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Rear Platform Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Tulare, CA

September 09, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. Governor Brown, my friend and colleague, and a great Congressman, Harlan Hagen, your next assemblyman, I hope, Bob Williams, and Myron Frew, ladies and gentlemen, I want to express my thanks to you all for coming down in this sun and saying "hello." We are running in this campaign train not only toward the city of Los Angeles, but we are running this campaign train all the way to Washington. [Applause.]

This is the 110th anniversary of the admission of California to the Union. This State was constructed by people who lived in other sections of the United States, who thought they could do better in this State. We feel we can do better in this country. I ask your help in this campaign. [Applause.]

I think the record of difference between our two political parties, the Republicans and Democrats, is written in this valley. The Republicans say, "We have done as much as we can do to develop our water resources and our agriculture." We say, "We can do more," and we are going to do more. [Applause.]

This valley was built by you in cooperation with your State government and with the policies of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. I propose, if elected in November, to carry on those policies, to move this State and country forward as I believe it must be if we are going to maintain our position in the world. [Applause.]

When this State was built, all that we had to worry about was the welfare of the people of California. Now every farmer and every businessman and every working man and woman, worries not only about Tulare, but they worry about the Congo and Cuba and the far side of space. The United States is the leader of the free world, and I run for the office of the Presidency with full recognition of those responsibilities which go with that leadership.

My feeling is that this is a great country, but I think it can be a greater country. The United States is the hope of the free world, but I think the United States can be stronger. I think it can stand for more. I think we can do a better job. [Applause.]

I am chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I can tell you that in Africa, leaders 20 years ago quoted Jefferson and Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt. Today in many cases those leaders look east to Peking and Moscow. They have lost their confidence in us. They don't see the United States as a great revolutionary country which is on the move. They see us as a country which has had its high noon, which is now in a plateau, which belongs to the past, not the future. I ask you to join me in this campaign with a full recognition of all opportunities to rebuild our strength, rebuild our prestige, maintain our security, and maintain ourselves as the leaders of the free world. [Applause.]

I don't run for the office of the Presidency promising that if you elect me life will be easier. I think life in the 1960's for any American is going to be difficult, but I can promise you that if I am elected that we are going to lead this country and this country and this State will move ahead and move again. [Applause.]

This election of 1960 is 100 years after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, and in that election, Lincoln wrote a friend, "There is a God and He hates injustice. I see a storm coming, but if He has a place and a part for me, I am ready." In 1960, we believe there is a God, and we believe He hates injustice, and we see a storm coming, but I think if He has a place and a part for us, then we are ready. I ask your help in this campaign. Thank you. [Applause.]

My wife is home and she is going to have a baby in November so she could not come and campaign with us. But my sister, Patricia, who left Massachusetts, a great State, left Massachusetts and came out here to California and is campaigning with us. My sister, Pat Lawford. [Applause.]

I would like to have you meet Senator Engle who is over in Idaho today but his wife is traveling with us, Mrs. Clair Engle. [Applause.] And last but by no means least we are accompanied by the chairman of the National Democratic Committee, the Senator from the State of Washington, the most eligible bachelor left in Washington, Senator "Scoop" Jackson. [Applause.]

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

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