John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Hotel Hollenden, Cleveland, Ohio

September 25, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. Ray Miller, ladies and gentlemen, this is the third year in a row that I have been honored by being invited to this steer roast, and I hope that it is going to be possible for me to come back next year in a somewhat different capacity. [Applause.]

I want to say just one point about Ohio. In the 1948 election, you will recall, President Truman carried the State of Ohio by 7,200 votes. He carried Illinois by 17,000 votes, and it was the victory in this State and in Illinois which permitted him to maintain his Office of the Presidency. I think the Presidency is a great Office. It is enshrined in the Constitution, and it is also by the force of events and by the pressure of circumstances that it has come to have the greatest possible influence over the lives of us all. Therefore, as I believe that there are sharp differences between the two candidates and great issues which divide historically the two political parties, I do hope it is possible for all of you in the next 6 weeks to give us all the help that you can. My judgment is that the winner of this presidential election will carry Ohio, and I think it is possible for us to carry Ohio. [Applause.]

It is possible for us to win Ohio and it is possible for us to lose Ohio. My judgment is that it is a very close, tight race in this State, in Illinois, in Pennsylvania, in New Jersey, and New York. These are the key States. Whoever carries these major industrial States from Illinois east quite obviously will be elected the next President of the United States.

Ohio is very important. That and Michigan and these other States must be carried by the Democratic candidate, and the Democratic Party. So I come here today asking all of you who work in the field for the party in this county, for many years, and in the State, I come here asking your help. This election will be close, and the extra effort that you can put in this in the coming 6 weeks, in the next 3 days to get people registered, to make sure that when they are registered they come to vote, to make sure that this is not merely a contest between two names, but it is a contest between two parties and two individuals, one of whom says "Yes" to the next 10 years and the other says "No." I say yes, and I think the country says yes. [Applause.]

In short, I thank you for your past help to the party, but I must say I think in 1960 the tide can rise and we can carry Ohio. Thank you. [Applause.]

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Hotel Hollenden, Cleveland, Ohio Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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