The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• John F. Kennedy
Remarks by Senator John F. Kennedy, Penn Fruit Shopping Center, Philadelphia, PA - (Advance Release Text)
October 31, 1960

As this campaign enters its final week, the Republicans are stepping up their efforts to convince the voters to forget party labels, party records, and party differences. The American voter, however, will have no trouble in making a clear choice if he keeps in mind at least six basic areas of disagreement between Mr. Nixon and myself:

(1) Medical care for the aged: The Republican plan permits only a handfuT of retired workers to receive public assistance for medical care if they are willing to surrender their dignity by taking a "pauper's oath." The Democratic plan would permit this cost to be covered under our social security system, so that all workers may set aside a few cents every day during their working years to help pay their medical bills when their earning power is gone.

(2) Teachers' salaries: Mr. Nixon's tie-breaking vote defeated the amendment which by this time would have provided our public school teachers with higher salaries - and I voted for that amendment. Mr. Nixon cites the threat of Federal controls which the history of all Federal aid to education in this country since the Northwest Ordinance proves to be an empty threat invoked by every opponent of better schools. I am much more concerned about the dangers of a second-rate school system, which fails to attract and keep its best teachers, and which cannot find enough qualified teachers to meet the demand of the next 10 years - when we will need more new teachers than all those presently in service combined.

(3) Agriculture: Mr. Nixon favors a continuation of Bensonism under a new name, permitting the support price to steadily drop as a means of "getting rid of the farmer." I favor a farmer-controlled [program] adjusting supply to demand at a level permitting full parity of income to every farmer. Mr. Nixon has fancy new labels for the old Benson product, and he talks of jail sentences and runaway inflation if my program is adopted - but the American farmer, who remembers that food prices were actually lower in 1952 when his income was much higher, agrees that it is time the laws of supply and demand were put to work for him instead of always operating against him.

(4) Unemployment: Mr. Nixon, who thinks several million unemployed is inevitable and nothing to worry about, is satisfied today with what he calls our "unprecedented prosperity" - but I think we can do better in putting our unemployed back to work, using our idle capacity in steel, coal and other industries, and finding jobs for the thousands of young men and women who are pouring into our labor market every week of the year.

(5) Trusting the voters: Mr. Nixon and the Republicans are unwilling to reveal to the American people reports containing the facts about our prestige, the truth about the Nixon-Khrushchev talks, the basis of the present missile gap as contained in the Gaither report, and the facts about whether we are heading for a third recession prepared by the Department of Commerce. I do not see how this vital information can be withheld from those who must make an informed judgment on November 8. I have the utmost confidence in the American people to face all the facts, however harsh, and to provide for them.

(6) A strategy for peace: Mr. Nixon's grand strategy is to create a series of committees, conferences, councils and goodwill tours. But I am convinced that peace can be obtained only through a stronger America - an America in which a strong economy, supporting a strong defensive posture, is manned by a citizenry strong in their sense of purpose, their sense of justice, and their dedication to the truth. The next war may be started and won by merely pushing a button - but there is no pushbutton magic for winning the peace.

Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Remarks by Senator John F. Kennedy, Penn Fruit Shopping Center, Philadelphia, PA - (Advance Release Text)", October 31, 1960. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=74309.
 
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