to those in this audience who can vote on November 3d, but what I have to say also will be directed to you, those of you in these bands, most of whom are not yet old enough to vote, but most of whom will be thinking about your future and how this election might affect it.

I want to talk about the future of America as I see it today and as I base it on my travels around this country and around the world.

In talking about that future, I have already indicated how proud I am to be here on this platform with the candidates from the State of Minnesota. Naturally, your Congressman and all of his colleagues in the Congress Al Quie, John Zwach, Ancher Nelsen--they are a fine group.

The candidates that are running for the House of Representatives, one of the best teams I have seen around the country, I enthusiastically endorse them all.

And at the State level, I remember when Harold LeVander ran 4 years ago. I remember the polls indicated that he couldn't win. He did win and this election can be won this time in the State of Minnesota.

I am glad to see that Harold LeVander, who has made such an outstanding record as Governor of this State, has coming up in Doug Head a man who is in the great tradition of very great Minnesota Governors. I say that because, first, he is a young man with a great future ahead of him, a man who, as attorney general of this State, was recognized by his colleagues as the outstanding attorney general of the United States, which indicates that he knows something about law enforcement; he knows how to handle that difficult problem in a just and effective way; a man also who is an expert in the field of the environment in which Minnesotans, with this magnificent land of lakes that you have, are so proud of, and where you want action--action that we are going to take at the Federal level, supplemented by action at the State level.

As I look across this country, as I think of candidates for the governorship, I don't know of one who is better qualified, who has a better future and a better future for the State of Minnesota than Doug Head, your candidate for Governor in the State of Minnesota.

Bob Forsythe, Val Bjornson,2 the whole team, what a fine team. Again, I am proud to be here with them.

And now I come to the campaign for the United States Senate. I want to talk to you quite directly about this man, first, personally, then, what he means to Minnesota, and then, what he means to this Nation.

I am here in Minnesota because Clark MacGregor, in my opinion--and I have seen many men come to the Congress in the 24 years that I have watched Washington pretty close at hand-Clark MacGregor is one that ranks very high at the top among his colleagues and in the Nation. He is a man with brains. He is a man with courage. He is a man of great character. And also, he is a man who has enormous determination and that vision that is so essential for the future of America. He is a man that never looks back. He looks to the future.

At a time when Americans are examining our society, when they are looking at the old programs that have failed in the past, when they see how much we have wasted on those programs, no matter how good intentioned they are, they don't want to go back; they want to go forward.

It is because Clark MacGregor is a man of the future, a man that will carry you forward, that is why I am for him for the United States Senate in the State of Minnesota.

I come here to Minnesota not to speak against anybody, but for the candidates that I am supporting. I am for Clark MacGregor. I want you to be for him. I want you to be for him for the right reasons, not simply because he is a Republican and you may be a Republican; not simply because you like him and his family, his wife and his three charming daughters, because it is a fine family, as I like them; but because Clark MacGregor stands for something. He stands for something that America needs. It needs it very deeply. It needs it in the United States Senate. It needs his voice, a voice of the future, rather than a voice of the past. A man, and this is also important, who will stand with the President rather than against the President on the programs that the President was elected to carry out in 1968.

Most important, and this is true in Minnesota and all over this Nation, is the promise that I made in 1968 that I would work to bring peace to this Nation and to the world.

I want to report to you on that promise. I want to tell you why Clark MacGregor is, in my opinion, one who will give the support that we need to achieve that goal of a lasting peace.

When we came into office, here is what we found: 550,000 men in Vietnam, no plans to bring them home, casualties at 300 a week and going up, no plans to bring them down, no peace plan on the conference table in Paris.

I pledged we would do something about it, and I went to work. We have made some progress.

First, instead of men going to Vietnam, which was the case in the previous administration during that 5 years, we have been bringing them home by the tens of thousands and more of them will be coming home.

Second, instead of American casualties going up, they are coming down, the lowest in 4½ years.

Look at your papers this morning and you will find that is the case.

Third, instead of America not having a peace program, we have offered a cease-fire; we have offered a political settlement; we have offered to negotiate without conditions in all of these areas. It is on the table.

Let me tell you where we stand right now. We are on the way to ending the war and winning a just peace in Vietnam.

And now comes the critical point at issue in virtually every campaign in this country.

The problem is not to end the war. Every President, every American, wants to end the war. No President, no American, wants to start a war. We don't want to see young Americans die anyplace in the world. But, you see, the problem is not to end the war. All of you who have studied history, the older people who have lived it, the younger people that have studied it, know that in this century we have been in four wars.

We ended World War I, you remember. That was the war to end wars. We ended World War II, and you remember the United Nations came and that was supposed to end wars. Then we ended the Korean war.

But did you realize that despite the fact we have been in three wars and ended three wars in this century we never yet have had a full generation of peace?

That is why what I am trying to do, and what I ask for support for is a program to end this war in a way that will discourage those that would start another war so that we can win a full generation of peace for Americans.

Clark MacGregor understands that. He will support it. As he has supported it in the House, he will support it in the Senate. He recognizes the necessity to make the hard decisions.

We must think not just of peace for the next election but peace for the next generation. It can be done.

And remember, too, that a strong America, one in which the President of the United States when he goes to the bargaining table with the Soviet Union or any other power negotiates from strength rather than weakness, is essential if we are going to have this generation of peace. And he stands for that strong America.

So if you want to help the present President of the United States in a goal that Americans want, not just Republicans or Democrats or this President, then I say Clark MacGregor is a man who is committed to that program. He is one I will count on. I need his support in the United States Senate.

We turn to the problems at home, and I can speak with the same feeling and the same conviction about Clark MacGregor because, again, I know his record over the years in the House and I know what he will do when he gets to the Senate.

