Richard Nixon photo

Remarks of Vice President Richard M. Nixon, Rodney Square, Wilmington, DE

October 19, 1960

Governor BOGGS. Thank you. Thank you very much, Senator Williams.

Fellow candidates and friends and fellow citizens, this is a great thrill and a great privilege to me to present to you our friend

and the next President of the United States, Dick Nixon. [Applause.]

Vice President NIXON. Thank you very much. Thank You. Senator Williams, Governor Boggs, all of the distinguished guests here on the platform, and this great audience here in Wilmington, Del., I want you to know, first, how much my wife and I appreciate your welcoming us to this city, not only today in such great numbers, but also the way that we were welcomed when we came into the airport last night.

As a matter of fact, we arrived at about midnight and we expected no one at the airport, but apparently no one in Delaware ever goes to bed with the net result that we had one of the most enthusiastic and largest airport crowds of our whole campaign trip. [Applause.]

Now, this morning to come here again to speak again in this area where I have had the privilege of speaking before, to see this great throng is indeed most inspiring and we do appreciate your coming out because we know how busy you are; we know that certainly the facilities under which you have to stand there jammed together are not the best, and this is an opportunity that we particularly have appreciated and we want to thank you for coming. [Applause.]

Now, we have been looking forward to this visit to Delaware for a number of reasons. As you know, coming as we do from Washington, we, like most Washingtonians, make good use of your Delaware beaches and Pat and I have not been to Rehoboth as often as we would like, but believe me, no matter what happens in November, we are going to come back to Rehoboth if you will invite us over. [Applause.]

And we will do that because our daughters insist upon it, if for no other reason.

We want to thank you for your very generous welcomes when we have been here on many occasions.

Also, we have been looking forward to coming here because it gave us an opportunity to see again a man who is not running this year, but a man who has made a reputation as one of the really great Senators, not only of the State of Delaware, but of the United States, and I refer to my friend, and Delaware's great Senator, John Williams. [Applause.]

And I am glad to have the opportunity to be here this morning.

And then, too, this visit was one that we wanted to make from a personal standpoint because we had another chance to see Bill Boggs. We came to the Congress together in 1947. I said last night that to indicate what we thought of him that when we selected the president of the freshman Congress that year, he was the one that was selected and that shows that certainly the people in Washington had a high regard for Delaware's Congressman.

Since then I have followed his career as you have in the House, and also in the governorship of this State, and I can only say that obviously I am biased for personal reasons; I like him; Pat and I like him, and his wife, but believe me, I also believe that looking at his record as a Congressman, looking at his record as the Governor of this State that certainly I can commend him to you as one who with John Williams will make a great pair of Senators for the State of Delaware.

I commend him and urge you to support him in this election campaign. [Applause.]

Now, as he moves to the Senate, I was delighted to find that my friend, John Rollins, who is now the candidate for Governor and for the whole splendid State ticket, I am glad they are here on the platform.

Let us show them what we think of them, too, for the purpose of this meeting. [Applause.]

And, last, but not certainly least, to Jim McKinstry, our candidate for Congress, a young man, a man who is on his way up who will be I am sure, a fine Congressman and a great leader of this State and the Nation.

Altogether then, we have on the ticket here in Delaware men of whom you can be immensely proud and, I can assure you, candidates with whom I am proud to stand here as a fellow candidate.

Why do I mention it? You know many times people say to me, "Mr. Nixon, you know after all you are running for President. You want the votes of everybody, everybody you can get, and you know these lesser candidates or candidates for lower office, some of them friends that might vote for you and others who might on the other hand be alienated by your supporters."

I want to say this: I am for these men because of their ability, not just because they are members of my party.

I also believe that it is the responsibility of whoever is running for a national office to help to build the responsibility of his own party as he travels throughout the country, So I am proud to be here with them, and I urge you, as you work and vote for a President of the United States, to remember every office is important. Don't get so excited by the Presidency that you forget the candidate for the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor and the like.

That is why I mentioned them so that we realize in this country the tremendous importance of government at all levels.

Now, I would like to talk about my own candidacy. I would like to talk about it in terms that I have spoken of before in visiting the State of Delaware.

There are probably many in this audience who have heard me speak on each occasion; and on each occasion if you may recall, in 1952, again in 1956, I have emphasized that when we elect a President of the United States in this country, we have a standard through the years which is different from other offices; it is a standard certainly which this year all of you must follow because of the tremendous burdens of the responsibilities the next President of the United States will have.

Let me put it this way: It would be very easy for me to say to this group here today that if you are a Republican, vote for me because I am a Republican. I do not put the case that way. I believe today that as we elect the next President and Vice President of the United States that it is essential that all of us think not of the party first but of the country first, and I submit our case to you on the basis what is best for America because that is what we need. [Applause.] I say that because whatever the next President will do, whatever his responsibilities may be, it will require the man who is best qualified by experience, regardless of his party.

So I say to the people of Delaware it isn't enough to vote as your father did, or as your grandfather did, or as somebody's party label tells you to vote.

