Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of Vice President Nixon, Kamehameha Shopping Center, Honolulu, HI

August 03, 1960

Senator FONG. It is my distinct honor, great privilege, to present to you the young man who has come up from grocery boy to become Vice President of the United States, and whom I know is going to be President of the United States. Dick Nixon. [Applause.]

Vice President NIXON. Well, Hiram, I am very, very honored to be here in your neighborhood among the people that know you and among those that, having known you, gave you such wonderful support in your campaign for the U.S. Senate. And I, of course, would like to think that this crowd is here because I'm here, but I know different. [Applause.] I know they're here because you're here, and I'm awfully happy to have you on my side, believe me.

And may I say, too, that I want to apologize for our being a bit late, but we have a press bus traveling with us and we've had a little difficulty getting it through the traffic, even though we've had a motor escort along. And we appreciate your standing here and waiting for us, but let me tell you this: I don't feel particularly sorry for you because I can think of nothing more pleasant than standing in the gracious, soft sun of Hawaii - as you have. [Applause.]

Now, if I can be heard above the leis, may I say that I deeply appreciate not only your presence but the remarks that Hiram has made about Pat and about me. I think sometimes that when you think of people in high government positions there is a tendency to think of us as being apart from you, when actually, of course, we are one of you. And as I stand here and I look at this splendid shopping center, I naturally do have a tendency to think of the days I was growing up. I give the credit (as Hiram very properly did) to Pat, because I took very good advice when I was graduated from law school. I remember I had a professor of law the first year, when all the young men came in, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, thinking they were going to go out and make great successes in the world. He said: "Now, gentlemen, I've going to give you some advice. If you forget everything else you learned in the law, remember this: marry for money and practice law for love." [Laughter.] Now, I did both. I married for love, but in the early days when I was practicing law, Pat was teaching. Now she can't teach, at least not in school for money, but believe me, I'm awfully glad she could do that eighth grade arithmetic because I couldn't and certainly for our oldest, Tricia, who will be going into the ninth grade next year, and our youngest, Julie, the fact that Pat could still help them with that homework meant that I could do the Government's work while she was doing the homework.

And so, I give advice to all of you who may be going into political life: It helps to marry a teacher because it can be very handy in the years ahead. The only trouble is that when you marry a teacher it takes them from the work they do. And I can think of nothing, nothing which is more important, than the work that our teachers do. When I think, for example, of the small amount of time that I can spend with our two girls (and we'd like to spend more, but when you travel around the world and you campaign and make speeches and work late in an office you hardly know how old they are and you have to ask them sometimes what happened in the last year since we saw them) - and then you realize that to put those young people, your children, the most precious things in your life, to put them in the hands of teachers for far more than the time you spend with them - I think we ought to give a hand to all the teachers today, not just to Pat - how about it ? [Applause.]

Now, if I could just talk briefly on the election that is coming up, what it means, and what I would like for you to think about in these next 3 months.

Ordinarily, when you hear of somebody running for political office, and I think you would expect me to talk this way, you hear him or her (as the case might be) lay out the reasons why you should support that individual, who is talking, for the office he seeks. I am not going to tell you today why I am the man who should hold the highest office in this land. That is a decision which you must make, and that is a decision which we as Americans will all abide by. I happen to believe that this country is a Nation of destiny. I happen to believe in the good sense of the American people and I think through the years, in selecting our Presidents, they've done really a remarkable job for the country. We've had some very great Presidents in our history, some of them have been members of my party and some of them have been members of the other party, but the decision must be yours, and the kind of a leader the country needs cannot be determined by me, it can't be determined by my opponent, but it has to be determined by millions of Democrats and Republicans and independents throughout this country. The important thing is: Determine it on the basis of the issues - not the personalities; not the party label - but the issues. What do you think America needs? What do you think your family needs? What do you think the world needs at this point? Then measure us against those needs and you will do the best job for America.

And in that connection, may I say that as I stand here and I think of the store in which I grew up, I know that probably uppermost in the minds of most of the housewives here is a very simple problem: It isn't the Federal budget or it isn't Governor Quinn's State budget, but it's the family budget. You go in there and whether you're buying ground beef (I used to grind hamburger as a youngster and was pretty good, too, not too much fat and no pork in it, real good ground beef and it was only 25 cents a pound then, too, but it's a little higher now) - I know when you go into the store, a housewife is thinking of buying the specials, because you realize - particularly as your family gets a little bigger, that, unless you do, you're not going to be able to meet that budget at the end of the month.

Now what does that have to do with what we do in Washington? Simply this. It's very easy for a public official to come before you and tell you that all the problems you have are going to be solved by what he's going to promise to do for you in Washington. In effect, he says: "We'll do this, we'll do that, we'll do this." What he doesn't tell you many times is that every dollar he spends in Washington comes right out of your pockets, and that every time we spend an unnecessary dollar in Washington, every time we add an unnecessary dollar to the Federal budget, it makes it harder for you to balance the family budget.

I'll tell you why I say this. There are some very important expenditures for the Federal Government to make for our national defense and that must come, above everything else, for our highways, for our schools, and all of these areas in which you are interested. But never forget this, that we also owe an obligation to the taxpayers of this country not to spend a dollar that we don't need to, because as we save money there it means that you will be able to go in that store and make the ends meet at the end of the month.

