Young Student Quotes in Nixon (1995)


Young Student Quotes:

  • [Nixon is making an impromptu nighttime visit to the Lincoln Memorial, where a group of young protestors have camped out]

    Richard M. Nixon: Hi! I'm Dick Nixon.

    [He starts shaking hands with the incredulous protesters]

    Richard M. Nixon: [to one young protester] Hi. Where you from?

    Student #1: Syracuse.

    Richard M. Nixon: Oh yeah, the Orangemen. Now there's a football program. Jim Brown. And that other tailback... the one with the blood disease.

    Student #1: Ernie Davis.

    Richard M. Nixon: Yeah, right, right. I used to play a little ball myself at Whittier. 'Course, they used to use me as a tackling dummy.

    Young Student: [Stepping forward] We didn't come here to talk about football.

    Richard M. Nixon: Yeah, I understand that. How old are you, young lady?

    Young Student: 19.

    Richard M. Nixon: Yeah. Well, probably most of you think I'm a real SOB. I know that. I understand how you feel, but you know, I want peace too. But peace with honor.

    Student #2: What does that mean?

    Richard M. Nixon: Well, you can't have peace without a price. Sometimes you have to be willing to fight for peace, and sometimes to die.

    Student #2: Yeah? Tell that to the GI's who are gonna die tomorrow in Vietnam.

    Student #1: What you have to understand, Mr. Nixon, is we're willing to die for what we believe in.

    [the other protesters say "Yeah!"]

    Richard M. Nixon: [Turns and points to the statue of Lincoln] Look, that man up there, he lived in similar times. He had chaos and civil war and hatred between the races. Sometimes I go to the Lincoln room at the White House and just pray. But you know, liberals act like idealism belongs to them. That's not true. My family went Republican because Lincoln freed the slaves. My grandmother was an abolitionist, those Quakers who founded Whittier, my hometown... to abolish slavery. They were, y'know, conservative Bible folk, but they had a powerful sense of right and wrong. And 40 years ago, I was like you, looking for answers.

    [the protesters scoff, unconvinced. Just then a gang of Nixon's aides, led by Haldeman, arrive and push through the crowd to come to his side]

    Richard M. Nixon: It's OK, Bob, we're just rapping, my friends and I. In fact we agree on a lot of things, don't we?

    Young Student: No, we don't! You say you want to end the war, so why don't you?

    Richard M. Nixon: Change always comes slowly. I pulled out more than half the troops. I'm trying to cut the military budget for the first time in 30 years. I want a volunteer army. But it's also a question of American credibility, our position in the world.

    Student #1: Come on, Mr. Nixon. It's a civil war between Vietnamese.

    Young Student: You don't want the war, we don't want the war, the Vietnamese don't want the war, so why does it go on?

    [Nixon hesitates. Haldeman whispers "We should be going" to him]

    Young Student: You can't stop it, can you? Even if you wanted to. Because it's not you, it's the system. The system won't let you stop it.

    Richard M. Nixon: There's... there's more at stake here than what you want, or what I want.

    Young Student: Then what's the point? What's the point of being President? You're powerless!

    Richard M. Nixon: [Firmly] No. No, I'm not powerless. Because, because I understand the system, I believe I can, uh, I can control it. Maybe not control it totally, but tame it enough to make it do some good.

    Young Student: Sounds like you're talking about a wild animal.

    Richard M. Nixon: Yeah, maybe I am.

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