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Nixon: If Deadlock, I Will Accept Draft at GOP Convention

Jan. 23, 1964 - Richard M. Nixon said today that if a deadlock developed at the Republican national convention this summer, he would accept a draft as the Presidential candidate. The former Vice President, currently the leading contender for the nomination in many public opinion polls, said he did not expect a deadlock to occur. But if the party offered him the opportunity to run again, he said, “I would accept it.” During a televised interview with Walter Cronkite on CBS, Mr. Nixon also left himself open for a draft as the Vice-Presidential nominee. He classified the position as the “second office in this land” and added that no responsible public official, including himself, could turn it down.

Mr. Nixon, now a partner in a New York law firm, said he believed he would be the strongest potential compromise candidate if the primary elections failed to produce a clear-cut favorite for the nomination. “I don’t think that’s surprising,” he said. “After all, I received 34 million votes in 1960.” The current favorite to win the nomination, he said, is Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona. In second place, he said, is Governor William Scranton of Pennsylvania. Mr. Nixon attributed Mr. Scranton’s position to the support of “the pros in the East.” Mr. Nixon continued: “But professional politicians are sometimes susceptible to what people think. And that’s where the primaries come in. That’s why you can’t really write off Governor Rockefeller or Goldwater or Lodge — anybody at this point.” Mr. Nixon indicated that he thought any of the announced candidates could win the nomination if he could win a string of primary victories.

Disclaiming any attempt to become a “boss” of the Republican party, Mr. Nixon said: “I do not mean that I reject public service. If the opportunity should come again, I would accept it. And I think I will know, in the event that I feel the people of this country — particularly in my own party — need me at that particular time. I don’t anticipate that will happen now.”


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