Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, Rear Train Platform, Danville, IL

October 28, 1960

This is, certainly, at 8 o'clock in the morning, one of the greatest crowds that any campaign ever saw. We certainly thank you for coming out. It means that the people in this area are getting up early, working hard, because you're going to be sure Illinois is in our column on November the 8th, and certainly when I speak of our column, I am speaking of our whole ticket, of Bill Stratton, your Governor, of Sam Witwer, your next United States Senator, and, of course, my old friend, Les Arends, whom all of you know so well.

How about a hand for the whole ticket? Thank you.

My, I just can't believe it. I mean, I don't like to get up early in the morning. That's one thing that's very different. People say, "Well, now, Mr. Nixon, how are you different from President Eisenhower?"

Well, I want to say one thing: As far as our devotion to and our belief in how to stop communism and how to win the peace, President Eisenhower and I stand together, and that's why we've been able to work for the peace of the world as we have in these 7 years.

But from a personal standpoint, we do have this difference: You know, he grew up in the service, and all of you fellows who have been in the service, as I was, will recall you had that reveille about 6 o'clock in the morning before your eyes get open. Well, in any event, the President often has breakfast at the White House and you get an invitation for breakfast. You know what time he has it? Seven o'clock in the morning. And there's one promise I'm going to make: There won't be any 7 o'clock breakfasts again if I become President because, you see, the difference is I like to work late at night. When you stay up until 12 or 1 o'clock working, it's hard to get up in the morning. But, be that as it may, apparently the people in Danville are just like President Eisenhower. You like to get up early in the morning.

Well, now, there's one fellow who said - he says, "We like you, too." What's your name ? Thank you.

My friends, as you notice, I have a little cold. I want to tell you I didn't pick it up in Illinois. I got it in Ohio a couple of days ago. But the reason I got it was our crowds were so big over there, even in the rain, that we had to ride in the caravan in the rain, you know, one of those sitting in the back of the car. Believe me, after you have done that for a while and get inside and make a talk, it's a little hard to keep from picking up a cold.

But, believe me, a bad knee didn't keep me from running, and a cold isn't going to stop me, either. We're going to keep going from now on out.

Well, I'm going to try to talk to you this morning about - frankly, not what I want to talk about, but - what I think you want to talk about. You know, this morning on the train, as we were riding through this countryside, I was thinking, well, now, people get up this early in the morning. - I wonder why. I just wonder why they do it.

Well, I think the reason is that all of you are concerned. You are concerned about America, and you're deeply devoted to this country. You want to see it get the kind of government it needs, the right government, and because you're here with that concern, what ran through my mind, as I was telling Pat at breakfast, is this: I said, too often those of us in politics are getting up and saying, "I think you ought to do this. I think you ought to do that." So I said I would like to reverse it this morning. So, I said I am going to try to think in terms of what do the people want. What do you want? What do you think you want from government in Washington, D.C.?

So, let's think about that.

The first thing you want, obviously, is what is natural for all of us. We want to be able to make a decent living. We've got to have that, because the women here aren't going to be able to go out and shop and buy the groceries and the clothes and everything else you need and then pay the bills at the end of the month and have a little left over for retirement or, for that matter, to send the kids to school.

So, we want to make a decent living. You're testing me. You're testing my opponent, as you should. How do we measure up on that score?

My friends, I want to say here today that on that score I know what those problems are, because I've had them.

I remember my mother used to get up at 5 o'clock every morning in our little country grocery store to bake pies so that I and my five brothers could get the education my father didn't have.

My father came from Ohio, and his mother died when he was quite young. Consequently, he went to work and he only got a 6th grade education.

But, incidentally, that didn't hurt him. He was still quite a fellow. But I was going to say this: My mother and my father had this devotion: the thing that they lived for with the five of us - they wanted us to have a better chance than they had. That's what they wanted. So, they got up early in the morning and she baked pies while my dad was going over to the market to get vegetables and put them in the store.

