John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Hellriegel's Inn (Parking Lot), Painesville, Ohio

September 27, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. I am grateful to Governor Di Salle for his generous introduction of me this morning and of his support and the support of the Ohio delegation at the Los Angeles convention last July, and I am grateful also to Senator Lausche for his generous endorsement. He has been a vigorous Senator, and he has spoken his mind on many occasions on matters of great public policy. So I am more than indebted to him for his warm endorsement of me this morning.

I think we can move ahead in this State. With the support of Steve Young, I think that Ohio can be Democratic in 1960, with your support. [Applause.] And I hope that the people of this district will send back to the Congress, Bob Cook. He has spoken for this district and Ohio, but he has also spoken for the United States. This is an important and difficult and trying time for us all. The responsibility which events and circumstances and our own choice have placed on us will weigh heavily on the backs of every American during the next 10 years. The real question before us in some ways transcends the differences between the two parties, and that is "How can we make this country stronger? How can we identify more successfully the United States with the cause of freedom around the world?" We are going to face in the 1960's problems as difficult and complicated as faced us in the 1930's. We are going to have to find in the 1960's 25,000 new jobs a week if we are going to maintain full employment, and we are going to do that at a time when new machines are coming in and taking the jobs of men. We are going to have to build more schools than were ever built before. In the next 10 years in the United States, we are going to have to build for your children as many college dormitories and buildings as were built in the whole history of the United States, all in the period of 10 years. We are going to have to develop the resources of this country so that we can maintain the population by the year 2000 twice as large as it is today. I don't run for the office of the Presidency saying that if I am elected life will be easy. I think it will be a difficult and trying time for us all. But I do run for the office of the Presidency recognizing that if the office has high responsibilities and great opportunities, and as I said last night, I think the function and responsibility of the next President is to place before the American people what we must do, not only to survive, but to prevail. We cannot be satisfied with things as they are. You cannot live in this hostile world as we do and feel that the tide is moving in the direction of freedom. The Russians, the Chinese, the Cubans, the Eastern European satellite governments are all dedicated to the destruction of the United States, because they know that if we fail, their victory is assured. There is no country and no people to whom we can turn for help. We depend up on ourselves, and therefore, I run for the office of the Presidency, believing that this great country can meet its responsibilities, can assume its functions, that a free society does have more vitality and strength than any other system, and that it is up to us, not only to meet our responsibilities here but to the cause of freedom around the world. That is a heavier burden than any people have ever borne in history, but it is a burden that I believe we can bear. In Africa and Latin America and Asia, in the next 10 years, I think those people who stand today on the razor-edge of decision will be in to make up their minds. Does the future belong to the West and freedom or does the future belong to the Communists? In a Gallup poll taken in February, it showed that a majority of people in 10 countries believed that by 1970 the Soviet Union would be ahead of the United States both militarily and scientifically. I don't agree. Why should we - why should we be behind, and what is more important, why should they think we are blind. I am not satisfied to be second in space, to be second in the position that we hold now in some areas of the world. I think the United States should be first, not "First, if" [applause] or but or when or maybe, but first because we must be if freedom is to survive. So I ask your help in this election. I think this election is most important, and I think after this election if we are successful, we have the chance to be of the greatest possible service to our country. All of us wish the best for it. All of us have confidence in it. All of us believe it is a great country that can be greater. All of us believe it is a powerful country that must be more powerful. All of us believe that it is time that the United States started moving again. Thank you. [Applause.]

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Hellriegel's Inn (Parking Lot), Painesville, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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