Richard Nixon photo

Speech of the Vice President at Pan-Pacific Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA

November 05, 1960

Thank you very much.

Senator Kuchel, this great audience here in the Pan-Pacific and all of you listening on television and radio throughout the Nation, I'm sure you know what a great thrill it is for Pat and me to receive such a magnificent welcome in our home State of California. [Cheers and applause.]

And I want to tell you something about the last 3 days of our campaign, three of the greatest days of campaigning that it has been my privilege to experience. We left New York City - I'm sure some of you saw the telecast from there in which the President participated [cheers and applause] - we left New York City on Thursday morning we flew to Columbia, S.C., and then on to Teas, and in Columbia, S.C., at the Alamo in San Antonio, and in Houston, Tex., all in that day, we had the biggest crowds ever held by any candidate, Republican or Democrat, in any of those cities [cheers and applause].

In Forth Worth, Tex., the next day, at morning, and then at Casper, Wyo., at Spokane, Wash., and Fresno, Calif., all on Friday, and then today moving through the State of California, in San Jose, at Hayward, at Oakland at noon, finally at Van Nuys at night in the rain, and then here at the Pan-Pacific, again record crowds, record enthusiasm, the greatest it has been my privilege ever to address. [Cheers an applause.] And the same is true throughout the Nation - the President's receptions in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. The word from around the country is that a, great tide is running, a tide is running for our ticket that will carry us to victory on November the 8th. [Cheers and applause.]

But, my friends, it is because that tide is running that we, from now until Tuesday, face up to what are really the critical days. We must keep it running, running at high tide so that we assure the victory which is so essential to America on November the 8th. [Cheers and applause.]

And, consequently, I tell you what I'm going to do between now and then. Tomorrow I first make a broadcast which will be carried at 10 o'clock on CBS, one of the most important speeches of this campaign.

I then fly to Alaska. We return from Alaska at night, arriving on Monday morning for a breakfast at Madison, Wis. We then go over to Detroit for a noon meeting, and then we have an unprecedented 4-hour national telethon where people throughout the country can ask any question they want of a candidate for President of the United States, for 4 hours. [Cheers and applause.] That's only half the day. After we finish the engagement there, we go on to Chicago for the election eve broadcast on which the President will appear from Washington, the Vice Presidential candidate, Henry Cabot Lodge, from Massachusetts. I will be in Chicago. And then we fly on to Ontario, Calif., for a midnight torchlight parade - and that ends the campaign. [Cheers and applause.]

Now, there are several things about this schedule that will impress you:

One: It is the first time in the history of American politics that any candidate for the Presidency has ever visited 50 States. It will be the longest campaign in terms of miles traveled. It will be the greatest campaign in terms of people spoken to. It will be, I think, the most effective campaign ever waged, and I want to tell you why we are fighting right up to the last minute. It's the reason you are here tonight. It is the reason that I have found such tremendous enthusiasm throughout this country. The reason is, as Ronald Reagan indicated earlier, that this is a cause bigger than any party. It is as big as America, itself, and America, must go forward and build on the great policies of Dwight Eisenhower and not go back to the policies we left 7½ years ago. [Cheers and applause.] Because, you see, my fellow Californians and my fellow Americans, that basically is the choice.

We have here the offer of our opponents, of taking us back. Oh, they say they're going to new frontiers, but it's the same old policies, with a few new fringes, and we find that as far as we are concerned, we offer the kind of leadership that will move America forward.

So, I suggest tonight on this closing rally of the campaign here in California that we look at the case for their side, what they offer America, that we look at the case we offer, and then let the American people take their choice.

And, first, they say - they say, first of all - the reason why we must reject and repudiate the policies of this administration, why we must not build on them, but turn away from them - the reason, first, they say, is - and I quote - "That America has been standing still for the last 7½ years." [Cries of "No."]

And that is the answer I get every place in America. Anyone who says America has been standing still hasn't been traveling around America. He's been in some foreign country. [Cheers and applause.]

You know, and all of you listening on television know, that the Eisenhower years have been years of the greatest progress in education, in housing, in highways, in growth, in every area, in real income and real wages and jobs that America has ever had; and certainly, as we consider that charge, it doesn't stand up, and our opponent fights with the truth.

