Richard Nixon photo

Remarks in the Ohio State House, Columbus, Ohio

October 19, 1970

Governor Rhodes, Senator Saxbe, Congressman Taft, all of my distinguished colleagues from the House of Representatives who are here, Bill McCulloch, the senior Member of the House delegation, Sam Devine, Chalmers Wylie from this district and all the others, all the candidates both at the Federal and the State level:

I want you to know that I am very proud to stand here in the company of a fine team for Ohio and for America. I want them all to stand up together.

The last time I stood in this spot was exactly 2 years ago about this date. Many of you were here. There was a feel of victory in the air then. Ohio State was on the way to the Rose Bowl and I was on the way to the White House.

And based on what I have seen on the football fields and what I sense in this great crowd today, there is the feel of victory here today. We are going to win in this year 1970.

One word, first, with regard to Ohio State. I can only say that in that respect I recall seeing Ohio State play in that Rose Bowl Game and beat my wife's alma mater, Southern California. This year, I have a complaint to make.

I am going to talk about the TV people. I usually leave this to Vice President Agnew. But it is time that I did a little something with that.

I have a complaint to the ABC national network, why they didn't have the foresight and the judgment to make Ohio State and Michigan the game of the week so I could see it on TV.

When I saw Woody Hayes1 coming in, I said, "Woody, do you think I could get a ticket, if I came out to see the game?"

He said, "I can't even get a ticket. I can't get you one, even though you are President of the United States."

All that I can say is this: In the field of football, there is the feel of victory and I can assure you that in the field of politics, I sense that same tide running in our direction. It is running in our direction for a number of reasons.

First, because Jim Rhodes, as Governor of this State, has given this State magnificent leadership, the lowest taxes of any industrial State, the lowest unemployment of any industrial State, and it is because Ohio should continue that kind of leadership, that Roger Cloud will follow in his footsteps with the experience, with the ability and the strength that Jim Rhodes has displayed.

There is another thing I like about Jim Rhodes. He is a team player. You know, in my political life, I have won a few and I have lost a few. But the real test of a man is not when he wins but when he loses. And what I like about Jim Rhodes is after a tough primary, he is in there fighting for the team, because the team is bigger than any one man and let's give him the appreciation that Jim Rhodes deserves for that.

And now I come to the contest for the United States Senate. I spoke 20 years ago in Ohio for another Robert Taft. He was not the favorite that year, but he won overwhelmingly. And it was a great service, not only to Ohio, but to the Nation, that he was sent to Washington, D.C., and that he was immortalized as a result of his service in the United States Senate.

Let me say that on this occasion, I am proud to speak for another Robert Taft, not only because he will write a bright new page in the history of a very distinguished family, not only because he happens to be a personal friend of mine over many years, not only because he happens to be a Republican--those are all good reasons to be for a man and here in Ohio to speak for him particularly when I am a grandson of Ohio, and very proud of that fact--but my friends, this election this year is too important to think in terms of family, in terms of personality, even in terms of party labels.

Let me tell you this is a year to think of what is best for America, and it is because Bob Taft stands for what America needs, that I am for him for the United States Senate and I hope that you support him for the United States Senate.

I hear some people who express concern about various policies that we have. I believe in handling the tough, high, hard ones and here we go right now on the major one. The first responsibility of your Government in Washington, D.C., is to develop policies which will not only end the war, but more important, end it in a way that we can win the peace and a real peace for the next generation.

Let me tell you what we have done. When I spoke on these steps 2 years ago, there were 550,000 Americans in Vietnam, with no plans to bring them home. During the spring of next year, one-half of them will be back. We are bringing Americans home, rather than sending them out there. Aren't you for that?

At the time that I spoke here 2 years ago, American casualties were 300 a week. They are the lowest in 4 ½ years and they are continuing to go down. Aren't you for that? Let's get them down.

When I spoke here 2 years ago, there was no peace plan on the table. We have offered a cease-fire. We have offered an exchange of prisoners of war. We have offered a negotiated settlement which is fair, according to all standards of international diplomacy.

My friends, we are on a program which will end this war and win the peace. But we need Bob Taft in the Senate so that we can support those policies, rather than to fight against them.

Why not now? A young man in New Jersey, Saturday, talked to me and he said, "Bring the men home from Vietnam, bring them home right now." I asked him, "Have you been there?" He said, "No." I said, "Those men are fighting there so you won't have to go."

And my friends, let's look back on the history of this country. We fought World War I and we ended it. We fought World War II and we ended it. We fought the Korean war and we ended it. But did you know that in the whole history of this century, we have not had one full generation of peace? And I say, let's end this war in a way that we we will discourage those that make war. Let's have a generation of peace for the young men that are shouting out there, a generation of peace for all the young men of America.

That is our foreign policy. At home, in Vietnam, and throughout the world, it is a strong policy, a policy of strength, and I am proud to defend it here today and advocate those men who will also stand with it.

We turn to the problems that many of you are concerned about here at home. I see this immense crowd--Jim Rhodes says it's the largest crowd that has ever been gathered here in this historic place. Let me tell you that I know that when you leave this place, you will go shopping. I know that as you go into the grocery stores and the clothing stores and all the other places, you are going to be concerned about the fact that prices have been going up. Let me tell you what we have found.

Two years ago we found that our Government in Washington, D.C., was on a runaway spending binge and now the American people have a hangover in higher prices. I say let's cut spending in Washington, D.C., so you can have more to spend right here at home in Columbus and throughout the State of Ohio.

