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Remarks of Vice President Nixon, Civic Auditorium, Albuquerque, NM

October 11, 1960

Vice President NIXON. Thank you, very much.

Why don't we start this by giving a big hand to that Valley High School Band and chorus over there? [Cheers and applause.]

I want you to know how much Pat and I have appreciated this wonderful welcome in this magnificent auditorium which I am for the first time having the opportunity to speak in.

Tell you what I was doing in the back here was that there are lots of people outside, but they said for security reasons they

couldn't let people sit in back of me. Let me tell you this. Whenever we can get a voter behind me or in front of me I want him there. So I said let them in. [Cheers and applause.] So I've asked them to get the people outside and let them sit in the back. And I'm sure you won't mind. If they don't mind my back, we'll get along fine.

Now, Pat and I are delighted to be here for a number of reasons. You know, she was born in Nevada, and then came to California. And we were married there. And we've lived in California. She came when she was quite young, so she's virtually a native Californian. And I suppose this shouldn't be quoted in California, but as we were riding from the airport over to the auditorium, she said "You know, this is one of the most beautiful days I've ever seen. I just love this part of the country. We've got to come back here." [Applause.]

And so, because you did give us one of the really magnificent days of the campaign - which we're not surprised. As a matter of fact, I mentioned it out at the airport. And somebody said, "It's always like this in Albuquerque." We thank you for that. We're a little late because we were stopped down at the university and had an opportunity to meet with some of the students there. But believe me, there is nothing that could be - I see some of them came over here - there is nothing that could be more gratifying than right at the noon hour in the heart of the day to have this record crowd here in the auditorium in Albuquerque. We thank you for coming. And I will say that we will always remember your reception, and your graciousness, and your thoughtfulness.

Now I want you to know first how very proud I am to be with the men on this platform who are the candidates of my party in this State. I know every one of them. I know their records. I met them again at the airport again today. They're as fine a group of candidates as I have seen in any State. And I commend every one of them from the Governor, and the Senator, right down the line to the people of New Mexico, and to this great audience today. [Applause.] They've already been introduced. But I cannot resist the opportunity to say a word about my old friend Ed Mechem, because certainly having three times been Governor of this State you know him well. But, believe me, with the record that he has made he is a man who I know the people of New Mexico, regardless of party, will recognize can furnish the kind of government that they want. And, incidentally, I don't need to tell you he's a man of courage. Unlike his opponent, he isn't afraid to have a press conference. And may I say in that connection he ought to be elected certainly on that basis. [Cheers and applause.]

And, of course, to our candidate for the Senate, Bill Colwes, I had the opportunity to meet him in Washington, when he first started this race. He came in; he said, "It's a tough race but I'm going to give them the fight of their lives." He's big enough. He's strong enough. He's articulate enough. And with your help he can do it. So let's get behind him and give them the fight of their lives. [Applause.)

And to Ben Balcomb and to John Robb, our candidates for the Congress, you know them well. And, again, I commend them to you.

I suppose some of you wonder, "Why does the Vice President when he's here campaigning for the Presidency, spend so much time talking about the candidate for Governor, and the candidate for the Senate, and the candidate for the Congress, and the other local candidates ? " - and the only reason I haven't mentioned them is that time will not permit it. I'll tell you why. You know, we Americans get tremendously excited about the presidential campaign. Everybody wants to see the man that might be the next President. But it's just terribly hard to get people excited about the candidates for even Governor or Senator, and for the Congress, and on down the line. You just can't get people to work. And you know how hard it is. And I just want to tell you every office is important. Everyone is important. And I urge everyone of you, if you believe in these candidates, work just as hard for them as you do for me. Because you want good government from top to bottom. That's why I mention them. I believe in them as men, but also they deserve your support. And I trust, particularly, these young people here will never forget what I have said. Remember, government starts at the local level. And the stronger and better it is there, the stronger and better it is going to be at the national level. So help make it the best. Help make it the best by running for office. But help make it best by supporting good men and good women for office, as the case might be. [Applause.]

