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Toasts of the President and Governor Love at a Dinner in Colorado Springs

September 01, 1969

Governor Love, Mrs. Love, and all of the distinguished Governors and their guests and our guests tonight:

I very much appreciated those very warm words and the welcome that I have received, along with my wife, on this occasion.

Naturally, after hearing such words, I tend to think of the last time I attended a Governors' Conference, and none of you were there. Because I understand that the senior Governor of all the Governors here is the Governor of the State of New York, Nelson Rockefeller, and I know where he was in 19541--he was in Washington with me.

At that time you will remember that we developed the Federal highway program and President Eisenhower had a death in his family,2 and I had the responsibility of going to the Governors' Conference, which was held in New York State that year, and presenting that program, the Federal highway program.

So it has been 15 years since the Governors have invited me back. I appreciate being invited back. We have a very high regard for Governors in this administration. We have a Governor as Vice President. We have three Governors in the Cabinet,3 and certainly if any Governors are interested in other positions, we have those, too.

So tonight I could talk about Governors, as I will a little later when we get into what I understand is the formal speech that you have to listen to.

I think that on this occasion that all of you would agree that perhaps a brief remark with regard to others who are so responsible for our success might be in order.

I have been sitting here at a table with the wife of the Governor of Colorado on one side and the wife of the Governor of Virginia [Mrs. Mills E. Godwin] on the other. And in a completely bipartisan way, I have learned, really again, how much the first ladies of the States and the first ladies in our families mean to any man in a political career.

I was talking to Mrs. Love. I tried to get in on some of her secrets. I said: "What do you do when somebody calls, and the man is sitting right there, and says, Is he in?'"

She is a very smart wife, I can assure you. Because she said: "I begin by saying, he is not in. Who is calling?" Now if it is a dumb wife, she says, "Who is calling?" and then says, "He is not in."

Virtually all of the wives here have to be of very great intelligence to know how to handle those calls. Of course that is only the smaller part of it; the correspondence, making the arrangements for such a beautiful party like this, and then having those two delightful children-I say children, teenagers--hand out the favors for the evening.

I know and you know, as Governors, how much time went into planning this party, and I think that all of the wives deserve our special appreciation. They deserve our appreciation for first being married to a man who is in politics. That is hard enough.

Then they deserve appreciation for the fact that they have campaigned with us through the years. I say this for our Republican and Democratic colleagues here tonight because, believe me, the lot of man is hard enough. He has to make all those speeches. The wife has to listen to them, and that is harder.

But in any event, above everything else, we all know, that apart from the listening to the speeches and the handling of the social engagements and the answering of the correspondence and picking up that telephone, that our wives in a very special way in America today have a life all their own. They are the ones who attend functions that we are unable to attend and functions on their own, who stimulate activities and interests in government, who really give heart to the First Family, give heart by their sympathy and interest in all the problems of state.

So you see what I am trying to get at. I could propose a toast tonight to the Governors, but I think that at this beautiful dinner and on an occasion when we all realize how much we owe to our wives who have served in so many ways in our campaigns, that we should think of them.

I recall the book that I wrote-incidentally, I will never write another one--but I recall the book 4 that I wrote and I dedicated it in the flyleaf, "To Pat, she also ran." That was after the election of 1960. If you think it is hard when you win, you should think how it is when you lose.

So what I am simply saying tonight, with a full heart, I know all of you will join me in raising our glasses to the first ladies of the 50 States.

GOVERNOR LOVE. And to the First Lady of the United States.

THE PRESIDENT. Just so we don't show any discrimination, because we must have equality of opportunity for all, I think we ought to drink to the outgoing chairman of the Governors' Conference, Governor [Buford] Ellington [of Tennessee].

I don't know how the vote is coming out. but I have a few proxies in my pocket. I think we will drink to the incoming chairman, Governor Love.

1 Governor Rockefeller was Special Assistant to President Eisenhower 1954-1955.

2 President Eisenhower's sister-in-law, Mrs. Milton S. Eisenhower, died July 10, 1954.

3 Secretary of the Interior Walter J. Hickel of Alaska, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development George W. Romney of Michigan, and Secretary of Transportation John A. Volle of Massachusetts.

4 "Six Crises" (Doubleday and Co., Inc., New York, 1962).

Note: The President spoke at 8:45 p.m. in the Penrose Room of the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs in response to a toast proposed by Governor John A. Love of Colorado, chairman of the National Governors' Conference.

Governor Love's toast follows:

Ladies and gentlemen:

It is my very great privilege to propose a toast to our guest of honor this evening.

Mr. President, we are delighted to have you back in the great, beautiful State of Colorado again, and it is a greater honor for Ann and me to be able to host and entertain you in our own hometown in Colorado Springs.

For the Governors, we are most grateful that for the first time in your administration and as President you are participating in a National Governors' Conference. We have been discussing, in all the conferences that I know about, the problems of strengthening the States and revitalizing our Federal system, and we are most heartened with the recent program pronouncements that you have made. I think I can speak for all of us in saying, we pledge to you our complete support in the goals that you have enunciated.

We wish for you and to you and your leadership for our beloved Nation, continued success and progress.

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.

Richard Nixon, Toasts of the President and Governor Love at a Dinner in Colorado Springs Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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