“Today, you are the waves of the Pacific, pushing ever eastward. You are the sequoias rising from the Sierra Nevadas, defiant and enduring.”
President Aaron Kimball is the current head-of-state of the New California Republic in 2281. A devoted citizen and retired decorated NCR Army general, Kimball rose atop the political ladder in the NCR using his military service and war hero status. In 2273, he became a representative of the Hub. Later on, in the same year, Kimball ousted incumbent Wendell Peterson as president of the New California Republic and won reelection in 2278. Kimball secured his position with his hardline stances on political issues, despite his failures, such as the Mojave Campaign, an elongated, seven-year annexation of the Mojave Wasteland.
“Aaron Kimball is a former war hero and the current president of the New California Republic. His insistence on defending Hoover Dam has kept NCR troops in Nevada for years.”— Fallout: New Vegas loading screens
In 2273, Kimball retired from the military service in favor of a political career. He enjoys widespread popular support for his status as a hero and a hardline approach to tribes. His campaign for the seat of Hub congressman was successful. Less than two months into his term, Wendell Peterson was voted out of the office and Kimball was voted in, becoming the fifth president of the New California Republic. His first act of office was to order the occupation of the Hoover Dam in 2274, an act which led to the establishment of the New Vegas Treaty, sending clean water and 95% of the dam's power to New California and NCR cities, caused his popularity to soar among the citizenry.
Kimball's popularity, amplified by the reactionary undercurrent, proved enduring. Even overturning laws designed to limit the number of cattle head and the acreage of fields that could be owned by a single person, allowing the Stockmen's Association and Republican Farmer's Committee to grow even more powerful, essentially creating the so-called brahmin barons and agricultural barons, did not tarnish his reputation. What did, however, was the failure to annex the Mojave for seven years, draining resources, caps, and human lives led to it becoming an enduring political embarrassment for President Kimball. By 2281, Kimball's political career hinges on the speedy annexation of the Mojave and New Vegas. As the symbol of NCR's involvement in Nevada, Kimball is crucial to further expansion of the republic eastward. His death would likely infuriate the republic and cement both the NCR's occupation of the Mojave and Kimball's legacy as a martyr.
Kimball's presidency would be further challenged by the NCR-Raiders War and the continuing NCR-Brotherhood War, which took a toll on troops stationed in the Mojave and elsewhere. Kimball's decision to send the most experienced Rangers to "chase ghosts" in Baja while sending conscripts to fight in the harsh deserts of the Mojave soon began to shape his image, tying him personally with the Mojave Campaign. Increasing difficulty for troop and supply navigation through the Long 15 as well as the NCR council's insistence on diverting funds to the Boneyard has led to a precarious position for the NCR's hold on the Mojave. Additionally, his single-minded focus on the Mojave campaign has drained away public support for his administration. The people of the NCR, told going in that victory in the Mojave would be easy, have become war-weary of the campaign's long length and its high cost in human life and materiel.
Although the NCR's dominance in the Mojave led to early popular support for Kimball's goal of a new manifest destiny and return to old world American values, this would be challenged by a new arrival: Caesar's Legion. The often brutal tactics of the Legion and the heavy losses incurred with no apparent gain has caused the populace in Nevada and back in New California to question the point of the war. Kimball, however, insists on continuing the campaign and has invested much of his administration into fighting the Legion, resulting in the Campaign being nicknamed "Kimball's War," with the ramifications of victory or defeat tremendously affecting Kimball's entire career and the NCR as a whole.
Kimball's personality is accurately summarized by the term "war hawk." Supported by Colonel Cassandra Moore and General Lee Oliver, President Kimball firmly believes in expanding the NCR and bringing new territories into the fold by any means necessary, be it Hoover Dam or Baja. This stance, as well as disregard for losses, is one of the greatest issues Chief Hanlon, the architect of the first victory at the dam, has with the president. Kimball was better liked as a general than as a politician, where his stiff, autocratic style of leadership was much more fitting.
Caesar admires the president's aggressive personality and policy towards tribes, but disapproves of him having to deal with obstacles the republic's democratic system throws up against him. In addition, the fact that Caesar specifically wants Kimball assassinated speaks volumes of his estimation of Kimball's importance within the NCR's leadership structure and his importance to NCR morale.
Ulysses respects Chief Hanlon a great deal more than he does Kimball, considering him weak in comparison, possessing only "half the life Hanlon had," and even then only because of the Courier aiding him.
If the Courier sides with the Legion, Caesar himself orders them to assassinate President Kimball when he comes to Hoover Dam to make his speech. Depending on the success of the Courier's efforts, Kimball either dies as Caesar intended or escapes, infuriating the tyrant.
