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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

September 12, 1960: 'New Nixon' Pledges to 'Extend Freedom,' Calls on JFK to End Talk of Religion; Reds Threaten in Laos

Vice President Richard Nixon said "the great issue" of the 1960 presidential campaign was foreign policy as he started campaigning in earnest on this day. The campaign, he said, would show which candidate could "keep the peace for America and extend freedom throughout the world." In his campaign stops he pledged "peace without surrender."

The candidate also appeared on the Columbia Broadcasting System's nation-wide television show, Presidential Countdown, with Walter Cronkite, on which he accepted the label of "the new Nixon," saying he had learned much from President Eisenhower "and it is very possible that I certainly do convey a different impression today than I did previously...."

In a news analysis article that would be published the next day, James Reston would write that Nixon's foreign policy theme is "appealing" but presents "a picture of the world that no well-informed man would consider seriously for a moment. It is good politics but it is bad history, all delivered with the skill of an accomplished actor."

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Chairman, Henry M. Jackson, urged Nixon to denounce Norman Vincent Peale's statement last week that Senator John F. Kennedy's Catholic faith would put him under pressure to make national policy in accord with the Vatican. Peale, long a Nixon-supporter, was speaking for a group that included many Protestant clergy. Newspapers on this day in 1960 reported that Nixon had called on Kennedy to set a date after which there would be no talk of religion in the campaign. Kennedy said the ban should begin immediately.

In Laos on this day in 1960 two northern provinces were in danger of falling to Communist rebels of the Pathet Lao movement, Premier Souvanna Phouma said. This comes one day after the government declared emergency rule and ordered the army to quell a rebellion in the south.

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