Eisenhower and Nixon Meet in Wheeling

Wheeling Intelligencer
September 24, 1952

Nixon Denies Guilt Of Wrong-Doing In Dramatic Radio Talk

GOP Vice Presidential Nominee Says He Doesn't Think He Should Quit; Senator Dares Adlai, Sparkman to Come Before People

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 23 (U.P.) - Richard M. Nixon left it squarely up to Republican party leaders and the American people tonight to decide if he should quit the GOP ticket as its vice-presidential nominee.

In a dramatic speech to the nation over a combined television-radio network, Nixon denied he was guilty of wrong-doing in using during his two years in the U. S. Senate an $18,000 fund contributed by his California constituents.

His aides said the speech, delivered without a prepared text, was an "emotional ordeal" for the 39-year-old Californian. Both Nixon and his comely blond wife, Pat, had tears in their eyes as they walked out of the TV studio.

"I don't believe I ought to quit because I am not a quitter," Nixon said, shaking his fist to emphasize the point.

"But the decision, my friends, is not mine.

"I would do nothing that would harm the possibilities of Dwight Eisenhower to become President of the United States and for that reason I am submitting to the Republican National committee tonight...the decision which it is theirs to make.

"Let them decide whether my position on the ticket will help or hurt; and I am going to ask you to help them decide. Wire and write the Republican National committee whether you think I should stay or whether I should get off, and whatever their decision is, I will abide by it."

Nixon defended his right to use the $18,000 fund for political expenses and hurled a challenge at Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson and his running mate, John Sparkman to "come before the people as I have" and make public their financial status.

"You have read in the papers about other funds," he said. "Mr. Stevenson apparently had a couple.

"And as far as Mr. Sparkman is concerned...he had his wife on the payroll. I don't condemn him for that, but I think he should come before the American people and indicate what outside sources of income he has had.

"I would suggest that...both Mr. Sparkman and Mr. Stevenson should come before the American people as I have, and make a complete financial statement as to their financial history."

Outside the television studio after the broadcast was over a crowd of about 200 pushed around the candidate and chanted "we want Dick."

"It means an awful lot to me to have you all here," he told the crowd.

TV and radio network officials estimated as many as 60,000,000 Americans watched and heard Nixon's emotion-packed speech. And he spoke directly to the people to express their views on his case.

Nixon was cut off the air before he had a chance to finish his speech.

His aides said he planned to say he intended to continue his campaign tour of the west and "fight for Ike and the principles the Republican party stands for."

Nixon broke off a barnstorming tour of the west at Portland, Ore., and flew back to Los Angeles to, as he put it, "bare his soul" to the people about his financial status.

The curly-haired, jut-jawed war veteran appeared bone tired as he went before the television cameras and microphones to explain his stand on the controversial fund which a group of his backers used during his year and a half tenure in the Senate to pay for such political expenses as speeches, postage and travel.

Nixon said his income included his Senate salary of $15,000, a total of $1,600 from estates which were in his law firm when he went into politics in 1946; about $1,500 a year from "non-political" speeches and lectures; and a small inheritance to this [sic] wife of $3,000 plus $1,500 from his grandfather.

"What do we have today to show for it? This will surprise you because it is so little," he said.

Nixon admitted he owned a $41,000 home in Washington, but said he still owes $20,000 on it. He said he had a house in Whittier, Calif., where his parents live, which is worth $13,000 although $3,000 still is owed.

Nixon said he had only $4,000 in life insurance on himself and no life insurance on his wife or two daughters.

The GOP vice-presidential candidate said his debts total more than $38,000.

Nixon left it plain that he intends to continue his campaign for a Republican victory in November. Shortly after he concluded his unprecedented appeal to the people, Nixon and his strategists and newsmen boarded a chartered DC6-B to fly to Missoula, Mont., and finish up his scheduled tour.

The senator said he had suggested to Gov. Sherman Adams, the chief of staff of the Eisenhower campaign, that "an independent audit and legal report of the fund be obtained." He showed a sheaf of white documents to the TV audience.

"It is an audit made by the Price-Waterhouse & Company firm, and the legal opinion is by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, lawyers in Los Angeles.

"I am proud to be able to report to you tonight that this audit and this legal opinion is being forwarded to General Eisenhower."

Nixon again denied he had used "one penny" of the fund for his own personal gain.

"Not one cent of that $18,000, or any other money of that type, ever went to me for my personal use. Every penny of it was used to pay for political expenses that I did not think should be charged to the taxpayers of the United States," he said.

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