Eisenhower and Nixon Meet in Wheeling

Wheeling Intelligencer
September 24, 1952

Ike Asks Nixon To Meet Him In Wheeling Today

Ike Delays Verdict Until Face-to-Face Meeting With Nixon

Dwight D. Eisenhower last night asked Richard M. Nixon to meet with him "face-to-face" in Wheeling tonight before making any decision on keeping the Californian as his vice presidential running mate.

The general wired Nixon that he would be in Wheeling tonight and "would be most appreciative if you could fly to see me at once." Eisenhower is due here at 7:10 (DST) from Parkersburg and will address a huge gathering at the Island stadium.

Eisenhower told a wildly cheering crowd of 15,000 in Cleveland's vast Public Hall last night that "I have seen many brave men in tough situations, but I have never seen any come through in bigger fashion than Senator Nixon did tonight."

Eisenhower, who had just seen and heard Nixon on television, said that he had yet to make up his mind on his running mate.

"Your presentation was magnificent. While technically no decision rests with me, yet you and I know that the realities of the situation will require a personal pronouncement which so far as the public is concerned will be considered decisive.

"In view of your comprehensive presentation, my personal decision is going to be based on a personal conclusion. To complete the formulation of that personal decision, I feel the need of talking to you and would be most appreciative if you could fly to see me at once. Tomorrow (Wednesday) night I shall be at Wheeling, W. Va.

"I cannot close this telegram without saying that whatever personal admiration and affection I have for you - and they are very great - are undiminished."

"I have been a warrior," Eisenhower said, "and I like courage. And tonight I saw an example of courage."

"I do not mean to say that there will not be some who will find new items, so new that they will make further explanation possible. But I saw a man in furtherance of what he believed is right stand up and bare his soul."

Eisenhower told the wildly cheering crowd in Cleveland which chanted, "we want Nixon, we want Nixon" for several minutes before he spoke that "for this evening's appearance I had worked hard and prepared a talk - on the subject of inflation - one of the things I hold to be a result of the mess in Washington.

"I have thrown that speech away."

"I wonderer [sic] if you would forgive me if I would reminisce a little bit about the war. I had the great honor of commanding the greatest army that has yet been on this earth.

"And in that command I had a singularly brave and skillful leader. He was my lifelong friend. We were very intimate. He committed an error. It was a definite error - no question about it.

"I believe the work that man did was too great to be sacrificed. He made amends for that error. He is gone, but certainly George Patton justified my faith in him.

"When I get in a fight, I would rather have courageous and honest men by my side than a whole boxcarload of pussyfooters.

"I have been talking about corruption. I have cited the cases to which I referred.

"People who have lined their pockets with your taxes.

(Eisenhower recalled the comment of a St. Louis federal judge who referred to an internal revenue collector who sold his birthright for a mess of dirty dollars).

"Between that man and Senator Nixon there is a gulf as wide as the Pacific," Ike said.

"The realities are such that I must make a conclusion and that conclusion probably will be decisive.

"I am not one to duck.

"So, when the chairman of the committee calls upon me and as he is certain to do, I want to make certain the decision is on as broad a basis as I can establish.

"So I am going to tell the chairman that my opinion, my judgment, my decision is based on this criteria - first, I'm not going to be swayed by my idea of what will get the most votes.

"I am not going to be swayed by what appears to be administrative convenience.

"There has been a great deal of money spent already in this campaign. So far as I am concerned, that will not have one iota of weight in the judgment I am going to make.

"My decision, my conclusion based on this - is this the kind of man America wants for its vice president?

"It is obvious that I have to have something more than one single presentation, necessarily limited to 30 minutes allowed to Senator Nixon.

"Certainly he made that presentation as full and as frank as he could under the time allotted to him.

"What I'm going to do is ask Senator Nixon to come to see me."

"I possibly am guilty of being a bit egotistical.

"But in certain cases I've had to rely on my judgment as commander. I have had to make up my mind whether a man was fit to command an army, a division, a squad, or indeed, possibly most trying of all, whether this man should be saved from the execution squad.

"In this case, therefore, except for asking for such divine guidance, I shall make up my mind. That shall be done as soon as I have a chance to meet Senator Nixon face-to-face and talk to him.

"I must say I have been deeply impressed by his courage.

"I realize this isn't the talk you expected this evening."

Eisenhower said there would be no dimunition in the type of campaign he has been trying to wage - "that the administration has been too long in power and grown arrogant."

"The people's taxes are dismissed with a light jest. Our anxiety to get out of Korea is treated lightly.

"I am going to wage that campaign with every ounce of strength that is in me to Nov. 4 and thereafter," he said.

Eisenhower told the packed hall that if elected, he would "also have a Republican House and Senate."

He pledged that every man and woman brought to Washington to serve in the executive department will be one "who can challenge your pride."

Eisenhower said the sole qualifications would be "merit, dedication and loyalty."

The single criteria by which each proposal, contemplated policy or action will be measured, Eisenhower said, will be "is this good for the United States of America?"

If it is good for the U. S., he said, "it will be clean, it will be honest.

"More than that I cannot pledge. No American wants something at the expense of his fellows.

"America believes in fair play. But that you will get under a Republican administration. America believes in justice, and that you will get under a Republican administration."

The speech Eisenhower had "thrown away," but had prepared for delivery was a blast at the Truman administration. In the text, the General accused it of deliberately fostering inflation to create an "illusion" of prosperity for political gain.

While waiting for Eisenhower's appearance on state Rep. George Bender of Ohio reminded the audience that they should write to the GOP National Committee how they felt.

A chant of "we want Nixon" came up from the crowd.

Sen. William F. Knowland of California, on platform, said "I have full confidence in the integrity of my colleague."

Sen. Robert A. Taft of Ohio, "I didn't need to be convinced. It was a very effective speech."

Nixon Accepts Invitation

Early this morning Nixon announced through his press secretary, James Bassett, that he will break off his scheduled western tour to meet with the General. "As soon as it can be arranged we will break off our schedule and fulfill that meeting," Bassett said.

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