John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Armory, Jersey City, NJ

September 15, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. Governor Meyner, Mayor Wykowsky, Congressman Daniels, and Congressman Gallagher, my old friend, Mayor Kenny, Sheriff Flannagan, ladies and gentlemen, 10 years ago as a Congressman I came to this city at 1 o'clock in the morning for a Democratic rally and you were all here then. I don't know whether you have left this hall in the last 10 years, but only in this city could they get a turnout for a Democratic candidate at 8 o'clock in the morning, or at midnight. That is the kind of a Democratic city to have. [Applause.]

I stand here today as the standard bearer for the oldest political party in this country. The contest between Mr. Nixon and myself is one thing. I think in a great sense this is a contest between a Republican Party which has produced McKinley, Harding. Coolidge, Dewey, and the Vice President, and a Democratic Party which in this century has produced Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. [Applause.] This is a contest between a party which says "No" to the next decade and a party which says "Yes" as it has in so many years of our history. As long as there are millions of Americans who live in substandard housing as long as there are millions of our older citizens who wait out their lives with an income of less than $20 a week, without hope of good housing or medical care in their old age, as long as there are children in this country who go to school on a part-time basis, with teachers inadequately compensated, as long as there is unfinished business in this country, so long is their need for the Democratic Party, and there is need for the Democratic Party today. [Applause.]

As long as the power and prestige and strength of the United States in relationship to that of the Communist world is deteriorating, so long is there a need for a strong and vital country, so long is there need for Democratic leadership.

I do not say that if I am elected President that life will be easy and the problems all solved. But I do say that if we win this election and you and I are both involved - you and I are running together in this election - I can assure you that this country will start moving again, that its power will start growing, that its economy will start going ahead, that we shall stand as we stood in years past, as the leader of the free world and the hope of all those who wish to trod the same road that we are trodding. This is an important election. [Applause.]

There are those who say that this is 1928 all over again. I don't hold that view. I think this is 1932 and 1948 all over again. I think we can win this election. [Applause.]

One hundred years ago in the election of 1860, Lincoln wrote a friend: "I know that there is a God and that he hates injustice. I see the storm coming. But if he has a place and a part for me, I am ready."

Now, 100 years later, we know there is a God, and we know he hates injustice, and we see the storm coming. But if He has a place and a part for us, I believe that we are ready. Thank you. [Applause.]

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Armory, Jersey City, NJ Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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