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

September 09, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. Governor Brown, Speaker Brown, Senator Donnelly, my friend and colleague in the Congress, Congressman McFall, ladies and gentlemen, I want to express my thanks to all of you for coming down here in the rain to greet us. We have been campaigning in this State since yesterday morning, and I think that California is the place to win this election. I ask your help. [Applause.] This valley shows what can be done by community effort. Here in this valley you have harnessed the land and the water for the use of the people. [Applause.]

I think that today, when we celebrate the 110th anniversary of the admission of California to the Union, we also celebrate this week the 340th anniversary of the journey of the Pilgrims from Europe to my own State of Massachusetts. In both cases a single force motivated both groups; the feeling that however good life may have been, they could do better. I think that is our feeling in 1960. However great this State is, however great this country is, however satisfied we may be, I think we can do better, and I think we are going to do better after this election. [Applause.]

I don't think that there is anyone who can live in this rich valley or in this rich State or in this rich country who can be satisfied with doing everything that needs to be done. I think the best days of the United States are still ahead. [Applause.]

I don't promise that if I am elected that life is going to be easy. But I do promise that if I am elected this country is going back to work again. I don't think that any American citizen can possibly feel that the balance of power in the world, vis-a-vis the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communists is moving in the direction of freedom. I think in the last few years it has moved against us. I can assure you that if we are successful, this country will once again be second to none; not "first, if" not "first, but," not "first, when" but "first" period.

I ask your help in this campaign. [Applause.] I ask your help and I can assure you that I think the Democratic Party is ready for leadership. I assure you that if we are successful we are going to move. Thank you very much, indeed. Thank you. [Applause.]

My wife is in Massachusetts and she is going to have a baby in November. So my sister, who used to live in Massachusetts and saw the wisdom of coming to California, living here, married - I would like to have you meet my sister, Pat Lawford. [Applause.]

Senator Engle is doing some business for the Nation but Mrs. Engle is traveling with us. I would like to have you meet Senator Engle's wife, Mrs. Clair Engle. [Applause.]

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

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