The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• John F. Kennedy
Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, City Hall, Newark, NJ
September 15, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. Mayor Carlin, Governor Meyner, ladies and gentlemen, I want to express my appreciation to all of you for your kindness in coming out and giving us a great welcome to a great city.

I campaign as the Democratic nominee for the Office of the Presidency of the United States, and in that position I follow a great line of Democrats who, in difficult and dangerous times in the life of our country, have played a great role, Woodrow Wilson and the New Freedom, Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, Harry Truman and the Fair Deal, who fought for the people of this country. [Applause.]

I don't think there is anyone in this city today who can say that all the things that had to be done were done in the past administrations. I think that in our generation as Franklin Roosevelt said about his generation, we also have a rendezvous with destiny. As long as there are millions of our fellow Americans who lack decent housing, as long as there are millions of our fellow Americans who receive an average unemployment compensation check of less than $31 a week across the country, as long as there are millions of our fellow Americans who reach the age of 60 without security, without the means of paying for their medical bills and decent housing, so long is there need for the Democratic Party. [Applause.] So long as there are millions of our fellow Americans in parts of this country who are denied their equal opportunity, denied their right to serve because of race or religion, so long is there need for the Democratic Party. [Applause.]

Let me make it very clear that there are very sharp issues which separate us from Mr. Nixon and the Republicans. The Republican Party has opposed every effort. They vetoed the housing bill. They killed the $1.25 minimum wage. They opposed medical care for the aged. They have stood against every program in this century which would help our people. We have to win this election and with your help we are going to. [Applause.]

Let me make it very clear that I don't think the United States will be strong in our relations with the Communist world, I don't think the prestige of the United States will continue to grow unless we are a strong and vital country here at home. The reason Franklin Roosevelt was a good neighbor in Latin America was because he was a good neighbor to the people of this country. The reason Woodrow Wilson could put forward his 14 points was because he stood for the New Freedom here in the United States. The Fair Deal of Harry Truman and the Marshall plan were closely linked.

I can say to you that if we win this election, we are going to work for the welfare of this country, to strengthen it, to make it first - not "first, but" not "first, if," not "first, when " but "first." [Applause.]

I don't run for the Presidency saying that if I am elected life will be easy, but I can say that if we are successful, if you send Thorn Lord to the Senate as the Democratic Senator, if you elect my colleagues in the Congress, Pete Rodino and Hugh Addonizio, and send Congressman-to-be Pete Peacock to join them, I can assure you that a Democratic President, working with a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate will start this country moving again. Thank you, [Applause.]

Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, City Hall, Newark, NJ", September 15, 1960. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=74031.
 
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