Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of the Vice President, Westward Ho Hotel, Thunderbird Room, Phoenix, AZ

October 15, 1960

Thank you very much, Barry. After that introduction, there really isn't anything I can add, because the sale, I hope, has already been made.

But certainly I want you to know that Pat and I deeply appreciate the opportunity to attend this breakfast prior to the meeting that I understand will still be held outside in a little California dew this morning.

I understand, too, that those who are here will probably have the opportunity to leave to hear the speech which is going to be delivered there. So I will not belabor you with some of the issues that I want to discuss, and will be discussing a little later.

But because this is a special occasion, because this is a group of the people who have made such a great contribution to our party here in Arizona, I wanted to say some things to you that I do not plan to discuss in the meeting outside where I will primarily dwell on some of the issues of the campaign.

First of all, I want to give you an idea about the reason I always like to appear before groups of this type whenever the time permits. I say when the time permits because I find that when you re a presidential candidate, you never have time to do all the meetings that you want. For example, in the hotel today there are two or three conventions going on - the oral surgery and the veterinarians and three or four others - and we're lucky we ever got here, I can assure you. But people often say to me, "Mr. Nixon, with all the requests you have, why do you talk to people who are already for you?" And certainly everybody in this room is going to vote the Republican ticket.

All of you are the people who make the party go, as Barry said, and he told me as we came in - he described you very eloquently; I won't repeat what he said, but he did it with very great eloquence and affection, and certainly I know this is the heart of the Republican Party here.

Well, I'll tell you why, at every opportunity I have, I like to come before a group of the key partyworkers,be they precinct workers or chairmen or officials, those who are carrying the load in a campaign, it's because in political Campaigning and political affairs and in the efforts to get the votes that we don't have we sometimes overlook those who have to assure the ones that we do have.

We also often forget that as far as a presidential election is concerned, and its aftermath, that it's going to be tremendously important not only to win this election at the national level, which we're hoping to do, but also to elect as many Congressmen and Senators as we can, and also to build the Republican Party after this election and build it into a party which we know we can do if we work, and that's why I want all of you to know that I pledge to you that I shall talk to the Republican Party all over the Nation, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

I like to talk to groups like this because we have to strengthen our party. We have to strengthen it every place.

Now, here in Arizona you did a very remarkable thing in 1958. I traveled the country in 1958. It was not a very pleasant job, I can assure you, because when the campaign goes against you and when you go into State after State where the party organization is on its back, when you go into State after State where you know you're going to lose, and yet you have to stand up there and go down the line for the candidates and the organization and the like, it certainly is not the most easy job that I have undertaken, and particularly when I was not a candidate myself. I think, however, there was a responsibility, and there is always a responsibility, on the nationally elected officials of the party to attempt to help out the party whenever we can, and that's true of bad times as well as good times. But let's get to Arizona.

In 1958 you did a remarkable thing. You were one of those very few States that ran against the trend. You ran against it so effectively that you surprised the whole Nation, and the reason you did it was be cause of you people. You did it. No question about it; you people. Oh, your candidates helped a little but they couldn't have done it without you. And certainly there is no State in the Nation that has a better organization from a Republican standpoint; there's no State in which we have a better hard-hitting group of candidates than we have right here in this State, and I'm proud to be here - I'm proud to be here again with Paul Fannin and John Rhodes. I support every one of the candidates here - a comment I will make as well throughout the Nation. I'm glad, too, that Barry isn't running here in Arizona this year because we need him. We need him in other States, and I want to say what I said at the airport last night. There isn't any man in our party who is making more speeches, who is fighting harder for our cause than Barry Goldwater of Arizona and we thank you for it.

Maybe it's too bad you aren't running, you're so popular, Barry. But getting to the other point. You know people sometimes have come to me in the course of this campaign. They say "Mr. Nixon" or "Dick" or whatever they may be calling me at the moment, and they say "Why is it in every State you go into" - and this is true - "and in every meeting in which you participate, you always mention the local candidates?"

