Richard Nixon photo

Statement, Article by Vice President Nixon in Look Magazine

October 25, 1960


(By Richard Nixon)


1946 - Out of the Navy in January 1946, after wartime Pacific duty, I returned home to Whittier, Calif., and plunged into my first political campaign. Two months before, a citizens' committee from California's 12th Congressional District had approached me about seeking the Republican nomination to oppose veteran Democratic Congressman Jerry Voorhis. Considering the district's normal Democratic majority, some said the committee sought a sacrificial lamb. I was absolutely green in politics, but Pat and I decided to sink $5,000, half of our "fortune," into the uphill fight. Overseas, I had come to recognize two opposing lines of political thought in America. "One, advocated by the New Deal," I told the committee, "is Government control regulating our lives. The other calls for individual freedom and all that initiative can produce. I hold with the latter view." On this principle, still my basic political philosophy, I debated Voorhis and convinced enough voters to win.


1948 - This year, the national spotlight focused on the domestic Communist issue when the Un-American Activities Committee heard the charge by Whittaker Chambers against Alger Hiss. As a member, I felt Hiss' denials were suspicious and refused to drop the investigation, despite tremendous pressures, until we had tracked down the whole truth. The upshot was a perjury indictment and conviction and - in my view - a start toward a really effective internal security program against Communist penetration and subversion. I also served on the House Labor Committee which helped draft the Taft-Hartley Act. This act has been amended since then, but it is still basically a sound charter for labor-management relations. I went to Europe with the Herter committee in 1947, saw the vital role the United States could play to bulwark friendly nations against communism. Back home, we fought hard and successfully for the Marshall aid program, which helped build a free, sound Europe.


1950 - After two terms in the House - in 1948, I won both Democratic and Republican nominations - I ran for the Senate and defeated Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas, the Democratic nominee, after a hard-hitting campaign by both sides. Party registration in 1950 in California favored the Democrats by about 3 to 2, a margin requiring an intensive statewide campaign on my part. As I have said repeatedly over the years: In a political campaign, while a candidate's personal life is not the public's business, his record is. Only through a vigorous discussion of that record - every speech, every vote and action that might indicate a candidate's conduct in office - can the real issues be put squarely before the people. And that, in a nutshell, has always been my approach in political campaigns.


1952 - It was an unforgettable experience for me to be part of the "great crusade" launched in 1952 under Dwight D. Eisenhower's leadership. And I deeply believe that crusade - to restore honesty, dignity, and integrity to the American Government - has magnificently fulfilled its promises to the American people during the subsequent years of this administration. The American people in 1952, tired of the stalemate in Korea and the failures of the Truman administration, gave their overwhelming support to the Republican goals of peace with honor abroad and prosperity at home through the unleashing of our economy. Pat and I were deeply moved as we stood on the rostrum of the Republican National Convention in Chicago after my nomination. And it's interesting to note that when I went to his hotel after his approval of my nomination, General Eisenhower said that, in his administration, the Vice President's duties and responsibilities would be greatly enlarged.


1953 - During my first year in office, the President sent me to the Far East on a double-barreled mission, the first of many. It was a gesture of friendship on the part of the United States to the people of Asia, and it was a basic factfinding mission as well. In this tremendously important part of the world, which, along with the other newly emerging areas, holds the key to the future struggle of freedom against Communist imperialism, Pat and I took every possible opportunity to get out and mingle with the people themselves, as well as to confer with great leaders of many nations. Showing the ordinary people of Asia our interest in them was every bit as important as the white-tie dinners. So I believed then, and so I believe now.


1954 - In the fall of this year, I went on the stump to campaign for a Republican Congress. My schedule of speaking engagements took me to 31 States, on behalf of candidates for the Senate and House. Cramming something over 200 speeches into less than 2 months was grueling work, but I made it a policy to go into any district or State where my appearance was requested. Since 1952, my campaigning - either for myself or for other party candidate - has taken me roughly 135,000 miles into every part of the country. Still, grueling or not, it's the only way I know to get a real "feel" for the abiding interests and concerns of the people. In these campaigns, I came to know my country.