First, let's look at the problem of the cost of living. Everybody is concerned about it. When we went in, we saw inflation, and so we tried to find out why. And we found that this country had been on a spending binge, a spending binge in which, during the previous 4 years, we had spent $40 billion more than we had taken in in taxes.

When you go on a spending binge you have a hangover, just like when you go on any other kind of a binge. And so how do you cure the hangover? By more spending? No. What you do is to cut the spending so that you can get rid of the hangover, and that is what we are trying to do in Washington, D.C., at the present time.

That does not mean that we do not stand firmly for programs, as we do, where the United States will commit itself to those expenditures that are necessary and appropriate for the better life that all Americans want.

But it does mean that every time a spending bill comes before us, a hard decision has to be made. Is this a bill that is going to benefit some people but is going to raise prices for all people? If it is, you have got to think of all the people and not just the special interest group.

Clark MacGregor is that kind of a man. That is why I am for him for the United States Senate.

There is another area that has been talked a lot about in this campaign--I will touch it only briefly because everybody agrees on this now, as we approach the election--and that is the fact that during the previous 8 years, before we came into office, this country had a rise in crime that was totally unacceptable to the American people. It was due to the fact that we didn't have strong enough laws. It was due to the fact that we did not have strong enough administration of those laws.

So we decided to change it. We came into office, so I asked for new laws. It took 18 months for the Congress to get the first one to my desk just 2 weeks ago.

Clark MacGregor, as a member of the Judiciary Committee, helped to get that law there. He understands it.

Let me say this: In this field, we are going to use the new laws that we asked for and that finally the Congress is beginning to give us, laws dealing with organized crime, laws providing more of an opportunity to handle the problems of street crime, laws which deal with the traffic in pornography and the situation with regard to dope and narcotics.

All of these areas are areas in which we have new laws. But what we need in the United States Senate is a voice of a man who is for the laws and will support the President in the strong stand that I believe the people of the United States want their President to take with regard to law enforcement, who will talk that way and vote that way, not just in election time when it is an issue, but all year round and through his public life. And that is Clark MacGregor.

I can pledge to you we are meeting this problem. We are making progress. We can make more if we get more help.

Then there comes another area, the whole area of government reform. And there is a critical difference in this State, a very honest difference of opinion between two men who have different philosophies. I understand that difference. I respect those who may differ with our position.

But I want to tell you what we found.

We found a lot of programs when we arrived in Washington, programs dealing with problems that all Americans want to deal with--education, health, housing, welfare. Now, you go around and take your own private poll and you will find everybody is for better education and better housing and better welfare for the American people.

But when you look back over the history of this country, what you will find, particularly over the past 8 years before we got into office, is we were pouring billions and billions of dollars into programs in this field, in which money was being wasted and we weren't making progress in solving the problem. So we have instituted an exciting and certainly a revolutionary program of reforming the institutions of government.

What we have very simply said: that it is time to quit putting good money into bad programs, because you end up with bad programs and bad money both. And that is why Clark MacGregor again is the man, the man of reform, the man of the future.

Whether it is in education, whether it is in the environment, whether it is in the field of health, whether, of course, it is in the field of welfare, he stands firmly.

Speaking for just a moment about the welfare problem, an excellent example of the problem: Everybody wants to see that no family in this country, particularly families with children, does not have some kind of an adequate income.

In this rich country it is possible that that can happen. But, you know, under our present welfare program what has happened.

Let me give you an idea about the city of New York. In the city of New York between 1966 and 1970, the welfare rolls went from 600, 000 to 1,200, 000. And the number of want ads in the major New York Sunday papers were hundreds and hundreds and, yes, thousands of ads with no takers, as far as jobs are concerned.

So our new program has two approaches: One, we provide a floor of dignity for families who need assistance without that kind of situation that we have in the present welfare program, which has a very bad effect on family morale. But we also provide work incentive and work requirement, because I will put it very simply: When a program, which is like the present welfare program, has the effect of making it more profitable for a man not to work than to work, when a program has the effect of encouraging a man to desert his family rather than to stay with his family, let's get rid of it and get another program in its place.

That is why we say we will care for every family that needs it and without the degrading aspects of the present welfare program.

But if a man is able to work, if a man is trained for a job and if a man is offered a job and refuses to work, he shouldn't be paid to loaf by a hard-working taxpayer in the State of Minnesota or by any of the people of America.

I have talked about these four issues because I think they best indicate the problem: Honest men honestly disagreeing about what is best for America. I will simply indicate to you my own conviction in these concluding remarks.

We all know that when a President of the United States is elected he becomes President of all the people. He has responsibilities to all the people. And the President of the United States is a very powerful man--powerful because this country is rich and because it is strong.

But a President of the United States cannot use that power, he cannot work for the best interests of the people for his programs, unless he has support in the House and support in the Senate.

We have had some support. We haven't had enough. We need more. One man, one vote in that United States Senate, could make the difference as to whether or not we are going to have the kind of leadership that will bring a lasting peace rather than a temporary peace; that will bring prosperity and progress without war, which is something we haven't had for a long time; and that will bring, also, a reform of the institutions of government rather than pouring good money into the programs of the past.

My friends, Clark MacGregor is the one. He is the one we need. He is the one I am for. He is the one you should be for on November 3d.

1 The Minnesota Vikings professional football team.

2 Robert A. Forsythe was Republican candidate for attorney general of Minnesota and Kristjan Valdimar Bjornson was Republican candidate for State treasurer.

Note: The President spoke at 1:32 p.m. in Mayo Civic Auditorium.

Richard Nixon, Remarks in Rochester, Minnesota Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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