Jan. 29, 1964 - General Dwight D. Eisenhower differed today on two counts with Republican criticism of the Democrats. The former President, at a news conference in Detroit, said he did not “think we should be too ready to throw stones” at high Government officials who accept gifts while in office. And he disagreed with the contention of Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.), candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination, that the U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles were unreliable. He said this country’s missiles were as good as any in the world.
General Eisenhower’s reference to gifts was in response to a question on his views about the Robert G. Baker case. Mr. Baker, former secretary to the Senate Democratic majority, who business affairs are under Senate investigation, gave President Johnson a $542 stereophonic phonograph in 1959, when Mr. Johnson was Senate majority leader. The question of accepting gifts in high office is “a matter of judgment, of self-restraint, and the confidence you have in someone’s integrity,” General Eisenhower emphasized. He said the “rule of reason” should prevent an official from taking money from someone, or becoming a “kept man.” But he said officials could not adopt a “holier than thou” attitude or draw an arbitrary line on what gifts to accept. He indicated he would see nothing wrong, for instance, in accepting a set of golf clubs.
General Eisenhower came to Detroit today for a speech tonight in Cobo Hall, the Republicans’ “Dinner With Ike” fundraising event. He and seven other party leaders elsewhere will speak on closed-circuit television before 25,000 dinner guests in 21 cities in the party’s “Go-Day” campaign.
On politics, General Eisenhower said that while there were “shades of difference” between his views and those of several candidates for the Republican nomination, he saw “none in such complete opposition to what I believe that I’d have to oppose them.”