Richard Nixon photo

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

October 26, 1960

Thank you very much, Jack Betts, and I say thank you also to this great crowd here in Marion for coming out and even in the rain to give us one of the most enthusiastic welcomes of the whole campaign.

That proves the people around here are plenty tough and a little rain isn't going to scare you out of anything. That's for sure.

I also am delighted to learn that some of the students came in from Ohio Wesleyan and from Delaware. Is that right? Well, certainly, I remember as we came through Delaware we had a big crowd there. We were unable to stop, but I hope that all of you who are from that area - because the train was moving too fast, we couldn't make the stop that we wanted to and we are glad that some of you were able to get here. I am glad that Dr. Arthur Flemming, the former president of Ohio Wesleyan, is with us and is here on the platform today.

Now, we have also here with us in your Congressman a man who it has been my privilege to know and work with, since you have sent him to Washington, and I am delighted to hear that he is going to come back with the biggest majority he's ever had, and that's certainly an indication of what you think of him, and let's give Jackson Betts the big hand that he deserves.

I want to say, too, that to see a crowd like this, who will come out in the rain, who will stand here when our train is about a half hour late to welcome us is an indication of how tremendously interested you are in this election campaign, and you're right; you're right, because I'll tell you, as far as this election is concerned, this may be the most important decision that you who are of voting age will be making in your lives. I say important, because everything that the next President of the United States does can affect what happens here in Marion, here in Ohio, and here in the United States. It will affect the future of these young people in front of me. It will affect the young people, their future, all over the world, and it's because I feel so strongly about that future; it's because I want the opportunity to work with you and for you for a better future for America that I am here, and so gratified to see you taking such an interest.

Now, with the weather as it is, I will make my points very quickly. I will make them directly and I hope you can remember the two or three things I want to emphasize today.

First, the most important qualification of whoever is the next President of the United States is this: Does he have the experience, the judgment, the background to deal with the great problems in the world in such a way that we can keep peace and keep it without surrender - and all the people here recognize that nothing else in the world is going to matter if we're not around to enjoy it. And, so, I say that my colleague, Cabot Lodge, and I offer you, first, our background. For 7½ years we have served in the administration with President Eisenhower, and I think the very fact that under his leadership we got America out of one war; we've kept her out of other wars, and we have peace without surrender today that America likes this and we want to continue that kind of leadership in Washington, D.C.

I say, too, that as far as our opponent is concerned, those of you who have had the opportunity to hear our debates will notice that in instance after instance he has differed with the President. He would have differed with him on the great decisions that have been made, several of them, in the course of this administration.

Now, let me make one thing very clear. There's no question in anybody's mind about everybody in this country being for peace, being against communism. We all share that belief. The question is, Who can handle it? The question, Who has the experience. Who has the background?

In that connection, I say in that respect, by the record, by disagreeing with the President, as he has on critical decisions, my opponent has disqualified himself as one who can handle the problems in the future in the way America needs to have them handled, if we are going to keep the peace in the years ahead.

Now, of course, it's very easy for people to say, "But, Mr. Nixon, after all, he has changed his mind on some of these things. He agrees now that the President was right on Quemoy and Matsu."

I'm not sure that he does, but we'll say, for the sake of argument, that he agrees with him; he agrees that the President now did not make a mistake. Let's say that he would say that - I'm not sure that he does - when he criticized the President with regard to his handling of the Paris Conference; but, my friends, when you're sitting in that official office in the White House, and I have been there when the President has made great decisions, they don't give you a second guess. You've got to be right the first time. If you're wrong, if you shoot from the hip, if you make a rash or impulsive statement such as my opponent has made over and over again in this campaign, it may be the statement that would set off the disaster that we do not want.

I do not say, as I stand here before you, that I have all the answers to the world's problems. I don't tell you that anybody who is President of this country can see to it that Mr. Khrushchev and the Communists aren't going to continue to cause trouble, because they will, but I do say this: I know the men in the Kremlin. I know from having worked with President Eisenhower the kind of firm, cool leadership you need in crisis, and I can assure you that if I have the opportunity that I will keep this country strong. I will see to it that we will be firm, without being belligerent, and, above all, I will work to see to it that the true picture of America - our belief in peace; our belief in the rights of all men to be free; our belief in God - that this true picture of America is presented for all the world to see, because, in the final analysis, that is what will win the struggle for the world.

The last point that I want to make is one that I know all of you will particularly understand. As I look over a crowd like this, as I realize the inconvenience and the discomfort that was caused to you to have to come here, it makes me know what a tremendous and awesome responsibility it is even to be running for President and even to be thinking of the possibility of being President of this country.

I can only tell you that, as I see this crowd, I will never forget this day in Marion. I will remember the people who came here, who stood in the rain and who looked at me, listened to what I have to say, and if you believe, and if your verdict will be, that I am the one to serve you, I want you to know that I will do everything in my power in working for a better America, an America in which we can all move forward together, leaving none behind, an America in which the young people of this country will have greater opportunities than we have even had in our time, and a world in which all men can be free, in which we can live in peace.

I will work for this the harder, because I know of the trust that you have in the man who is President of the United States.

Thank you very much.

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