Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President of the United States, Prepared for Delivery at Wheaton, IL, and Southfield Shopping Center, Chicago, IL

October 29, 1960

In New York, Thursday, Senator Kennedy said that the position of the Republican Party is that "we cannot afford medical care for the aged."

Once again, Senator Kennedy is trying to mislead the American people by telling them that Republicans are opposed to medical care for the aged.

This is a calculated deception. I resent it. Mr. Kennedy is putting his desire to be President ahead of the truth.

Here are the facts.

I have fought for and will continue to fight for a voluntary Federal-State plan of medical care for the aged - a plan under which all persons 65 and over of moderate means could receive more help than they would receive under Mr. Kennedy's plan.

In addition, under his plan for a compulsory Federal health insurance program many of the wealthy would receive help and 3 million senior citizens with incomes of $2,000 or less would receive no help.

Let's consider these 3 million citizens.

I called attention to these forgotten people in the first debate. What was Mr. Kennedy's answer? Here it is - from the record.

"Our program (the Kennedy program) was an amendment to the Kerr bill and the Kerr bill provided assistance to all those who were on social security."

Now what was the Kerr bill? It provided for an increased medical care program for those on public assistance.

And so, Senator Kennedy would deny these 3 million senior citizens the opportunity of protecting themselves in advance against the risks of heavy medical bills. He would say to them - "You just sit around and wait and if trouble develops we will put you on the public assistance rolls."

This is the man who alleges that he has such a deep concern for our senior citizens.

Mr. Kennedy sponsors a plan that discriminates in favor of the wealthy and against the poor. He sponsors a plan that the Congress has made very clear it will not approve.

I favor a program that treats all of our senior citizens of modest means alike. I favor a program that will attract the support of many who oppose the Kennedy plan - a program which can and will be adopted by the Congress.

I'll leave it to the people to decide as to which candidate has a genuine, deep-seated concern for our senior citizens. In order to help them make a sound decision, however, I will continue to bring Mr. Kennedy back to the pathway of truth whenever he strays from it.

My opponent has reached an all-time low in talking about issues that affect the welfare of our people.

He said: "The Republican Party can count on Richard M. Nixon to lead its wrecking crew" on social security.

This is an out-and-out demagogic appeal - a calculated appeal designed to instill fear in the hearts of the millions of persons who are a part of our social security system.

The facts are that the Eisenhower-Nixon administration has taken the lead in making 12 million additional persons eligible for social security. It has taken the lead in increasing the benefits paid by the social security system. It will continue to move in this direction.

Furthermore, I will insist on fiscal policies that will insure the fact that the dollars any of you are receiving under our social security system continue to buy what they can buy today.

Senator Kennedy's vast spending proposals are what those who are a part of the social security system should fear. His spending programs will cheapen the dollar. His spending programs will wreck the plans that our senior citizens have made for the future - plans that are based on a stable dollar.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President of the United States, Prepared for Delivery at Wheaton, IL, and Southfield Shopping Center, Chicago, IL Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project