This is a transcription of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A single copy of the speech exists in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers here at the John F. Kennedy Library. The text appears to be a verbatim transcript of Kennedy's remarks on the occasion.
Senator Kennedy: Ladies and gentlemen, the first Presidential candidate to come here to Ann Arbor was Woodrow Wilson in 1912. Woodrow Wilson was not running on a platform of experience. The only place that he had learned to stand firm was as a college professor at Princeton University for a number of years.
The next Presidential candidate to come here was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. (Applause)
Three times during this century the Democratic Party has elected Presidents, one was Woodrow Wilson, No. 2 was Franklin Roosevelt, and No. 3 was President Truman in 1948. On many different occasions the other party has elected Presidents, Mr. McKinley, Mr. Harding, Mr. Coolidge. They ran Mr. Landon. They ran Mr. Dewey. And we come to 1960. I believe that parties are important. I believe that the kind of men that parties pick are important. I believe that the party label tells us something about the candidate, something about the things for which they stand, something of their political philosophy. And I stand here with some pride and satisfaction as the direct successor to the Democratic Presidents who in this century carried the banner of the New Freedom, the New Deal and the Fair Deal. (Applause)
In my judgment, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman were successful in their foreign policy because it fitted in exactly with what they were trying to do here in the United States; the 14 points of Woodrow Wilson were the international counterpart of the New Freedom; the Four Freedoms of Franklin Roosevelt were directly tied to the aspirations of the New Deal; and the Marshall Plan, NATO, the Truman Doctrine and Point IV were directly tied to the kind of America that President Truman was trying to build. You cannot run as a risk-taker abroad, as Mr. Nixon has said, and a conservative at home. There has to be a country moving here in the United States if we are going to be moving around the world. (Applause)
Now, let's see, where were we? (Laughter) Anyway, the point of the matter is that the United States in the 1960's is going to have to build a society with sufficient vigor, develop its resources with sufficient energy, provide a better life for our people with fair opportunity, with a sufficient sense of justice, if the United States is going to be in fact the leader of the free world.
What we are speaks far louder than what we say we are. (Applause) All of the Voice of America, all of the radio broadcasts, all of the books we send abroad, pale in significance to the kind of society that we are building here in the United States. The reason that Franklin Roosevelt was a good neighbor in Latin America was because he was a good neighbor here in the United States. Therefore, I come as the candidate for the Democratic Party. I come here asking you to join in building a stronger country, asking you to demonstrate, as we sit, in Edmund Burke's words, on a most conspicuous stage, in the most trying and difficult time in the history of the free world. I ask you to help in building here the kind of society which will serve as an example to those who wish to trod on freedom's road. I come here to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I ask your support.
Last Saturday Michigan beat Duke. (Applause) And I think on November 8, Michigan and the United States will beat Duke's favorite son and alumnus, Mr. Richard Nixon. (Applause). Thank you. (Applause)