And that's why I don't come before you and tell you that we're going to solve all your problems in Washington, because if I did I would be working not in your interests but against your interests. It's a lot easier to make promises, but it certainly is more responsible and better for you if we only do those things that need to be done and leave for you the right to choose as to how you spend your own money.

Now, if I could go to another point in speaking of matters of what we do for America. I, of course, am very proud to be a member of the Eisenhower administration. I happen to believe that President Eisenhower will go down in history as one of the great Presidents, not only because he brought the Nation peace, not only because we have enjoyed the greatest prosperity of any 8-year period in the history of this country, not only because he's restored dignity and integrity to the conduct of the Nation's business in Washington, D.C., I think he will go down as a great President because he is a great man. But let me say that while I think his record - our record - is a wonderful one, I don't believe we should just stand on it. I think a record's not

just something to stand on, but something to build on. I come from California and you in Hawaii are like us in California, you are of the West and we, in the West, believe in progress. And so we must move forward, there is work to be done and jobs to be done in America; there are cities to be revitalized; there are better schools to be built, better health for our older people. These can come, but these things can come with the right kind of leadership in Washington, and I can only say that I know what it means; I know what it means to live in a family of modest means and I can assure you that certainly your interests will come first in our administration as we build the better America of the future.

And the last thing I have to say today is the most important of all. You know, the most moving thing about this crowd, I may say, is not the older people that are here - all of you, you can vote - but the young people. And these young people, my two daughters, your boys and girls, what we want for them is a better life than we had, a life where they have an equal chance to make their way ahead, to become Senator or Governor or Vice President or the wife of the Vice President, as the case might be; we want all that for them, but we also want above everything else (and I say this just after having gone to Pearl Harbor and leaving a wreath there at there at the Arizona), the most important thing is that our young people grow up in a world of peace

with freedom, the most important thing of all. [Applause.] And we can have that, we can have that kind of a world, but it's going to take the best leadership America can produce, leadership that will keep America strong militarily - second to none in the world - and that must come first; leadership that will be firm diplomatically - with no apology for keeping the intelligence activities of this country so there will never be another Pearl Harbor as far as America is concerned. [Applause.]

It means also - it means also waging the battle for peace with the same determination and dedication that you wage a battle to win the war, and that means fighting for freedom, not just to keep it for ourselves because that isn't enough, but to expand it for the people throughout the world. But remember: This world is not just a static world, it changes, and the Communists are attempting to impose and extend communism and slavery throughout the world. It isn't enough to stand pat where we are, to defend what we have; we must fight to extend freedom throughout the world; this kind of leadership is essential if we're going to have a world of peace. [Applause.]

And it is necessary, too, that we convince the peoples of the world on both sides of the Iron Curtain, both sides, that we believe in peace, that we believe in justice, that we believe in the dignity of man and the equality of opportunity for all - regardless of background, religious, racial, color, whatever the case might be. And that is why I have said in each appearance I've made in Hawaii and I say it today, that what we need in waging peace in the world is more of the spirit of aloha throughout the world today. [Applause.]

And so, may I thank you for standing here and waiting so long, for listening so patiently, and may I just say as a final word that for a miner's daughter born in a tent city in Ely, Nev. - for the son of a - not a supermarket operator but a very small country store, born in Yorba Linda, Calif., and growing up in Whittier - to stand here in front of a crowd in the 50th State of the Union is as proud a moment as I can imagine. And I only hope that whatever happens this November that between now and then, and thereafter, that we will be worthy of the faith and confidence that our party has placed in us and that we will be worthy of the traditions of America. And remember, all of you, the American dream is not just a dream, it does come true - Hiram Fong's life proves it, and my life and Pat's life proves it, too.

Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Senator FONG. (Introduces Vice President Nixon to the chairman of the rally and to the city and county clerk.) Mr. Vice President, I want to thank you very, very deeply - from the bottom of my heart - in behalf of all of these people here for the very, very inspiring message you have given to us. You make us feel very good because we have tried to live the life that you say that we should and all the people of the world should. We thank you for coming to this fifth district, we thank you for doing us this very, very great honor; we thank you for giving us a lot of "face." Let's give Dick Nixon and Pat a big hand, [Applause.]

Vice President Nixon. Hiram, all I can say after that - I'm going to take him with me to introduce me around the country.

Senator FONG. Now, only 1 minute more. This can only happen in Hawaii. Fruitgrower [garbled] says he's got a big pomelo which is the symbol of blessing and good luck and long life and everything, and he wants to present it to the Vice President.

FRUITGROWER (garbled). Mr. Vice President, I am honored and privileged to be allowed by our esteemed Senator, Hiram Fong, to present you with a symbol and a token of great blessing. This fruit - every Chinese home during Chinese New Year will display this reverently, and it is time from time immemorial, it is a slight token of great blessing, it is named "The Great Blessing." I have the greatest pleasure to present it to our next President of the United States. [Applause.]

May I add that this fruit is grown in the playground of esteemed Senator Hiram Fong. [Applause.]

Vice President NIXON. You know, my friends, the next time that anybody tells you that America is a second-rate country, the next time that anybody tells you America has lost its sense of direction and purpose and value, just remember this moment. Because certainly this was in finest American tradition and I thank you very much.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Vice President Nixon, Kamehameha Shopping Center, Honolulu, HI Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project