Speech source: Papers of John F. Kennedy. Pre-Presidential Papers. Senate Files. Series 12.1. Speech Files, 1953-1960. Box 912, Folder: "Anderson, Indiana, 5 October 1960"
SENATOR KENNEDY: Congressman Roush, Matt Welsh, who is going to be the next Governor of the State of Indiana (applause) and your present United States Senator, Vance Hartke (applause) Mr. Mayor, ladies and gentlemen: I want to express my great appreciation to all of you for your kindness in coming out and giving us a warm Hoosier welcome. I understand that this town suffered a misfortune this morning when the bank was robbed. I am confident that the Indianapolis Star will say that Democrats arrive and bank robbed. But we don't believe that. (Laughter)
We are here on a different mission. We are here on a mission to rebuild this state and country. I think this is a most important election, and I believe the people of Indiana should make a careful judgment as to which party and which candidate they should endorse in this state and country. It has been 24 years since Indiana voted Democratic in a national election, in Franklin Roosevelt's second term in 1936. Each Presidential year since then Indiana has voted Republican. But I must say that I think this year Indiana, which is participating as a part of the United States, must realize that at home and abroad this country is not realizing its full potential. Here in this state which has lost over 38,000 factory jobs in the last eight years, which has seen its agricultural income go steadily down, which sees corn now sell for 93 or 94 or 95 cents, and realizes that the bottom has not yet hit, I must say that any citizen of Indiana and any citizen of the United States should consider carefully this election. The kind of leadership which this country has, the kind of President which you elect, the kind of Congress which is nominated by one party or another, has a good deal to do with the prosperity of this city of Anderson, and the prosperity of the State of Indiana.
The kind of schools that you have, the kind of assistance which you have for the aged people of this country, the kind of agricultural program which stabilizes corn and hog and wheat prices, or permits them to go down, the kind of national defense, the kind of vigor with which the United States speaks in our relations abroad - all those are tied up in this presidential election.
My own judgment is that after eight years of the Republicans that the Democrats can begin to move this country ahead. I think this is an important election. (Applause) If there is any merchant in this town who thinks his business is good this fall, who looks to the future of 1961 with optimism, who thinks that agricultural prices are going to go up, who thinks that the tide is rising in Indiana and the nation, who believes that our position is more secure in the world than it was five years ago, who believes that the balance of power is moving in our direction rather than in the direction of our enemies, I believe they should vote for Mr. Nixon. But any citizen of this community and any citizen of Indiana who believes that the balance of power in the world is not moving in our direction, who is concerned about the rise of Castro in Cuba, and the spread of his power through all of Latin America, who is concerned that the nations of Africa are not following our road but one of neutrality and one of increasing friendship with the Communists, who believes that the economy of this country is moving at a slow rate, who sees that we are only using 50 per cent of our steel capacity, only 50 per cent - last week the Soviet Union out produced us in steel, though they have one half of the potential we do, because we are only using 54 per cent of our capacity.
Corn is down, steel mills are at 50 per cent, a recession in 1958, and already less than two years later, we find the economy in the fall which should be our best time moving at a slower rate of growth than it should. This state and this country is going to have to find 25,000 new jobs a week for the next ten years to maintain full employment. Here you have a General Motors plant and those of you who work there know that new machinery takes the place of men, and unless this country moves its economy at twice the rate it now is, you cannot maintain full employment in the United States. We have 4 million out of work and 3 million part time. And in the winter of 1961 and 1962, unless this country moves again, this state won't move. I don't care what happens in Indiana by itself - unless the rest of the country is going ahead. Who buys the products of General Motors? Not the citizens of Indiana but the citizens of the United States. Therefore, in this state, which for 24 years has sustained the Republicans, I think you should give us a chance. I think you should give us a chance to lead. (Applause)
I think the choice is between standing still and drifting, and moving ahead. The choice is between our meeting the unfinished business of our country and the cause of freedom around the world, or drifting along through the early Sixties, the most difficult and dangerous time in the life of our country. This district is fortunate to have a vigorous spokesman for its interests in the Congress, and Ed Roush speaks not only for this district, but for the United States. And Matt Welsh, I believe, can give leadership to this state as Governor of Indiana. In the final analysis what this district does and what this state does depends on what the United States is doing. Corn sells for the same price in Indiana as it does in Minnesota. Automobiles sell in Indiana and sell in Michigan and sell in Massachusetts. This country rises or falls based upon its economic growth, its economic vitality. And I come to Indiana facing a hard fight in this state, and I come here and ask your help in this campaign.
I ask your support, and I can assure you - (applause) - I can assure you that if we are successful we will begin to give this country the kind of leadership, which I think it needs, if it is not only to survive, but also to prevail. We will set before this country as Franklin Roosevelt did in the early Thirties, our unfinished business.
I want those of you who are ready to move, and to see this country realize its potential, to join us. We will give this country, I think, the chance to meet its historic destiny of being the great example of freedom at a time when freedom is under attack all over the globe.
The next ten years will see the balance of power begin to move in the world in one direction or another. I want it to move with us. Lincoln said 100 years ago that this nation cannot exist half slave and half free. I don't think the world will exist in the long run half slave and half free. Whether it moves in the direction of slavery, or whether it moves in the direction of freedom depends, in the final analysis, upon the citizens of the United States; it depends upon us. To do that, I think this country must move. This country must go forward again. This country must say, "Yes" to the Sixties. This country must move. Thank you. (Applause)