Now I want to come to the heart of my message today. In our television debate, the second one that many of you perhaps heard, as you recall, Senator Kennedy and I had several disagreements. One toward the last that you may recall. The question which arose was, "What should the American people use as an index in electing a President? Should the party count, or should the man count?" And, while the questions were and the answers were longer, than I can recite at the present time, in essence Senator Kennedy indicated that he believed that the party was important, and primarily important. And I indicated then, and I indicate to you now what I believe.

I believe that when we elect the President of the United States, and particularly when we elect one in the year 1960 in which the next President will not only be the leader of this country, but the leader of the free world, it isn't enough to vote simply as your fathers and your grandfathers did. It isn't enough to vote just simply for the party label. We must vote for the best man, whether he was a Democrat or a Republican. America needs nothing but the best. And that's the basis that I present our case to you. [Applause.]

And so, I direct my message today to the Republicans in this audience, to the independents in this audience, and to the Democrats in this audience, and to the Republicans, to the Democrats, and Independents listening on television and on radio. I say this is a decision that the American people must make correctly. And you must not make it simply blindly on voting some way somebody else tells you to vote. I say, listen to the candidates, compare their records, see where they stand, and select the man and the men for President and Vice President that America needs. [Applause.]

Now if I may turn to the test that I think the American people should apply in determining what leadership America needs. And here we ask ourselves always the question: What do we want? What do we Americans want in this period of the 1960's? Well, first of all, we want progress. We want to move forward. We want better schools, and better housing, better medical care for our children than we had for ourselves. Here in the West we want to develop our tremendous natural resources through reclamation projects. [Applause.] And all of us who are wage earners, and that's most Americans, about 68 million, want better jobs at high wages. And the housewives also not only want the higher wages, but they want the prices kept within reason so that it all isn't eaten up by inflation. [Applause.]

And, so, you expect me to say, and I do tell you today, that I am proud to be running on a platform, and standing for the record, and also standing for programs that will produce progress in all these fields. Better schools for Americans. Not only better schools, but a program in higher education where every young man and young woman in this country who has the ability to go to college is not denied that ability simply because he does not have the money to go. Why should that be necessary? Not simply because we're doing a favor to the young person, but because America in this critical year of the 1960's cannot afford to waste the talents of any one of our young people. [Applause.] For example, the potential young scientists, or young engineers, or doctors, or lawyers, or religious leaders, those who should go to college ought to go to college. How do we propose to do it? Well, it would be easy to say, "Well, the easy thing is just to have the Federal Government take over." But that isn't the best way.

Federal Government has responsibility, yes. Responsibility to assist the universities, private and public, to develop the facilities which are needed for our increasing college population. But it's more than that. We need loan programs which we presently have for students who need loans to go to college. We need scholarship programs for those students who cannot afford to go to college, and who prove exceptional ability. But, in addition to that, we need something else which I'm sure you will approve. I say that the millions of families in this country who are saving in order to send their youngsters to college ought to be able to take a tax credit or deduction for those expenses so that they could send their youngsters to college and to the university. [Applause.]

Now here's a program in the field of higher education. I spelled it out to give you an example of an approach. I could give examples in medical care, in housing, in all the other fields. But I could only summarize by saying this. I do stand for programs. And our party stands for programs that I submit to you will move America forward, move her faster than she's been traveling, and move her far more faster and far more forward than will the program of my opponent. Now, of course, he'll tell you just the same things. He'll say he stands for all these things, and that he's going to move us forward. And, so, what predicament does that leave the poor voter in? Here's Nixon says one thing, and Kennedy says the other. They both are for these goals of housing, and education, and health, and welfare. Who's going to do it?

And may I say you don't have to rely on just what we say. You can look at our records first. You can look at our programs second. And then, you can make up your minds. First on the record:

You know, it's been said over and over again by our opponents that America has been standing still for the last 7½ years. Well let me say this. Anybody who says America has been standing still hasn't been traveling around America for the last 7½ years. [Applause.] I would just ask him to come to Albuquerque. From the last time I was here - and I see the new buildings. They haven't been standing still. [Applause.] You see, the trouble with those people who get this obsession about America standing still is that they're blinded. They only look at what Government does. They don't see what the real power of America does. And that isn't Government, that 180 million free Americans. [Applause.]

