Richard Nixon photo

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

October 28, 1960

Thank you very much.

It certainly is a wonderful inspiration to come out here at this hour and to see this great crowd here at Tuscola. I just want you to know that one of the things about campaigning that is the most fun is to come along the tracks, as we do here, and, then to see really the whole heart of America in front of you - and that's really what you are, you see. You may not know it, but you really are.

I was just thinking, as I looked over this crowd when they were presenting the flowers to Pat., that in this crowd is the past of America, its present, and its future. In this crowd are the hopes of America - I mean because you here in this part of Illinois, in the heart of our country, have a very deep concern about the future of this Nation, particularly about the future of your children, and also that means, naturally, the future of America. That's why you're here. That's why you took the time and the trouble to drive down to the station here to greet us as we came in. That's why you're jammed in, sort of uncomfortable, but still listening, because you realize - you all realize - that the decision you're going to make on November 8 could be the most important decision you'll make in your lives.

Now, you know, it's hard to think that could be possible, that anything, for example, could be more---

Somebody suggested that the signs come down so they could see in the back. Would you mind?

Thank you. Thank you.

As you stand here and as you think of the future of our country, I would like to put it in terms of what you want. You know, too often I think those of us in public life get up and we make a big speech and say, "I'm going to do this, and I'm going to do that, and I think this is what the country needs," and the like, and too often I think the person in the audience says, "Well, why doesn't he think of what I want?"

And what I would really like to do - what Pat would like to do - we would like to come into your sitting rooms, for example, and spend an evening and sit there and talk to you about this country, what your deepest hopes are for America, for your future, for your children's future. I think if we could - I have been trying to guess as I look at this audience and the ones on down the track - what you would really say - and I think among the things you might say are these: you would say, first of all, as my father used to say when we were growing up - he said, "You know, I'm not among those who think we want to go back to the good old days, and I don't think we ever want to be satisfied with things as they are at present." He used to say, "You know, this is the best country in the world, but in America the reason that it is the best country in the world is that. we're never satisfied. We always want a better life for our children than we have for ourselves."

That's why my mother and my dad worked pretty hard when the five of us were growing up. It was a big family. There was a lot of illness in our earlier years, but they worked hard because my dad, who didn't even get to finish the 6th grade in school because of his mother having died very early - my dad wanted to be sure that every one of us had a chance to get an education, and we did. It was difficult, but we made it, and I think if I were to talk to this audience here, to the mothers and fathers, you'd all say, "We want our youngsters to have that," and I want to say to every young person here: Sometimes, you know, when your dad is saying, or your mother, "Get that homework done"; sometimes when you think they're being rough on you; sometimes when you think life is hard, just remember they are living for you. That's all they are really thinking of, and that's all Pat and I are thinking of, believe me. We're trying to live, for you, too. We're trying to think of the things you want, to think of the better America that you want for yourselves, for your children, for everybody here.

And, so, I want you to know that I stand for-and proudly stand for programs that will move this country forward, that will develop the economy of this country so that we not only have good jobs, as we have them today - they can be even more productive, better tomorrow - move it forward so that we not only have the best education in America, and we do have it today, but where you will have a chance to have an even better education, an even better education than we have had, so that every young person in America who has the ability to go to college gets the chance to go.

This has got to happen in this country, and it can, and we have programs that will do it. We also have to think - and I'm speaking now to the children - you've got to think of your parents. I know that as my mother and father reached their seventies they had some difficult times because of illness, and I know that there's nothing that touches the hearts of children more than to think of their parents and the problems that they have then. That's one of the reasons why we have a program in the field of medical care for the older citizens - not one like our opponents' that wouldn't take care of 3 million of the people who don't happen to be on social security, but one that will give an opportunity for every older person in this country who wants health insurance coverage to have it., but which will require nobody to have it against his will. This is the American way to handle it.

Now, I want you to know how our programs differ from those of our opponents; very simply we have faith in people. We say that the way to progress in America is not simply through turning everything over to the Government in Washington. We say the way to progress in America is to give the American people a chance to build their own future., and this is the way you want, I know.

That's one of the reasons that my opponent would spend about $15 billion more a year than I would.

