“I come out of the Democratic Party, which in this century has produced Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. And which supported and sustained these programs which I’ve described tonight. Mr. Nixon comes out of the Republican Party. He was nominated by it. And it is a fact that through most of these last twenty-five years, the Republican leadership has opposed federal aid for education, medical care for the aged, development of the Tennessee Valley, development of our natural resources.”
The camera now presented a Richard Nixon whose chin framed a single bead of sweat, like a big white pearl. Whose eyes shifted nervously before fixing into an expression that could only be described as a glower, and whose microphone, for some reason, squeaked like chalkboard as he mustered his smug reply: “I have no comment.” Then he swallowed, and the microphone picked that up – a gulp heard round the world. “I felt so sorry for Nixon’s mother tonight,” Mrs. Rose Kennedy later remarked.
“I think Mr. Nixon is an effective leader of his party” – (let’s see Dick try to back out of that one) – “I hope he would grant me the same. The question before us is which point of view, and which party, do we want to lead the United States.”