John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Street Rally, Phoenix, AZ

November 03, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. Congressman Udall, my friend and colleague from the House of Representatives, Congressman-to-be Dick Harless, with whom I served in the House in the end of the 1940's, and with whom I will serve again in Washington [applause]. Lee Ackerman, the next Governor of the State of Arizona [applause], my friend and valued colleague, a distinguished Senator from this State, and from the Nation, Senator Hayden, ladies and gentlemen [applause], I come here to Arizona this morning to ask your support in this campaign. [Applause.] I recognize that the struggle here is not easy. I know that Barry Goldwater sent a wire [response from the audience] - sent a wire to Nelson Rockefeller that it was in the bag in Arizona.

It is in the bag for Arizona like it was in the bag for the New York Yankees. [Applause.] There is no election in the United States that is in the bag 2 weeks ahead, and our experience this year in Arizona, a strong Democratic State, is going to prove that Arizona and the Nation are going Democratic in 1960. [Applause.] There is no State in the Union that depends more upon men who look to the future. I spent a year in Arizona. There is no State in the Union, I repeat, that is committed more to progress by the inevitable laws of nature. This State would not be here, there would not be a single person now living in this community, unless men who went before you looked to the future, made it possible for you to develop the land and the water. Do you believe a Republican Party committed to no new starts, committed to the present and the past - how can they build Arizona? How can they build a nation? [Response from the audience.]

I want to make it clear that anyone here in Arizona who is satisfied with things as they are, who looks to the world around them and sees our prestige as the highest it has ever been, if they accept that view, who believe that the balance of power in the world is shifting in our direction, who believe that we are meeting our problems here at home in full measure, that we are planning our lands and water with vigor - anyone who feels that, anyone who is that happy and contented, Mr. Nixon is your man. [Response from the audience.] But anyone who takes the view that I take, that our prestige is not as high as it must be, that this powerful country of ours must be more powerful, that this strong country of ours must be stronger - anyone who takes the view that freedom is not secure, that this country is not secure unless we are building a strong and vital society, I want their help. I want them to come with me. [Applause.]

I represent the only national party in the United States, a party stretching from Arizona to Massachusetts. I run with a running mate from the State of Texas. We stand in the tradition of the oldest political party in the United States. I come to a State which has a majority of Democrats and ask you, "What have the Republicans done for Arizona?" [Response from the audience.] What have the Republicans ever done for the Nation compared to the progress to which we are committed, the kind of progress which Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt provided in their time which makes it possible now for Arizona to prosper? [Response from the audience and applause.]

Barry, this election is not in the bag in Arizona or in the Nation. Your chances in 1964 may still come because we are going to retire Mr. Nixon to the beauties of California. [Applause.]

If I am elected President of the United States November 8, I am committed to progress and to a stronger America, strengthening this country here at home, to providing a vital society here in the United States and a society which speaks with vigor around the world. I don't care how many polls taken of our prestige in the world, which show that it is dropping, which are hidden by the Government in the State Department, all of us citizens of this country who read the papers, we know the facts of life. We know that this country is not doing what it must do. We know that we no longer hold the position in the world as strong as we once did.

Yesterday the papers carried a poll which had been taken out by someone and released to the press, which showed that by 1970 a majority of people in the world thought the Soviet Union would be stronger than we were. Do you realize 30 years ago or 40 years ago the Soviet Union was the most backward country in Europe? What is happening to the United States that people around the world begin to believe that the way of the future is not freedom, is not us, but is our adversary? I don't want that. I want Mr. Khrushchev to know that a new generation of Americans has taken over in the United States, a generation of Americans committed to strength and progress and vigor, one that will speak for freedom as well as for America, and I ask your help. [Applause.]