I did it when I was going to high school and college, too.

So, I know what those problems are. I know, for example, what the problems of our older people are. Again, if I can speak personally, I remember my mother and dad - after they were past the earning age, they had operations. They were ill. My mother, incidentally, is still living, as you may know, but there was the problem of doctor bills. Now, they didn't happen to have social security. They didn't happen to have any pension. They didn't happen to have enough life insurance that they could borrow. They had saved some money, and fortunately they had saved enough that they could take care of those bills, but I know many of the people in the little town that I grew up in weren't like that, people that were just as honest, people who tried just as hard as they did, and who had these bills and had to go on relief, on charity, in effect, in order to pay them. That's one of the reasons that on that particular issue I feel we've got to develop a program to handle it.

Another thing I remember what you want: I remember the biggest day of my life. It was the day I got a letter from Duke University in North Carolina saying I was going to get a scholarship to study law. If that letter hadn't come, I wouldn't be here today.

And then I thought today of the literally hundreds of thousands and millions of young people in this country, young people who ought to go to college, but who, because they might not have the money and couldn't borrow it and couldn't get a scholarship, weren't able to go, and I thought of the waste, not only the personal problem, but the fact that here in America we cannot afford to waste the talents of a potential scientist, or a doctor, or a lawyer, a Congressman or a Senator, or even maybe the President of the United States.

So, these are the things I thought of. So, we want a good living. We want our children and our neighbors' children to have an equal chance at the starting time. We want them to have a chance to go to school. We want our parents and ourselves, when we get past the earning age, not to have to go on relief to pay their medical bills. We want all these things. And now the question comes: How do we get them? And here's where we have the great difference between Senator Kennedy's approach and mine. He says, "Well, these are terrible problems," and they are, but the people can't handle them. And, so, "We'll just set up a great, big Government program. We'll take the money. We'll send it down to Washington and the Washington people, the people in Washington, will set up huge programs in education, and in health, and in all these other fields, and they'll take care of the people."

Now, my friends, that sounds good. There's only one trouble with it. It won't work. It's been tried in country after country abroad, and every country that has turned that way wished they were following the American way today, and it's the American way that I want to follow today.

My friends, what is the American way? The American way is for Government to do what it ought to do, but never to take a responsibility from the people that the people can do themselves. Government should always encourage people to handle these problems themselves. Government should always give people a choice.

If, for example, our older citizens want health insurance, they ought to be able to get it, and I have a program that provides for it, a much broader program than my opponent's but I say that no American should be forced to have compulsory health insurance against his will. I don't think that's the American way to handle the problem.

Take the field of education: You know it's awfully easy to say, "Well the Federal Government ought to take our young people and set up scholarships and loans and just handle the whole problem." Now, we need some scholarships. We need some loans, but, my friends, what about the millions of people in this country who save their money, as my mother and father did, in attempting to get their kids to go to college? Why don't we give them a better chance? You know the way to do it? I've got a plan. I say what we ought to is to give tax credits and tax deductions to those who pay the expenses for their kids to go to college - and that's the way you all want to do it, and in every way I can spell it out that is the way to handle these problems.

What about jobs? Now, my opponent a couple of days ago in Detroit made the most disgraceful, irresponsible statement probably of this campaign, other than the one that. he made on the Cuban situation, which if he had made as President would have lost us all of our friends in the world. Now, in this connection, what did he say? I don't know whether it was carried down here in the Danville papers that way, but a screaming headline, across eight columns of the Detroit papers said: "Senator Kennedy Predicts Recession."

Now, my friends, lets think of what's happening. He knows there are more people with more jobs than at any time in history. He knows there are pockets of unemployment. But he knows that his rump session of the Congress didn't do a thing about it, and we will, and it's time we ought to lay these things out so that the people can understand it.

But he also knows this: He knows that in 20 years before our administration came to Washington - remember this: think back - we never had prosperity and employment except in war or as a result of war - and we don't want that today.

