Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of Vice President Nixon, Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, CA

August 02, 1960

Vice President NIXON. Thank you very much, Chad, Norrie. It's just impossible to mention the names of all of those who are here, the distinguished guests that are on this platform, and all that I can say is that every person here, believe me, is distinguished as far as I'm concerned. If you would take the time to drive down the freeway in this traffic to get here at 5 o'clock, you really have a great loyalty to our cause and we thank you for it. [Applause.]

You know, as a matter of fact, you know, I was on television 3 weeks ago, I saw a considerable amount from a convention that was held here in Los Angeles [boos]. You know, after hearing some of the things they were saying about me there, I was almost afraid to come home. But I can only say that certainly this welcome is one that will remain in our hearts all our lives, and Pat and I want you to know how much we appreciate your taking the time to come and how much we hope that in the months ahead we will be able to work with you in this great campaign, which is beginning today, and will continue - as I have indicated - until November 8.

And now, may I say, too, a word about the many people that I see in this audience, so many are old friends, so many have worked in previous campaigns - beginning in 1946 up through the years - that I just wish we could mention each one of you. And all that I can say - and Pat - we both can say this: If it hadn't been for the people here, for what you've done, we wouldn't be in the position that we're in here now, and we want you to know how deeply we appreciate what you've done through the years in our campaigns. [Applause.]

And, incidentally, if I might also add just a word, as far as the convention that did take place, I received a letter this morning which indicated that there is going to be a considerable shift of votes in this campaign - in California and throughout the Nation - as there was in 1952 and 1956. [Applause.] This is a sentence from the letter - I will try to recall it as well as I can - the gentleman wrote, he said: "Since my principles have left the Democratic Party, so am I leaving the Democratic Party." And all that I can say is that in this campaign this is bigger than any party, it's bigger than any individual, because the issues which are involved here - involve not only our country, our homes, the future of our children - they involve the future of the world.

And, as I stand here and talk to you, my closest friends, the ones who have known us the longest, who have worked with us through so many hard campaigns, I want you to know that we realize that in this campaign we are going to be speaking for a cause that is much bigger than any personal ambitions that we might have, much bigger than the future or the fate of our party. We realize that what is involved is your future - and ours - and the whole world's. And we just hope that in the months ahead we can be worthy of the trust you have placed in us, and that we can be worthy of the cause which we're going to try to represent.

And may I say at this point, too, that in speaking to you today, standing here as long as you have, knowing that you have to get back, I will not talk long, and I have nothing to say against my opponent, but I would like to say something for America. [Applause.]

In the past few weeks we heard a great deal about what was wrong with the United States. We heard that we were a second-class country militarily; we heard that our economy was second to that of the Soviet Union [the crowd shouts "No"] we heard that our scientists, our education, our whole purpose was second rate - and I just want to set the record straight. We all know that this is not a perfect land; we all know that there are things wrong, and the test of a true patriot, of one that is truly loyal to his country, is not to see nothing wrong with the country, but to recognize the things that are wrong and to work to correct them so that this country can be something he can be proud of always. But by the same token, let's remember this: When we have heard in the past few weeks all the things that are wrong, about America being second rate, I can only say that having traveled around the world, having seen what our potential opponents have, and knowing what we have, that the United States today is the strongest nation militarily, economically, ideologically, and the American people have the will and the resources to maintain that strength and that position of world leadership - and let's never forget that. [Applause.]

And when we talk these days, you know, of this being a contest that is military in character - and it is - when we talk of this being a contest that is economic competition - and it is that - let's remember that this is also a test of faith, it's a test of who has the greatest faith. And let it never be said that the American people lost faith in themselves, faith in their country, faith in their God. This is what is going to count in this struggle, and on this score America will always be first and we will make no mistake about that. [Applause.]

And now, if I could add a word with regard to the future, and how I believe we should meet it. I believe that Americans must resolve that we can never settle for second best in anything. I say this not because we are not strong economically and militarily today, but because we're in a race, as I said in my acceptance speech, a race for our survival, and when you're in a race - no matter how far you're ahead - you've got to move ahead to stay ahead. And we're a progressive people in this country, particularly here in the West, we never want to be satisfied with things as they are, no matter how good our record is, we're not here just to stand on it but to build on it. We want to build a better State, a better city, a better America, a better world - this is the standard that we are going to raise in this campaign.