And what else does he say? What other reason does he give? Well, in the field of foreign policy, he says we must turn away, turn away from the policies - and then again I quote - "because the policies of the past 7½ years have been policies of defeat and retreat and stagnation."

My friends, the adjectives are all right [Cries of "No."] The adjectives are all right, but he's got the wrong administration. That's the Truman administration he's describing. [Cheers and applause.] Because it was in the Truman administration that 600 million people went behind the Iron Curtain. We all know that it was in that administration that due to fuzzy-minded, woolly-headed thinking on the part of the people in the administration that we ended up with a war in Korea, and that 140,000 Americans were casualties in that war, and we all know that one of the reasons the American people elected Dwight Eisenhower was to end that war, and he did it, and has kept the peace and the American people are grateful for that.

And, you know, that argument doesn't stand up, and now we go to the third argument, and this one is very difficult to understand and difficult to believe. It runs something like this: America is now second in education. We're second in science. We're second in space. We're going to be second as far as other things are concerned. [Cries of "No." ] And that is the answer I get all over America.

Let me say this: That anybody who tries to run for the Presidency on the ground of falsely running down the United States isn't fit to be President of the United States of America. [Cheers and applause.]

My friends, we recognize that there are things wrong with our education and in our science and our other programs, but we still are first in the world in those areas, and we will continue to be, if we remain true to the principles that have made America great. [Cheers and applause.]

And now the fourth charge and the fourth reason that, he gives for a change in direction, and the latest one is this: He predicts that we're going to have a slump, a recession. Oh, I saw it in the newspaper when I was in Detroit the other day - an eight-column head saying: "Kennedy Predicts Slump."

My friends, you know what the eight-column head immediately above that was: "New Cars Selling at All-Time High in the United States of America." [Cheers and applause.]

You know what that means! We have a slump in this country only if people lose confidence in America, if they quit buying cars and refrigerators and the other things that make for prosperity.

Today people are buying more; they're spending more; they're investing more; they're saving more than ever in history, and it's going to take more than a political minded candidate to talk the American people into a slump or a recession. [Cheers and applause.]

And, so, here the four charges are made. They all fall down. And what are the remedies that he offers for these illusory things and faults that he finds with America. Well, they say Kennedy is the remedy, but when we look at Kennedy's remedy, it's the same old medicine man show that we used to hear about. It's the same old show. [Cheers and applause.] You remember the medicine man that used to come to town? He had a cure-all for everything. It was the same medicine for everything. It would cure snake bite and rheumatism and anything else that you had. All you had to do to get the cure was to give him your money, and then you didn't get the cure. [Cheers and applause.] And that's all he says today, The Kennedy remedy, as you might expect from a Kennedy, is: "Give me your money and I'll take care of all of your problems." [Cheers and applause.]

How much? How much money? $15 billion. That is what it would cost simply to pay for the promises he's already made in this campaign. That is what it would cost to carry out the platform that was adopted here in Los Angeles.

And, so, the problem that we have is this: How are we going to get the $15 billion? He says: I'm not going to raise taxes. He says: I'm going to balance the budget, but he says: I'm also for the platform.

Now, my friends, if you spend $15 billion a year more of the Federal Government's money, and that's your money, and don't raise taxes and still balance the budget, I'll tell you - you're a genius, and certainly a genius such as we have never been able to develop in this country in the history of civilization. It just isn't possible. He knows that, and I'll tell you what the answer is. If we are to carry out that platform, it means to everyone listening to me tonight that either he has to raise the taxes of the American people or he has to adopt policies that would raise the prices of everything we buy. Do you know what that would mean?

We went through that before. That's why I say we aren't going back, because during the 7 Truman years, you recall the value of your dollars went, down, were cut its half.

You had wage increases, but it didn't mean anything because at the end of that 7 years the price increases had eaten it all up; and those living on social security and pensions - to them, it was the cruelest of all because you found that while your income did not go up the value of what you had went down because your Government broke faith with you.

My friends, we have a program for progress, but we say we want progress without breaking faith with the American people and by seeing to it that a dollar earned today is worth a dollar tomorrow or 5 years or 10 years from now. [Cheers and applause.]

