Speech source: Papers of John F. Kennedy. Pre-Presidential Papers. Senate Files. Series 12.1. Speech Files, 1953-1960. Box 911, Folder: "Remarks via Telephone, Asheville, North Carolina, 17 September 1960".
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I am grateful for my generous introduction of my friend and colleague in the Senate, Senator Jordan. I am here today, unfortunately not there, with Terry Sanford, your candidate for Governor, and who is, I believe, going to be the kind of leader in this state which we hope to try to be in the United States as a whole, and with Governor Luther Hodges and Senator Ervin. I am particularly sorry not to have a chance to visit your part of North Carolina, and I do hope that before the campaign is over, we will have a chance to come back again.
The western part of North Carolina has been, through the history of your state, the great frontier area, which is now opening up, which is now developing its own industry, which is developing the resources of the western part of the state, and, therefore, becoming one of the most productive and fastest growing parts of the South.
I run today as a candidate for the Democratic Party for the Presidency of the United States. As the candidate for the Presidency, I stand in succession to a good many distinguished Democrats who have served this country well, in times of crisis, have strengthened the economy of our country, and built us a position of respect around the world. I refer particularly to three Presidents in this century, Woodrow Wilson, the Apostle of the New Freedom; Franklin D. Roosevelt, with the New Deal, which meant so much to the country and which helped rebuild the economy of the South, and Harry Truman and the Fair Deal.
I think we stand on the threshold of a new burst of energy for our country, which will strengthen our economy and also make us second to none around the world. That is our ambition as Americans, to see our country prosper, to see it live at peace, to see the kind of freedom which we have developed in this country become a path for people all around the globe.
My own feeling is that we cannot possibly be strong around the world, we cannot possibly be secure, unless we are moving ahead here at home. You cannot stand still in the United States and lead in Latin America. You cannot be a source of inspiration to the people of Latin America and Asia unless you are meeting and solving your own problems in your own country, providing full employment, using your resources well, making full use of the talent of your people, developing a strong and vigorous educational system, and matching in every way and surpassing the accomplishments of any other country.
I think the great responsibility for us as Americans is to realize that if we fail, if we don't measure up to our potential, we not only betray our great system, but we also betray the cause of freedom, because if we fail, the cause of freedom fails. If we succeed, the cause of freedom succeeds. Therefore, I run for the Presidency not promising that if I am elected life will be easy, but promising that if I am elected this country will maintain its position, develop its resources and begin to move again.
A strong America second to none is our object, secure and respected overseas, and vital and energetic here at home. I ask your help in this campaign. It would be difficult to win this election without the support of North Carolina, and states like it. I think together North Carolina, which has played such a great role in the developing of our party in the past -- I think we can all begin to move ahead. Thank you for the chance to be with you by telephone, and I hope it will be possible to be with you in person before the next six weeks have passed. Many thanks, indeed.