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Remarks of Vice President Nixon, City Hall Plaza, Paterson, NJ

October 04, 1960

Vice President NIXON. Thank you. Thank you very much. If I could have your attention a moment? When Senator Case was introduced a moment ago, he was caught in this great crowd, but he is on his way now, and as soon as he gets to the platform, I'll interrupt my speech so that you can get a chance to pay your salute to your Senator from the State of New Jersey. Here he is. Come on, Case. Let's give him a big hand. Come on. [Applause.] Thank you very much.

Senator Case, Mr. Mayor, I want to tell all of you in this great assemblage here how much Pat and I have appreciated your welcoming us as you have. We've been, frankly, literally overwhelmed by the crowds as we came in and we particularly appreciate the fact that this is a rather odd hour, a difficult hour for many of you. You are busy. I suppose it is not too difficult for all the students here - you're getting out of class, so that is a little reward. [Cheers - Applause.] But let me say this, that whether you get out of class or not, I think it is very good of you to come to give us an opportunity to meet you, to give you a chance to see your Government in action, and to see one of the candidates for the Presidency of the United States.

I always have, of course, as does any candidate, a problem in determining what is particularly of interest to a crowd as great as this one, where you have students and older people, where you have people in all occupations, in all walks of life. And so I just want to make three or four points that I would like for you to remember - remember as you attempt to make your decision on November 8.

Now the first one, and I make this not only to the grownups, who can vote on November 8, I want every student here who is not of voting age to go home and tell his parents what I am just about to say. The decision that the American people make on November 8 will be the most important decision any of them will make this year - it will be the most important decision you make in your life. Why? Because it determines the future of this country. It determines the future of the children that we have here. It determines what kind of jobs they're going to have, what kinds of schools we're going to have. Most of all, it determines the great problem of whether we're going to be around to enjoy the good jobs, and the good schools that we all ought to have in this country of ours. And so, point one. I urge everybody here - everybody - I urge you, however you're going to vote, you go home, see that your parents vote and vote on November 8 so this is a majority decision of all the people, and not just a few of them who have the good sense to go out and vote. Everybody vote on November 8! How about that? [Applause.]

Now, I'm going to come to the point that I came here to New Jersey for, to tell you how I think you ought to vote. Obviously, I'm a little prejudiced and you've got to take that into account. But in speaking to you about how you ought to vote, I want to say, first of all, that I'm tremendously proud of our Republican candidates in this State. I think in Cliff Case you have a man who has represented this area, this State, superbly in the Congress of the United States and in the Senate of the United States, he belongs in the U.S. Senate, not only does New Jersey need him, but America needs him. We want him back and I hope he comes back with the biggest majority that he's ever had in this State. [Applause.]

Obviously, I'm a little prejudiced, too, with regard to the Congressman that I hope you will elect. Now this is a very unusual situation. My name is Nixon, I have just been introduced by a Kennedy. Now, look, if you got Kennedy and Nixon together, isn't that the best combination you could possibly have? How about it? [Applause.] So I say to you, Walter Kennedy, a vigorous, articulate man, who will represent this district well, who will follow in the footsteps of one of the ablest, finest men that ever came to the Congress, Gordon Canfield, my friend here. I say that I do commend him to you.

Now, of course, I suppose everybody here says: "Well, here it comes. Now this fellow, Nixon, is going to say, 'Vote for Nixon, too." I want to tell you what I want you to do now.

I think that when the American people elect a President of the United States, it isn't enough for me to come before a great audience like this and say to all my Republican friends: "I'm Republican, you're Republican, vote Republican." I know that Senator Kennedy said, a couple of days ago that "the important thing was to vote the party. That the party was what counts." My friends, I don't say that today. I say that when we elect a President of the United States, what counts is not whether you're Republican or Democrat, but what's good for America, and I say: Let's vote for America in this election campaign. [Applause.]

To all of you students who have history - I guess you call it social studies, these days, they do in the schools my girls attend - now, in history you will find that some of our great Presidents have been Republican, and some of them have been Democrats, but the important thing is, the American people, when you elect a President recognize we have to get the best man the two parties can produce, and so I submit my qualifications. I submit the qualifications of my running mate, Cabot Lodge, on that basis. Not on the basis, simply, vote the party line, but on the basis, if you think we're the best men for the job, then we ask for your support. And to all the Democrats and the independents here, I say: Don't just look at the label. Look behind the label. America needs the best, and so now I come to the point of what we offer.

What do we offer to the American people? Well, first of all, we offer progress. Let me say this. I'm proud of the record of our administration. It's the best record of any administration in history in terms of anything you want to select. We built more schools than have ever been built in any administration before; more hospitals have been built; we've seen a greater advance in social security than we have ever seen in any administration before with the number of people covered extended by 8 million, with the benefits raised; we have seen, in addition to that, and consider this - very wage earner here - we've seen real wages go up five times as much in this administration as they did in the 7 years previously, and we've seen prices, and every housewife will know this, go up only one-fifth as much as they did in the previous administration.

Now, I could stand on this record. I could say, "Now folks, we have a great record, we're proud of it, and I stand on the record." But I don't. I tell you that a record is not something to stand on, it's something to build on. My father always used to tell me when we were growing up - he came from a very poor family, he only finished the sixth grade, but he never used to say to the five boys in our family that he wanted to go back to the good old days, or that we were pretty lucky to be living when we were. He said, "Look, in America, we always want a better life for our youngsters than we have for ourselves." And that's the way I feel.

