Richard Nixon in Wheeling
Preceding the 1952 United States presidential election, Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower (September 24) and outgoing president Harry S. Truman (October 23 - raising votes for Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson) came through Wheeling within a month of each, both on campaigning on whistle-stop train tours. Following Nixon's infamous "Checkers" speech televised on September 23, Eisenhower would ask Richard M. Nixon, his vice-presidential running mate, to meet him "face-to-face" on his September 24 Wheeling stop. Eisenhower met Nixon late that night, in Nixon's airplane at shortly after landing at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport. There, Eisenhower confirmed that Nixon would remain the General's vice-presidential running mate. As the two men emerged from the big DC-6B plane called the "Dick Nixon Special," Eisenhower with his arm around Nixon's shoulders, a massive crowd on the tarmac chanted a mixture of "We Want Ike" and "We Want Nixon." As the two men embraced Nixon joked, "This is something new. We've never done this before." They then left for a rally at Wheeling Island Stadium.
During a campaign stop in Wheeling four years later, September 28, 1956, Nixon was asked about that meeting by a Wheeling Intelligencer reporter. Nixon replied that no one was more surprised than he was when he learned Eisenhower was sitting in a parked car on the airfield ramp waiting for the plane to land. "I was just pulling on my coat when someone said Mr. Eisenhower was boarding the plane."
Nixon again visited Wheeling in 1960 when he was running against John F. Kennedy for president and stop by again in 1964 stumping for West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Cecil H. Underwood, Congressmen Arch A. Moore, Senate candidate Cooper Benedict, and presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.
➤ Ike Declares Nixon Will Remain After Face-to-Face Meeting Here, Wheeling Intelligencer, Thursday, September 25th, 1952
➤ Nixon Tells Crowd at Wheeling Park's White Palace That Americans Should Not Settle for Less Than the Best, Wheeling Intelligencer, Saturday, April 9th, 1960
➤ Ike-Nixon Meet Shades Primary, Wheeling Intelligencer, Saturday, April 9th, 1960
➤ LBJ Administration is 'For Birds,' Says Nixon, The Intelligencer, Saturday, October 31st, 1964, pp. 1 & 3.
Nixon and Eisenhower meet at the Ohio County-Wheeling Airport, September 24, 1952.
(OCPL Archives, Donated by Erin Rothenbuehler.)
Richard Nixon on stage with West Virginia gubernatorial candidate Cecil H. Underwood (left), incumbent Congressmen Arch A. Moore (right), 12th Street (German Bank Building in background), October 30, 1964.
(OCPL Archives, Robert F. (Bob) Terry photographs, Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation Records, 1995-2018. Bob Terry worked as a reporter for the Intelligencer and News-Register during the 1960s and 70s.)