Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, National Guard Armory, Marietta, OH

October 25, 1960

Thank you very much, Tom. We certainly want to tell you how delighted we are to be in Marietta and particularly to see this great crowd at this hour in the morning. I am always very reluctant to have our people schedule meetings at this hour because, you know - I'll make an admission - I don't like to get up early. I would prefer to work a little later at night. To see this crowd come out is certainly a heart-warming beginning to our whistlestop tour in Ohio which will take place today and tomorrow. Marietta, in other words, has given us the sendoff we need, and we certainly appreciate it and we thank you for it today.

I'm glad to he here on the platform with my fellow candidates on the Republican ticket, Tom Moorehead, our candidate for Congress, who has already introduced me - the others, I understand, have been introduced - and also to be in the home town of Billy O'Neill who is running for the supreme court.

With this kind of backing, I certainly feel very much at home in what was, as you know, my father's home State. I was just talking to John Bricker a moment ago, and asked him how far it was my father lived from here. He said about 70 miles. I remember, when I was growing up, he used to speak of this city and the others in this area, and, although I have been here to campaign on a couple of occasions, I knew about it long before I ever came. But, despite all the other appearances we have made, this is one we will remember forever in our minds and hearts, not only because of the hour of the morning, not only because of the tremendous size of the crowd, but also because some of you took the trouble to make this meeting what it is.

I was noticing over here the Marietta High School Chorus. I was trying to think of my own experience in high school. I used to play the piano, but I don't mention it any more, as you can well imagine. And I used to play the violin a little, too, in high school and sang in the college glee club until they made me master of ceremonies because my bass wasn't very good. But we're delighted to see this wonderful chorus, and over here the high school debaters - I guess everybody is thinking about debates these days. Out of that group are going to come Congressmen and Senators, I can assure you, and others as well. And then over here is the high school band. Certainly this has been a welcome we will never forget.

All of you, of course, are interested in a lot of issues in this campaign. Particularly as we get into the last 2 weeks, the differences between the candidates begin to crystallize. So the people lay down on either side in their minds the points they agree with or disagree with as far as the candidates are concerned.

I want to begin my discussion of the issues today by saying first, that on election day, which will be 2 weeks from today, I think you're going to be making what could be the most important decision you will make, not only this year, but in your whole life. I say that because you're not just deciding a contest between two men who want to be President of the United States. You're not just deciding a contest between two political parties. You're deciding who will be the leader of this country and the leader of the whole free world. Not too long ago - perhaps even 50 years ago you could have said this - what happened in Washington, what the President did, for example, had relatively little effect on our daily lives.

We were, of course, tremendously interested in who would be President of the United States, and some of the decisions he made did have some effect. But today what the President of the United States will do in these next 4 years can affect the lives and the futures of everybody in this audience. I speak not only of the field of foreign policy to which I will refer in some detail, but I refer also to your everyday life. I look around this square here. I see all of these shops. I also see all of the housewives here who will be doing shopping, trying to meet the family budget. And you should know that as you vote this November 2 weeks from today, you will be deciding what the prices will be for what you buy in those stores - in the grocery store, in the clothing store, in the drugstore.

You should know that, as far as your family budget is concerned, you will be deciding whether you want to make it harder to balance or easier to balance.

Now, why do I say that? Because we have a direct clash here, a clash between my opponent and myself. He said that the way to progress in this country is through a massive increase in Government spending at the Federal level - a $15 billion increase is what I have estimated it and I don't think he or anybody else, unless they deny parts of their program, can possibly deny that that figure is probably pretty conservative.

Now what would that mean? That means that if these huge spending programs, which he advocates, go into effect, it will praise the prices, it will raise the taxes for every family in America. So, you've got to think of that. If you want higher taxes, if you want higher prices, you have a pretty good choice and a pretty good way to get them.

No, I say we can have progress and that we will have it, but that the way to get it is not through programs which, in effect, will say, "turn over all these problems to the Federal Government. Let us have your money and we'll spend it for you."

The way to progress is for the Federal Government to do what it ought to do and what it needs to do, but not to spend a dollar that can be spent, better by the people themselves at home right here in Marietta, Ohio.

That's why I say to you today: think before you vote. Think, because as you vote you are, in effect, making a decision about your budget, about the role of Government; but, more than that, about the future of your family and whether you're going to be able to make ends meet. And on that point there isn't any question. My opponent will spend a lot more of your money. I believe, myself, in the kind of philosophy which has produced progress and which will produce far more than his will.

