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Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Barrington School, Barrington, IL

October 25, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. I want to express my appreciation to Barney Ross, who comes from this community, who served with me in the Pacific and who is a great friend of mine. Barney, I want to thank you.

Also I want to hope that this State will show its usual good judgment and send Paul Douglas back to the U.S. Senate to serve our country as well as Illinois. [Applause.] And Judge Kerner to be the next Governor of the State of Illinois. [Applause.] Tyler Thompson, who is running for the congressional seat in this district. [Applause]

Ladies and gentlemen, I come here to a district which is not overwhelmingly Democratic [laughter], in order to ask your support in this campaign. As citizens, you have to make a judgment about the candidates, what we stand for, what our view is of the future. I want to make it very clear that Mr. Nixon and I differ on many issues. He presents his views of what he thinks is best for the country, and I present my views. But I think the biggest difference, and the most significant one, and the one that you should consider most carefully is our judgment of our present position in the world, and what we must do as citizens in order to build our strength.

Mr. Nixon runs on a program of saying that our prestige has never been higher - do you have the paper here?

Mr. Nixon 2 weeks ago, and I am ready to let this campaign make a judgment on which one of us is informed - he made a statement on our debate that our prestige in the world has never been higher. You may recall that. This is the New York Times of Tuesday, October 25, 1960, the front page. Here is what it says:

"The United States Survey Finds Others Consider the Soviet Mightiest. Summer Poll Shows Belief Is Nearly Unanimous Among the Nations Sampled. Lead Is Expected To Hold. Some Expect Gap To Widen." Then the story starts:

An almost unanimous belief that the Soviet Union is the leading military power was disclosed in a worldwide survey conducted for the U.S. Government during the summer, reliable sources abroad report. According to these sources, the survey also disclosed unanimity among the free and uncommitted nations of the world that the Soviet Union would maintain and possibly widen its lead over the United States through the next decade. These are the major findings of a report drawn up by the Office for Research and Analysis on the basis of the results of the survey. The office is part of the U.S. Information Service.

Now, the fact of the matter is that this administration has refused to make these surveys public. I asked Mr. Nixon if he would the other night. They have refused to give these surveys to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Fulbright as late as a week ago, and the reason is that they show that this administration and Mr. Nixon have been wholly misinformed about our position in the world, and this goes to your survival. If the people of the world once get the idea that the Russians and the the Communists represent the strongest power, how many of them will stay with us? How many people in Latin America, Africa, and Asia will decide that we represent the way of the future? This is what this means. Once they come to the conclusion that the Soviet Union is a stronger society than we are, what happens to us as leaders of the free world?

You are citizens of this country. You have to make the judgment on what you want this country to be. Mr. Nixon has said in the last 3 weeks that our prestige is the highest it has ever been and that of the Communists the lowest. This survey shows how misinformed he is, how wide is the gap between what he believes and what the facts are.

Now, is there anyone here who is prepared to say after reading this on the front page of the New York Times what the opinion of us is around the world, that there isn't time for us to pick ourselves up and start moving forward again? That is the issue that you have to decide. What do you want? You live in this community. Your children go to school here. You are concerned about your survival as a free nation, and what we are now talking about is not popularity. It is the willingness of the people to follow us, to work with them, and maintain their freedom, to stay out of the Communist bloc, to stay out of Communist influence, to support us as the strongest society. That is what this all means. In the last years people around the world have come to the conclusion that we are not the strongest power. Now, on that basis, you must make your judgment on November 8. Thank you. [Applause.]

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Barrington School, Barrington, IL Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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