Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, Burk Burnett Park, Fort Worth, TX

November 04, 1960

Thank you very much.

I just can't believe it when I see this crowd. We had a perfectly wonderful day yesterday, as some of you may have heard. When I came in at the airport, I recounted it. We started at Columbia, S.C., where Governor Byrnes introduced me, and Allan Shivers was there and other Southern leaders. On that occasion it was the biggest crowd ever held for a Presidential candidate of either party in Columbia.

The same thing happened when we got to the Alamo in San Antonio a little later in the day. The same thing happened in Houston last night - not only the biggest crowd ever in Houston, but it was probably the greatest night rally of this campaign which has been held by either candidate, from the reports I have received.

Then we came in at the airport at 11 o'clock last night. I know, because I didn't get much sleep last night. Neither did you if you were at the airport. There was a massive crowd with flashlights welcoming us. It was a sight we will never forget.

And now this morning at 8 o'clock, here you are as far as the eye can reach, here in Burnett Park. And I only want to say to the people of Fort Worth, of Dallas, and of all the surrounding counties: Thank you for giving us a tremendous lift toward victory on November 8.

I also want to say that I am very proud to be here with my fellow candidates. John Tower, as I have said on several occasions, is one of the best qualified men to be a Senator of the United States that it has been my privilege to meet. And he has the courage to run for one office rather than two.

I also want to say that I had a very interesting morning. I got up early enough to read the papers. And, my, what a fairyland I read about, because it seems both Lyndon and Jack have been around in Texas, too. But, you know, they got here too little and too late, and, boy, are they frantic. I saw a big one-page ad saying that all these Democrats are for Kennedy and Johnson - and they're even voting dead people. They used to do that, but they're not going to get away with it this time. My friends, they can try to vote every tombstone in Texas, but we're going to lick them in Texas, I'll tell you that.

Let me say, too, that as far as we're concerned, we're glad we've got a lot of Democrats here, but ours are all live Democrats. We're not trying to vote any dead ones.

And then another story that I noticed, in the fairytale line, was where Lyndon went out to the Convair plant here and told those folks: "Now, look here, you've got to vote for us because if you don't this Californian Nixon is going to take all the contracts away from Texas and take them to California." You know, he should have checked with Jack before he said that, because Jack had just been out in California and said: "We're going to bring the contracts to California." Now, what's he going to do about that?

Do you know what? He also should have checked with Jack, because Jack was just up in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and the like and he told them up there: "I'm going to bring the defense contracts up here so that you folks can have them."

Now, Jack can't take them to California and Pennsylvania and leave them here in Texas with Lyndon. They've got to get together on this and a few other things before they can ask for the votes of Texans.

But do you know what it is, that rather foolish ad? After all, when people are dead and when they're not for you, it's going to come out. And this idea of trying to frighten the people - a last-minute tactic - saying this Californian is going to steal all your contracts, do you know what that is? They're scared, and they have got a right to be because they're going to lose Texas and they're going to lose the Nation on November the 8th. Do you know why? Because they've been kicking Texas in the teeth long enough and Texans are tired of it and they don't want any part of it. Do you know why! Because the people of Texas are thinking of this election not in terms of Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans, and they know what leadership America needs. Do you know why? Because they know, as far as defense contracts are concerned, that I stand as the President has stood, for the United States being the strongest Nation in the world, as I indicated in my television broadcast last night. And we have got to continue to build our strength in view of Soviet developments so that at all times we have the strength, regardless of what they do, to knock out their warmaking capability. Now, to do that, we have got to use the skills of Texans, of Californians, of all Americans to do this job. I can assure you that we are going to remember that no State in the Union has done a better job than the State of Texas on defense contracts, and certainly Texas is going to get its fair sharer - you can be sure of that - under my administration.

And then I want to add this: I noted some comments with regard to the farm program. Well, now, when farmer Kennedy starts talking about the farm program it really worries me a little. But he ought to say the same thing in Texas as he did up in South Dakota, you know, because these things catch up with you.

Now, we all know that the farm program is one of our most difficult problems. We all know, incidentally, that one of the reasons that it's difficult is that there has been a stalemate between the legislative and executive branches of the Government. We all know that for the last 6 years we have been unable to get legislation on which the President and the Congress would agree, so, what we've got to do is to break that stalemate. What we've got to do, as I have indicated in my farm program, is to get the surpluses off the backs of the country and the taxpayers, but mainly off the backs of the farmers. If we get those surpluses off their backs, the farmers are going to move ahead.

But, my friends, the way to greater prosperity on the farm is not to go back to a program which our friends on the other side would do - a program of managed scarcity. What we want to do is to go forward with a program where we develop new markets for cotton at home and abroad, and all these other products, allow our farmers to have increased production and increased markets abroad - and that means new farm income for them. That's the kind of farm program we will have.