So, I say to you, that on the record we have built more schools in our 7 years than they built in the previous 7 years. And our opponents want to go back to the same programs that we left then. And I say we're not going to let them do it, because America had enough of them then, and they don't want any more of them now. [Applause.] Whatever you want to name, more schools, more housing more highways, built in our 7 years than in their 7 years. Jobs. More jobs. Wages? Higher wages, and higher real wages. Inflation? Went up 50 percent prices did in the Truman years. Held to 10 percent in these years. Whatever test you want, we have done better than they did. And our policies will work where theirs won't. What about the West? What about reclamation? And let me knock down one bit of nonsense that's been parried around here so often. In the field of reclamation you hear it said, "But we have had no new starts. We've been standing still in the field of reclamation." Listen. One dollar out of every four that has been invested in reclamation has been invested in the 7 Eisenhower years - the greatest progress that we've ever had in the history of this country. And compare it with the Truman years, and believe me you'll find something. New starts? Well, we've had 30 percent more new starts in this administration than in their administration. And, so, I say let's go forward with that kind of a policy, and not back to the stagnation that we left in 1953. [Applause.]

And, so, I again say, we will move America forward. We will develop the resources of the West. We will build the schools. We will do all these things. How will we do them? How do we differ in philosophy? And here, again, there is a basic difference which I have already implied, but which I emphasize again. The difference is in approach. Our opponents say, because of their obsession about Government, and particularly the Federal Government, nobody can do anything right except the Federal Government. They say that every time there's a problem we'll run over to Washington and we'll set up a huge Government program. And the Government will take over the responsibilities. We will weaken the responsibilities of the States. We will take away the responsibilities from the individual. Don't worry about it, because Uncle Sam's going to take it over. That's their solution. You know, it sounds awfully good. It makes it awfully easy. The American people don't have to do much. All they have to do is to turn their money over to Washington and let them spend it for you. That's all. Now. [Applause.]

Now. What is our answer? In effect, they say that the way to progress is to start with the Federal Government and work down to the people. We say that's exactly the wrong way. We say the way to progress in America is not to start with the Federal Government and work down to the people, but to start with the American people and work up to the Federal Government. [Applause.] And it's because our programs will stimulate individual enterprise, it's because our programs will develop the resources of this country - just to give you one example in the field of individual enterprise, to show you again their obsession with, and their lack of faith in individual enterprise:

Take this very technical matter called the depletion allowance. You know something about it. I know a great deal about it coming from the State of California. And you will find that they have hedged on this in their platform. They say they're going to reduce it. And, of course, their two candidates can't agree, because Mr. Johnson has a little problem on that in Texas with some of his friends down there. [Laughter.] But let me tell you about it. You know people say, "Well, Mr. Nixon, why in the world don't you say 'let's reduce this depletion allowance and increase the taxes on these oil men.' What do you care about a few rich oil men?" Let me tell you this. What I'm concerned about is not making a few oil men rich, I want to make America rich. That's why we have the depletion allowance, and that's why we do encourage this kind of activity. [Applause.]

So, if New Mexico wants to move forward in this area, here's the way. We have faith in individual enterprise. We will develop the resources, and we will allow you to develop them, too, through the kind of tax policies that America and New Mexico needs.

One other difference. And this is one that is sometimes hard to explain to particularly younger voters. They say to me, "Now, Mr. Nixon, you say that you are more for health, and education, and all of these things that you have been describing here, than your opponents are. How can you say that when they say that they're going to spend more? Doesn't it really mean that when they get up and say: "Look, they're going to spend billions more," and I can see that, "they're going to spend billions more than you will. When they say that, doesn't that prove they are more for the people, and more for progress than you are?"

And, you know, there's a very simple answer to that. And that's just to think for a minute whose money they're spending. I can assure you it isn't mine - I don't have that kind of money. And it isn't Jack's either. It's your money. It's your money - that's what the American people have got to bear in mind. [Applause.]

And, so, we must recognize that we are confronted here with programs of the opposition which if enacted into law would raise taxes; they will raise prices, or both. We offer programs which cost billions less, but which will do more. And we say on that basis America will move forward with us, and will not turn to them.