You see what I mean? If we want to move forward. if we want jobs, the way is through peace, with peace, and without inflation.

And also my opponent knows this: He knows the unemployment figure dropped last month and, you know, a funny thing, that same Detroit paper that carried that story had another eight column headline right below it. You know what it said? "Car Sales at Alltime High."

You know what that means? That means steel goes up in production. It means that car sales go up. It means that Americans - Americans who ought to know - that they aren't betting on recession. I say the American people have got a lot more sense than Senator Kennedy, because they know that we're not going to have * * *

I say the American people have faith in our economy, and I wish Senator Kennedy had a little more than he has at the present time and would quit talking that way.

Now, on the last point about peace: You know what I would like to do? I would like to stand up here and say to every one of the mothers and fathers: "Elect Cabot Lodge and me. You don't have to worry about anything. You're not going to have any more troubles in the world. Mr. Khrushchev isn't going to stir up any more riots. He isn't going to stir up a riot as he did in Caracas, where they threw stones at my wife and me."

Incidentally, they threw a few tomatoes and eggs at us yesterday. But let me say this: I have been through a few hecklings, and a few tomatoes and eggs aren't going to stop me either. And if there are any in this crowd, you just try it and see.

But, incidentally, if people think we're so hard up, how can people afford the tomatoes and eggs? They were pretty good ones.

Anyway, getting back to this subject on the area of peace - now, the world isn't going to be all "smooth seas," but I'll tell you this: In Cabot Lodge and me you have a couple of fellows who know Mr. Khrushchev. We sat opposite him at the conference table. We have not been fooled by him, and that kind of leadership will keep the peace, and keep it without surrender, and I say we should not take a chance on the inexperienced, immature, impulsive, rash leadership that my opponent has indicated time and time again in this campaign.

Now, finally, speaking again of the family budget, you know, I remember many of the housewives used to come into our store, and I could tell the ones - we ran credit in those years, in the 1930's - I could tell the ones who were going to be able to pay the bills at the end of the month and the ones who were going to run aver. You know, one lady would come in and there would be nice hamburger. I ground it myself, incidentally - no suet in it, all meat - and it was mighty good, incidentally, only 22 cents a pound then - but here would be some nice hamburger and over here would be a fine beef roast. So, the lady would buy the hamburger; because she had a big family. She would have preferred the beef roast. Somebody else would come in and get strawberries out of season rather than the other thing. What I am saying to you is this: I'm saying to you that I know what the family budget. means, and I want to say in thinking of the family budget, that I know that we must not spend $1 in Washington that will make it harder for you to balance your family budget. My opponent's programs would add $15 billion a year. Oh, he'll deny it because this doesn't sound so good, but it would add $15 billion a year to our budget to carry out his platform, and you know what that would mean? Raise the prices - raise the taxes - of every family in America.

Do you want that? No. You're not going to get it, because he's not going to win.

Well, my friends, again may I thank you for coming out. May I tell you there's nothing more inspirational than to see a great crowd like this, and I make one final pledge to you: I know the problems of the families of America. I have been through them. I care about them. I know the problems, for example, of our farmers, as well as those of our city folks, and I'm determined we're going to do things about it. We're going to do things that will not put our farmers on the Federal payroll, in effect, with a bunch of bureaucrats telling them what to do, but one that will lift the surpluses off their backs, so the farmers can handle their own problems the way they want to do it.

And, my friends, I also want to tell you this: Cabot Lodge and I are not supermen, but we pledge to you that, to the extent that our abilities and time and effort mean anything, we will give America the most devoted leadership of which we are capable, and I say it particularly because I will remember all of our crowds but because I remember a crowd like this - people getting up at 7, 6 o'clock in the morning - if you get up and come out, you've shown a lot of faith, and we're not going to let you down. You can be sure of that.

Thank you very much.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President, Rear Train Platform, Danville, IL Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273939

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