Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, Westchester County Airport, Yonkers, NY

November 02, 1960

Thank you very much.

Mr. President, Ambassador Lodge, Governor Rockefeller, my colleagues from the House, Bob Barry, and Ed Dooley, all of the distinguished guests here and this great audience at the airport, one of the things Pat and I have often said as we have been campaigning through this country is this: That all of the crowds impress us and make us feel very humble in your presence, but the one that impresses us perhaps the most is a crowd at an airport, because there is no worse place to come to and park and we thank you for coming, as you have. [Cheers and applause.]

This airport crowd, I am sure, is an indication of a great spirit in Westchester. We need a record vote in Westchester, and you're going to give it to us on November 8. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, I have a very great privilege today, and that is to introduce our guest of honor, but before doing so, I would like to say just a word about some issues in this campaign, a word about them which you, who will not be able to attend our later meetings, might possibly be interested in.

In the first place, I think that in this last week in the campaign, it's time to lay it on the line with regard to the charges and the counter-charges, and see what the truth is; and all we have to do is to tell the truth. [Cheers and applause.]

They can tell all the falsehoods they want about us. We'll tell the truth about them, and that'll be enough. We can be sure of that. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, point No. 1: I'm proud, and Cabot Lodge is proud, and Nelson Rockefeller is proud - and, you know, we're all proud, because we all work under and with the President of the United States, and we're proud of the record of this administration. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, a lot has been said about the fact that we haven't had any experience. We've been ridiculed a bit. That's all right. That's for you to decide, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. All that I can say is this: For 7½ years, Cabot Lodge and I have had the opportunity of sitting in the high councils of this administration, in the Security Council, in the Cabinet, in the discussions on foreign and domestic problems over which the President has presided and then decided. And I can say, too, that just having that opportunity puts you through the fire of decision. It makes you realize the tremendous burden of the decisions a President makes. It also makes you realize that you can't shoot from the hip, that you can't make rash statements, that you can't make impulsive statements, that you can't lose your tamper. You can't do all these things Why? Because you've got to think of people like here in Westchester. You've got to think of all those homes. You've got to think of all those homes I saw as we flew by helicopter from Brooklyn, then out to Nassau, and then to Westchester. You've got to think of the great masses of people I have seen in 47 States, and by the end of this week it will be 50 States - the only candidate for President ever to travel to 50 States. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, Mr. President, that's no reflection on you, because there were not 50 States when you campaigned. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, my friends, when you see that, it makes you think of the responsibility that you have to see that the children in these homes grow up in a life of peace, without surrender. It makes you think of the problems of the people in those homes, their concern about their everyday problems, their concern also about the problems of the world and this Nation, and I just want to say that the opportunity that we have had in these last 7½ years has been one that we could not gain in any other way. I don't say that it makes us infallible. I do say that it gives us the opportunity to serve the people in a more effective way than we could have done had we come into this without that experience.

Now, the second point: I said I was proud of this administration, and I am getting sick and tired of hearing people say that we've been standing still for the last 7½ years in the United States. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, my opponent hasn't traveled to as many States as I have. I can see why he avoids some of the Southern States, for good reason; but, be that as it may [cheers and applause] and also I can see why Lyndon Johnson avoids the Northern States, for good reason [cheers and applause] but all that I can say is: If he had been traveling around America, at least half as much as I have, he knows that America has been moving forward. He knows we had the greatest progress in these 7½ years in every field that we've ever had in our history. [Cheers and applause.]

Look, let's talk about schools a moment. Look at your Westchester. You have the highest teachers' salaries. You have the greatest school building program, and you can be proud of it, and that's America. It isn't what the Federal Government does. It's what the people of America do that makes progress in this country. [Cheers and applause.]

Yes, the Federal Government has a responsibility, but primarily to bring out the best, to give the opportunity for people to make their contribution to America's greatness. So, we move forward. Three times as many classrooms built; 20 percent more housing; more hospitals; more highways; a great new program.

Take, for example, the question of social security. I noticed a statement the other day as I was traveling through the Pennsylvania-New York area, that our opponent was saying this administration and the Republicans had always opposed social security, and then they said, "They're trying to wreck social security, and Mr. Nixon is leading the wrecking crew." That's a paraphrase, a pretty good one of what they said.