That is why we have a program in the field of education that will raise the standards and the compensation for our teachers, that will see to it that our young people who have the responsibility and the ability to go to college get that opportunity, but which will do these things without running any risk of having the Federal Government interfere in the education plans of the States and towns of this country. [Cheers and applause.]

That is why we have a program in social security, one which will extend benefits to 2 million people that they could not cover with their program, but one that would extend the benefits, but would not take away the benefits and wreck the program by inflating the money, as would his wild spending programs. [Cheers and applause.]

And that is why we have a program for medical care for the aged, a program which will provide that all of our citizens over 55 who want health insurance will be able to get it, will have a choice, but that no one who does not want it will be forced to have it against his will.

That is the American way to do this. [Cheers and applause.]

Why will our programs succeed where his won't? They will succeed where his won't because we, rather than giving up on people, have faith in people.

We say that the way to progress in America is not through turning over everything to the Federal Government, but through the Federal Government adopting programs and policies which will encourage the creative genius of 180 million free Americans. [Cheers and applause.]

And now we turn to the foreign policy area. What does he offer here? Well, we again look at him and his record in this campaign, and all that I can say, after that record, is that it is the return again to the policies we left behind.

You recall the three great instances in which we had disagreement during the course of our debates in this campaign

On Quemoy and Matsu, where he would have drawn a line, as Acheson did on Korea, and invited the Communists in. It would have resulted in war, I believe. The President was right. He was wrong.

On Berlin, where he indicated the President could have apologized for the U-2 flights. The President was right, and he was wrong.

On Cuba, you recall, where he disagreed with the President and said his policies were not enough and advocated a policy which around the world had such repercussions that the neat day he took it back.

As a matter of fact, my friends, on every one of these three instances his friends and supporters say: But, Mr. Nixon, he changed his mind. He's now for the President on Cuba. He now says that the President did the right thing in Paris. He now says he supports the President on Quemoy and Matsu.

But, my friends, consider what a President must do. When you're a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, you can make a statement, make a mistake and correct it the next day, and nobody is the worse for it; but when you're the President of the United States, when you sit there in that lonely oval office in the White House - and I have been there when the President has made great decisions, when you decide, it is for keeps. And I say to you today that in this critical period when a wrong decision by a President could lead either to war or surrender for America and the free world we cannot afford to use the White House as a training school for a man to get experience at the expense of the American people. [Cheers and applause.]

And, so, then, I ask you to join with us. What do we offer? Cabot Lodge and I offer the experience of 7½ years. We offer the fact that we know those who threaten the peace of the world. We offer the fact that we have not been taken in by them. We offer not just standing still on where we are, but we offer a grand offensive for peace, a grand offensive for freedom throughout the world, and we ask you to join us in that offensive, and we say to you, my friends, that we will win. We will win for this reason: Because America is on the right side. I know this. I have been around the world. I have been on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and in the minds and the hearts of men throughout the world what we stand for the world wants.

What is the thing that makes America great? Not our military strength; not our economic might, but the fact that we stand for the right things - our faith in God; our belief in the dignity of all men; our belief that the rights that men have come not from men, but from God and cannot be taken away by men; our belief that men [cheers and applause] - our belief - and this is the American destiny - that the freedom that we enjoy, that this faith which is ours, belongs not just to us, but to the whole world, and it is our mission in the world to lead the forces of freedom and peace to victory without war. [Cheers and applause.]

It is that crusade - it is that great objective - to which my colleague, Cabot Lodge, and I are dedicated.

My friends, it was only 8 years ago on this very night that I spoke here and I asked you to join a crusade, a crusade to end a war in Korea, to clean up the mess in Washington. You did, and the job was done. And now tonight I ask you to join us in a new crusade, a crusade to keep the peace, a crusade to extend freedom, a crusade to bring to all the people of the world what we enjoy here - freedom, justice for all.

It can be done. It will be done - and, with your help, there is no question but that we will prevail and that America will lead the world.

Thank you. [Cheers and applause.]

Richard Nixon, Speech of the Vice President at Pan-Pacific Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project