Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President at the St. George Hotel, Breakfast, Brooklyn, NY

November 02, 1960

Thank you very much. My friend, Johnny Crews, Governor Rockefeller, Congressman Derounian, my fellow candidates, and my fellow Americans here at this early morning breakfast in Brooklyn, I want to say, first of all, that I'm glad this is one of the biggest ballrooms in America. I don't know where you would all fit unless you could have had this ballroom to meet in this morning. [Cheers and applause.]

Everybody asks: Now, Mr. Nixon, how is the campaign * * * People who will pick up this poll or that one, and read this or that. People will say we're ahead of the other one. I'll tell you who knows. * * *

I want to tell you what happened. About 10 days ago - Nelson, remember when we were up here in New York? From that time on, this campaign has moved all over the country, and I want to tell you what I know. We have been since that time whistlestopping all through the heart of Pennsylvania, all through Ohio, for 2 days, in Michigan for a day, in Iowa for an evening meeting, in Illinois for 2 days. Yesterday we were back in Pennsylvania, in Erie, Pa., and Lancaster, Pa., and then yesterday evening we had a couple of meetings, one in Syracuse, N.Y., and then one in Rochester, N.Y. And I want to tell you about these meetings. These things you may not read in the press, but these things, if you read all the press, and read all the stories and put them together, you will find: In every one of these meetings, in every whistlestop, and I have perhaps made a hundred speeches in these last 10 days, we have had the biggest crowds ever seen at a political meeting. [Cheers and applause.]

For example, in Erie, Pa., last night - you know how the wind blows and how cold it can be - we had a crowd * * *

We had a crowd at the airport which the chief of police said was twice as large as they had in good weather. [Cheers and applause.]

Let me just say this: These crowds mean something. They mean something for another reason, because it just isn't people out who are curious, people who want to see somebody who is Vice President, or his wife, which is a very good reason for coming out, I am sure. [Cheers and applause.]

But these are people who are the most enthusiastic crowds I've ever seen. They're on the march. They're determined to win. They realize what would happen if we have a radical change in direction at home and if we go for inexperience abroad in this critical time. They realize what we have today. They realize we've kept the peace and kept it without surrender of principle or territory, and this is no time to use the White House as a training ground for a man to get experience. to lead the United States of America. [Cheers and applause.]

The people are beginning to realize, for example, after our television debate, that on three great issues, if my opponent had been President, he would have made a fatal error that might have led to war or surrender of territory, or both. At Quemoy and Matsu, where he disagreed with the President, and then again on Cuba, where he disagreed with the President; and then again on the Paris Conference. where he disagreed with the President.

Of course, he says now, I didn't mean it. I was really for the President all along. I really didn't mean it.

But, my friends, let me tell you this: A man who is a candidate can change his mind and nobody is the worse for it, but a man who is President, when he speaks, when he acts, it's for keeps - and that means that the President of the United States, when he comes up here to New York today, for what I know will be one of the greatest receptions, in Eisenhower weather, incidentally [cheers and applause] - and Eisenhower weather is victory weather, too; don't forget that. [Cheers and applause.]

Let me tell you - I can tell you I have seen the President make the great decisions in these last years. I know that on Trieste; I know, for example, on the very great decisions, Quemoy and Matsu, the decisions on Vietnam, all the ones that he has made, that if a rash man and an impulsive man, and an inexperienced man, a man who shoots from the hip, a man who acts first and thinks second - that if that kind of a man had been President, we might not be here today. [Cheers and applause.]

My friends, I want to emphasize just one point: This is bigger than whether we're a member of this organization or that. The point that we have to bear in mind is that today America has to have, whatever party we may be members of, whatever organization we may be members of, the best two men for President and Vice President that our Nation can produce. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, I realize that is a very arrogant comment, and I want to say I would be the last to presume to say I am the best man. I do not believe, as apparently my opponent does [cheers and applause] - I just want to say I do not believe, apparently as my opponent does, this is the time for greatness and I am the great man that America needs. I tell you I do know this: I do know that Cabot Lodge and I have been through the fire, the fire of decision. We have sat opposite Khrushchev, and we have never been fooled by him, and we never will be fooled by him. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, I'm going to make a prediction. This is particularly for the benefit of this audience, and the press can listen, if they would like.

A little intimate crowd like this cannot be off the record, but we'll keep it right on the record. People ask how is this election campaign going to come out?

I want to tell you something: Every State in this Union today - this is an election such as we have never seen before in this country. There isn't a State, North, East, West, or South, that is not a battleground, in which people on our side are making the fight of their lives, and I want to say this: As I see this great tide rolling, as I see it rolling through the heartland of this country, in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, in Indiana, in Illinois, as I see it on the West Coast, as I see it in the South, as I have seen it up here in New York, I want to tell you that if we keep it rolling, because we're going up at the time they have run out of gas and are going down. [Cheers and applause.] In fact, the best proof they have run out of gas is that all we hear from them now is hot air - hot air - and more and more and more. [Cheers and applause.]

And I say to you at this time - I say if we keep it going, we can have from the standpoint of electoral votes, one of the greatest victories in the history of America. That's what we're going to do. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, so much for the campaign. I have more speeches to make later, which you will have an opportunity to hear, but I want to say something about some friends of mine up here. I don't mean now the Governor who has worked so splendidly with me, and in developing our platform, and with whom we will work after this election, work to strengthen the instruments of peace, strengthen the instruments of freedom, and may I say there is nothing more important than that, because it isn't just enough to talk peace; it isn't just enough to stand up to Khrushchev. What you need is to take the offensive, an offensive for the minds and the hearts and souls of men on both sides of the Iron Curtain. And that's what we are going to do.

I don't want to talk about him at this time, but I want to talk about the men who are running at this time. I'm proud of them, I'm proud of every one of them. I'm proud of Francis Dorn. [Cheers and applause.]

* * * * * * * * *

My friends, I say to you: Here's a great team. Here's a team that has done well for New York. Here's a team that will speak well for America, and I promise you that I only hope I can be worthy of this team and be worthy of you for coming out and welcoming me as you have.

Thank you very much.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President at the St. George Hotel, Breakfast, Brooklyn, NY Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project