Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, Rear Train Platform, Jackson, MI

October 27, 1960

Thank you very much.

Paul Bagwell, Congressman Meader, all of the distinguished guests here on the platform, and this audience in front of me, in back of me, and on the side of me: I certainly want you to know how deeply my wife, Pat, and I appreciate this wonderful welcome. When we noted that we were stopping at Jackson, it, of course, reminded me of what all of you know: That it was 106 years ago that the Republican Party was founded right here. And I want to say it seems to me most significant that the Republican Party, founded 106 years ago here in Jackson, now is having a revitalization in this very State, which is going to make Michigan a Republican State for Governor and also support our candidates for President and for Vice President and Senator in the U.S. Senate, and I think this is an appropriate place on my whistlestop tour to pay tribute to those in the Republican Party in Michigan who over the past few years have rebuilt the strength of this party, who in 1958 made a remarkable comeback, and who this year are going over the top by giving Michigan what it hasn't had for many years, and that is a Governor who knows what responsibility is and who will draw into this State the new business that Michigan needs and deserves.

My friends, I will have more to say about that in my speech tonight, but I do not want to miss the opportunity here in Jackson to pay tribute to your candidate for Governor and your whole State ticket, because I know what Michigan Deeds. I know the potential of this State, the human resources, the natural resources that you have, and all you need, believe me, is the kind of government in the Governor's office and in the State offices here that will attract the investment Michigan can and will have to move forward, and you're going to get it. You're going to Let it, because he's going to bring it in.

I also feel that this is an appropriate occasion, if you will bear with me for a moment, to speak of the Republican Party and particularly also to speak of some of the things which we stand for, particularly in view of the fact that I understand you had another visitor here recently who said that the Republican Party hadn't had a new idea since it was founded 106 years ago.

Well, I think it's time to lay it on the line a bit, and I'm going to start right here at Jackson in that respect.

Let's begin by pointing out something that I think most of you are aware - that, as far as our Republican administration is concerned, when we took over in 1953, you remember what we found in Washington. You remember there was a war in Korea? You remember we had inflation that had eaten up every dollar of your increased wages and for the people on social security and pensions? You remember? You had it hard. Prices went up 50 percent and your incomes didn't go up at all? You remember that? You remember, too, you had corruption in Washington, bossism? It was so bad that even the Democratic candidate had to say it was a mess, and the people rejected him and elected Eisenhower to clean it up.

Well, we cleaned up the mess. Maybe that's not a new idea, but, believe me, I think it's a pretty good idea to end a war we were in and to get the United States on a peacetime prosperity basis - and that's what we want in America and in the world.

I think Americans want progress without inflation, and that's what we will bring. I think Americans want prosperity without war, and that's what we stand for. I think Americans want us to stand for freedom - not only for ourselves, but for the whole world.

Let me just say a word about this problem of inflation. You know, many times I think those of us in government - and I know Paul perhaps has the same problem, and George, the rest of us - talk about inflation and all of these subjects, the balanced budget in Washington and in Lansing, and it seems the average person who doesn't have the time to go into this---

What difference does it make whether they're talking about that balanced budget in Washington?

Well, believe me, unless we do the right thing about the Federal budget and the State budget, you're going to have a terrible time balancing the family budget. It's just as simple as that, because, just to prove the point, the other day something happened across the world in London, in Switzerland, in which there was an indication that they were losing confidence abroad in the American dollar. In fact, stories were printed in the London papers and in the Swiss papers to the effect that the reason they were bidding up the price of the dollar or bidding it down, I should say, was that they feared some of the economic consequences which would occur in the event that my opponent were elected President of the United States. Why? Because he has spending programs which would result in either increasing taxes or prices, or both, and, in any event, which would promise a runaway inflation.

Let me just set the record straight with regard to what happened. When this was brought to the attention - and I did do it - of my opponent, he laughed it off with a wisecrack.

