Richard Nixon photo

Remarks in San Jose, California

October 29, 1970

Governor Reagan, Senator Murphy, all of the distinguished guests on the platform, and all of those who have come here to this auditorium to welcome me so warmly:

I want you to know, first, that I am very proud and honored to be the first President of the United States ever to speak in San Jose at this auditorium.

I want to thank the San Jose Mercury for their very nice editorial providing the red carpet treatment in this city in which I have so many pleasant memories. And I want you to know, too, that as I come to San Jose at the end of a rather long day of campaigning, as I have come across this country, it is good to be home in California, and to speak to my fellow Californians about this campaign of 1970, what it means to you, what it means to California, what it means to America, and what it means to the world.

Before going into that particularly, however, I do want to thank those that have participated in the program up to this time.

I didn't get a chance to hear it, but I know Johnny Grant 1 was here, and I know, too, that you have had some excellent musical entertainment: the Blue Saints Jazz Band--was it here tonight? Right. And they did such a fine job representing us at the Expo in Japan.

We are proud of these young groups that go abroad and represent America. And right back of us the Cupertino High School Band that is going to be in the Rose Parade. Let's give them a hand.

We look forward to seeing them on television on January 1st.

Also, I understand there is some talk to the effect that perhaps the representative in the Rose Bowl this year may come from northern California.

As you know, I am somewhat of a football bug or nut or whatever you want to call it. But, in any event, I find that I can get into deep trouble when I am traveling as President of the United States all over this country.

I was in Texas yesterday, and all the Texans were telling me that Texas was number one. I was in Ohio the week before. And in Ohio, Ohio State is number one. I was in Indiana just last week, and there they told me Notre Dame is number one. And then today, when I was in Nebraska, I was told that Nebraska is going to be number one.

Well, all that I can say, when I am in California, Stanford is number one.

There may be some argument about which is the number one football team, but there is no argument about this: California is the number one State, and Ronald Reagan is the number one Governor in the United States of America.

As a Californian, I am proud that he is the Governor of my State. I am proud that I am going to be able to cast my vote for him and for the whole State ticket when I vote on November 3d. I am proud not only to be here with him, but with all the fine candidates on the State ticket, with Ed Reinecke, the Lieutenant Governor, with the Flournoys, with Hugh Flournoy and Jim Flournoy,2 two great teams. We want them both.

I am also very happy that Mark Guerra, the congressional candidate, is here. Charley Gubser 3 was here earlier, but he is over attending another meeting.

I do want you to know that at a political meeting like this, it is very gratifying for somebody who has the responsibility to travel all over the country to realize that when he stands on the platform and speaks about a group of candidates, he can be proud of every one of them. And I am proud of every one of these men.

Now, I would like to talk to you about the race for the United States Senate in California, what it means to you, to California, to the Nation, and to the world. As I speak of that race, I speak first of a man that I have known for 25 years. I am very proud to have George Murphy represent me and my State in the United States Senate. I am also very proud to have known him for 25 years as a friend. He is a fine Senator but, more important than that even, he is a very fine human being.

He is a man that is devoted to his family. He is devoted to his church. He is devoted to his State and to his country. He loves this country. He is working for this country. And I believe that this man, a man of unquestioned integrity, a man of unquestioned honesty, is a man we can all be proud to say: "He is our Senator; he is our George Murphy."

Right there an endorsement could stop. After all, he is my friend; he is a fine man; he is an honest man; he is a fine Senator. But it can't stop there.

This year we can't just think of whether the man is a good man or whether he is our friend or whether he even bears our party label.

The important thing is what does a man stand for? What does his election mean in terms of the next Senate? What does it mean in terms of what this Senate has been over the past 2 years in which a majority of one in that Senate can determine whether the United States has an adequate defense?

A change of one vote, for example, would have determined whether the United States did or did not have a missile defense, whether the President of the United States was able to negotiate from strength or from weakness.

And over and over again, in vote after vote after vote, that is the way the present Senate is divided.

So what I would like to talk to you tonight about is what George Murphy's vote means, what his position means, in terms of those larger issues, the larger issues that are the responsibility primarily of the President of the United States.

When I was elected President 2 years ago, I made some pledges to the American people. I remember those pledges. The American people, I think, remember them, too.

