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Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, State Office Building, Trenton, NJ

September 15, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. Governor Meyner, the next U.S. Senator from the State of New Jersey, Thorn Lord, your present and future Congressman, Frank Thompson, freeholders, ladies and gentlemen, we started at New York this morning at about 8:30 and we have traveled across in a few hours one section of the State of New Jersey. I must say that this has been the best day of our campaign, and I am most grateful to you all. [Applause.] And I am grateful to your distinguished Governor, Bob Meyner, for riding with me and for his hospitality in his State on this occasion in this most important election.

Many of us are Government employees. I have a different office in Washington than you who work here in the city of Trenton, but I think that all of us who work for the Government in one service or another, or all of us who work in other capacities, have a great and common interest in this campaign, and that is the advancement of the interest of the United States, to increase its power and prestige, to make it more secure, to make it possible in a dangerous world, when hazard surrounds us on every side, to make it possible for us to move safely ahead in a world of peace, protecting not only the security of the United States, but holding out the hand of friendship to all those who wish to be associated with us. [Applause.]

Other Democratic Presidents in this country, Woodrow Wilson, who served in this city, in this State, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, all faced difficult and dangerous times. The election of 1932 I think meant the preservation of freedom here in the United States. But I think the election of 1960 may well mean the preservation of freedom all around the globe. I have no argument with the Republican Party and their desire to see a better country. What I argue is, is their ability to do it. [Applause.] Whether they have demonstrated any time in this century, whether in our position to Wilson, Roosevelt, or Truman, or whether in the days of their power McKinley, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Dewey, and the others, whether they have demonstrated an understanding of how our country moves and how it works, and how necessary it is for the President of the United States to set before the American people the unfinished business of our society. We face problems more complicated and as difficult as any that faced any American President in the 100 years. I don't run for the office of the Presidency saying that if we are elected life will be easy. I think life for an American citizen, if he meets his responsibilities, if we meet it as a Nation, will be as hazardous, as trying, as burdensome, and as responsible as it has ever been during our long history. But I do promise that under the leadership of the Democratic Party in this time of crisis, as in so many crises in our history, I think it is possible to make our country move forward. I think it is possible for us to regain the position of leadership we once had in the days when Roosevelt and Truman and Wilson spoke with a force of vigor as a great revolutionary country. [Applause.]

I do not accept the view that our high noon is in the past, and that we are moving into the late afternoon. I think our brightest days can be ahead. I think it is up to us to build the kind of country here, the kind of economic society, the kind of equality for all our citizens, regardless of their race or their religion, so that people around the world wish to move with us and not with our adversaries. [Applause.]

I ask your help in this campaign, I ask your assistance. We cannot possibly win without you, but I think if we can move, we can start this great boiler which is the United States, fired up again, and we can make this country move. Thank you. [Applause.]

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, State Office Building, Trenton, NJ Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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