Incidentally, there was another candidate for the Presidency who was wisecracking. He didn't get very far, and this one isn't going to get very far, either, if he's going to wisecrack about the American dollar. Now, I ask you: I say he may think it's a laughing matter that policies that would inflate our currency, that would be irresponsible, that would cause lack of confidence abroad in our dollar - he may think that's a laughing matter, but I say it's a dead serious matter, and I'll tell you why. Because when they lose confidence in the American dollar abroad, this prestige that we're hearing about all over the world is going to go down, and it will go clear to the bottom.

Let me say also that it may be a laughing matter to him that what we spend in Washington and those policies that we follow may have a detrimental effect on the value of the dollar, but I'll tell you it isn't a laughing matter to me. It's a serious matter when the people living on pensions and social security have their Government break faith with them and proceed to let the dollars that they worked hard to earn not buy what they planned to buy when they saved the money - and I'm not going to let it happen as President of the United States. I'm not going to let it happen.

I say it's no laughing matter to the housewives - I see many of them here when you go into the stores in Jackson and you find the prices going up, as they will go up, if my opponent's farm program, for example, goes in - and it isn't going to help the farmer, either. I say it is no laughing matter. I say we need a President of the United States who recognizes he has a responsibility to be careful with your money in Washington, because, remember, it's your money, not Jack's not mine. And, so, with that in mind, I just want to say that I believe that the American people recognize that when we stand for sound policies in Lansing, for sound policies in Washington, this proves we are the ones who care for the people, and anyone who laughs off what happens to the value of our dollars doesn't care - and I'll tell you why not, perhaps. Perhaps, as far as he is concerned, this may never have been a problem, but it's been a problem to me, and I'm going to tell you one thing: I'm going to see to it that America progresses, that we move forward in education, in housing, in jobs, as we have never moved forward before, but I also recognize that America will not move forward truly if at the time that we're moving forward we eat up all the advances by letting. our prices go right through the roof. This is what you want. This is what I stand for, and the Republican Party stands for it today in this great city of Jackson, where it was founded 106 years ago.

Now, I want to emphasize one other point. When Abraham Lincoln ran for the Presidency 100 years ago, the Republican Party did stand for something. It stood for freedom, freedom for all men. The issue then was only freedom in this country, freedom for the slaves. Senator Kennedy says that the Republican Party stood for something then; but nothing now. But, my friends, I can tell you that for the past 7½ years we not only have been standing for freedom and for peace - we've been fighting for it, and you have had the benefits. We have had peace. We've had it without surrender of our freedom, and this is what we're going to continue to give you under Cabot Lodge and my administration, with your help, in this city in which the Republican Party was founded.

The issue today, my friends, is not just freedom in America. It is not just freedom for the slaves. It is freedom for all mankind. It is a terribly difficult issue.

I would like to tell you in this area where the Republican Party was founded that if you elect me and Cabot Lodge, because of our experience in dealing with the Communists, you won't have to worry any more; you'll have no troubles in the world any more; no rumors of war, no threats, but this is not true.

I know these men. I know the men in the Kremlin. I know those who threaten the peace of the world, and I know that we are entering a period in which great crises will occur, but I can tell you this I think I know how we can handle them. I think if Americans are strong militarily and economically, but, above all, if we are strong in our faith, if we believe in the right things, if we stand for the right things, that we will win this struggle. We will win it not because we are militarily strong, economically strong, because atheistic communism * * *

We will win it because we have the right faith - our faith in God; our belief in the rights of men; our belief that. all men have a right to freedom and that all nations have a right to be independent.

These things are bigger than the Republican Party. They are as big as the whole world, itself.

It is these ideals that I think our party stands for today, and that millions of Democrats and Independents want to join us in fighting for and supporting us in this election, and if you believe here in Jackson that we can give the kind of leadership that America needs, that the cause of freedom needs, then I say to you: We all carry this fight for freedom throughout the world. We will win it without war. We will keep the peace without surrender, and America will be the better for it; but, what is more, millions of people throughout this world - in Asia, in Africa, behind the Iron Curtain - who look to America, who believe in America, who know we have faith in the right things, will say, God bless America, as we sing it today. Thank you.

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