The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• John F. Kennedy
Press Release of Senator John F. Kennedy on Sen. George Smathers as Assistant Democratic National Chairman
August 19, 1960

Senator George Smathers of Florida has been named the Assistant Democratic National Chairman and campaign manager for the Democratic ticket in the Southern States, plus Texas and Oklahoma, it was announced today by Democratic Candidates John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Senators Kennedy and Johnson said Senator Smathers has agreed to take on this assignment and will work with National Chairman Senator Henry M. Jackson and with National Campaign Manager Robert F. Kennedy.

In making the announcement, Senators Kennedy and Johnson said:

We both are extremely pleased that our colleague, Senator Smathers, has agreed to take this very important role in the campaign. We have enjoyed a long-time, close personal friendship with Senator Smathers.

As Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for three terms, Senator Smathers has helped our party to gain more seats in the Senate than at any other comparable time in the history of the Nation.

We know that he will bring to this job the experience which he has gained as the Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, plus his fine ability to organize and lead. We believe that his acceptance of this appointment greatly enhances our chances for victory in November.

In accepting the assignment, Senator Smathers said:
As an officeholder who has enjoyed and benefited by the support and allegiance of the Democratic Party, I feel it is my duty to accept this call to serve the party in this most important national election.

I would like to make it clear by the acceptance of this assignment that I do not seek any other position than that which I now hold as U.S. Senator from Florida. My ties are in Florida and that is where they will always remain so long as the people of Florida are willing.

I would like further to emphasize the fact that acceptance of this assignment does not in any way mean that I express approval of the Democratic platform nor indirect support of the Republican platform. Both of them are obnoxious and unrepresentative.

In my judgment this election offers in the final analysis only two choices - the ticket of Kennedy and Johnson or that of Nixon and Lodge. I have served with each of these men in the Congress, and I respect each one of them. However, from my observation I cannot help but believe that the best interest of my State and the Nation will be served by working for the election of Kennedy and Johnson, who I think are best qualified to lead our country in these difficult years ahead.

Senator Smathers will have under his jurisdiction the campaigns in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma.
Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Press Release of Senator John F. Kennedy on Sen. George Smathers as Assistant Democratic National Chairman", August 19, 1960. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=74101.
 
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