They included the four subjects that I will talk about tonight and which I particularly have been emphasizing in this campaign. They are the four great issues of this election campaign. They are the ones on which the American people must make up their minds as to whether they want a man in the United States Senate who will stand with the President or against him on these great issues.

George Murphy stands with me. I need him not because he is with me, but because, as President of the United States, I have the responsibility to keep my campaign pledges. I can keep them only if I have help.

Let me put it another way: I am very delighted to see a lot of young people here, high school age, and I know that you study history, social studies, much more deeply than we did when I was in school many years ago. And I know that you read--and it is true--that the President of the United States is probably the most powerful man in the world, because .our country is richer than any other country in the world and it is stronger than any other country in the world. So, who ever is President is a very powerful man.

But, my friends, the President of the United States can do a lot of things, but when it comes to these issues that I am talking about, his power is limited by the support that he has in the Congress. If he doesn't have the House and the Senate working with him rather than against him, his power is limited. And what I ask for the people of California tonight--I ask that they give to the present President of the United States the support that he needs to carry out the pledges that he made to the American people, and that the American people want carried out because they are in their interest.

Because here they are: The American people want, above everything, peace-not temporary peace but lasting peace.

The American people also want to restore peace at home. They are concerned about violence and they want to restore peace. And they expect the President to provide leadership in that field.
The American people want prosperity and progress. They want it without inflation and without war.

And they want full employment-jobs--jobs for everybody, but without the cost of war.

And, finally, the American people want progress. They want to have programs that will mean better education and better health, better housing, better opportunities for all of our people, whatever their backgrounds may be.

That is what they want from their President. That is what they want from their Government. And that is what I have pledged, and that is what we will get. But I need help. We need it in the Senate; we need it in the House; and you can help by giving us men that will work with us rather than against us.

Now let's come to the issues.

First, the problem of peace. Here is what I found when I came into office: There were 550,000 Americans in Vietnam. There was no plan to bring them home. Casualties were at 300 a week, and they were going up. There was no plan that would reduce them. And as far as a peace plan was concerned, there was none, none on the table, and no plans that would bring peace, either short-run or long-run.

I went to work. I adopted a program in which, instead of sending men to Vietnam, which we had been doing for 5 years, we have been bringing them home by the tens of thousands, and they are going to continue to come home.

Second, I took some very strong action. I took action against enemy sanctuaries in Cambodia. Why? Because I knew that if we did we could reduce American casualties. And we have. They are the lowest in 4 1/2 years, and they are going to continue to go down.

And, third, we took action on the peace front. As a result of our increased strength, we were able to offer, and we now have offered, a forthcoming policy, a cease-fire, an exchange of prisoners without any conditions, the negotiation of a political settlement, the mutual withdrawal of troops.

There is where it stands.

And here is the prospect for the future: The war in Vietnam is being brought to an end. We will bring peace, as far as that section of the world is concerned.

But now we come to the difference, a difference that is vitally important to the American people. The question is why not now--why not? And we see the signs and we hear them: "Why not peace now? Why not bring the boys home right away? Why do we care about doing it this long way?"

I will tell you why.

My friends, do you realize that in this century we have been in four wars? I was born in 1913, and in my lifetime we have had four wars: World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam.

We have ended each of the three of those wars. We ended World War I. We ended World War II. We ended the Korean war. And did you yet realize that not one generation in this century of Americans has had a full generation of peace?

The question, you see, is not ending a war. The question is ending a war in a way that you discourage those who will start another war and, therefore, have a generation of peace for Americans. And that is what we are doing.

That is what our men in Vietnam are fighting for, and that is what they are going to win. They are going to win a peace. They are fighting in a way that will end this war, to discourage those that might start another war, and that will bring peace in the Pacific and increase the chances that we can have peace in the world for a full generation.

They are fighting in Vietnam so that those young men that are outside shouting their obscene slogans won't have to fight in Vietnam or anyplace else any time in the future.

If we are going to have a generation of peace, we need more than that. We must think also of the whole world scene. The President of the United States at present leads the strongest nation in the world. This is important for peace. It is a guarantee of peace. It is a guarantee of peace, because the United States, never in this century--and we never will has never used its power to destroy freedom. It has never used its power to break the peace. It has used it to defend freedom or to defend the peace. And, therefore, a strong United States is essential if we are to have peace.

Here, again, we come to the candidate for the United States Senate, what it means.