If the Courier sides with the NCR, they work alongside Ranger Grant to provide security for President Kimball during his speech. Depending on how well this is done, Kimball either completes his speech and departs as planned or is hustled to his personal Vertibird as one of the possible assassination attempts occurs, cutting his speech short.
If the Courier sides with Mr. House, House sends them to Hoover Dam to protect President Kimball during his visit. If he dies, House reasons, Kimball will become a martyr for hawkish elements of the NCR Senate. If he lives and the NCR loses the campaign, however, he will be blamed for a costly and humiliating defeat. After securing his victory at Hoover Dam, House smugly notes that he and the Courier have nothing to fear from Kimball now- "He'll be too busy getting thrown out of office."
If the Courier fails to protect President Kimball during his visit under any affiliation save the Legion, Kimball will be assassinated by agents of Caesar.
“Thank you, Colonel Moore. And thank you, my fellow Californians, who have come so far to answer the call to service put forth by the republic. It is for you that I have come here, and it is because of you that I am able to do so. We enjoy our privileges because you take the greatest of risks and are prepared to make the most noble of sacrifices. It is because of men and women like Private First Class Jeremy Watson that Nevada and the New California Republic remain free and secure.
Born in a tin shack on the outskirts of One Pine, Jeremy Watson never had it easy. His father worked as a caravan guard on the Short Loop, and his mother, like many Californians, braved the ruins of the Old World as a prospector. They suffered through water shortages, raider attacks, and the Brotherhood War. Like our mighty Sierra Nevadas, they endured. But the time came when they could no longer shoulder the burden alone. Twelve years ago, they called out for help, and the republic heard them.
Troopers and rangers, just like you, answered the clarion call. Men and women stepped forward to say, "I will carry the weight." And at Owen's Lake, we made true on our promise, driving out the raider tribes to establish a lasting peace in the eastern Sierra Nevadas. We carried the weight, and though we left behind many of our brothers and sisters on that battlefield, it did not break us.”
“Ten years ago, Chief Elise met with representatives of the Desert Rangers to discuss terms of what would become the Ranger Unification Treaty. The treaty was more than a resolution to welcome the Desert Rangers into the republic. It was a covenant to protect southern Nevada against Caesar's Legion and the tyranny of his regime.
There are some back home who ask me, "But who are we protecting? What is Nevada to us?" Sometimes we forget that the light of our society shines beyond our borders. Sometimes we take those privileges for granted that our forebears fought so hard to achieve. We must always remember that wherever Californians stand, we carry our principles with us: equal respect, representation, and protection under the laws of a just republic. This was the same fire that burned in the heart of the Old World that preceded us. We are the heirs of that civilization, torchbearers eastward of the Pacific, into the darkness of this wasted land.
When the republic called on the men and women of California to carry that fire across the Mojave, Jeremy Watson answered. You answered. Together, you carried the weight. And when PFC Watson's platoon came under attack at Forlorn Hope, he took the greatest risk, not only for his fellow Californians, but for California itself. He was prepared to make the most noble of sacrifices, to defend the principles of our republic, even here, on Nevada soil.”
“His actions are a beacon to all of us who stand here today in tribute to his valor. Private First Class Jeremy Watson, on behalf of the senate and people of the New California Republic, it is my honor to present you with the Star of Sierra Madre.
Not far from this spot, a monument stands as a tribute to the sacrifice made by those who came before us, the men and women who fulfilled the promise we made to the Desert Rangers. Its back is inscribed with the names of the troopers and rangers who carried the weight. And because they made the most noble of sacrifices, it did not break us.
Four years ago, we held this dam. Four years ago, we carried the weight. Four years ago, we drew a line through the Mojave as clear as the Colorado River, a line that Caesar cannot cross. Today, you stand here with our brothers and sisters to hold that line. Today, you honor all Californians by carrying that weight. Today, you are the waves of the Pacific, pushing ever eastward. You are the sequoias rising from the Sierra Nevadas, defiant and enduring. You are the great western light of California, torchbearers in the darkness, living reminders of all that is best in our republic.
Thank you. Thank you.
(Okay, let's get the fuck out of here. What the hell are you waiting for – do you think I want to get shot? Let's go.)”
Looking closely at Kimball during his speech at Hoover Dam will show that his lips don't move.
Asking Mr. House why he's interested in preserving Aaron Kimball's life during his visit will lead House to explain that he simply wants Kimball to remain alive so he can become the scapegoat for his nation to place the blame upon after Mr. House pushes the NCR out of New Vegas, rather than becoming a martyr for his apparently unpopular cause of annexing the region. This will prevent New Vegas from being placed under an NCR trade embargo, or worse, having war declared upon it.