Our opponents likewise want to do that. We give them credit for that, as I would trust they would give us credit for the same good intentions. But the question is: How do you get there? What is the best way to building a stronger and better America and building also a new world? You know, it's often said that without vision a people perishes, and this is true. But a people with the wrong vision perishes much sooner, and I happen to believe that the vision we have for America is the right vision [applause] because it builds on the sound fundamental principle that has been responsible for our success in the past; it builds not on expanding the powers of the Federal Government, but it builds on increasing opportunities and responsibilities for millions of individual Americans. That's the way to build America's future. [Applause.]

And as we approach our problem, whether in meeting the problems of our schools or the problems of our older citizens without adequate health care, whether it is in solving the problems of our cities, which the mayor and the board of supervisors here are doing such splendid work on, whatever it is at home, or whether it's meeting our problems abroad, let us remember that the strength of America, the great strength of America, is not in its Government, the greatest strength is in its people. This is the advantage that we have and this is the firm foundation upon which we must build.

And as we look ahead, may I say that means all the people of this country. Let me give you an example. People often ask me about the question of how we are to develop to the full the economic and scientific and ideological strength of this country. And you know how you do it? It means that every boy and girl in this country, every one, must have an equal opportunity for an education. He must have an equal opportunity to reach the top - or, putting it in baseball language - you know, we all can't get home runs but every boy and girl in America is entitled to his time at bat. That's the way to build a great America. [Applause.]

And so, I say today that we stand for a program, a program that will give to our people their time at bat, a program that will develop to the full their energies, their abilities, their imagination, so that they contribute their best to America.

And then, if I could add this final thought. What are the stakes? What really is going to happen in the years ahead? You know, there have been many times in our Nation's history when leaders have stood before the people and said: We must work to save America. Today he must work to save America, but we are working to save freedom for the whole world. We are working for a world of peace rather than a world of war. We are working for a world of freedom rather than a world of tyranny. We are working for a world of plenty rather than one of want. And we in America must realize that unless we - not just our Government, not just the President and the leaders - unless each and every one of us does his best for America, America can't do her best for the world. That's what we want from you. And we want your best in everything - in your job, in your school. And I might begin by saying it - we want your best in this election. We want your best whether you're a Democrat or Republican, whichever candidate you're for, may I say listen to the candidates, make your decision on the basis of where they stand, what leadership they offer to America - not on the basis of mere personality, not on the basis of merely the party label - and once you've made the decision, then just don't vote, but go out and work for what you believe is right. Because the very best leadership that America can produce is what we need, and you - you, the people - determine it.

And may I say that as I look at this crowd, as I see so many who have worked in previous campaigns and so many new faces, I have faith in this country. I have faith in what we can do, because Americans are at their best when our challenges are the greatest, and I am confident that this country can and will lead the forces of freedom to victory without war [applause], that we can and will do that.

And now, if I might close by saying again that as we came down from Reno, Nev., where they had, incidentally, a wonderful welcome for Pat - they had the biggest crowd they'd ever had in history in Reno, but that was for Pat, not for me, I can assure you - and as we came down from Reno and flew over the freeways and I saw the traffic jams and all the like - and then I see this tremendous crowd at the airport - it makes me realize, well, we do have certainly some dedicated people that are going to go out and work, because if you drive down here at 5 o'clock in the afternoon you will do anything in this campaign to win.

Thank you very much. [Applause.]

I just want you to know that going with me to Hawaii in the morning at 4 a.m., incidentally, we're leaving at 4 a.m. - and, incidentally, in case you want to know why we're going at 4 a .m., I want to tell you first my attitude toward Government expenditures and I'm starting to practice it on campaign expenditures. They had us scheduled for an 8 a.m. departure in a chartered plane, that was, in a jet. I found that we could save $11,000 if we went at 4 a.m., so we're going at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning to Hawaii. [Applause.]

Now, traveling with us today, first, is Secretary of Interior, Fred Seaton - Fred, won't you say a word to our friends here in Los Angeles?

Secretary SEATON. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I've been here many, many times, but I must say that - aside from President Eisenhower - I've never been here at a time in any better company than I'm in today, and I'm very happy to be here with your favorite son and favorite lady, the next President of the United States and the first lady of the land. [Applause.]

Vice President NIXON. And now, I present to you a man of whom we're tremendously proud and who is in the U.S. Senate, he is a very junior Senator from the 50th State of the Union, and he is going to be, I assure you, one of the great leaders of the Senate in the years ahead, Hiram Fong from the State of Hawaii. [Applause.]

Senator FONG. The new State of Hawaii says to the Golden State of California: Aloha.

Dick Nixon is going to win in Hawaii. [Applause.]

Let me hear your response to this question: Is Dick Nixon, your native son, going to win in the State of California? [Applause and cheers.]

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Vice President Nixon, Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, CA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project