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Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Levittown, PA, Shopping Center

October 30, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. Mr. Chairman, Mayor Dilworth, Senator Clark, Congressman Green - can anybody hear this? [Response from the audience.] Ladies and gentleman, can you hear that? Fellow Democrats ladies and gentlemen, I come here today to this community in the State of Pennsylvania to ask your support in this election, to ask you to join us in moving this country forward. [Applause.] You have to decide on next November 8, a week from Tuesday, not merely your choice between the two candidates, but also your judgment of what kind of leadership this country needs, what its position is in the world, and what we must do to make ourselves secure and provide peace for our people.

In my judgment there is a very clear choice offered by Mr. Nixon and myself, by the Republican and the Democratic Parties. If you hold the view that everything that needs to be clone is being done, in its own good measure, that our security has never been higher in the world, that our prestige is steadily increasing, that here in the United States we have full prosperity, that you are satisfied with an agricultural program that stores $9 billion worth of food to rot, if you are satisfied with all these things, then Mr. Nixon is your man. [Response from the audience.] But if you take the same view of the future that I do, that this great country of ours has to move ahead in the sixties, that we face great responsibilities, both in our own country and around the world, that the Republican Party and Mr. Nixon have not shown in the past, nor do they now show in the present, any conception of the needs of our free society - here in this State of Pennsylvania, which has 50 percent of its steel capacity unused, here in this State of Pennsylvania, where we built 30 percent less homes than we did a year ago, here in this State of Pennsylvania where there are coal miners and steelworkers and those who depend upon them, out of work, I cannot believe that you are going to select the Republican Party again. [Applause.]

Can you tell me what, in the last 25 years, what program the Republican leadership ever suggested that served the people? [Response from the audience.] Housing legislation and social security? Minimum wage? All of the programs that serve our people, that advance our country, that provide this country with vigor and vitality, education, security for our aged citizens under medical care under social security, all these programs have been initiated by the party which we lead in this campaign. And as you look at the sixties and recognize the need for new resolutions to new problems, I can't believe that this country will entrust the leadership to a candidate and a party that have opposed progress in the last 25 years. [Applause.] I don't make any pretense that the future is easy for this country. By the end of the next President's term of office, by 1968, by the end of his second term if he is reelected, there are going to be 82 million men and women eligible for jobs in this country. To find work for them we are going to have to have 25,000 new jobs a week every week for the next 8 years. Do you believe that this administration, which has moved us into a recession in 1954, and a recession in 1958, and a partial recession in 1960 can find 25,000 new jobs a week for the next 8 years? [Response from the audience.] And this is all going to come at a time when automation and machinery is taking the place of men and women. I believe that we have to educate our children, that we have to provide jobs for those who want to work, that we have to provide security for those who have retired, particularly for medical care, that we must build in this country a strong and vital society which serves as an inspiration and an example to all those who look to us with confidence and hope. I come to this community in the closing days of a long campaign. I come here after traveling in every State in the Union. I am more convinced than I ever was, and I have served this country for 18 years, I am more convinced than I ever was that this country can meet all of its responsibilities, all of its challenges, if only it will be governed by a concept of progress and energy and drive and efficiency, qualities for which the Republican Party has not been noted in the past. [Applause.]

So I come here today, on a cold and windy Sunday, and ask your help in this campaign. I ask you to join us, to give us your hand, your voice, your support, join us in moving our country forward, join us in trying to do for this country what needs to be done if it is going to maintain its position in the world, if it is going to move ahead. Join us in moving America again. Thank you. [Applause.]

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Levittown, PA, Shopping Center Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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