↑Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p. 458: "Important Dates: 2253: "President Tibbett is removed from office by a vote of no confidence following her "timid" response to the massacre of 38 NCR citizens at the hands of Mojave raiders. Her replacement, President Wendell Peterson, orders three battalions of NCR infantry into the Mojave." 2273 "Aaron Kimball retires from the NCR military and runs for office as one of Hub's political representatives (or "governors," as Hub idiosyncratically calls them). Less than two months into his term, Wendell Peterson is voted out of office and Aaron Kimball becomes the NCR's next President." (Behind the Bright Lights & Big City)
↑ 3.03.13.2Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.458: Important Dates: "2270: The extirpation of tribals in the area of present-day Bullhead City is complete. "The Pacification of the Mojave," as it comes to be known, makes General Aaron Kimball a national hero." "2273 Aaron Kimball retires from the NCR military and runs for office as one of Hub's political representatives (or "governors," as Hub idiosyncratically calls them). Less than two months into his term, Wendell Peterson is voted out of office and Aaron Kimball becomes the NCR's next President." "2274 NCR forces move east and occupy Hoover Dam. The NCR reluctantly signs the Treaty of New Vegas recognizing Mr. House and his stewards, the Three Families, as the rightful owners of the Strip. The Strip opens for business."
↑The Courier: "What's your opinion of President Kimball?" Caesar: "A man of potential, held back by the craven political context he inhabits. You realize he was a general? "The Hero of the Mojave," they called him. A title he earned by extirpating lesser tribes that dared attack NCR citizens. His responses were swift and draconian. President Tandi, the "founding mother," coddled hostile tribes... but her successors were less naive, so they gave Kimball free rein. And after a respectable military career, what does he do? Become a politician." Caesar's dialogue
↑Robert House: "Kimball rose to prominence as the "Hero of the Mojave" when he led a campaign of reprisals against tribals who dared to attack NCR citizens." (Mr. House's dialogue)
↑The Courier: "Tell me about yourself, Ambassador." Dennis Crocker: "I managed President Kimball's first run for a seat on the Council. I suppose that's why I have this ambassadorship." (Dennis Crocker's dialogue)
↑The Courier: "Why do you care whether Kimball lives or dies?" Robert House: "I care because he is a known quantity - not the man so much as the political context he inhabits. Kimball rose to prominence as the "Hero of the Mojave" when he led a campaign of reprisals against tribals who dared to attack NCR citizens. Ordering the occupation of Hoover Dam was his first act of office. As water and electricity flowed to NCR cities, his popularity soared. Conversely, his failure to annex the Mojave these seven years, and the immense costs of occupying a foreign land, have eroded his popular support."
↑Courier: "So why don't you want the NCR President to die?" Robert House: "Kimball's entire political career is inextricably bound up with the NCR's occupation of the Mojave. It's his war. If I compel the NCR to retreat, Kimball will be the sacrifice offered to the gods, so decent NCR citizens can get on with their lives. In retrospect, the Mojave and Hoover Dam will seem like one man's misadventure. Kimball will be blamed, not me. Not New Vegas." (Robert House's dialogue)
↑The Courier: "And if Kimball were to be assassinated?" Robert House: "Then the Hero of the Mojave would become the Martyr of Hoover Dam. And when, subsequently, I force the NCR to retreat... They lick their wounds, and dream of righteous vengeance against New Vegas. Hello, embargo, farewell, tourist economy. I've calculated and re-calculated these probabilities. Kimball must live." (Robert House's dialogue)
↑Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition: "The NCR's economy is based on two resources: its great Brahmin herds, and swaths of land that have been restored to arable condition. These provide the nation with meat, leather, and starchy vegetables. During President Tandi's presidency, regulations limited the number of cattle head and the acreage of fields that could be owned by a single person. Despite constant pressure from the Stockmen's Association and Republican Farmer's Committee, such regulations loosened only a little so long as Tandi was in office. Following her death, however, they eroded until President Kimball overturned them completely. As a result, the past 12 years have seen the rise of the Brahmin Barons and Agri-Barons: captains of industry who are, by post-apocalyptic standards, spectacularly wealthy. This has given birth to a number of cottage industries, from the rebirth of luxury goods production to "journalism" that reports on the latest purchases, commissions, and "life lessons" of the newly rich and famous."
↑The Courier: "How will the NCR react to Kimball's death? Won't it just anger them?" Caesar: "It'll frighten them. If I can reach out and kill whomever I choose, then they know the only reason they're alive is I haven't tried yet. You have to understand that Kimball is a symbol. Without him, there would be no NCR occupation of the Mojave. He mustered the troops - as many as his senate would allow -and sent them in. All the right reasons, done all the wrong ways. Any invasion by a democracy is a half-measure. When Kimball dies, the NCR will recoil from the Mojave, and from his legacy. By the time they recover and try to strike back, I'll be invading them." (Caesar's dialogue)
↑Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p. 456-457: "Under Kimball's regime rhetoric promoting the patriotism and heroism of the NCR's armed forces has been constant, but the actual reputation of the military has worsened somewhat. While it is still regarded as an honorable profession, economic conditions driving citizens who might previously have eked by to enlist have tarnished the military's luster. To make matters worse, the NCR's expedition to the Mojave has failed to annex New Vegas, and soldiers struggle with the difficult climate and being so far from home for extended periods of service."