It is very easy to talk about reducing our spending for defense, reduce it beyond what the President has recommended. It is very easy to vote against, as did half the Senate, an adequate missile defense for the United States of America, when our potential opponents in the world already have one. But, my friends, we are entering a period of negotiation with the Soviet Union. I hope that negotiation--I believe that it can reduce the burden of nuclear arms and increase the chances of real peace in the years ahead.

But if we are to succeed in those negotiations, I say to you, don't send the President of the United States to the negotiating table in a position of weakness. Send him there in a position of strength. We need a strong United States of America.

George Murphy stands for those things. He has voted for, he has talked for, a strong United States. That is why we need him in the United States Senate, because that kind of strength is what the President needs to back him up in that vitally important body.

Now, let's turn from the problems abroad to the problems at home.

One of them is related to what has happened abroad. As a result of our turning down of the war, we have found that a million men have been let out of the armed services in the past 2 years or out of defense plants, and we have had to begin to work into that transition from what we call a wartime to a peacetime economy.

Listen carefully to what I say. Did you realize that when we look back to World War II and through World War II, that the periods when the United States of America has had full employment have usually been in times of war?

My friends, I think we want to have full employment and prosperity without war, and we can have it and we need it with your support.

This presents a temporary problem in some places, like California, in which we have a trained force of highly skilled people working in aircraft and in other industries that are associated with war production. But let me say this: that trained force is an enormous asset for the future, because as America moves from wartime production to peacetime production, the possibilities are enormous, the possibilities in the field of the environment, the possibilities in the field of health care, the possibilities in the field of education, the needs as far as transportation is concerned, the needs as far as housing is concerned.

In all of these areas, California's trained, skilled manpower will now move from the wartime economy to jobs for peace. This is the kind of a program that we are working on.

I realize that in a political campaign, particularly in the last days, some rather wild charges are made. And an attempt has been made, I understand, to inject into this campaign, an issue that is completely false and one which creates fear among people right in this area. I heard about it when I came off the plane today.

One of the reporters said, "What about the Ames laboratory? George Murphy's opponent has charged that the United States Government plans to close that right after election and that as soon as it is closed, 3,000 men will be put out of jobs."

This is what I find: First, anyone who checked, and a Congressman of the United States has the same right to check as a Senator or anybody else, would have found there has never been any intention of closing the Ames laboratory. It has never been discussed. It is not going to be closed and anyone who made that kind of charge did so with knowledge that it was false.

My friends, I think that is the fact.

California will move forward in this period with better jobs, jobs based on a far firmer foundation--not on the demands of war which can be temporary, and we hope will always be temporary, but on the sound progress of peace in the future.

Now, we come to a third point, the problem of peace at home.

George Murphy referred to it. I realize it has been an issue here in California, as well as in other places. Let me tell you what I found here.

When we came into office, I found that in the previous 8 years, crime in the United States of America listen to this-had gone up 158 percent, all kinds of crime: organized crime, street crime, drugs, narcotics, obscenity, pornography. And there was no program to do anything about it.

And I said over and over again in that campaign of 1968 that I intended to do something about it, that I was going to appoint stronger judges, that I was going to appoint stronger law enforcement officials, and that we were going to get stronger laws.

I tried to keep those promises. But let me tell you what happened: Eighteen months ago, I asked the Congress of the United States to send to me a program to deal with organized crime, to deal with narcotics and dangerous drugs, to deal with obscenity and pornography. And it has taken 18 months for that Congress, on this very urgent problem, to get the first bill to my desk for signature. They had to wait until an election was coming up.

That isn't soon enough. Let me say that we need in the United States Senate a man who not only talks and votes for supporting the President in his effort to stop the rise in crime, who not only talks and votes that way in the 2 months before election, but all year round. And George Murphy is an all-year-round crime fighter and that is the kind of man we need in the United States Senate.

Now, we move to the area of progress. There are so many areas here we could discuss: the plans this administration has submitted to the Congress for our environment 14 months ago---still not the action that we need--the plans in so many other areas. But whether it is in the environment or health care or housing, or in the case of our welfare program--and I will discuss that briefly so you can understand exactly where we stand here--I feel that it is essential to recognize that this government of ours has got to quit putting good money into bad programs, or we are going to end up with bad programs and bad money.

That is why we are reforming the institutions of government.

Let me discuss briefly the welfare program as we presently found it, what we are trying to do about it, and what we believe we can do about it if we get the proper support in the Congress of the United States.