And I do. Governor, Congressmen, Senators, if they're running, assemblymen, State legislators, State senators, if they're running. "Why is it that you do that?" Particularly they say "Why do you do that where in many of these States everything indicates they are going to run behind you? Don't you realize we're trying to win this national election, and isn't it going to hurt to mention these fellows and these women in some cases who may not have the strength that you have?"

And I want to tell you why. Because I believe in party responsibility; because I believe that it is not only necessary to elect a Republican President. It's also necessary to build this party from top to bottom, and we cannot do it unless we all stand together right up and down the line. And so that's why I do that.

Frankly, if the time ever comes when I'm not proud of my party and proud of the candidates I'm running with, then, of course, the thing for me to do is to get out of the party.

So I can only say, since I don't intend that I'm going to continue to support every Republican candidate in this State and also in the Nation, and do it proudly because we simply have to develop a spirit. A spirit which you already have in this State. A spirit which also can be developed in other States as well, a spirit that will rebuild our strength, and it is coming back.

Now, the last thing I would say is "This campaign has brought out the biggest crowds of any I have ever participated in." I think it's probably the record. Crowds from the standpoint of any campaign, including the ones in 1952 and 1956, are enthusiastic. People believe there is a cause worth fighting for and working for, and voting for, and we can win this election. I would like to point this out, however. I have never seen an election campaign in which the odds were closer. People say, "How is it in California?" and I would say you could call it 50-50, 51-49, either way. Nobody would know.

That same thing would apply to virtually every State in this Union. In a close election what will be decisive - and this brings me back to why I am here and why I welcome the opportunity to talk to a group like this - in a close election what is always decisive is the work that is done in the last 3 weeks.

What is always decisive is the work that is done in getting that extra vote per precinct, which may make the difference. Barry Goldwater and I know what that problem is. We were both up in North Dakota. I went up there and campaigned pretty hard with Pat, and we had tremendous crowds and great enthusiasm. Everybody said, "Well this is it. We're going to win." But the workers didn't get out as they should in a few key cities. Barry campaigned it all over, too; everybody was there. Nelson Rockefeller was there. We threw everything into that in the way of speakers. Everything was in that campaign in the way of radio and television and billboards and everything. No lack of money. No lack of advertising. No lack of speakers from the outside. Yet we lost. You know how much we lost by - one-half vote per precinct. One-half vote per precinct would have meant that for the next 6 years instead of having a Senator who will vote down the line with the far left of the Democrats in the Senate, we would have had a fine Republican Governor, John Davis, as Senator. That is what could have happened. And so I say to all you, and I say this as a message to all the precinct workers and those who lead them throughout this country. Remember the speeches of a candidate are important, of course. They have to inspire, if they can, and the speeches made by others, like Barry Goldwater, are important, and all of these things that are purchased by money, the public relations activities for example, the television and the radio and the billboards and the handouts and the direct mail, et cetera. All of these things are important, but in the clinch, in a close election, the most important person in the campaign is not the candidate for President or the candidate for Governor or the candidate for the House or the candidate for the Senate. The most important person in the world is an individual who came up to me at the airport last night among the VIPS and he said "I'm just a precinct worker." He or she is the most important person. You tell them that, because in a close election they'll win it; so let's be sure, as we go into this stretch, we step up our campaign, that we step it up and also that we don't do it just with the hip hip hooray of a meeting, but that we recognize it's going to be won right down there, won or lost in the battleground. They know it. They're going to pour in, without any question, hundreds of thousands of paid workers, in many instances. I say hundreds of thousands. That may be an exaggeration. There certainly will be thousands of paid workers in some of the key industrial States. They will be poured into this campaign. We've got to combat them with volunteers, because that's all we have, but a good volunteer worker can always beat a paid worker, if he works, and so I say let's outwork them and outfight them in these last 3 weeks and we'll win Arizona and the Nation. Thank you.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of the Vice President, Westward Ho Hotel, Thunderbird Room, Phoenix, AZ Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project