Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, Rear Train Platform, London, OH

October 26, 1960

Thank you very much.

I want to tell you how very pleased that Pat, my wife, and I are that we could stop here at London. It wasn't on the schedule, but then Clarence Brown, my good friend from Washington, said, "Dick, they announced there might be a stop here," and he said, "I'll bet you there might be several hundred people out."

Well, there are several thousand, and we thank you for coming, as you have.

And we particularly appreciate the fact that we're not only in this particular area which is Clarence Brown's district, but also, as he indicated, the home county of John Bricker and, as he says, the richest agricultural county in America.

Is that right?

One other thought: One of the problems people often ask both Pat and me about is: How does running for President or being Vice President affect family life?

Well, you do have a few problems because, or, sometimes you'll be listening to television and so forth, you want to tune something in and, you know, the girls may prefer "Maverick," and I don't blame them. Sometimes it's better than some of the speeches I have had to listen to. But, in any event, there is not only that problem, but one of the things we run into, when we go home after being away for several weeks - people say, like you young people when your parents go away, "Have you brought me a present?"

Well, we never have any time to shop for one, and this is the first city in Ohio where the people were so thoughtful to give us a present for our two girls.

So, we thank you for making it good for us in that respect. And we have it here. Thank you.

I just would like to add one other thought. I'm so delighted to see our two high school bands here, and also to see so many people who are from the schools of this particular area. I want you to know that to me the thing that I will remember the most about this campaign are, the people that I have seen at stops like this. You wonder, I suppose, what does a man think about who is running for President. I'll tell you. What you really think about is when you see so many young people, when you see all the voters who have come out to look over the candidate and to listen to him, you realize what a tremendous responsibility the President of this country has. This isn't a job that somebody must look at as something that he wants to satisfy personal ambition. This is not something that you can describe solely in terms of how this man or that man is going to be a great man, as the case might be, but I think that what we have to realize is that the man who is President of this country owes a responsibility to all Americans. He owes a responsibility particularly to keep this country strong and free now so that we can hand it on to our children better than we received it. That is what we want to do.

And I want to say for all of the young people here particularly, that when you read in the papers some of the things my opponent has been saying about America being a second-rate country, as far as its science and its education and its prestige is concerned, that that is just nothing but plain nonsense, and you can put it in your hat for that, because I know, because I have been abroad and I have seen what we have in other countries.

America is not a perfect country, but America, I can assure you, is a country that no American ever needs to apologize for in any respect, and let's never forget that.

Because one of the things we Americans do is that we recognize those areas where we haven't made the progress that we should, and we're determined to move forward in those areas. We're a free people, and we have the right by our election campaigns to make those necessary, give to our leaders the mandates that they require to see that America moves forward the way that we want her to move.

So, I just want to say to you in conclusion that, as you vote in this election campaign, you will be making the most important decision perhaps of your life, and I'll tell you why: Because what you decide will determine not only who's going to be President, but who will lead the whole free world, and you've got to think in terms of what man, which of the two men, can handle these problems, handle them in dealing with Mr. Khrushchev and the other leaders of the world in a way that will avoid war on the one side and surrender on the other.

I can tell you that it isn't easy. I have sat with the President when he has made these great and sometimes lonely decisions. Should he send troops to Lebanon? He did. He was right. It avoided war. It avoided a Communist conquest. I remember when he made the decision on Quemoy and Matsu, when he decided we would have to have the right to defend the whole area in order to stop communism in that area.

He was right, but it was a tough decision, and with the wrong decision there would have been no time to second-guess.

I don't say to you that I, if I am elected, can promise perfection in this respect, but I do say this: I know what responsibility means. I've been through it. I also know what America means, not only to us here at home, but what it means to millions abroad, and with your help I can promise you that we will always represent America at its best. We will always present to the people of the world the picture of an American people who are not affected with an inferiority complex by themselves, but people who are confident of their ideals, who have faith in their God, and faith in their country.

With this kind of belief in ideals at home, you can be sure that we will build a world abroad and at home in which our young people can enjoy a better life than we have had, and a life in peace - and this is what we all want, above everything else.

Thank you again, very much.

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