Richard Nixon photo

Speech by the Vice President, Closed Circuit Television, 1960 Campaign Dinner, Boston, MA

September 29, 1960

Thank you very much.

Mr. President, Ambassador Lodge, Governor Rockefeller, Senator Morton, Senator Goldwater, all of those attending these great Republican dinners around the country, after such an introduction there is very little I could say that could add, and I will only make this statement in this respect: That there will never be a prouder moment in my life than to have been so introduced by the President of the United States, as we have been introduced tonight.

I want to thank him, and I'm going to have more to say about him in a moment, but all who have participated in these dinners, the speakers, those who sold the tickets, those who bought the tickets, for your wonderful contribution to the success of this evening. You make those of us who are candidates - and, of course, not only the presidential and the vice presidential candidates will share in what you have been able to do - very aware of the responsibility that we have, and we trust that we will be worthy of it during the weeks ahead.

Referring to what the President has said, there are these thoughts that come to mind: 8 years ago I remember a great rally right here in Boston, and I know this audience remembers, here in the Boston Armory. It was the closing rally of the campaign. It was a tremendously exciting event, and I remember the themes of that rally. That was an election campaign, you will recall, in which the two presidential candidates both agreed there was a mess in Washington. The question was: Which of the two candidates could best clean it up? And, of course, the American people, in their fine judgment, made the right decision.

Now the question today is a different one. Senator Kennedy, in a speech at Detroit a couple of weeks ago, stated that this is the greatest country in the world, but it can be greater, that this is the most prosperous country in the world, but it can be more prosperous, that this is a strong country, but that it can be stronger, and, so, we've come a long way since 1952. We're not talking about a mess, but we're talking about the greatest country, the most prosperous country, a strong country, and who can make it greater and more prosperous and stronger, and all that I can say is this: I say that the American people are not going to turn to a man and his party who made the mess 8 years ago. They are going to turn to us. They are going to build this new, greater, stronger America with the proved leadership, the leadership that the President has so eloquently and generously described.

Now if I could turn to that leadership in terms of the great issue that I have found in this campaign, but before speaking of that issue I simply must share with our national audience a thought that I earlier passed on to this audience here.

We've had some great crowds in this campaign up to this time. We've traveled, as you know, to many of the States in which these dinners are being held, and, as I said when we came into Boston tonight, with the rain falling, about 5:30, almost an hour behind time, we found in the home city and State of our opponent the biggest crowd of the Campaign - a quarter of a million people were here to welcome us.

And I serve notice here, as I do to the whole country, that things are happening. They are happening here, and neither this State nor any other one do we concede. We're going to fight for every one of them right down to November 8.

Several of the speakers who preceded me on this program have spoken of what is the great issue of the campaign. We all agree what it is. The American people are, of course, concerned about a number of things, and rightly so. They want government in which they can have better jobs and housing and schools. They want progress in those essential fields which have been referred to by the previous speakers. But, above all, our people know that all the progress at home will be worth nothing unless we're around to enjoy it. They realize that, for that reason, the major test that must be met by the candidates for the Presidency and the Vice Presidency is that of leadership in the field of foreign affairs. The major test to which the people of the country are putting the candidates today is this: Which by experience, by background, by judgment, by record, of the candidates for President and Vice President can best continue the leadership of Dwight Eisenhower and keep the peace without surrender for America and extend freedom throughout the world

Now in just a few words, I want to state our case as I have stated it to audiences all over this country.

We offer first our record. It's a record we're proud of. Cabot Lodge and I, as the President has indicated, have served in his administration. We have had an opportunity to participate in the discussions leading to great decisions. We have had an opportunity to see him make great decisions, one that avoided war on the ore side and surrender on the other.

I know there are those who criticize the record of this administration in the field of foreign policy; but, my friends, all the

criticisms in the world, even that that is heated up in a political campaign, can't obscure the truth, and the American people will be eternally grateful to Dwight Eisenhower for ending one war, keeping the Nation out on other wars, and bringing us peace without surrender today.

So Cabot Lodge and I submit our record, and we're proud of it, and we present it to the American people.

We submit also our experience. It is not appropriate for me to refer to my experience, particularly after the President has

done it so well, but I can say something about my running mate and I want to do it in his own State. I want to say this: That the great issue here and the great problem, of course, is dealing with the men in the Kremlin and their colleagues, and I say that no man in the world today has had more experience or could have done a better job of fighting for the cause of peace and freedom than Cabot Lodge as our Ambassador to the United Nations over the last 7 ½ years; and I assure this great audience that he and I will work together as colleagues, work together in the cause of peace, to strengthen the instruments of peace like the United Nations and the Organization of American States, to develop such new instruments as may be necessary to extend freedom and to extend peace, but working together, having in mind the great experience that we have had of working with the President of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower.

This is the leadership which we offer to the American people.

What program? We will, of course, continue to keep America as she is today, the strongest nation in the world militarily, and

this we pledge to the American people.

We will continue policies, and build upon them, that will make America the strongest, most productive nation, as far as its

economy is concerned, recognizing that when we're in a race we can never be satisfied with staying where we are, but that we must move ahead in science, in education, in the productivity of our people, but always recognizing that the way to progress in America is not through turning everything over to the Federal Government in the first instance, but through the Federal Government adopting policies and programs that will stimulate the creative energies of 180 million free Americans.

What kind of diplomatic policies will we follow? They will be the policies of firmness without belligerence. We will always be willing to go the extra mile, as President Eisenhower has been willing to go it, to negotiate, negotiate with honor, but always standing by the principles of freedom and standing by our friends everyplace in the world. We will be willing to go that extra mile, but we will always stand for the right - and you can be sure that, like President Eisenhower, we will never think of apologizing for attempting to defend the freedom of the United States against surprise attack.

And we make another pledge to you: We will do our part in seeing that the ideals of America are kept strong because we know that this is basically a war of ideals. It will be decided in that area. We know that all that the Kremlin has to offer is military strength, sheer atheistic materialism, and that America must never forget that our strength is not simply and only in our military strength and our economic productivity, but it is in our ideals. They are worth restating: Faith in God; recognition of the dignity of men and women, regardless of their race, creed, or color, or their background; recognition of the great principles of freedom for all men, that belong not just to us, but to people everywhere; recognition of the right of all people to be independent, as we are independent.

These are principles for which America has stood since the time of her foundation. These are the ideals that will win the struggle for peace and freedom, and these are the ideals we will stand for if you, the people listening to me, if the American people, will do your part in strengthening the moral and spiritual fiber of this Nation as well.

And, so with that, may I say again to the thousands listening at these dinners across the country that, as Pat and I sit here in

Boston tonight, after a long day of campaigning, we are deeply humble in your presence. We know what you have done, and we intend to be worthy of what you have done - not only in the fight that we put on in this campaign, but also in winning this election, in attempting to carry on in the great traditions of one of the truly great men of the century, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the President of the United States.

Richard Nixon, Speech by the Vice President, Closed Circuit Television, 1960 Campaign Dinner, Boston, MA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project