On September 24, 1968, Republican Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) campaigns for the presidency in Seattle. The former vice president addresses between 5,000 and 10,000 people in University Plaza. The following day, the candidate will take a ride on a hydrofoil in Elliott Bay and tour the Lockheed Shipyard.
Nixon arrived at Boeing Field on September 24 at 5:33 p.m. Washington Governor Daniel Evans (b. 1925), whom Nixon had once considered for a running mate, met the candidate. Nixon was greeted downtown by an enthusiastic crowd that exceeded the expectations of organizers. High school girls danced and drill teams performed as part of the rally. Supporters jammed University Street between 4th and 5th avenues and crowded into open windows in surrounding buildings.
Also present in the crowd were protesters who opposed Nixon and supported other candidates. Some signs backed Democratic Candidate Hubert H. Humphrey (1911-1978), Black Panther Party Candidate Eldridge Cleaver (1935-1998), and independent candidate Harold Stassen (1907-2001). Seeing the opposition signs, Nixon quipped, "Please lower your signs so people can see. I mean just the pro-Nixon signs. The anti-Nixon signs can leave theirs up." He dismissed hecklers by saying, "This is politics and you're going to have hecklers." The candidate referred to University Plaza by its World War II name, Victory Square.
In his remarks to supporters, Nixon promised an end to the war in Vietnam, blamed a 10 percent cost of living increase and high crime on the Democrats, criticized the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and supported the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Nixon spent the night at the Olympic Hotel. The following day, he took a 40-minute ride on a hydrofoil and visited the Lockheed Shipyard on Harbor Island. To reporters and a few supporters there, he warned that the United States was slipping as a sea power and that the Soviet Union would surpass the U.S. in ships during the 1970s. He promised that there would be no reduction in troop levels in Vietnam as long as peace talks were underway. Nixon then left Seattle for Denver.
Nixon was elected president on November 5, 1968, but failed to carry the state of Washington or King County.