It isn't enough simply to say, well, somebody else indicated that this man or that man might be the best man to vote for.

You make up your own minds. America needs from its people today the most intelligent decision they can possibly make on the Presidency of the United States, and, therefore, I submit to you today my qualifications, that of my running mate, in that spirit.

First, what is the greatest issue that you must consider? That issue, I think all of you will agree, is the issue of the survival of this Nation and of the cause of freedom for which America came into the world to preserve.

I say that is the great issue for obvious reasons.

We can have the best jobs and the best social security and the best housing that we can possibly imagine and it all will mean nothing at all if we become involved in a nuclear disaster that destroys us all and destroys the world.

And so I say the first test you must apply to me and my colleague, and to my opponent and his colleague, is this:

Which of the two candidates for the Presidency and the Vice Presidency are best qualified by experience, by judgment, by background to keep the peace for America, to keep that without surrender and to extend freedom throughout the world?

This is the greatest in this campaign. [Applause.]

Now, I submit to you our qualifications on that issue. First, you must judge us by our experience. Cabot Lodge, my running mate, and I, for the last 7 years have been participating in the meetings of the Cabinet, in the meetings of the National Security Council and in other discussions with the President of the United States.

In other words, in the field of foreign policy the record is one that we have helped to make and, therefore, you must hold us accountable for that and for whatever credit you give. We, of course, were entitled to the credit as well as along with others who have participated in the making of that record.

Now you are going to hear a lot of [indistinguishable] and a lot about the record of the Eisenhower administration in the field of foreign policy. We have been hearing about what is wrong with what the President has been doing. He has made a mistake here and he has made a mistake there. America has been engaging in policies that have resulted, they said, in retreat and defeat throughout the free world and all over the area in which this struggle is taking place today.

So what is the judgment that you must make? All that I can say in answer to the criticisms is you look at what the situation was 7 years ago. You consider what has happened and you know the American people are not dumb, they are not going to be fooled; they know that when we came into office 7½ years ago this Nation was at war. They know that under the leadership of President Eisenhower we got America out of one war, we have kept her out of others and we do have peace without surrender today, and they want that kind of leadership in the years ahead. [Applause.]

Now I realize that there are those that say: "But Mr. Nixon, that is the past, what about these charges that American prestige has been slipping? What about the charges that have been made particularly by our opponents with regard to what the Soviets are doing, the gains they are making throughout the world?" I think they were best summed up by my opponent when he was speaking in upper New York a few days ago. I remember exactly what he said, and I will quote him exactly without notes, incidentally. [Applause.]

He said, summing up a speech on foreign policy in which he had found everything wrong with what we were doing, America was becoming second rate up and down the line in education and science and the like and we were at fault. He then said we have been losing the initiative around the world and then finally these words: "I am tired of reading in the paper what Mr. Khrushchev is doing, I am tired of reading in the paper what Mr. Castro is doing, I want to be able to read in the paper what the President of the United States is doing."

Let me tell you something, folks. If he would just stop talking and start reading, he would find out what President Eisenhower has been doing. [Applause.]

Now he has not been doing some of the things that my opponent has suggested. He didn't, for example, make the fatal error, and it would have been a fatal error, of drawing the line in the Pacific 5 years ago as 12 Senators, including my opponent, asked him to do, a line that would have abandoned to Communist imperialism some islands of freedom, a line, by drawing it, which would have resulted in not satisfying them but whetting their appetite as it did in Korea, encouraging them to attack and ask for more. He didn't do that.

And also he has not been doing some of the things that Mr. Khrushchev has been doing to get his name in the paper. He has not been taking his shoes off in the United Nations and pounding the table with them, for example. [Applause.] He has not been making a fool of himself in the world. He has not been attempting to muscle into the Congo unilaterally as has Mr. Khrushchev.

No, the President of the United States has maintained himself with dignity, he has not been apologizing or expressing regrets for defending the security of the United States against surprise attack. [Applause.] The President has been doing what all Americans want a President to do, he has been firm for the right as has Mr. Khrushchev been firm for the wrong. He has been firm without being belligerent; he has not answered insult by insult because, my friends, when you are strong, when you are confident that you are right you don't get down in the level with a man like Khrushchev or anybody else in the world. [Applause.]

And so I say on the record, yes, America has had difficulties and we will continue to have them. Yes, Mr. Khrushchev and his Chinese allies are going to continue to stir up trouble but the question is not whether you have difficulties, it is how you handle them and we think the record is a good one and we are proud of it but let's move from there.

Why do I say that my colleague and I can lead America in these critical years ahead? Well, first look at us and our experience. We begin by knowing Mr. Khrushchev. You know how we will react to him because we have sat opposite at the conference table. And knowing Mr. Khrushchev we know him to be, and I will tell you today, a ruthless, fanatical man who has only one object and that is to conquer the world for communism. And Mao Tse-tung is the same and all the Communists believe in this.