And I'll tell you this: There isn't any question but that as far as the various programs my opponent has offered in this campaign are concerned, his farm program is the most radical. It is the most unworkable. It is one which the people of America, whether they're farmers or consumers, simply couldn't stomach. And that program I think, by itself, is enough reason to defeat any man who would advocate it for the Presidency.

What does it do to the farmer? Do you know what it does to the farmer? It extends not just to the major commodities, cotton and wheat, corn, et cetera, which are presently supported, but to all 250 commodities grown in this country. Suppose you grow a few chickens; suppose you produce eggs; suppose you grow tomatoes - those things, of course, are not covered by farm programs today. They'll extend them to all. You hire 50,000 new Federal police inspectors, and these people come in and they tell the farmer what to grow, how much he can grow, when he can sell it, what he can sell it for. They put the farmers, in other words, on the Federal payroll at the mercy of Federal bureaucrats.

Listen, that isn't the way that individualistic Texas got to the place it did, or that the individuals in the United States got to the place they did. That's going back - and we're not going to do it.

And if you have any doubts about it, did you read what Henry Wallace said? He's sure no conservative, but he said this was the most radical program - he said it was even too radical for him when he was in the Government. So, you can certainly see what I mean.

My friends, here again we see this same formula - promise them everything. When you're in New England, tell them what they want to hear. When you're in California, tell them what they want to hear. But do you know what's happening? Our opponents' promises are catching up with them, catching up with them all over the United States, because they're beginning to cross each other. And finally, as the people begin to hear these promises clashing with each other, they realize, as I have indicated in occasion after occasion, that what we have is a modern-day Pied Piper trying to pipe the people of the United States down a road which seems like one that leads into a bright new future over new frontiers, but which is going, to lead them right down the road to disaster, which will lead them right back to policies that we left 7½ years ago.

My friends, America is a great country. It's a great country, however, because we have never gone back. We have always gone forward, and we're not going to go back now. We're going to go forward with our policies.

Now, I said a moment ago that they had been kicking Texas in the teeth. Let's look at the record a minute. Look at tidelands. My opponent voted against the position of Texas. Now, he says he's changed his mind, but how do you know?

Let's look at these things he's changed his mind on. He voted against tidelands. Now he's for it.

He voted against TVA. Now he's for it.

He voted against the President on Quemoy and Matsu. Now he says he's with the President.

He said the President was wrong in his conduct at the Paris conference, that he should have apologized or expressed regrets. Now he says he really didn't mean it that way.

He disagreed with the President on Cuba, but now he says his position is really about the same as the President's.

Over and over again, we find him saying one thing one day and another thing another day, as soon as he reads the polls or hears the people.

All I can say is this: In this critical time, the decisions of a President of the United States affect the lives of 180 million Americans. In this critical time a President of the United States, if his decision is wrong, won't have a chance to take it back. If it's wrong, it could mean war or surrender to Americans.

In this critical time, I say we can't have a jumping jack as President of the United States of America.

Let's go back to your domestic issues just a moment. Regarding tidelands, people say, well, now wait a minute. That's settled. Oh, no, look at what our friend, the candidate on the other side, says. After all, he also has a party he has responsibility to, and the chairman of his party and others have said: Well, the tidelands decision was always wrong, and they can change it.

Let's take oil depletion. Let me put it in the right context. Too often people talk about oil depletion in terms where these great, rich oil men, the big companies, are really living off the fat of the land because they're getting a tag break that other folks aren't getting. Let me tell you something. What is involved in oil depletion in Texas, and in California where I came from, is not only the big companies, but what is involved are little companies.

I remember the first corporation I set up as a lawyer. It was called the Critton-Colvin Co I'll never forget that one, of course. You know what it was? It was just a small group of people who had gotten together. They had been oil field roughnecks. They set up a little corporation to drill an oil well. It was a wildcat well. They happened to strike. They didn't make a lot of money, but they made enough so that the corporation came out in the black. But I was going to say this: I set up some other corporations for the same thing people putting their money together, going out, drilling for oil, and they lost money.

Now, here's what the point is, my friends: The reason we've got to have an oil deletion allowance is that we've got to encourage people, not just the big people, but the little people who are willing to take a chance to go out and find and make America richer. That's what we're trying to do.

And do you know what else is involved? You know your schools are involved in this. How do you maintain the Texas school system? One of the reasons is that you have such a tremendous productivity in oil, and the same is true of California.

How do you do it? How do you do these things? Well, the reason I favor the oil depletion allowance is that I realize that this is the way to greater wealth for America. I realize as Arthur Flemming, who is the former head of the Office of Defense Mobilization, has often emphasized, that America's security demands this, because we simply cannot, as long as there is any possibility of war, rely only on our imports from abroad in this field of oil.

