Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, Quad City Airport, Moline, IL

October 29, 1960

My friends we are now entering what may be - I think in history will be recorded as one of the most fateful weeks in the history of America, a fateful week because this is the week in which millions of Americans will make up their minds how they're going to vote November the 8th. This is the week that those of you who have already decided to support our ticket will be traveling through your districts and your precincts helping people get the facts that will make up their minds.

I want to tell you that, whatever you're doing, whatever you've been doing, if it's a businessman who has a problem in business, if it's a lawyer, who's worrying about his law business, if it's a housewife who is concerned about getting things done, chores around the house, there is nothing more important than your taking off a week and going to work and fighting for America and what we stand for in this campaign. [Cheers and applause.]

I know that many of you did have the chance to hear the President of the United States last night on television, and I know as you heard him you heard some of the reasons why this campaign is tremendously important - to you, to all of America and to the whole free world.

At a time like this I cannot cover those reasons except very briefly, but there are a few points that I want to make. I want to make them directly. I want to make them in a way that I want you to make them, as you work in this campaign in this critical week before the election on November the 8th.

Point 1: The most important issue, as the President indicated last night, is the issue of whether we're going to be able to do what President Eisenhower has done for 7 years, and America will be forever grateful to him, and that is to keep the peace without surrender for America and the world. [Cheers and applause.]

Frankly, I was glad to hear the President speak up. I am getting tired of hearing Kennedy and the rest run down the President of the United States. [Cheers and applause.]

Oh, I know what they say. We didn't mean Eisenhower. Yes, they think he's a popular man, but every time you turn around - they don't like what he did in Quemoy and Matsu. They criticized him for the way he handled the U-2 flight at the Paris Conference. They don't like his Cuban policy.

My friends, I don't see how a President could have made so many mistakes and done so well in the field of foreign policy as President Eisenhower. [Cheers and applause.]

And also I say this: When all that our opponents offer is a return to the policies, to the kind of leadership, to the kind of a gang we had around the White House in 1952 - I say we had enough of it then. We don't want any more of it now. [Cheers and applause.]

And, incidentally, that's the same situation here in Illinois. You know what boss rule means with the Cook County gang up there. You don't want any part of it. That's why you're going to reelect Bill Stratton down here, and we're going to reelect him with a majority that all of the people of this State will be proud of. [Cheers and applause.]

My friends, I can assure you that Cabot Lodge and I will have only one obligation - that's to the people of America. As I often say, when I go through the country, I don't make promises to anybody that I'm going to be a hundred percent for what they want. I don't go up to Detroit and say to a labor group : "Look, as far as I'm concerned, your aims are my aims or my aims are your aims," whichever way you want to put it. I don't have a 100-percent voting record for labor. I don't have a 100-percent voting record for management. I don't have a 100-percent voting record for any segment of our population, and I'll tell you why. The President of this country has got to be President of all the people and not just one group of the people. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, I want to say a word about this great farm machinery center of America. Rock Island is known as that around not only the United States, but around the world. You know what you build here. You know your whole economy is built around it. Let me just give you a warning. I talked last night about the farm program of my opponent. It would cut farm production in this country by as much as a third, take out a third of the acres and the production in wheat and corn and all the other items. You see what that is going to do to Rock Island? What is it going to do to employment? What it is going to do here? Why, it is going to devastate this area. It will be disastrous to it. I say we don't want managed scarcity in America; we want abundance, and that is my program of abundance on the farm, where the Government does what it ought to do, and that's to see to it that farm income holds up during this period that we get rid of the surpluses that are on the farmer's back. That's the way to handle this problem, and not to go back to a discredited farm program that even Henry Wallace said was too radical for him and Franklin Roosevelt 25 years ago. [Cheers and applause.]

So, to the farmers of this area, to those interested in the economy of this area, I say we are the ones who offer the programs for progress for America, because we have faith in America. We don't think this is a second-rate country in education, second rate in science, second rate in prestige. Let's stop that kind of talk, because it isn't true, and because it hurts America abroad as well as at home. I've had enough of it, and I think the American people have had enough of it, too. [Cheers and applause.]

I make another suggestion, too: I referred last night to what I thought was one of the silliest statements that has been made by our opponents to date, predicting a recession, 2 days ago. The report came out showing that new car sales were at an alltime high. Now, look, my friends, we're not going to have a recession. My opponent knows it. I know it. Let's quit being bearish about America. Let's quit running America's economy down. Let's quit poor-mouthing about America at home and abroad. I'm sick of it, and I think you are, too. Let's talk up America and [Cheers and applause.]