We are going to build a better America. We are going to give to all the people in this country the opportunity that they deserve to move forward with all of America. Let me put it this way. In these next 4 years, all America must move forward in housing, in health, in income, and nobody must be left behind. That means no part of our country must be left behind. It means that no individual must be left behind. It means that every young person here, who ought to go to college, who has the ability to go, should go, and I have a plan and I have advanced it so that the young people who have the ability and the grades are not denied the opportunity to go to school, simply because they don't have the money, and I think all of you agree that ought to be done. [Applause.]

Now I could go on, but all of you can well say: "Well, now, look, isn't everybody for things like this?" And the answer is "Yes." The point is, who can do it? And I point first to our record, I point to our program and you also have to consider the man. I will only say this: That I believe that America can move forward with our administration where it will not move with our opponents. I believe that we can move forward in a way that the American people can get more for their money than they will with our opponents and I want to make one thing very clear. Their program for progress would cost more, but my friends, remember this: When somebody from Washington comes down and says: "I promise you this, that, or the other thing," and when he says, "My program is going to cost more than the other fellows and therefore I am more for the people than you are," just remember, when a person makes that kind of promise, he's going to pay it off, not with his money, but with your money. It isn't Jack's money that's going to pay these promises, but your money and I feel we ought to save your money wherever we possibly can. [Applause.] And, so, it is true our program for health, education, and welfare and the like - they will not spend as much of your money as theirs will, but they will move America forward. Why? Because we call on all the resources of America, the States, the local government, but most of all, we stimulate the energies of 180 million Americans.

Now the most important point of all. I've mentioned jobs, housing, schools and everybody here must say: What in the world, Mr. Nixon, could be more important than things like that? And, of course, my answer again is, as I indicated a moment ago: What is more important than that are policies that will see that we're around to enjoy the good jobs and the good schools and the good housing that we have. Look, you see it today. You read your morning papers. Khrushchev in the U.N., pounding the table, threatening the peace of the world. I say the most important qualification of the next President is this: Who can best keep the peace without surrender for America and the world? This is the great issue of the time. [Applause.]

Now everybody is for peace and all that I can submit to you is this. First, our record. Oh, you've heard criticism of it, but my friends, this State which gave President Eisenhower such tremendous majorities, and all Americans that gave him great majorities, will be thankful for him for a number of things, but most of all, they will be thankful that under his leadership we ended one war, we've kept America out of other wars, and we do have peace without surrender today, and we're going to keep the peace for America under our leadership. [Applause.]

And so, how are we going to do it? You must look at our record. We have been a part of that record, and we're proud of it. But again, we don't stand on it. How do I say that we can do this job? Well, first, when you look at my colleague and I, we know Mr. Khrushchev. We have sat down across the conference table with him. We know that he is a man who is ruthless and tough. We know that you must never make him a concession unless you get a concession in return. That's why President Eisenhower was right in not doing what Mr. Khrushchev asked him to do again in the paper this morning in not apologizing and not expressing regrets to Mr. Khrushchev as Senator Kennedy suggested he might. [Applause.] That is why the next President of the United States must recognize that Mr. Khrushchev does not react like Mr. Nehru, he isn't like Mr. Adenauer, or Mr. Macmillan. He is a man determined to conquer the world and so, first, we will keep America strong - the strongest in the world. Second, we will see that the economy of this country moves forward so that Mr. Khrushchev never will be able to get through on his boast that "he is going to catch us." Third, we will see that we are firm, but we will never be, belligerent, because we realize that while we hold the line for principle, we must always negotiate for peace, but never, again, making concessions, as I say, which don't get concessions in return.

Will all this bring peace? My friends, it has the best chance to keep it. But there is one other factor that I mention that is more important than all these. I mention it to this great crowd because there are so many young people here. Some day we hear that: Why do we talk about peace? Why do we go around in other countries talking good will and debating these great issues? Why all this talk about ideals that we stand for? And do you know what is decisive in this struggle for peace and freedom? Our military strength is important. Our economic strength is important, but what is most important is that Americans believe in the right things.

And what are those things? Those are the things that caught the imagination of the world 180 years ago. America was a poor country then and we were a weak country militarily, but we were strong in the eyes of the world because we believed in ideals that are greater than this country. In school you hear about them. Remember, it is the most important thing about America you can ever hear - faith in God, belief in the dignity of man, recognition of the right of all men and women, regardless of their background to have an equal chance at the starting line. We can't all hit home runs, but we're all entitled to our time at bat, and we must see to it, and we're proud of our record in this administration in which we've acted, and the other side's only talked about what they're going to do about this particular issue.

But beyond that, we've got to keep the moral and spiritual fiber of this country strong, and that comes, my friends, from you, from the schools, from the churches, from the homes of America. And so I say to you today: Yes, I have faith in this country. I have seen the world - 55 countries - and I know how fortunate we are to live here. I am proud of our record, but I say we've got to move forward on that record because the world isn't standing still, and I pledge to you that we will keep America the strongest nation militarily, that we will move forward to a great era of progress in which all Americans move together, a better life for our children than we have for ourselves, but most of all, we're going, also, to keep the ideals of America strong because, remember, if we're going to win the struggle for peace and freedom, we need a burning patriotism, faith in the rightness of our cause, belief that we're going to win. And my friends, we are. We're going to win because we're of the right side and it is on that basis, again, that I present this case to you.

If you believe that what I stand for, what my colleague, Cabot Lodge stands for, that our experience in dealing with these

problems is what America needs, then I say, we ask for your support and remember that as you work for us you're working not just for a party, but what is best for America and that is best for you, too.

Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Vice President Nixon, City Hall Plaza, Paterson, NJ Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273724

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