You know, the other day one young person came up to me and said, "Mr. Nixon, I'm a little troubled." He said, "Really, the question is: who is for the people?" And he said: "How can you say you're for the people when your opponent is going to spend more money? Doesn't this prove he's more for them?" Of course, the answer is: It's not his money, but yours he's spending, you see. The answer is that I know what it means not only to try to meet a Federal budget, but I know something else. I know what it means to meet the family budget.

Let me put it this way: Have you ever had a situation - I see these Nixon-Lodge girls standing here - have you had a situation where in your family one of you, for example - well, I remember - let me put it this way: I'll put it in terms of my own family. I remember when we were growing up we didn't have too much, but one year in particular - I think when I was about 10 years old - I wanted to get an automatic train, not an electric train, but just one that would wind and go around the track. It was a beautiful one that was in the store. And my other brother, one of the other of the four who were then living at that point - he wanted, of course, something else. Another one wanted a pony. Now, when it all came down to it, there wasn't enough to go around; and so, my mother and father had to make the decision. It was very hard for my father to say you couldn't have this and you couldn't have this, so that all of us could have enough to eat, so that all of us could have good clothing, so that all of us would be able to build for the future, so that we could have an education in the future. You know, the President of the United States, in a sense, is in that position. He has to tell the people sometimes that: "Look, we aren't going to spend money for this, or that, or the other thing, because all the people of this country have to have enough to get along." Whenever the President, in other words, says, "I am not going to allow the people's money to be spent for something I don't think is going to help all the people," he is more for the people than somebody who is talking the other way. That's what we've got to have in mind.

Now, there is one other point I want to make. We hear a lot of talk these days. I was shocked to read in the paper yesterday that my opponent, who is a candidate for the Presidency - big screaming headlines: "Kennedy Predicts Recession." And, so, I'm sure people say, "Mr. Nixon, are we going to have a recession?" Well, believe me, I can tell you this: We won't have one certainly if we do keep faith in ourselves.

And let me tell you in that very same paper that had "Kennedy Predicts Recession" - and he must not have known this - a story came out in Detroit - this was a Detroit paper - saying: "New Car Sales at Alltime High."

Now, what does this mean?

That's right.

You know what this means?

That's right.

This means that the American people don't agree with Senator Kennedy.

That's right.

This means the American people have confidence in the future. That's why they are buying cars, and I say that Senator Kennedy couldn't have made a more despicable, irresponsible statement, because it's that kind of talk that discourages people from buying cars.

Let's have faith in America. I think this running down of America - I think it's wrong, and I'm not going to do it. I'm going to stand up for America and speak up for America, as I did in Moscow and all over the world, as I think you want us to do.

Am I suggesting that we have no problems? Oh, no. We've got them. We've got them at home, and we can correct them if we keep faith in ourselves and also in our principles.

We also have problems abroad, but those problems can also be solved. Oh, they're not. easy, and it's going to mean we're going to have difficulties with Mr. khrushchev and Mr. Mao Tse-tung and the other Communist leaders trying to push all over the world for their aim of world domination. But, my friends, remember this: we're the strongest nation in the world, and if we're firm for the right as they are firm for the wrong America and the cause of peace and freedom, for which we stand, will prevail. We will win. We're going to win. There's no question about it. I say we will win if we have experienced leadership, and I'll tell you why experienced leadership counts. When a President is sitting there making the decisions for example - I remember the day when the President made the decision about going into Lebanon. You recall when the Communists were trying to move in in that free area and the President ordered marines in. One of the most fateful decisions in history. It was a Monday morning. I sat in his office. He got up and he paced the floor. He finally made the decision. He said, "They're going to go in." Now, if the President had made the wrong decision, we might be in war today; but, because he was wise and made the right decision, we have peace and we are developing stability in that area.

We can't afford to have a President who, out of the best intentions, but because of his rashness, of his immaturity and impulsiveness that Senator Kennedy has shown, practices in making his mistakes in the White House. That's what we can't afford.

Finally, I want to say this: I am delighted to be here with my fellow candidates, with Governor Stratton, with Sam Witwer, with our candidates also at the State level, and our candidate for Congress, Bill Springer. They are fine men, and if you support me I certainly want to urge you also to give them your consideration and support, because as you go to the polls, on election day - I want to say, finally, remember this - you're making the most important decision possibly you'll ever make in your lives. Make it right. Don't think just in terms of what people tell you what to do, but you think in your innermost heart; what does America need? What do you want? What do you trust? You make the decision that way and it will be best for America and best for you.

Thank you.

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