Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, Rear Train Platform, Lewistown, PA

October 24, 1960

I am delighted to be here on the same program with my fellow Republican candidates and with Irving Whalley, our candidate for Congress. Up and down the line I commend them all to you. I certainly know they are the best men for the job, and I know you do, too, as you come out here and campaign with us.

The second point that I want to make is that I feel a personal interest in this particular area. I understand there may be a few students from Penn State over here. Is that right? Fine.

My father's youngest brother, who my father always said was the brightest of all the Nixons and the best, was a professor at Penn State for many years, still lives at State College and he's always told me this is the very best part of the country. So here we are, and we're glad to be here.

And now I want to give you the reasons why I believe that our team, the team of Nixon-Lodge is the team that you should vote for, clearly apart from the party of which you maybe a member, but in terms of what is best for America.

The first point is this: more important than any other issue - more important than any other issue. Which man, which candidate for the Presidency can keep the peace for this country and keep it without surrender? I think all Americans realize the importance of that issue today.

Now why is this so vitally important? Why do I find that, whether I am in Hawaii, where it's much warmer than it is here, or here in Pennsylvania, or up in Maine, or down in the South, or the North, everybody is thinking of that? Because they realize that unless we keep the peace, everything else we do isn't going to amount to anything. We can have the best schools and the best housing and the best jobs that anybody can imagine, and it isn't going to make any difference if we and our children and our grandchildren aren't around to enjoy them.

So, on that point, I simply want to say first that we offer to you an experience of being with this administration, with the President for the past 7½ years. Both Cabot Lodge and I have sat with the President in making the great decisions in those 7½ years. We both know Mr. Khrushchev. We have both sat opposite him at the conference table and I can only say in respect to the two of us that we, knowing him, are not going to be fooled by him and that is what it is going to take if we are going to avoid war on the one side or surrender on the other.

Now in this particular period it is essential that the United States - it seems to me - does not take a chance - not take a chance on leadership that is inexperienced leadership that on occasion after occasion has indicated, when the chips were down, that a mistake might be made.

Just let me say this: I'm sure some of you have heard the television debates in which Senator Kennedy and I have participated. You may have heard that each man has been in Government for 14 years, but as you folks well know, it isn't how long you've been in Washington or anyplace else, that counts. It's what you've been through. It isn't how long or how many years you've been anyplace. It's how long you've lived in those years. In that respect I think that all of you recognize that I have had an opportunity for 7½ years to meet with and to participate in the making of great decisions. I have had the opportunity to know what we are faced with in the world. And knowing that, I can assure you that we will keep America strong. We will see to it that we do not make mistakes at the diplomatic table, mistakes that have led this Nation in the past into war, and that need not lead it into war in the future. You have this choice as against our opponent who has not had this experience. In this campaign he has indicated by what he has said with regard to Quemoy and Matsu, with regard to his suggestion that the President could have apologized to Khrushchev for the U-2 flight, with regard to the latest boner that he has pulled, that on our policy on Cuba, if he had been President at those times, we could have made mistakes that would have been had for America, that could have led us right into the very disaster that we've been trying to avoid.

My friends, we cannot take a chance in this critical year on untried inexperienced leadership in the White House of the United States, particularly when the man who asks for that opportunity is one who has "shot from the hip," one who, when the chips were down - and in this campaign he had to make up his mind - he made up his mind in the wrong direction.

One other point I would add: I want to say that as you stand in this area, you've heard a lot of talk by our opponents with regard to who is responsible for failing to get action on the bills that the administration has been asking for year after year to help the depressed areas of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and other States, and I want to lay to rest once and for all the responsibility in that respect.

It is directly on our opponents. They have blocked legislation in this field. The only legislation they ever sent to the President would not have solved the problem. It would not have provided help to the areas that really needed it, because it was the typical pork-barrel approach that certainly would not help here and would have given promises without performance.

I say that with our leadership, particularly since I am supporting the bill that Senator Scott and Congressmen on the Republican side worked out, we will do something about this instead of talking about it. That's all our opponents have been doing. They have talked but we produce on the promises that they make - and we're going to do it again.

One last point, and then this train will have to move. When you vote this November, you're going to be voting not only for your future and that of your children, you're going to be voting - and I speak particularly to all of those who are housewives here - to affect the prices of everything you buy in the grocery store. You're voting to affect the taxes you're going to pay because we have a clear choice here. My opponent will spend billions of dollars more for his programs, and they will produce less than mine, but remember, it's your money and not his.

I think that the American people at this point realize that in these past 7½ years we have had the kind of leadership in which the President has recognized that he must fight against pork-barrel schemes, which would spend more of the peoples' money in Washington so that you have less to spend here.

I don't think we can afford to have in the White House a man who, every time there's a problem, says, spend money - not his, but yours. That's why I say you can't afford him in the White House.

No, my friends, these are the things at stake. I say, if you want to move forward with America, if you want real progress, if you want progress that will save the peoples' money, spend what is necessary but not a cent more. But above all, if you want the kind of leadership that knows who the enemies of peace and freedom are - consider Cabot Lodge, my running mate. He has had more experience in this field and couldn't have done a better job fighting for the cause of peace and freedom. He and I will work together, work together for you in this cause. We leave it to you. If this is the kind of leadership you want, this is what we will provide. We ask you to go out and work in this cause. Remember, there are 2 weeks left. This is more important than anything else you'll be doing in this 2 weeks.

Work for the victory not just of a party or of a couple of men, but for the victory of the principles that will keep America safe at home and safe abroad.

Thank you very much.

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

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