Richard Nixon photo

Remarks at the House of Representatives "Gymnasium Dinner."

June 25, 1969

I WANT to tell you how much I have enjoyed this brief visit to the gymnasium party. It always makes me realize how much time has passed when I come to such a party as this and then start to reminisce about the "old days."

I remember first coming to the House Gym in 1947 and the fellow then who was the meanest guy in paddleball--he was the guy that you always wanted with you--was [Olin E.] Tiger Teague. I am still sore, believe me.

Tiger, let me ask you, do you still hit other people as much as the ball?

Well, I also, of course, think back to those days when all of the other great stars in the House were playing there. I used to play quite regularly. I don't take exercise any more but I took enough then. I banked it for all the time now.

In a very serious vein, I am just delighted that the House has had the good sense and the Senate has had the good sense to have adequate facilities here in the gymnasium. I understand you even have a swimming pool. Sometime I will bring my surfboard down and try it.

As you probably have read, or you might have read, I like to go to Florida now and then and sometimes to California, and I particularly like salt water rather than fresh water.

But when I come to a party like this and see the good fellowship---Republicans and Democrats having a good time--I realize that looking back on those House years, and I was in the House for 4 years, that they were really very great years.

I just hope, as I particularly talk to the younger men here, I mean the very new men, young in the sense of being here one term or two terms, that they will remember that these are the best years of their lives, because there is a certain comradeship in the House that you will never have in any other organization and there is a place where you will feel it more than any place else and that is in the gymnasiums--and I don't mean just here.

Also, I would only like to say that I trust that as you do exercise between now and next Monday, and also as you enjoy this good food--and I address this remark, of course, only to the Republicans--please keep enough strength that if we need your votes you can walk down to the well of the House and vote.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 6:50 p.m. in the cafeteria at the Longworth House Office Building following introductory remarks by Representative Carl Albert of Oklahoma, House Majority Leader. The dinner, sponsored annually by the House Gymnasium Association, is open to the entire membership of the House of Representatives.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at the House of Representatives "Gymnasium Dinner." Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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