Now, if I can turn to one other issue, and the last one and the most important one of all. Again, what could be more important, some might ask, than jobs, housing, medical care, schools. And, of course, what could be more important is to be around to enjoy all the good things we have in this country. And I say to you today that the most important qualification that the next President of the United States must have is this. Which of the two men for the Presidency is best qualified by experience, by background, and judgment to keep the peace without surrender and extend freedom throughout the world? This is the great question that you must answer. [Applause.]

Now, on this issue, again you do not have to take our words for it. You could look first at our record. And as far as that record is concerned, just let me say this. New Mexico voted for President Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956. And I say that all the criticism that has been flung at his administration in the field of foreign policy will not obscure the solid truth that you know, and the people of America know. That under his leadership, we got the United States out of one war, we've kept her out of others, and we do have peace without surrender today, and we want to continue it. [Applause.]

And so, now you turn to the candidates and you turn to the future. I want to make it clear none of us can rest on this record, and I cannot stand on it, we're going to build on it. Because the threat to peace and freedom is as great as any that ever existed in the history of the world. And that means we must develop programs militarily, economically, and otherwise which will enable the United States to be as she has been, the guardian of peace; and also to be the champion of freedom and liberty for all men throughout the world.

These things, then, I stand for. These things I believe my colleague and I can provide for the people of the United States and the world. Experience? I cannot refer to my own, appropriately, but I can refer to my colleague's. And I'll say this about him. I don't think any man in the world has had more experience, or could have done a better job of fighting for the cause of peace and freedom than Henry Cabot Lodge, our candidate for Vice President. [Applause.]

And, so, you must examine us. Here are two men, both of whom for 7½ years have worked with the President in this cause. Both of whom know Mr. Khrushchev. Both of whom have sat down across the conference table from him. Both of whom have had great experience in this whole field of studying the Communist movement and seeing it in action. This you must consider. You know, oftentimes when you talk about this whole area of experience, people say: Well, one man has the same amount of experience as the other, because they both spent 14 years in Washington. But, my friends, it isn't how many years, but what you did in those years that counts. And that's the thing you've got to bear in mind. [Applause.]

And, so, I tell you what I know from having sat opposite this man who threatens the peace of the world, and his colleagues. One, we will keep America the strongest nation in the world. We will increase our strength, and keep it at whatever level is necessary so that we can always be in a position to say to Mr. Khrushchev: "If you start anything you will be destroyed." This we must do. [Applause.]

Second. We've got to see that this economy moves along, so that we maintain the massive lead that we have over the Communists at the present time.

Third. We've got to accompany our diplomatic strength, and our military strength - we've got to accompany that with diplomatic policies that not only are strong, but that are wise; and that, again, have in mind the kind of a man that we're dealing with. And here may I say that I just had the opportunity to read this morning in the paper of a statement that Senator Kennedy made yesterday about a couple of islands far off in the Pacific. Some of you may never have heard of them, but you will be hearing a lot about them in the next few weeks and months because they have become a symbol, a major issue in the Presidential campaign. And I'll tell you why.

Let me take you back 10 years. You remember the war in Korea. And that war, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many who were observers, was brought on, and in effect invited, because of a very unfortunate statement made by Secretary of State Acheson, to the effect that Korea was outside the defense zone of the United States. That is what his remarks led up to and meant. Now, a lot of people, I'm sure, when he said that, thought "Well, good. That means we're not going to get into a war over that land far over there." But it didn't work out that way, did it? The Communists took him at his word, and they marched in. And when they marched in, we had to go in, in one of the bloodiest and costliest wars in history. And I say to you at the present time, Americans have learned their lesson, and they're not going to make the mistake, again, of giving up territory in advance to communism anyplace in the world. [Applause.]

But people say, "But, Mr. Nixon, we want peace." And my answer is you're not going to get peace, and you're not going to get freedom by naive statements which in effect invite the Communists to take over anywhere, at any time.

You recall the television debate when Senator Kennedy said, "We ought to take these two little islands off of Formosa, and near the Chinese mainland, and we should give them up." In effect, force our Nationalist allies to give them up. And, apparently, the implication of his remark was that if we did that we wouldn't get into a war about these two islands. And now, of late, he has used the contemptuous phrase "These are a couple of worthless rocks in the Pacific." And so we'll give them up. "Worthless rocks." Just a few people. But may I say that kind of woolly thinking is dangerous for America, it's dangerous for world peace. You know what we have to realize. We can't run backward and win over communism, and we have to win over communism, and not just hold the line against communism around the world. [Applause.]