Therefore in dealing with him we have to follow certain policies and these are those policies if I may sum them up briefly. One, America must be the strongest Nation in the world militarily. Now we are the strongest Nation in the world militarily today and I want to say to you that we intend to maintain that strength and as President of the United States that will come first above everything else and we will continue to increase our strength so that Mr. Khrushchev or anybody else will never dare start anything any place in the world against the forces of freedom and peace. [Applause.]

Second, we will continue the diplomacy of this country firm, firm without being belligerent. Why? Because that is the way of peace and it is the way to avoid war. It is so easy for the well-intended people to suggest that this line or that one might be more flexible and might bring a solution to the problem, but, my friends, again we have to deal with this man as he is, not as we would want him to be as he is, not according to standards that would be followed by free world statesmen, because as you look at him, as you look at his colleague we find that the same pattern exists with him as it did with Hitler and every dictator throughout history.

What does this mean? In dealing with a dictator you must not under any circumstances make a concession without getting one in return because the result is to feed his appetite and whet his appetite and that means it encourages him to engage in exactly the kind of aggression that we are trying to avoid.

The next point that I would like to make everybody in this great audience will understand. We must not only keep America strong militarily, we must not only be firm diplomatically, this will hold the line against Communist aggression throughout the world, we must do more than that in this period of the sixties. We have to mount a great offensive for freedom. How do we do that? That means that economically, ideologically America must be the strongest Nation in the world and we must win those people throughout the world on both sides of the Iron Curtain who will be on our side if we are strong in our economy and strong also in the ideals which we hold.

Speaking of economic strength, what is the position of America today? Well, now, you have been hearing about how America's economy has been standing still for the last 7½ years. All that I can say, my friends, is that anybody who says that our economy has been standing still for the last 7½ years has not been traveling around America, he has been traveling in some other country.

Look here at Wilmington, look at Delaware, look at the new industry, all of the things that have happened here in the last 7½ years. Yes, America is moving forward and has moved forward and we will move forward more in the next 4 years if we get the opportunity. [Applause.]

What must we do to move America forward? Why do I say that our programs will move her forward where our opponents' will not? I will tell you why. Because our philosophy will work and theirs won't. Their solution to every problem whether it is schools or housing or any other area is to say, we will turn the whole thing over to the Federal Government. They lack confidence in individuals, confidence in the State and local government, but we will turn to Washington and we will set up a huge new program to handle this problem.

Sounds good, doesn't it? You are not going to have to do anything, the States are not going to have to do anything, the Federal Government is going to take care of this problem. The only trouble is it does not work. We tried that philosophy in the 7 Truman years and we had enough of it then and we don't want to go back to it now, we want to go forward with what we have been doing. [Applause.]

What will work? What is the way to progress in America? It isn't to start with the Federal Government and work down to the people, the way to progress in this country is to start with the people and work up to the Federal Government. That is the way to progress in this country. [Applause.] Because you see, look around you again. The uncommon men who have made America, the uncommon women, those with the opportunities, they have created the tremendous wealth that Americans have.

And it is because our policies will stimulate individual enterprise, not blunt it. It is because our policies do not rely simply on the Government in Washington but says that Washington should do everything that it could to stimulate what individuals do. This is why we will continue to move America forward where their policies would grind her to a standstill.

And let me say finally in that respect that there is much that remains to be done because as we move forward all Americans must move together. We must leave none behind. We must have all the resources of this country, the human resources, the natural resources, and our program and our platform will do that. It will do it in the way that all Americans want this country to move forward in this critical period.

And now the last point that I would make, we have been speaking of economic progress. I am convinced that if we have faith in our system, faith in ourselves, that America can have the greatest economic progress in history; that much as we have done in the last 7½ years the next period can make even that appear small by comparison.

But, my friends, the economic strength of this country and its military strength alone is not enough if we are to win this struggle for freedom to which I have referred. We have got to be strong in our ideals. It is those ideals that will win the struggle for the world, and those ideals come from you. They come from the schools, they come from the churches, they come from the homes of America. What are they? Our faith in God, our belief in the dignity of all men and all women our belief that the rights that men have to freedom, to equality of opportunity, that those rights are sacred rights, that they come not from men but from God and therefore cannot be taken away by men; our belief that all nations have a right to be independent, that all people have a right to be free.

These things you have heard from the time you were in school but may I say we must never get tired of saying them, we must never get tired of hearing them because a burning faith in America and in her ideals is what we need if we are going to defeat those who stand for slavery and injustice throughout the world. This is what we need if we are going to win. [Applause.]

So I say to you, keep America strong at home, militarily and economically; but above all see that our young people grow up with the burning faith in our country, in her ideals, recognizing that America is a first-rate country in every respect and not second rate, recognizing that American ideals caught the imagination of the world 180 years ago in the American Revolution and that the American Revolution still goes forward and that it is the American Revolution, not the Communist revolution, that is the way of the future. This is what we must believe and it is this cause that my colleague, Cabot Lodge, and I ask for your permission to lead in these years ahead, and with your help we can lead to victory without war to a better life for our people and for all the people of the world.

Thank you very much. [Applause.]

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Vice President Richard M. Nixon, Rodney Square, Wilmington, DE Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project