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Rear Platform Remark of Senator John F. Kennedy, Red Bluff, CA

September 08, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. Governor Brown, ladies and gentlemen. I want to express my appreciation to all of you having come down and meeting us at the station, and I am also delighted to he in the hometown of my friend and colleague with whom I served in the U.S. Congress for 14 years - Clair Engle. [Applause.] His successor, Bizz Johnson, has been campaigning with us, and I am delighted to be accompanied across the face of California by your distinguished Governor, Pat Brown. [Applause.]

I campaign for the office of the Presidency in a very difficult and dangerous time in the life of our country, and I do not do that if I am elected all of the problems of California and the United States and the free world will be solved. But I do believe that it is vitally important if the security of the United States is going to be protected, if our position as a leader of the free world is going to be maintained, that we recognize the close relationships between the vitality of our own domestic economy and our position around the world. If we stand still here at home, we stand still around the world. The reason that Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman were so successful in their foreign policy was because they were so successful in their domestic policy. When Franklin Roosevelt harnessed the TVA and the Central Valley, and Bonneville, he demonstrated to a watching world that this country was moving, and, therefore, they were prepared to follow his leadership in their great efforts to obtain their freedom and independence. This valley is a great natural resource, not of the State of California only, but of the United States. This belongs not to one State but to all the people, and, therefore, I think it appropriate that the United States participate in the development of the resources of the Western United States and the resources of the State of California. [Applause.]

I would like to make it clear that when the people put their shoulders to the development of great dams, then I think that power should be distributed in a way that benefits the people. I don't think the people should pay for irrigation and have the power distributed by a private company. I think the people should benefit. [Applause.]

I come from a section of the United States that has problems entirely different from California. We have too much water. You have too little. But it is a fact that in this century the two Americans who recognized the importance of the development of natural resources to the United States were both from Eastern United States. One was a Republican, Theodore Roosevelt, and the other was a Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt. I can assure you that if we are successful in this campaign, we are going to move ahead on all fronts, on the development of our national economy, on the development of our natural resources, rebuilding our country, so that by the year 2000, when two people live in this country for every one that lives today, this will then be a strong and rich country whose security is assured. I run for the office of the Presidency in the most difficult time in the life of our country, in many ways the most difficult in a hundred years. In the election of 1860, as Abraham Lincoln said, the issue was whether this country could exist half slave and half free. I think the issue in 1960 is whether this world can exist half slave and half free. If it is going to move in the direction of freedom, if it is going to move in the direction of the things which we value, then the United States has to lead. I don't promise you an easy future, but I can promise you that if we are successful, this country will begin to move again. This country will begin to lead again. This country will go forward. Thank you very much. [Applause.]

John F. Kennedy, Rear Platform Remark of Senator John F. Kennedy, Red Bluff, CA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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