Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President at Roosevelt Field Shopping Center, Garden City, NY

November 02, 1960

Thank you very much. Mr. President, Ambassador Lodge, Governor Rockefeller, my colleagues in the Congress, all of the distinguished guests and this great audience here, certainly this is one of the highlights of this campaign, probably the greatest day of the campaign, with the President of the United States right here with us campaigning in New York. [Cheers and applause.]

And we had a great day yesterday. We were in Lancaster, Pa.; in Erie, Pa.; in Rochester, N.Y., and in Syracuse, N.Y.

I want to tell you something about this campaign. As anyone who has been through national campaigns can tell you, there comes a time when a tide begins to run - and that time in our campaign came about 10 days ago, as we left New York City, went down through Pennsylvania, then got on a train last Monday and went through the heartland of the country, 2 days in Pennsylvania, 2 days in Ohio, whistlestopping then through Michigan, then down through Iowa, and then 2 days in Illinois, back again to Washington, then up to Pennsylvania, and then to New York last night and then here today and I'll tell you what I have observed with regard to this trip up to this point. At every stop that we made we found the biggest crowds they had ever had in the political history of those particular places. [Cheers and applause.] But, what is even more important, my friends, these crowds were out to win. They're enthusiastic, and they are going to win. [Cheers and applause.]

And for the benefit of all present here I can say that I sense this great spirit in the State of New York, in Rochester, in Syracuse, this morning in Brooklyn, and now here out in Nassau, and I say to you that if you continue this spirit, if you continue to carry it to your neighbors and your friends in these last critical days, when this election will be decided in New York, when it will be decided in the Nation, there's no question about the outcome on November 8. It will be a great victory not just for a man or a party, but for America and the whole free world - and that's what we're working for. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, you're going to have opportunities later today to hear me and later in this campaign, on television, at a great rally tonight, and also during the course of the other events which you may attend. I have a privilege which is one I have had several times in these last 7 years, the privilege of introducing the man who has led this country away from one of the worst messes we've ever been in to the period today in which every man and woman is proud to be an American citizen, and proud of his and her President in Washington, D.C. [Cheers and applause.].

Before I do so, I think it is well to keep the record straight, keep it straight with regard to the accomplishments of this administration, because you must judge my colleague, Cabot Lodge, and me by the fact we have been part of this administration. We've had a rare opportunity. We have been in the presence of the President. We have been with him when the great decisions have been made and, therefore, as far as those decisions are concerned, we must take responsibility for them, and we are proud to do so.

So, I say to you today, in introducing him, it is well to keep the record straight, and as we flew by helicopter over New York and up to this great area here and the plane landed it occurred to me I could think of no better answer to one of the silliest comments that has been made by our opponents during the course of this campaign, and that is that America has stood still for 7 years and now we've got to get her going again. Well, believe me, anybody who says America is standing still hasn't been traveling through America, I can assure you of that, as I have. [Cheers and applause.]

Look at this great area here. It was built in the last 7 years.

Shopping centers; highways; three times as many schools; more housing; more hospitals; the greatest progress in civil rights not only in this administration - more than in the previous 20 years, more than in 80 years.

My friends, we can be proud not only that President Eisenhower has restored dignity and decency to the Presidency, but that he has led America to the greatest progress we've ever had in our history. [Cheers and applause.]

And, my friends, we can also be proud of another thing: Cabot Lodge spoke of the great and awesome burdens of a President. I have never been one in this campaign to say: This is a time for greatness, and I am the man who is great. I know that that is a decision that only the American people know in their hearts, in their minds and in their souls, and you will determine it. I know, too, a man can be great only as the people are great, only as he meets the challenge of the times; but, my friends, I want to say this: I have known greatness in the sense that I have seen the President, as Cabot Lodge has seen him, make decisions, decisions that avoided war, decisions that avoided surrender, decisions that have got us out of one war, have kept the peace without surrender - and, believe me, that's what we're going to give you if we get the opportunity after November 8, because that's what the American people want. [Cheers and applause.]

And I can only add to what Cabot Lodge has said: It is very easy to do as our opponents have - to say the President was wrong on Quemoy and Matsu in not surrendering two islands of freedom; he was wrong in not apologizing to Khrushchev; he was wrong in what he did in Cuba, and then to take it back the next day. My friends, it is very easy to do that when you're a candidate; but, my friends, when the President sits in that oval room in the White House, and when he decides something, it's for keeps. He can't take it back, because once he does it then the decision rocks around the world. I have seen decisions like that made. I was there the morning that the decision on Lebanon was made. I was there when Trieste was decided. I was there when the decisions on Iran, all these others that have kept the peace, and kept it without surrender, were made and, my friends, this I know: That America at this time cannot afford to use the White House as a training ground to give experience to somebody at the expense of the United States of America. [Cheers and applause.]

Do I suggest to you that there are going to be no troubles if we are elected? No. We know the Communists. We know they are ruthless. We know that they want not just Quemoy. and Matsu, not just Formosa, but the world, and we know that the problems will be difficult, but this I pledge to you: We have been through the fire of decision. We know what it takes. We know that it takes firmness and strength, but never belligerence. We know that it takes what the President has always said - go the extra mile for peace and disarmament, but never make a deal which would weaken the United States and those who are guarding the citadels of freedom as against the Soviets. [Cheers and applause.]

We know, in other words, that what America needs to keep the peace, what America, needs to have progress is the kind of leadership that the man who is next going to speak to you has given, the man who saved America. in 1953 from what we were in then, the man who has always made us proud of our country, the man who is now the symbol of peace and freedom for the whole world.

I only hope that Cabot Lodge and I can be worthy of the United States and worthy of the man under whom we have worked, President Eisenhower.

Thank you. [Cheers and applause.]

Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President at Roosevelt Field Shopping Center, Garden City, NY Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project