Now, let's look at this. I am for the oil depletion allowance. Where does my opponent stand? Well here again we've got this split personality, this schizophrenia. There's no question about Lyndon. He's for it, at least publicly. Now, what about my opponent? He says he's going to think about it. He's going to study it. Well, we've been studying it for the last generation. He's been voting against it, too, for the last 7½ years, and I say that Texas, which needs this allowance, is not going to take a chance on him when they know what I'm going to do as President of the United States to protect the interests of Texas.

There's one other point I want to make, and this is the most important one. I said take a chance. That's really the question before the American people today. You know the kind of government that Cabot Lodge and I stand for, because we've been part of this administration.

You also know that we've had the greatest progress in history in these last 7½ years. Look around you. Look at the tremendous development in the Fort Worth-Dallas area. You know all these things.

You know, too, that under President Eisenhower's wise policy of strength and firmness and no belligerence, we have kept the peace; we have avoided surrender; we have avoided war. And, my friends, the question is: Do you want to go forward with leadership that is going to build on this great strength, this great prosperity, this peace that we have - build on it and extend it - or do you want to take a chance.

Do you want to take a chance on your peace?

Do you want to take a chance on your social security, your pensions, by allowing them to cut them in half?

Do you you want to take a chance on your jobs?

That's what is involved, because, you see, when a man goes around the country promising everything to everybody, $15 billion worth of promises, you know what it means. It means not only that the people have to pay for it, but it means, as it meant in times past, that we are going to have a situation where millions of people, living on fixed incomes, will have their incomes cut by higher taxes or higher prices or both. It means that millions of people living on wages are going to find it more difficult to balance their budgets, because of higher taxes or higher prices or both.

You say: "But didn't I read in the paper where Mr. Kennedy said he was against raising taxes? Didn't I read in the paper where he said he was for a balanced budget?"

Yes; you did, but you also read in the paper about all these promises he's been making. You also read in the paper about his platform in Los Angeles. The promises and the platform cost $15 billion, and you cannot do that, balance the budget, and not raise taxes. He knows it, and the people of America know it, and that's why they're going to vote against him on election day.

Take a chance - and you take a chance on your jobs. I'll tell you why. Because, my friends, we have here an almost pathological obsession, a pathological obsession that people aren't capable of taking care of themselves and that we've got to turn everything over to the Federal Government. This means adopting policies which, whatever they may call them, are anti-individual enterprise and will discourage individual enterprise. And, my friends, how are we going to get more jobs for America? Not by a policy that discourages individual enterprise, but by one that encourages it.

May I say this: there is no chance, in my opinion, of a slump or a recession. This one that my opponent has conjured up out of his mind - if we go forward with our policies. But let me also warn you of this: if you go back to policies that will cheapen our dollar so that people will have no faith and confidence in the future of America, policies that will discourage individual enterprise, it means that you would choke off the very lifeblood that produces jobs.

My friends, why go back to policies that in 20 years never produced prosperity except in war, or as a result of war? I say, no. We're not going to do it.

My last point: Take a chance - and you take a chance on your peace. Why do I say take a chance? Because, my friends, as I indicated a moment ago, the business of keeping the peace is not easy. The men in the Kremlin are going to make trouble for us, because they want the world. We've got to have leadership that is wise, leadership that is determined, leadership that is firm, and leadership, particularly, that doesn't shoot from the hip.

Three times in this campaign - on Quemoy and Matsu, on Cuba, at Paris - my opponent would have done differently from the President, and that could have led to either war or surrender.

My friends, I say that we cannot use the White House as a training school for a man to get experience, as President of the United States, at the expense of the American people.

And what do we offer you? We don't tell you: elect us and you've got no problems.

No. That isn't the way to greatness in America.

We say : if you elect us, we're going to give Americans a chance to be great, give the American people a chance to be great, and you will make America a great country by what you do.

That's our philosophy, and that's what you want.

We don't say: elect us and we're going to take all your responsibilities away because the Federal Government is going to do everything.

We say: elect us and the Federal Government will do everything that needs to be done, but we will always remember that individual enterprise is what made America great.

Nor do we tell you: elect us. There are no problems in the world.

But we do say this: we both know Mr. Khrushchev. We have not been fooled by him, and we are going to keep America strong. We're going to see to it that America continues to build its strength, continues, however, at the same time to work for freedom, at every opportunity, throughout the world. And I pledge to you, as I look into this period of the sixties, that with a united American people we can continue to keep the peace; but, more than that, we can extend freedom without war.

And I ask you, my friends: Aren't these issues that I have discussed bigger than my party or yours? Aren't these as big as America?

I say, then: remember, as you vote on November the 8th, that you're not just voting for a man. You're not just voting for a party. You are deciding the future of America. Put America first, and we will all be the better for it.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President, Burk Burnett Park, Fort Worth, TX Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project