Why change it? We don't want to change it because we are not interested in helping people in need. Let me say that in this great, rich country of ours, we ought to feel fortunate that any family, and particularly any children in a family, can be assisted when they are unable to take care of themselves.

Look what happened to our welfare program. Let me tell you about what I found as far as New York City was concerned. In 1966, in New York City, there were 600,000 people receiving welfare. In 1970, just 4 years later, there were 1,200, 000 receiving welfare. They just go up and up and up, the number on the rolls, the costs, and no plans to bring it to an end.

What did we decide? I will tell you why we decided it.

We looked at that program; it was one that had no incentives for work, no incentives for job training, no requirements for work that were adequate.

I say to you, my friends, let us take care of all those who need, but when a program makes it more profitable for a man not to work than to work, when a program encourages a man to desert his family rather than stay with his family, we ought to get rid of it and get another program in its place.

That is why we are working on a welfare reform which provides, as we should, for assistance to all families that need it, but which also provides for a work requirement and which, in very simple language, makes this particular point: If a man is able to work, if he is trained for a job, if he is then offered a job, and if he refuses to work, he should not be paid to loaf by a taxpayer in the State of California or anyplace else.

Now I have one message particularly for the older people here, and then perhaps one for the younger people as I complete this day which started in Illinois and has taken me to Minnesota, Nebraska, and now California. I have been in now 15 States over the past couple of weeks: north, east, west, and south. I have had a chance to see the temper of America, to see great audiences, some of them supporting my proposals, others not. But most of them, like you, listening, trying to know what the issues are, trying to make a decision about your country and your future.

From time to time there have been problems in some of these rallies, as you may have noticed. Sometimes there are a few people in the hall or, like tonight, outside the hall. The Secret Service told me there are 900 demonstrators outside shouting their hatred for the United States and shouting also the usual obscenities that you expect from this kind of a crowd.

But let me just say this, my friends: I have seen America. Young Americans are getting a bad rap, and they are getting it because night after night on that television, what you see are the violent, radical few. You see a bombing here, a building is bombed, a bank is burned--just 10 miles from my home near the California campus at Irvine--or you see, as has been the case in some meetings, of people trying to break up a meeting, shouting down speakers, shouting down the President of the United States. And as you see those people on the television, you think that they are the majority of young Americans or, if not a majority, that they are going to be the leaders of the future.

Well, I have news for you: Those violent few, those radical few, they aren't a majority of young Americans, and they are not going to be the leaders of America in the future.

Now, again, all of you parents and others, you listen: I know young America. Young America is idealistic, and that is to their credit.

They want peace in the world, and that is to their credit.

They are not satisfied with things as they are, and that is to their credit. They care. They care about people that don't have the chance that they have, and that is to their credit.

They want change in America, and that is to their credit. Because a younger generation that was satisfied with things as they were would not be a great generation, and this has the potential for greatness.

But, my friends, the young generation that I have seen around this country, the great majority, while they want change, recognize that the greatness of America is that this country, for 190 years, provides a method for peacefully changing what you don't like.

And in a country that provides for peaceful change, there is no cause that justifies violence and lawlessness in the United States of America.

My friends, how do you answer them? There is a very simple way. You don't answer in kind. You don't resort to violence. You don't try to shout them down.

The way you answer is with the most powerful weapon that free men have ever had, or women. And that is with a vote.

On November 3d, each person here of voting age has the opportunity for a moment to be the most powerful person in the word, because with his vote, he determines his future, the future of his State, the future of his Nation, and possibly the future of the world.

Tonight, I have tried to tell you how I believe that future would be served.

I believe, very honestly, it would be best served by supporting the candidates that I have mentioned tonight: Governor Reagan and our fine team at the State level, George Murphy and our team at the national level.

But, my friends, I simply want to say this as I conclude: The most important thing is you on November 3d--remember, that is when the power is to the people. Use that power and vote for what is best for America, and it will be best for you.

Thank you.

1 Radio and television entertainer with Los Angeles station KTLA.

2 Houston I. Flournoy, Republican candidate for State controller, and James L. Flournoy, Republican candidate for secretary of state of California.

3 Representative Charles S. Gubser.

NOTE: The President spoke at 7:30 p.m. in the San Jose Municipal Auditorium.

Richard Nixon, Remarks in San Jose, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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