Khrushchev was a proud, insecure, and emotional man, and his unpredictability was designed to keep the US simultaneously on edge in many spots around the globe, which included the US exhibition in Moscow. Eventually Nixon and Khrushchev were taken to the color television exhibit by a young TV executive, and quite by accident, Nixon had a great opportunity while Khrushchev hammed it up for the Russians in attendance; Nixon’s focus was on the global audience. Khrushchev mockingly waved bye-bye to Capitalism, and Nixon didn’t have any direction from Ike to fall back on in that instance, other than he was there to cut ribbons, not to get into a political brawl.
The next day, Khrushchev took Nixon boating on the Moscow River, and they stopped every now-and-then to mingle with the crowds. During his time with Khrushchev, he concluded that the Soviet Premier’s temper was his servant, not his master. Khrushchev, meanwhile, concluded that Nixon’s political skills were such that he made it his goal (and it became the USSR’s goal when he was no longer the Soviet Premier), to do what he could to keep Nixon from being elected President. Nixon was taken for a grand tour of the USSR, which included Leningrad and the Urals. Nixon was also given 30 minutes on Soviet television to address the Russian people. Nixon resisted the urge to be combative/vindictive during his televised address, knowing that hecklers had been placed in the crowd by Khrushchev to try and get him worked up.
Rockefeller “tested the waters”, and during Christmas Break in 1959, he announced his withdrawal as a candidate for the Republican nomination (he would do the exact same thing in 1968). It had finally dawned on Rockefeller that Nixon had a monstrous six year head start as Vice-President in terms of building political capital within the Republican Party as well as with voters. Rockefeller needed to soundly defeat Nixon in the Republican primaries to gather momentum for the convention, and when Rockefeller decided that wasn’t in the cards, he quit. The result of Rockefeller’s decision was that Nixon didn’t have any serious rivals for the GOP nomination. The growing conservative wing of the Republican Party had their man ready to go, Senator Barry Goldwater (AZ), but the conservatives weren’t organized or numerous enough to make an impact in 1960 (but they certainly would in 1964).
LBJ surprised most everyone when he accepted the VP slot; Nixon knew that was bad news for him, since he had planned on “stealing” Texas and other Southern states as had Ike. LBJ’s main patron within the Democrats was Speaker Sam Rayburn, who still loathed Nixon for his “traitor” comments years ago that were directed at him and President Truman. What Nixon needed was for Rockefeller to do for the Republicans what LBJ did for the Democrats, but Rockefeller, unlike LBJ, could not act for the good of the party, but only for himself.
The U-2 Incident on 1 May 1960 was a setback for Nixon, in that it gave JFK’s clamor for “change” additional momentum and credence. And (the diva) Rockefeller had a change of heart, announcing that he was back in the race for the Republican nomination. Rockefeller’s strategy (hope) was to stampede delegates into his corral using the Inside Game (which had been LBJ’s strategy), but his plan went nowhere fast. All Rockefeller succeeded in accomplishing was that he spent all his political capital which he needed to maintain and build upon for 1964 (the result was predictable/logical, since Rockefeller was only concerned about himself, not his party).
Just before Labor Day as the General Campaign started, Nixon was again a victim of Ike’s thoughtlessness. When asked by a reporter if Vice-President Nixon had made an important contribution to the Eisenhower Presidency (Nixon’s list of accomplishments as VP was very long indeed), Ike stated that if he had a week, he could probably come up with one. It was a painful rejection by a still-popular President, and a fresh round of discord started between Ike and his insecure Vice-President. Ike never deliberately snubbed Nixon, but Nixon could never be convinced of that fact.