Now, let's get this on the record right now. You know what? We've had the greatest expansion of social security in this administration of any since it started - 12 million people added; benefits increased - and I want to say this: If our opponents go in with their program that would increase spending by $15 billion, which would raise taxes and raise prices, and a farm program that would raise the cost of food in the grocery store 25 percent, that will wreck the people on social security as nothing has ever wrecked it in the history of this country. [Cheers and applause.]

And I'm getting tired of people who say: Why is President Eisenhower always talking about the budget? Why isn't he talking about people?

My friends if the President of the United States doesn't defend that Federal fidget, doesn't see to it that every dollar is spent that needs to be spent, but not one that doesn't need to be spent, you cannot balance the family budget - and I say to you, at the present time, we have a "pied piper" traveling the land, a "pied piper" who says, "Come my way," and he says, "a promise for everything for everybody, $15 billion it will cost, but don't worry about that. I'm not going to raise your taxes, I'm going to balance the budget, and also I'm still going to keep my promises."

Now, look, my friends, you cannot spend $15 billion a year more and at the same time balance the budget and not raise taxes. Any body who says that is an economic ignoramus who isn't fighting to be President of the United States. [Cheers and applause.]

My friends, I want to put this right on the line, and I say it to all of the people here. I say it to the Democrats, to the Independents, to the Republicans; This issue is greater than any party. This issue is the future of the American home. When you vote on election day, you are voting what your prices are going to be in the grocery store. You are voting what your prices are going to be in the clothing store. You are voting what your taxes are going to be. And the question is: Do we build on and go forward from an administration in which we have had the greatest progress and prosperity, without war, that this Nation has ever had; or do we go back to the policies which we left which were a mess 7 years ago, and no better today, the policies 3

of Harry Truman. [Cheers and applause.]

Well, my friends, those policies led to a 50-percent increase in the cost of living, and that was the cruelest thing you could have done to the older people in this country, the cruelest thing you could have done to the housewife trying to balance a budget, because what we found was that, whether their income went up, it was all eaten up by the price increases. And the greatest tragedies were the millions of people living on fixed income, a little pension, a little life insurance, and then having their Government break faith with them, and I promise you we will not break faith with the American people. We're going to see to it that the dollars you earn today and save in life insurance and social security or pension will be worth a dollar when you retire 5, 10, 15 years from now, and in the years ahead. [Cheers and applause.]

I have one other point I want to make, and this as I introduce the President: Cabot Lodge has made it, as he always does, in a brilliant way and in an effective way. I have seen the President make decisions, as Cabot has and as Nelson has. I know how lonely a President is when he makes a decision. I remember, as he will remember, the morning we went into Lebanon. I remember him pacing the floor in that oval room in the White House. He knew that sending American boys into Lebanon might risk war. He also knew if we didn't do it, it would perhaps certainly bring war or disaster for us in that area. So the bus stopped. He couldn't make one decision and retract it again, because once those planes started, they had to go in, and he decided it, and it was a courageous decision, and it was the right decision.

I remember the decisions on Quemoy and Matsu. It would have been very easy for him to go along with a little group of people who said, "Oh, Mr. President, you must not ask for authority which would involve getting American boys involved in a couple of little islands off the coast of China"; but the President knew the lesson of history, that when you deal with a dictator that abandoning to a dictator under threat, any piece of territory doesn't satisfy him, but it encourages him. That's what brought Korea, and we're never going to do that in the future, just as the President didn't do it. [Cheers and applause..]

I know, too, the other great decisions, some of which you may have forgotten, but, my friends, there has been instance after instance when a man less wise, when a man less experienced, when a man who shot from the hip, however well intentioned he might be, when a man who acted first and then thought second, could have put the United States into war or could have resulted in surrender of principle or territory, or both.

I say the American people will be forever grateful to President Eisenhower for his restoration of dignity and decency to the office of the Presidency of the United States. [Cheers and applause.]

I say they will be forever grateful to him because he has kept the peace without surrender, and I can only say that Cabot Lodge and I would only hope that we' the years ahead would be worthy of his leadership and worthy of the trust that you have shown by coming out here today.

Now I present to you the man who got America out of the mess it was in, who has made us the strongest, the most productive, the most honored Nation in the world today, the President of the United States.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President, Westchester County Airport, Yonkers, NY Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project