Now, could I say just a word about the future of this countrythe kind of a future that I want to build, with your help. I'm proud of the record of my administration. I say "mine," because it's yours as well, those of you who supported the President in 1952 and 1956. I think we have made great strides. I am proud of the fact that we have built more schools, more highways, more hospitals. We've put more people on social security. We have raised the benefits more. We have done a better job in civil rights than in any administration in history. But, my friends, I also say we Americans are never satisfied, no matter how good our record is. We're going to build on it. We're going to go forward. I look at these youngsters here. I see those over there m that choir, and I say we want a better life for those young fellows than we've had for ourselves.

You know, that's what my mother and father lived for. I recall when we were growing up they worked pretty hard. They had to. We did, too; we had a little country store, you know, where everybody has to work in order to stay in competition. My mother used to bake pies in the morning, all that sort of thing. Well, anyway, they lived for only one thing, and that was to see to it that their boys, their youngsters, would have a better chance in life than they have had.

That's what I want. I want it for you. I want it for all of the young people of America.

I also want a better life for our older citizens who work hard, save their money and then come to the retirement age and social security or pensions and the like, and I say I am against the programs of my opponent which would have the result of robbing you of your savings, robbing you of your social security, robbing you of your pensions. Why? Because by huge Government spending programs they would make the dollars you earn worthless when you started to cash them in.

My friends, that's the cruelest thing that Government can do, and I say the thing to do is to have progress, but have it at the same time keeping faith with people who bet on America, who invest in America, who put their savings in America, in life insurance and social security and the like, and I will not countenance any kind of a program that will destroy the value of the millions of people who are attempting to eke out a living on their savings or their pensions and their life insurance in this country. I think you want that, too. [Cheers and applause.]

We not only want a better life for these young men. We also want it to be a life of freedom. I was asked a moment ago about this choir. Would you give me the name of that, Bill, the choir that's over here? Moline - It's the Moline Boys' Choir. Right.

How about a hand for them over there? [Cheers and applause.]

Could I tell you a little story? As I came in with Pat, I looked over and saw a choir standing there. I remember a day just a little over a year ago, a day that some of our press men traveling with us will remember, the day we were in Warsaw. That evening the Prime Minister of that Communist country had a program, and they had a singing program, and a choir sang, a Polish boys choir. They looked just like these boys. They didn't wear red coats - and, incidentally in their hearts they weren't red, either, because the people of Poland have no use for communism. You can be sure of that. But, as I looked at that choir and heard them sing, I thought of this choir. I think of it today. My friends, the young people around the world have the same hopes, the same aspirations. They want freedom. They want a chance in life. They want to grow up in a world of peace. That day that choir sang one song, which touched our hearts. They sang "Way Down Upon the Swanee River" in English with a Polish accent.

So, I think of the choir in Poland, the same age as this one. I look at this choir, and I say that we Americans can be proud today that we're the strongest nation in the world, economically, militarily, in every other way, and that we have the opportunity - it isn't a burden, but an opportunity - to lead the world not only to peace, which we will do, but to give hope to the boys and the girls, to the older people all over the world who want to be free, so that everybody in the world can grow up like these boys. That's what I believe in.

This is a great period in history. It's a period of opportunity. It's a period of challenge for America. I have seen the world. I have a feeling of destiny about this period. I am convinced that if Americans are strong at home, if we have faith in our God - we get that through our churches - if we have faith in our country - we get that in our schools - if we have faith in ourselves - we get that in our homes - then America will be worthy of the challenge, and that we will not disappoint the hopes of our own children, but also of millions of children in Asia, in Africa, in Europe, all over the world, who want peace, who want freedom.

My friends, what I have just said sounds very far away from Rock Island, Ill. I know it must sound that way to you. What does this have to do with our problems? Why should we be concerned with this when we're worried about how we're going to pay the bill at the end of the month, how we're going to get junior's shoes, how we're going to get that Halloween costume that the girl wanted for the party on Monday night? Let me tell you this: We Americans have always stood not only for freedom for the world. That's why we're a great people - never forget - because as we stand for freedom for the world, we insure freedom for ourselves.

So, I say to you that is the opportunity that Cabot Lodge and I ask today. We have a feeling of responsibility. We don't say we have all the answers. We don't say that there aren't going to be problems.

We know the enemies of freedom. They're ruthless, tough, fanatical.

I have had Khrushchev shake his fist under my nose time and time again, talking about the greatness of communism and his contempt for our system, but, my friends, just as he is an apostle for evil, we must be advocates for what is good, what is right, not only here, but all over the world. That is what we ask to do. [Cheers and applause.]

That is what we ask to do. We say: If you elect us, we will keep America strong at home; we will not break faith with the older people of America. We will see to it that our country progresses so that our young people will have better opportunities for education, housing, and health and all these other fields, and we will also see that America in this critical moment of history realizes her destiny by leading the peoples of the world to peace without surrender, to freedom without war.

Thank you very much.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President, Quad City Airport, Moline, IL Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project