In that connection, let me just say one other thing. You have noticed the stories to the effect that he charged that America has been standing still for these last 7½ years, and we've got to get her going again. Well, let me say this: anybody who says America has been standing still hasn't been traveling around America as I have. I have been in 47 States and there has been more progress in the 7½ years of the Eisenhower administration than in any administration in history, and twice as much as in the Truman administration that we left behind - and we don't want to go back to that.

Now in that connection, too, think back a minute. Think back to the first time I visited Marietta. Think back to 1952. Do you remember what the situation was then? Do you remember it was so bad that even the Democratic candidate for President said there was a mess in Washington, "but I can clean it up better than General Eisenhower." The people, of course, didn't believe that but you remember we were in a war in Korea. You remember there was corruption of Government in Washington because of boss rule. You remember also that your prices had gone up 50 percent in that period, so that all the wage increases in the Truman period had been eaten up by higher prices at the stores.

All these things happened, and that is exactly what our opponents offer today. Their program isn't new. They talk about new frontiers. But, my friends, if you're going to cross new frontiers, you can't cross them in an old jalopy that was broken down in 1953. It was no good then and no better today in the United States.

So, I say, yes, there are new frontiers, new frontiers here in America, new frontiers all over the universe in which we live. But the way to cross those new frontiers is not through weakening Americans, but to remember how we crossed the old frontiers and who did it. Do you remember? Pioneers, with individual spirit, with faith in themselves, not thinking that they were a second-rate, second-class people, but thinking that they were the best in the world, and that's what we are today, and I'm tired of hearing our opponents downgrade the United States and let our enemies abroad have the benefit of it by what they say.

For example, just yesterday - I have a note here from Pravda - that's the official Moscow Communist paper - they devoted nearly two columns to quoting a TV statement by Senator Kennedy, and a speech by Adlai Stevenson was also quoted as saying the Communist world looks more dynamic, that we look static. And I just want to tell you something, and I particularly want to say this to these high school debaters over here. In a debate you want to be mighty sure of your facts, because the other fellow is going to know your side as well as he knows his own, if he's any kind of debater - and just remember that rule if you forget anything else about debating. And all I can say is this: I have been in the Soviet Union. I know what they have, and anybody who says that the United States is second, that we're running down and that they're going to catch up with us, just doesn't know what he's talking about.

I remember Khrushchev told me, "We re going to catch you in 7 years." My friends, he won't catch us in 70 years, if we remember why we're a great people, if we quit thinking of ourselves as second rate, and if we move forward as great individual Americans as we are, with Government encouraging individual enterprise rather than discouraging it. It's just as simple as that.

Whether it's in the field of schools, whether it's in the field of science, whether it's in the field of education, or housing, and the like, as I pointed out in our last TV debate, our opponent has said the United States is second. He tried to say, "Well, I really didn't mean that." But then I've issued a statement this morning quoting exactly what he said at the particular time, and, of course, there it is. You have heard him say it - second in science, second in education, the worst slums, the worst housing in the world. Well, my friends, the record doesn't show that.

He knows it, and I'm setting it straight.

Now, let's look to the future for just a moment. What can America do? Well, this country has the greatest opportunity for progress you can possibly imagine. We have the resources, and the natural resources, which the world can never equal. All we have to do is develop them. We have programs, programs that I have enunciated during this campaign that will build the schools, that will improve our medical care, particularly for our older people, that will move us ahead in science, for the new breakthroughs of this scientific revolution that will build a better life for all Americans than we've had before. And that is as it should be, because I remember one thing my father always used to say when we were growing up. He never used to talk about the good old days although he liked those days on the farm that he lived on in Vinton county, Ohio, but he said that in America we always want to move forward. We want a better life for our children than we have for ourselves, and that's the way I feel about it. I want to see this country move forward. But, my friends, I am not going to stand for any kind of a program that fools the people, that says the way to move forward is to weaken the United States, to weaken individuals, and to turn everything over to a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington to plan it for them. They're trying it abroad that way, and, believe me, what we want to do is not to turn their way, but to do it our way - and that's exactly what we're talking about.

Now the last point that I make is perhaps the most important issue of this campaign. I would say undoubtedly the most important issue. You heard us discuss it in our last TV debate. It's the issue of - "Can this world live in peace? Can America extend freedom without war? Can we have peace without surrender?"

