1970 Election, Nixon's Nominations

Published: 1970
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI
Vice president Spiro Agnew and Sen. Mark Hatfield (L), leave Hatfield's office on September 26, 1973, following a weekly meeting Agnew had with GOP senators. Agnew as denied reports that he was resigning. He also declined to comment on a rebuff by House Speaker Carl Albert to present to the House a request by Agnew to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by Agnew. (UPI Photo/Darryl Heikes/Files)

Announcer: No one knows what to do about the drug problem in Vietnam, and until they find a way to stop it, it probably will continue. No doubt the Vietnamization program, the continued troop withdrawals, and the consequent lower casualty rates of American soldiers made Vietnam a non-issue in the U.S. elections in the fall.

So without Vietnam as an issue, the campaign centered mostly on national affairs, such as the economy, violence and crime in our cities, and drugs. Both Vice President Agnew and the President campaigned vigorously for Republican candidates. Nixon spoke to the silent majority and asked them to show their displeasure with violent dissenters by voting the Republican ticket on election day.

President Richard M. Nixon: “The most powerful four letter word is a clean word, it’s the most powerful four letter word in the history of men, its called vote. V-O-T-E. My friends, I say that the answer to those that engage in disruption, to those that shout their filthy slogans, to those that try to shot down speakers, it's not to answer in kind, but go to the polls in election day, and in the quiet of that ballot box, stand up and be counted, the great silent majority of America.”

Announcer: When the campaign smoke had finally cleared and the votes were counted, both sides claimed victory. Just as the interpretation of the election results depended on which party you listen to, so it was with the topic of economy in the United States.

President Richard M. Nixon: "The American economy is strongest in the world. This year the number of Americans who have jobs is the highest in our history. Even allowing for taxes and inflation, the average real income of Americans is higher this year than ever before. In part because of the increase in social security benefits, and the reduction of the tax surcharge which will end entirely this month."

Announcer: The President's picture of the state of the economy and what he was doing about it were questioned by Senator Wright Patman, Chairman of the Senate Bank and Finance Committee.

Senator Wright Patman: "The President's message is totally inadequate for the economic crisis facing the nation. It offers too little, too late. Probably the speech should have been made much over a year ago. It is a weak statement which sounds so much like an echo of the remarks we used to hear from President Hoover in the late 1920s and early 1930s."

Announcer: In 1969, Nixon's nominee for a vacant seat on the Supreme Court, Clement Haynsworth, was rejected by the Senate. So early in 1970, he made another nomination, this time another Southern judge, Harrold Carswell who like Haynsworth drew immediate criticism from civil rights advocates, who condemned his record as a Federal District judge in Florida. Support for Carswell came mainly from the South, but here is Senator Roman Hruska from Nebraska.

Senator Roman Hruska: "Who is to judge whether he is a nominal man or a good man or mediocre; even if he were mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers, aren't they entitled to a representation in little chunks."

Announcer: But Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana doesn’t agree.

Senator Birch Bayh: “That’s a departure from what I think most of so-called Middle America want; I think they want for themselves and for their children the very best we can get in government.”

Announcer: When Carswell was finally rejected by the Senate, President Nixon obviously upset, made this announcement.

President Richard M. Nixon: “After the Senate’s action yesterday in rejecting Judge Carswell, I have reluctantly concluded that it is not possible to get confirmation for the judge on the Supreme Court of any man who believes in the strict construction of the constitution as I do, if he happens to come from the South.”

Announcer: The seat was finally filled by a Minnesota Judge, Harry Blackmun.

Harry Blackmun: “I'm here for the purpose of victory in Vietnam, also I am here for the victory of getting the Bible reading back in the schools and prayer in the schools.”

Unknown Speaker: “One of the other marchers here told me that Mr. Nixon is disappointing the conservatives who voted for him, how do you feel about this?”

Harry Blackmun: “That’s right, I think America should get back to God and get back to reality of living once again under the divine leadership of Almighty God.”