I want to make it clear that I oppose handing over to the Communists 1 inch of free territory. And I want to say why. It's because I'm for peace, and for freedom that I oppose handing it over. Because when you hand over the territory, it does not lead to peace. It does not lead, certainly, to freedom, it gives it up. But it leads either to war or surrender, or both. And that is why we must stand for freedom. We must not give an inch of territory, as I have indicated.

In 1953, I think the American people said once and for all that they were tired of policies that had led to the war in Korea. I think they left them. Now is the time to mount an offensive for freedom, to advance the cause of freedom, and not to return to a policy of retreat and defeat. But then, I know that some of you may have read the statement, "but these two islands over here are indefensible." My friends, if the test of what America will defend is whether an area is defensible or not, may I say that we had better get off of the face of the globe. What about Berlin? Berlin - there isn't even 16 miles as there is between Quemoy and Matsu and the Communists there. The Communists completely surround it. From a military standpoint it's completely cut off from the communications except by air with our own forces. And yet, I say to you, the people of the United States, simply because Berlin is tremendously difficult to defend are not going to say in advance we're going to give up this island of freedom with 2,500,000 Germans. We can't do that. The people of free Berlin - because if we give up freedom there, then it will mean that they will simply ask for more, and it will go so on down the line. [Applause.]

All that I can say in conclusion is that this soothing sirup kind of talk: Give up the little islands. Let the Communists have it and then we'll have peace. Maybe the Senator may believe, or his advisers may believe that this is a cheap and easy way to keep peace. That it might advance his candidacy. I just want to say one thing very clearly today. I have seen the world. I have seen what communism does to people behind the Iron Curtain. I have seen a quarter of a million Poles in the streets of Warsaw, half of them crying with tears running down their cheeks when my wife and I drove through the streets because we represented freedom to a people who wanted freedom and didn't have it. I have seen what it means. I know Mr. Khrushchev. I think I know what his colleague Mao Tse-tung is also like. And I know as I stand here that the road to war, the road to surrender is the very kind of woolly thinking which says "Just a couple of rocks in the Pacific. Let them go. This will bring us peace."

And I am going to tell you, tonight, that regardless of the political consequences I intend to fight at every opportunity any return to the naive and woolly policies which led to the loss of China and to the war in Korea. And I'm going to do it throughout. [Applause.]

My time is up, and I again express my appreciation to you. But may I conclude with this last word. I have spoken of our military strength, our economic strength, the necessity for a firm diplomacy. I am convinced that that kind of leadership can keep the peace without surrender. I am convinced that that's what Mr. Khrushchev respects. And we must have that from him. But, my friends, we need more than that to win this struggle. And that means that we need idealism, a flaming idealism. I saw every place I went in Russia signs "Work for the victory of communism." We have to realize in this country what America really stands for. You know what it is? Not just military might, and economic strength, but for great ideals that caught the imagination of the world 180 years ago. Our faith in God. Our belief in the dignity of all men. Our belief that the rights that men have, the rights of equality of opportunity, that these rights come from God, that they cannot be taken away from them by men. Our belief that the rights that Americans have for freedom belong not just to ourselves, but to the whole world. These things we must feel deeply, we must believe deeply. And these beliefs must come not just from my stating it, they must come from the hearts and minds of our people. They must he developed in the churches, in the schools, in the homes of America.

And I say to you as I leave this city today, that I ask you not only to work in this election for our cause, if you believe in it, but I ask you work to make America a shining ideal for all the world to see, of equality of opportunity of all. See to it that the young people of America have a flaming patriotism, an idealism and understanding of what this country really means. This is what we're going to need if we're going to match up to and defeat the forces of slavery. I have confidence that we will win because we're on the right side.

But it isn't enough just to be right. You've got to have faith. You must work harder. You must believe more deeply. And will you help us work harder, and believe more deeply than the enemies of freedom abroad?

Thank you, very much. [Applause.]

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Vice President Nixon, Civic Auditorium, Albuquerque, NM Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project