And there is a clear issue here. Are you going to be for the big spenders or a man like Bob Taft or a man like Roger Cloud or a man like Bill Saxbe and the others here in the House delegation who are going to vote to see to it that we handle our Federal budget in a way that people can balance their family budgets. That is responsible government. It is a kind of government you want. If you want to stop the rise in inflation, then ours is the program. Stand with us and not against us.

Let me come to a third point. I know that many are concerned about the problems of the escalating costs of our welfare in this country. Let's understand that and understand it in the great humanitarian tradition of this State.

Every American wants to see that every individual who is unable to work, every child whose fault is not his in the event that he does not have that income from his family in order to have an adequate living--to see to it that people who need help are helped, and this administration has a new program which will do exactly that. It is called family assistance. I want to tell you what it does.

It provides a floor of assistance on which every family that needs help can stand with dignity. But on the other hand, it has a work requirement and a work incentive. And I want to tell you why.

Look at the present welfare program. When a program makes it more profitable for a man not to work than to work, when it encourages him to desert his family than to stay with his family, then let's get rid of it and get another kind of a program for the American people.

If an individual is trained for a job, is offered a job, and refuses to work, then the taxpayers should not subsidize him on welfare. I think that is the kind of a program you also want.

In this whole area of reform, reform of our government so that the Federal Government will share revenues with the States, so that the States like Ohio will be able to meet their responsibilities more adequately and so that power that has flowed to Washington, D.C., will come back to the people of the United States, these programs we need support for in order to get them through the House and through the Senate. That is why I am for these Members of the House and these Members of the Senate who will vote for reform rather than a return to the old ways.

Let's quit putting good money into bad programs. Let's have new programs. Reform America. That is what we are going to do. There are so many other areas.

The historic program on the environment-- clean up the air, clean up the water, provide open spaces, provide again for our young people the heritage that every young American should have--this we can have but we need support in the House and support in the Senate and not the foot-dragging that we have from the present Congress.

Let's have that kind of program, and we ask for your support in that respect.

Now I come to another issue that deeply concerns everybody here in this audience, and it should. I read this morning of a report from Minneapolis where a Federal building was bombed. I read a report also, a report in Canada--and I called the Prime Minister of Canada and expressed my sympathy--where a Canadian Government official was kidnaped, held for blackmail, and when it was not paid, he was killed.

All over this country today we see a rising tide of terrorism, of crime, and on the campuses of our universities we have seen those who instead of engaging-which is their right--in peaceful dissent, engage in violence, try to shout down speakers with obscene words. My friends, it is time to draw the line and to say we are not going to stand for that.

My friends, I want to tell you we cannot provide the leadership that will keep peace abroad unless we can keep the peace at home. And we are going to keep it at home.

And, my friends, we need in the House and in the Senate and in ,the Governor's chair, not men who become strong for law and order just at election, but strong for it all the year round, and that is Bob Taft and Roger Cloud. That is the kind of men that we need.

My friends, law, order, justice--let me tell you what has happened in this administration's program. I submitted a program to deal with organized crime, to stop the flow of obscenity and pornography into the homes of our children, to stop the traffic in narcotics and drugs 18 months ago. Only 2 weeks ago the first bill arrived on my desk and the others have not been acted upon.

I say it is time to give us men in the House and the Senate who will vote for strong laws to deal with law and order rather than against them. That is Bob Taft and that is the Members of the House and our candidates.

There is one other point I would like to make. I think it should be made in this great university town, Ohio State, that celebrated its 100th anniversary. A few weeks ago I spoke at Kansas State University. The press was rather surprised that in a crowd of 15,000 there were a few who demonstrated like these. But most of them stood up against violence and because they recognized--and get this-that any society that provides as our society does, a means for peaceful change, there is no cause that justifies resort to violence and lawlessness.

Some of those who covered that meeting said that was only Kansas State. That wouldn't happen at other universities. Then I was in Wisconsin Saturday night. And a student from the University of Wisconsin came up. And he said to me, "You know, there are a lot of Kansas States in this country." Don't get the idea that those that bomb buildings, those that shout four-letter obscenities, that they are the youth of America. They are not the youth of America today and they will not be the majority of the youth of America tomorrow.

I have a message for you, all of you. This great crowd of 100,000 here, all of you listening on radio and television, wherever you may be, whether you are Democrats or Republicans, whether you are students or workers or employers or whatever you are, all of you as Americans, I have a message for you. Listen carefully.

I know people are concerned when there are those that throw rocks at the President of the United States, as they did in Vermont. I know there are those who are concerned when people shout four-letter obscenities, as this crowd over here is doing. And so they say, what do we do?

I say, don't answer in kind. Don't engage in violence against them. You don't have to shout four-letter obscenities. But it is time for the great silent majority of America to stand up and be counted. And I will tell you how you can be counted. On November 3d, in the quiet of the polling booth, consider the candidates, consider their record the year round and if that candidate has given encouragement to, has condoned lawlessness and violence and permissiveness, then you know what to do.

My friends, here is what you do on November 3d. The answer to those who shout obscenities, who throw rocks, who engage in violence, is not to answer in kind but with the most powerful voice in the history of mankind, one vote. And I say that on November 3d, the American people, the majority, are going to be heard with their votes, by voting for Bob Taft and Roger Cloud and all those who stand for what America really wants.

1 Head coach of the Ohio State University football team.

Note: The President spoke at 12:35 p.m.

Richard Nixon, Remarks in the Ohio State House, Columbus, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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