1955 - When I was notified on September 24 that President Eisenhower had suffered a heart attack, I shared with all Americans a deep sense of shock. And as Vice President, I had the special job of helping to keep the business of the Government going forward as smoothly as possible. All of us in the administration were able to work as a team, because that had been the President's operating principle throughout. I for one, was thankful for his insistence that the Vice President undertake assignments of responsibility and thus be ready for any eventuality. While the President was recuperating, I presided over meetings of the Cabinet and the National Security Council, as he had requested me to do on previous occasions when he was away from Washington. At no time did I assume the President's full role, of course - only the President can make the major decisions. But I could help to keep going the day-to-day business of Government.


1956 - Late in the year, thousands of Hungarian patriots fled into Austria following the brutal suppression by Soviet troops of their courageous revolt. The President - who had just been reelected over-whelmingly to a second term - asked me to fly to Vienna to observe and report the massive refugee-care program. It was an unforgettable experience to meet these people, who proved that freedom still lived despite many years of Communist oppression.


1958 - Since 1953, I've represented the President and the American people on virtually all continents and have had a matchless opportunity to study the world's critical problems at firsthand. The 1958 outbreak of violence in Caracas - Communist inspired and the direct opposite of the warm greetings we normally received - convinced me that we must reaffirm our working partnership with Latin America. We have made great strides recently.


1959 - My trip deep into the Soviet Union in the summer of 1959 brought me into intimate contact with the Soviet people and their tough-minded leader. As the American people saw during his later visit here, Premier Khrushchev is resourceful, quick, always on the offensive. But above all, he is a formidable adversary because of his blind confidence in the superiority of the Communist system. When we first met in Moscow, he said to me, "Mr. Vice President, you are ahead of us now economically, but we're moving faster than you are. Our system is better than yours, and we're going to pass you by pretty soon." Harping on this theme continually - whether in his Kremlin office, at his country home, or in the model kitchen at the American exhibition - he was the very embodiment of the challenge we face today to compete in every field. When I went on television for an unprecedented hour-long address to the Soviet people, I decided on a direct approach. I said we welcomed fair competition with a Communist society, but would never tolerate being pushed around or dictated to. I emphasized the basic principle that every nation must be free to choose its own system, free from any outside domination. This the Soviet Union often honors by word, but seldom by deed. We face a long struggle.


1960 - The greatest honor of my life, and the greatest challenge, came in July, when the Republican Party nominated me for President of the United States. In my acceptance speech, I tried to express my deep belief in that fundamental principle of freedom that is our heritage from the past and, at the same time, our strength for the future. I said it was "time to speak up" for America, to emphasize its great and abiding strengths - not the weaknesses, real or imagined, that seemed to set the dominant theme of the Democratic Convention 2 weeks earlier. No criticism of this Nation, as I told the delegates, can be permitted to obscure the fact that America is the strongest power in the world - militarily, economically, ideologically - and that we have the resources and the stamina and the will to maintain that strength in the years ahead. But even more important, the Republican platform - which is all the stronger in my view because it accommodates the competing views of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and Senator Barry Goldwater - offers the American people a realistic program for future progress. We conceive of the great record of the Eisenhower administration as a foundation only, from which we must now move ahead to meet the ever-changing needs of a free and growing Nation. And Vice Presidential nominee, Henry Cabot Lodge, a great and eloquent spokesman for America, shares with me the conviction that, in competing with the Communists for the minds and hearts of men, we must wage the battle for freedom with absolute dedication. We must now show the peoples of the world that freedom - not communism - is the real wave of the future.

Note: [From Look magazine, October 25, 1960, pp. 162-168]

Richard Nixon, Statement, Article by Vice President Nixon in Look Magazine Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project