Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, Rear Train Platform, Battle Creek, MI

October 27, 1960

Thank you very much, and let's give a big hand to that band over there. How about it?

My friends, August Johansen, and this great crowd here at Battle Creek: We want you to know how much we appreciate your coming out. We regret that the train apparently stopped in a place where about half the audience cannot see. I hope you can hear, and we hope to be able to see you as we pull out a bit, but we certainly want you to know to see this great crowd here is one that is inspiring as we move through Michigan today, and certainly on the basis of the crowds that I have seen - as I was saying to one of the newspapermen from this city - this campaign is on the way in Michigan, and we're going to elect a Governor, and Michigan is going to vote for our ticket at the national level as well this year, 1960.

I particularly want to say that the opportunity to speak in behalf of Paul Bagwell is one I have enjoyed all day long. I know that there are many people in this area who have expressed concern over the way the economy in Michigan has been moving, and I would just like to make one suggestion: If you want Michigan's economy to move, there is a way to get business in this State, and that is to get somebody running the statehouse in Lansing who knows something about State government, so the people will have confidence in it - and that's Paul Bagwell, your next Governor, and I know you're going to vote for him.

I also want to say that, as I speak to this crowd, I realize that you are interested in a number of very vital issues, and there are these that I particularly want you to remember on election day.

First of all, this campaign is one that involves the future not only of America, but of the whole world.

This campaign is one in which I ask you to vote not as Republicans, not as Democrats, or independents; but as Americans, thinking of what this Nation needs and what the world needs in the years ahead.

I say this because I have seen the world, because I have had the opportunity to know the problems with which we are confronted, and because I know that the decisions that the next President makes may determine the difference between whether we have peace or war, between whether we have freedom, for ourselves and for the whole world; therefore, I urge all of you to consider the qualifications of the candidates on the basis not simply of the labels you may wear, but on the basis of whether you think what we stand for is best for America.

Now, the second point I want to make in that respect is this: My colleague, Cabot Lodge, and I have had a very unusual, and I think very rare, experience over these past 7½ years. We have worked under the President of the United States. We have sat in the high councils of this administration, in the National Security Council, and in the Cabinet.

We had the opportunity to participate in the discussions leading to the great decisions that have been made which have avoided war, which have kept the peace, and kept it without surrender, and I say to you people here in Battle Creek today that at this critical time in our history we need men who know who the enemies of the United States are. And we know Mr. Khrushchev.

We need people who have had experience in dealing with these great problems, and we have had that experience.

We need people who can lead this country without going through that period when we could make costly mistakes that come from inexperience, whatever the good intentions may be.

I don't say to you that we have all the answers. I know how difficult these problems are. I know Mr. Khrushchev and I know how determined he is and his colleagues to make trouble for us all over the world, but I also know this: I know that America is the strongest nation in the world. I know that we're twice as productive as they are. I know that we have the best educational system in the world. I know, too, that we're first in science, and, despite what our opponents may say in any of these fields, it's time the people began to speak up for America and quit running this country down here at home and to the people abroad as well.

I say, yes, there are things that America can do to improve ourselves, and we will do that. We're going to see to it that we move forward in civil rights, and may I say in that connection we're proud that we have moved more in 8 years than they have moved in 80 years before. We're going to move forward in education. We're going to move forward with an economic program that will expand the tremendous resources of this country, that will mean more jobs at higher wages for our people, but, my friends, we're also going to move forward in a way that we recognize that everything we do in Washington, every dollar that we spend comes right out of our pocket, and we're not going to spend a dollar there that we thin you can spend better right here in Battle Creek, Mich., and we think that's what you want, and we think that's what the American people want.

You know, sometimes people come to me and they say, "Mr. Nixon," they say, "if you want to be elected, why don't you do as your opponent does? Just go out and promise to spend all the money for everything around the country?" I mean it's very easy. I say he will spend about $15 billion more a year than we're spending. "Why don't you raise him? Tell him you'll spend $25 billion a year more."

I could do that. Obviously, I want to win this election. Why don't I say that? I'll tell you why. Because I knew something that you know. I know that I'm not paying off those promises with my money, but with yours. I know, therefore, that it's my responsibility to see to it that America's Government spends every dollar that it should for defense, every dollar that it should for education, every dollar that it should in every other area, but I also realize that a President of the United States has the responsibility to stand up against the pressure groups, who for this, that, or the other thing for themselves would have us spend money that would be not in the best interests for all the people of this country, and I want you to know when I go to Washington, if I get that opportunity, as the President of this country, that I'll not owe my election to any boss, whether that boss may be in labor or whether he's in management or whether he's in any other kind of institution in this country. I happen to believe, my friends, that whoever is President of this country has to owe his allegiance to only one boss, and that's the American people, and I'm going to be with the American people.

And, finally, I say to you: That if you believe that the way to progress is the way that we offer, if you believe that the way to peace is through strength and through firmness, then I ask you for your support, and again I say: I don't simply stand here and say, I'm a Republican; vote for me because I'm a Republican. I know that my opponent often says the party is what counts. My friends, the party is important, and I am proud of all the candidates I'm standing with here today, with Gus Johansen, a fine Republican Congressman, and Paul Bagwell, but, my friends, we stand at a great turning point in history and the man who is the best which either party can produce has got to be the next President of the United States, and I say to you - I say for that reason, whatever you may be-think of the country, and if you believe that Cabot Lodge and I have the experience, the background that America needs, then we ask for your support, and will you work for us from now until election day?

Thank you very much.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President, Rear Train Platform, Battle Creek, MI Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project