↑Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition: "Controversy over the Vegas Frontier" The NCR spread east into Nevada in large numbers just five years ago on a "humanitarian mission" to "bring the light of civilization to the savage wastes of the Mojave." Hoover Dam was the symbol of the expedition-reports from the Followers of the Apocalypse had confirmed that it was still intact as early as 2170-and its occupation by NCR troops in 2274 was a celebrated event. Even more exciting was the restarting of the dam's hydroelectric plant eleven months later, which dramatically improved the access of many NCR citizens to electricity and water. Since then, most of the news has been bad. Skirmishes with local tribes and the first battle for Hoover Dam have cost the lives of more than 400 of the NCR's soldiers and civilians. Until the oft-promised annexation of New Vegas becomes a reality, the government continues to spend much of its budget on "safeguarding the region" while in return receiving not one Cap in tax revenue. The expedition has proved to be an enduring, low-intensity political embarrassment for President Kimball. Among NCR citizens, the most common political attitude is impatience. They want Vegas annexed; they want it over with. Most expect that this will finally occur once Caesar's Legion has been "beat for good." Opposition to the Vegas occupation amounts to a vocal minority, and of these, most oppose it as a waste of lives and tax caps. The more radical opinion that the expedition amounts to the imperialist subjugation of an unwilling territory is seen as unpatriotic: the kind of pap spouted by the good-for-nothing agitators like those Followers of the Apocalypse."
↑Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition: "By law, the NCR prohibits persecution and discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or religious belief (so long as said religion does not advocate violence). Legal protection of Ghouls and other mutants was added in 2205, though enforcement of these rights has been spotty. For the most part, the NCR's practices live up to its ideals, but there has been some retrenchment since the death of President Tandi. Aaron Kimball's popularity was amplified by a reactionary undercurrent, especially among males, calling out a need for a "strong man" to lead the NCR forward. In the years since Kimball took office, male military officers have been promoted disproportionately to females, and discourse arguing the differences between males and females has reappeared."
↑Hanlon: "It's no secret that we've had better campaigns. Holding this whole length of river isn't easy. We're stretched thin and the Long 15 just keeps getting longer. Slow to get supplies. Slower to get reinforcements. NCR's senate has got funds tied up at the Boneyard and President Kimball ordered our most experienced rangers to chase ghosts down in Baja." (Hanlon's dialogue)
↑Robert House: "Conversely, his failure to annex the Mojave these seven years, and the immense costs of occupying a foreign land, have eroded his popular support." (Mr. House's dialogue)
↑Hanlon: "Not too long ago, they took Nelson and Searchlight. They've got some camps on the eastern shore of the Colorado, and the monstrosity on the hill across the lake - that's for Caesar. Some folks don't believe he's here yet, but you can tell. He's the eye of the storm. It all roils and spins around him. You don't have to see the man to see the effect he has." (Hanlon's dialogue)
↑Robert House: "Kimball's entire political career is inextricably bound up with the NCR's occupation of the Mojave. It's his war. If I compell the NCR to retreat, Kimball will be the sacrifice offered to the gods, so decent NCR citizens can get on with their lives. In retrospect, the Mojave and Hoover Dam will seem like one man's misadventure. Kimball will be blamed, not me. Not New Vegas." (Robert House's dialogue)
↑The Courier: "Isn't it natural for someone like Kimball to seek greater power?" Caesar: "But he did so by election. What better way to stunt the growth of leaders, not to mention whole cultures? A leader shouldn't have to kowtow to those who serve him. With so much energy wasted on those below, how is he ever to move forward? Had he taken the government by force, used his army to stage a coup, things would be very different. I'll just have to do it for him." (Caesar's dialogue)
↑Ulysses: "There's your signal... faint, but there. Just like NCR - voice without fire, without strength, sick. Heard tales of you walking the Mojave. Giving the two-headed bear strength. Giving hollow men like Kimball, like Crocker, half the life Hanlon had. Now... let's test that strength. That... "conviction." Courier. (Ulysses' dialogue)
↑Robert House: "No need to worry about the General, by the way. He'll be held responsible, publicly disgraced... 36.5% probability of suicide, by my estimate... Kimball won't be able to save him - he'll be too busy getting thrown out of office." (Mr. House's dialogue (Securitron)