You make a choice not merely between Mr. Nixon and myself, and not merely between our two parties, but you make a choice between two philosophies. One that looks to the present and the past, and wishes to return in some in some cases to that happy past, and one that believes that in the deadly days of 1960 we must look forward, as a people individually, as States, and as a nation. This State of Arizona depends upon the wise development of your natural resources, of the effective use of water. We have dams all around the United States, built as memorials to the efforts of Franklin Roosevelt and others. We have three words that are the memorials to this Republican administration: "No new starts." And how long will Arizona last with no new starts? [Applause.] How much water are you using than is going back into the ground? How long can Arizona live off the resources built up over hundreds of thousands of years? How long before Arizona comes face to face with the reality of the fact that we are not doing enough today? This State is going to grow and grow. The Western united States is going to have four times as many as the United States as a whole. By the year 2000, we are going to have twice as many people in this country as we do today. Where are they going to live? We will have three or four times as many in this State. And yet this administration in the critical years of the 1950's, carried on a policy which gutted our hopes for developing the orderly resources of the Western United States.

I come from Massachusetts, but it is a source of pride to me that the two Americans in this century who did more to develop the resources of the West both came from New York, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt. [Applause.] And it is an interesting fact that an administration headed by two westerners, one born in Texas, the other in California, did the least. [Applause.]

Now, Mr. Nixon - we brought him along. He is making progress. I will agree with that. In the last month he has taken more progressive, forward-looking stands than he has taken in the last 14 years, and I am glad of that. [Laughter and applause.] But the Bible tells us, "By their fruits you shall know them." In 1951, Mr. Nixon himself voted to kill the Southwestern Power Administration, which supplies power for the REA co-ops. It was Mr. Nixon himself in 1951, before he saw the bright view of the frontiers of America, who voted to kill the central Arizona project. It was Nixon himself in 1952 who voted to eliminate funds for road construction to schools and reservations on the Arizona Indian reservations. This record is clear, and I don't think anyone in the State of Arizona can go to the polls on Tuesday, November 8, and come to any conclusion but that the differences are sharp. The Republican Party and Mr. Nixon have opposed progress for 25 years. I don't know of a single project in the last 25 years [passing plane]. Dick? See you later in New Mexico. [Laughter.]

I don't know of a single project - all the people are down here, Dick. [Laughter.] We don't want Barry to leave yet. Stay here, Barry. Fight it out. [Laughter and applause.]

Let me make it clear that the kind of thing, in conclusion, that I think Arizona has to recognize is that we live in the most changing time in the life of our country. In the 1952 campaign, there was no discussion of two issues which have become important in the fifties. One was outer space, and one was the development of fresh water from salt water. This administration has failed in both of those areas, and they may well mean, these two areas, outer space, and the securing of enough water from the ocean to make our lands green, may well mean more blessings to our people than anything done in this century.

This is the kind of change that is coming upon us. Africa, Latin America, Asia - all are changing. The world is changing around us. n 1952, there were very few independent countries in Africa. Today, 25 percent of all the countries in the United Nations are African. There were 16 new nations admitted to the United Nations this summer. Do you know how many voted with us on the admission of Red China? Zero. Do you know the Soviet Union has 10 times as many broadcasts in Spanish to Latin America as we do? Do you know that the United States now is fourth in radio broadcasts? Russia first, Peiping second - do you know who is third? Radio Cairo. We are fourth. Do you know we brought more foreign students to the United States 10 years ago by the Government than we do today? Do you know in Western Germany in 1957 we had more people stationed in our embassies than in all of Africa? We live in a changing time. We cannot sit still. We cannot look back. We cannot just stay as we are. We have to recognize that we are face to face with a dangerous adversary that is determined to destroy us and freedom, and unless we are prepared to move, unless we are prepared to lead, unless we are prepared to build a strong and vital country here in the United States, then our hopes for freedom in our generation will begin to fade. The balance of power stands like this: If India should fall, if Africa should fall, if more Castros should develop in Latin America, what happens to the United States? What happens to Arizona? What happens to our security? That is the issue of our times. Can we demonstrate that a free society can move ahead, that it can speak with power, that it can develop its resources, that it can provide individual employment for its people, that it can educate its children, that it can provide security for its older citizens? These are the things that we must do, and I believe they can be best done by the Democratic Party. I ask your help in picking this country up. [Applause.] I ask your help in picking this country of ours up and moving it into the sixties. Thank you. [Applause.]

John F. Kennedy, Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Street Rally, Phoenix, AZ Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives