John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Lorain Stadium, Lorain, Ohio

September 27, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. Governor Di Salle, Senator Lausche, Mayor Celebrezze, Mayor Jaworski, Bill McCray, ladies and gentlemen, I want to express my appreciation to all of you for a very generous welcome to Ohio. I must say I think Ohio is going Democratic in November of 1960 and is going to lead the United States. [Applause.]

I am grateful to your Governor and to your Senator for accompanying me today on, a trip through northern Ohio. This State symbolizes the opportunities and the responsibilities and the problems which face the United States as a whole - a great industrial State, faced with the problem of growing, of finding schools for your children, of meeting the problems of those who are old, of making sure that those who are old enough to work can find a job, of making sure that our economy produces the things we need in this country, the things we need if we are going to be strong. I look to the 1960's with a good deal of confidence and hope, and I stand here today as the Democratic standard bearer of the oldest political party on earth. I stand where Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman stood in their time. [Applause.]

I think the contrast between the two parties and the things for which they stand, and their approach to the future, and their record of the past, can be seen in the men and the slogans that they used in the 20th century. No Democratic candidate for the Presidency ever stood pat with McKinley, or kept cool with Coolidge, or returned to normalcy with Harding, or had two chickens in every pot with Hoover, or ran in 1936, as Landon did, repealing social security, or ran like Dewey did in 1944 and 1948 or runs in 1960 on the slogan "You Never Had It So Good."

American Presidents who were Democrats in this century, Woodrow Wilson and the new freedom, Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, Harry Truman and the Fair Deal - and now we run in 1960 on a program of the New Frontier. [Applause.]

The New Frontier represents all of the responsibilities which the American people must meet in the 1960's, and it represents all of the opportunities that are before us as a country and as a people. Here in the State of Ohio and in the United States, we have an opportunity to prove that freedom is not only the best system of government, but it is also the strongest, that productivity is the handmaiden of liberty, that you can be free, that you can be strong, that you can solve your problems, that you can build a defense second to none, that you can be first in space and first in education and first in employment and first in steel production, that you can meet the problems that we face and still maintain our freedom. That is the responsibility not of the next President, and not of the next Congress, and not of the House and the Senate - it is a responsibility in which all of us participate, in which all of us share. We have seen in the last few days in New York City Mr. Khrushchev and Kadar and Gomulka and Castro. They personify the Communist system, but they are not themselves the great danger. The great danger is the Communist system, itself, and its relentless determination to destroy us. If Mr. Khrushchev should pass from the scene, the Communist system would remain. So all the debates with Mr. Khrushchev, and all the things which we may say to him pale in significance to the relative power of the two systems. Are we stronger or is the Communist system stronger? Are we going to be stronger in 1970 or are they going to be stronger? Are we going to be stronger in 1980 or are they going to be stronger?

My argument with Mr. Nixon and with the Republican administration is that they do not have sufficient vision, sufficient vigor, sufficient imagination, sufficient foresight to see that the unfinished business before us calls for us not merely to be first today, not merely to be strong enough today, but to be strong enough in 1970, in 1980. We protect not only our own security, but the security of all those who look to us, and the security of our children. Therefore, I think it is incumbent upon us to make the right decisions, to choose the strong way, to choose, if necessary, the hard way, for ourselves and for those who depend upon us.

Here in Lorain, in Ohio, in the United States, this fight is going to be fought. We cannot possibly miss. We cannot possibly fail, if we maintain our freedom and our strength, because our system represents in my opinion the basic aspiration of people everywhere. The experience of Eastern Germany, of Hungary, of Poland, of Tibet, all these show that people want to be free, and if they feel that we are strong, if they feel that events are moving in our direction, and not in the direction of the Communists, I think they will come with us. And what is true of Eastern Europe is true of Africa and Asia and Latin America. The big question in their minds, and the question which we have to settle in the next 8 years is, is the world moving toward freedom or toward the Communists?

I think it can move toward us. I think that we can meet the challenge. I think we can demonstrate that we represent the way of the future. The Communist system is as old as Egypt, and I think we have the greatest chance in our time and generation to show Mr. Khrushchev that Americans who fought in Anzio and in the Pacific now have determined that the United States will move and meet its responsibilities at home and abroad. Thank you. [Applause.]

I just want to say one word about the importance of sending a good man to the House of Representatives. We need the best people we can get in the House, the Senate, and the executive branch and I think this district has a great chance in doing a service for itself and the country if you elect Bill McCray to Congress. [Applause.]

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

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