And, of course, you have a choice here again, a choice between two men with different experience. In that connection I think it's time for the American people to know what they will be faced with as far as leadership is concerned if they turn away from what we've had and turn to what our opponents offer.

Now what do we offer? Well, first, you know what we will do. For 7½ years Cabot Lodge, my colleague, and I have sat in the Security Council, in the Cabinet, of this country. We have participated in the making of the great decisions.

We have been there when the President made the decisions on Lebanon, Quemoy, and Matsu. We have visited with him. We know what it means to be there, to make decisions of this magnitude. Also, we both know Mr. Khrushchev. We have sat across the conference table from him. We know how he acts. I can assure you we won't be fooled by him. We know what peace demands. We know that it isn't an easy way. We know that the easy way of giving him what he would ask for, which would seem to lead to peace because he says, "All I want is just this, and then I'll leave you alone," is the wrong way, that would lead to war or surrender. We know that when he bluffs and tries to blackmail you, you must not give him an inch because if you do he will take a mile or take the whole world. We know these things and that's why we believe that our firmness and our strength is the kind of policy that will work with Mr. Khrushchev.

On the other hand, our opponent takes a different line. He has disagreed with the President. For example, he said, as you recall in listening to our debates, that 5 years ago the President made a mistake when he asked for the right to defend the outer islands off Formosa, as well as Formosa, itself.

The President got that power and the President proved to be right because there has not been war in that area. And I believe if the President had been denied that power - our opponent would have done it - that there would have been, because that's the same mistake we made with Hitler. It's the same mistake we made which led to the Korean war. And I say we're not going to make it again by surrendering to the Communists a piece of territory and inviting them to ask for more, which leads to war in the long run.

And then came the Paris Conference and you remember Mr. Khrushchev said, "Apologize, President Eisenhower, apologize for the U-2 flights," and the President refused. He couldn't apologize. Why? Because he was doing what was necessary to defend the security of the United States. Khrushchev knew it and yet Senator Kennedy said he would have apologized. Suppose Senator Kennedy had been there at Paris. Suppose he had apologized. Khrushchev would have stomped him, and America would have suffered. I say, my friends, today we cannot afford to have in this critical period such inexperienced, naive leadership as he has indicated he would give by these particular decisions that I have mentioned here this morning in Marietta, Ohio.

It isn't a question of good intentions. We all want peace. We all want it without surrender of principle or territory. The question is: How do we get it? And, my friends, you learn that. You learn it through dealing with the men who threaten the peace of the world, and that is the point that I particularly want to leave with you. We can have peace. We can have it without surrender, and we will win the struggle for freedom. And I'll tell you why. Not solely because we will have leadership which understands what peace demands, but because America is strong at home, and because we believe in the right things, and I say this particularly. There has been, I think, too much emphasis in recent months on missiles and military strength, upon economic productivity, upon gross national product, and national growth rates. These are all important, of course, and these things we will move forward in. But, my friends, never forget that that's all the Communists offer to the world - military strength, economic

strength. They believe in nothing else, and it is because we believe in great ideals that America has always had a tremendous appeal in the world and that we will win this struggle.

What are those ideals? We believe that right does make might. We believe that there are the right ways and the wrong ways to engage in our international policies. We came into the world not to enslave the world, but to free the world. We came into this world not certainly to impose our form of government on anybody else, but to provide for everybody the same right that we have to choose the kind of government that they want. Our answer to Mr. Khrushchev, then, is that we don't say that his grandchildren are going to live under the American system. But we say they are going to live under freedom, which is the right to choose any kind of system they want. This is the kind of appeal and the kind of language the world wants to hear. And it's because America stands for more than military might; it's because we recognize that the rights that we have come from God and not just from men, that they can't be taken away by men. These are the things that make America strong. And that's why I say: strengthen these ideals here in America. Strengthen them in the schools, and in the churches, and in the homes of America.

If you do that, whoever is the next President of the United States and the next one and the next one, will be able to do what we must do, and that is to extend to all the world the great ideals that have made America the Nation that it is, and the hope of all the world.

That is what I ask for the opportunity to do. That is what my colleague, Cabot Lodge, asks for the opportunity to do. We know the threat to these ideals. We believe that we can prevail, and, with your help, we shall win. We shall win without war, and it will be a better world and a better life for all the people of this Nation as well.

Thank you.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President, National Guard Armory, Marietta, OH Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project