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A record crowd greeted Richard Nixon in Johnson City on Oct. 20, 1970

Bob Cox • May 24, 2020 at 4:13 PM

President Richard Nixon, hatless, but wearing a raincoat against an East Tennessee autumn misty chill, brought a thunderous roar from over 30,000 persons that day whom he addressed at East Tennessee State University.

The President arrived at the university at 1 pm, following a street-lined crowd that followed the presidential motorcade from Tri-City Airport, where he landed at 12:15 p.m. to Dossett Hall at the University.

The President stopped at one location along the route at Unaka Avenue and Roan Street to shake hands with Johnson Citians. The motorcade then proceeded swiftly to the University, where President Nixon was accompanied by Rep. Bill Brock, Sen. Howard Baker, Rep. Jimmy Quillen and Dr. Winfield Dunn.

Here a slight drizzle greeted the dignitaries as a patient crowd waited under the tree-spotted sector behind the university's building.

The Presidential motorcade traveled south on Roan Street, then proceeded along Watauga Avenue before reaching West Walnut Street and traveling on to the university.

There were no incidents to mar the President's visit here, although a few catcalls were heard from the fringes of the throng. Scattered here and there too were a few Gore and Hooker campaign posters, but all was orderly. The crowd was about evenly divided between youths and the “over-30” ones.

In his address, the President lost little time in endorsing the candidacy of Brock for Senate, Dunn for governor and Quillen's re-election to Congress.

“In Bill Brock for the Senate and Winfield Dunn for governor, Tennessee produced candidates in the finest tradition of the Volunteer State. I count it a high privilege to be able to give them my strong endorsement,” Nixon's statement read.

It was given to the approximately 500 wet spectators who welcome the Chief Executive at the Tri-City Airport at the Tri-City Airport shortly after noon.

“Bill Brock is a man of Tennessee and a man of the 1970s and what he stands for is as what Tennessee in the 1970s stands for,” the statement read. “He stands for law enforcement. He stands for fiscal responsibility; he stands for local control of the schools and better education in the schools; and he stands for progress with order and for peace with honor.”

Another large ovation came from the crowd upon the President's statement on the war. Referring to the large number of young people in the audience, he told of of peaceful means to end the war, telling them that what people want is a peace that will that will last not one for only a short duration.

Nixon said the nation must press ahead in solving pollution problems, citing Brock's willingness to work toward pollution control. The President departed the campus at 1:50 p.m.

Reach Bob Cox at [email protected] or www.bcyesteryear.com.