Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, Public Square, Lima, OH

October 26, 1960

Thank you very, very much.

My friends, Bill McCulloch, and our fellow Americans here in Lima, Ohio, to see this great crowd on a day that I know has been rainy, and in which you have been waiting a long time for us to arrive, is indeed certainly a great inspiration for us, and we thank you for coming, but particularly for waiting, as you have.

I only wish that our schedule were such that Pat and I could go down into the crowd to meet more of you, to talk to you, because certainly we would enjoy it, and we feel that just to come into the city, as we have, to speak here for a few minutes and then leave is not enough of a visit to this city, but that is all we can spend today, and in that time I want to talk to you, if I may, about some of the issues that we are faced with in this Campaign, and I want to begin by saying a word about your Congressman, who has just introduced me.

Bill McCulloch, as you know, has represented you for many years in the Congress of the United States. You know him for what he's done for your district. I want to pay tribute to him in his district for what he's done for America. I don't think that there is any one man in the House of Representatives who has made a greater contribution toward getting through the 1960 bill on civil rights than Bill McCulloch of this district. I know. I sat in the meetings with the President where that bill was considered, and I know the many hours, the devotion that he gave to that work, and to this district I want to express appreciation for sending a man of the statesmanship and of the ability and the character of Bill McCulloch to the Congress of the United States.

I think that sometimes there is a tendency for us in this country to think of our National Government pretty much in terms of our own lives, our own cities - in fact, even our own communities and States; but these days it is no longer possible for us to do that. Everything that happens in Washington affects you here. Things that happen far away from Washington, clear around the world, affect us here in this city, in this State, and today I want to speak particularly of the responsibility that the next President of the United States will have to your future, the things that he must do in representing America abroad, things that he must do which will make it possible for our children and our grandchildren to enjoy a better life than we have bad, but, more than that, to enjoy a life of peace and freedom in the years to come, and, my friends, there is nothing that is more important than that. I know you will agree, because we can have everything else in America and if we have leadership which fails to keep the peace, which fails to avoid surrender of our freedom, it won't make any difference.

So, I say to you that today I present the case for our ticket first on that ground. I do not say to you that the problems are easy, because I know how difficult they are. I have seen the world. I have seen both sides of the Iron Curtain, and I know the great problems that we will be confronted with Mr. Khrushchev, the men in the Kremlin, next year, the year after, and for many years to come; but, my friends, I can assure you of this: My colleague, Cabot Lodge, and I know the men in the Kremlin. We have dealt with them, and you can be sure that in dealing with them that we will represent the United States in a way that will be designed to avoid falling into the traps that are so easy to fall into when you're dealing with men of this type.

Let me explain: We find that over and over again in this campaign instances have been raised where my opponent has divided with the President of the United States. He says the President was wrong in 1955 when the President asked for the right to defend two islands in the Formosa complexion. He thought that that right should not be given and he voted against it. He thought the President was wrong when the President conducted himself, as be did, at the Paris Conference, when he declined to apologize or express regrets to Mr. Khrushchev. He thinks the President is wrong at the present time in his policy toward Cuba where Mr. Kennedy has advised that what the Government should do is to give support to the anti-Castro forces in and out of Cuba.

Now, he's entitled to his opinion, and may I say he's entitled to his mistakes, but we cannot afford a man who will make mistakes like that as President of the United States of America, because, you see, the difficulty is when you're a candidate and you make mistakes, you can correct them, as he has tried to correct his; but once you are President, you will find that then you must, as you confront these great problems, make the judgment on the spot which will avoid that critical mistake that would give to those who are the enemies of freedom the advantage that they want. And, so, I will say to you this: I do not proclaim that Cabot Lodge and I are men who will the perfect kind of leadership. There is no man who can promise that. I do say that we have been through the fire of decision. We know what it means. We have sat with the President for 7½ years, when he has made these critical decisions, and, based on that experience, we pledge to you, that we will keep this Nation strong, that we

will be firm in our diplomacy, that we will never be belligerent, but, above all, that we will fight for the cause of peace and freedom throughout the world, because this is the way to avoid war; it is the way to avoid surrender; it's the way for America to live up to its highest ideals every place in the world.

Now, what I have just talked about is basic and essential. If we do not have peace, everything else doesn't matter, but there are other things that do matter, and those are, of course, those things which concern our everyday life. As I stand here and I look over this crowd, I think of your homes, each and every one of you. I think of the problems that you have. I can see mothers and fathers saving so that their children will not only be able to have enough to eat, to meet the grocery bills, not only be able to have enough to wear, but also perhaps saving so that their children can have an education, possibly go on to college and make their contribution to the community and to the State and to the Nation.

I know what those problems are. My own parents went through them all. I have been through them. I remember my mother used to get up at 5 o'clock in the morning to bake pies so that I and my brothers would be able to get an education that my father was never able to have. I know that in this audience are literally hundreds and hundreds of parents who have that same problem, and may I say that, knowing these things, I want to have government in Washington, D.C., which will help the people of America help themselves. I could tell you here: Just leave it to us. Send all your money down to Washington, as my opponent does. Send it down to Washington when we have a problem, and we will take over. We will take over the problems in the field of education. We will take them over in the field of medical care at the Federal level. We will do all these things, and you don't have to worry.

My friends, there is only one catch to that: Whose money is he talking about? It's not his. It's yours.

So, I say to you: Yes, there are things we can do in Washington and should do, things which will enable young Americans to have an opportunity for a higher education where they ought to have it, things which will enable the families of this country to have a better living and be able to meet their bills without having prices going clear up out of the ceiling; but, my friends, the way to greatness in America is not to take responsibility from people. The way to greatness in America is not simply to rely on what the Federal Government does. The way to greatness in America is to give the people a chance to be great, and it is the American people who will make this country what we want it to be.

So, I say to you today: It is true my opponent will spend more money than I will. He'll spend about $15 billion more of your money a year than I will, but you know what that means? It means that your taxes and your prices will have to go up. He will deny it, but he knows that it's true, because if you read his platform, and if he carries it out, this is what will happen - and I say to you, my friends, I know what the family budget is. I know what your problems are, and I say that in government in Washington, D.C., that we should not spend a dollar that we don't have to, as long as you can better spend it here at home in Lima, Ohio, and that is what we should stand for.

I want to add finally one thought that occurs to me particularly, because there are so many from the high schools here, and the other schools in this area.

Really, what this election is all about is the future of the Nation and the future of our children. This is what we think about when we go to the polls. These are the things I can assure you that a candidate for the Presidency thinks about as he goes through these great cities as I have gone through them.

You know people often ask me, "Mr. Nixon, how do you and Pat feel when you see great crowds who cheer you? How do you feel when people ask for your autograph? How do you feel when people rush up to grab your hand, to say good luck, God bless you? How does it make you feel?"

And I want to tell you. It makes you feel very humble. It makes you feel that you have the greatest responsibility that any man, that any woman, could have, and I want to say to this crowd today that we're aware of that, and we know that our first responsibility is to you, and we pledge that in everything that we do, in everything we say, if you give us the chance to serve you, we will not let you down.

Thank you.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President, Public Square, Lima, OH Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project