Speech source: Papers of John F. Kennedy. Pre-Presidential Papers. Senate Files. Series 12.1. Speech Files, 1953-1960. Box 910, Folder: "Bangor, Maine, 2 September 1960"
My friend and Colleague, Ed Muskie; my friend and your next governor, Frank Coffin; Lucia Cormier, Dave Roberts, John Donovan, ladies and gentlemen:
I came here to Maine to start this campaigning in my own backyard. I do so not merely because I live in Massachusetts. I do so because here in this part of the United States we have in a very real sense the same feeling of a new frontier that I talked about in Los Angeles when I accepted the Democratic nomination. And I am here also because we have in this State, I think, a singular opportunity to send some distinguished people to hold positions of responsibility in the government of this state and nation in the next four years.
I must say I don't come here and speak for them just because they are Democrats. I think in this election the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are means to an end, not an end in themselves. They are a means of providing gifted men and women for the service of this country in a difficult and dangerous time.
I think that Lucia Cormier, Frank Coffin, Dave Roberts and John Donovan follow in the tradition of Ed Muskie, who was chosen by a state which had been Republican, not because he was a Democrat but because they thought that he was the kind of a man that they wanted to speak for them in this state and in the nation. And what is true of Ed Muskie is true of Frank Coffin, it is true of Lucia Cormier, it is true of Dave Roberts, and it is true of John Donovan. Adversity brings out the best in a man and in a country. And it brings out the best in a political party.
The reason that the Democrats of this state have selected unusual people is because it isn't easy. Now, the challenges that face this country aren't easy. But because it isn't easy, I think it is going to get the best from us.
I run for the office of the Presidency because I believe, because I know, that this is the great office in the gift of the United States and, really, the great office in the gift of the free people of the world. We represent not only ourselves. The President of the United States represents not only the Democrats of the country. He represents all of the people around the world who want to live in freedom, who look to us for hope and leadership.
I must say that if I am elected President of the United States, I am not going to attempt only to select men for positions of high leadership who happen to have the word democrat after their name.
When Franklin Roosevelt became President in 1932 he selected three Republicans to be members of his first Cabinet. When President Truman was the President, he selected men like John McCloy, Robert Lovett. He continued men like James Forrestal. He brought John Foster Dulles into the State Department to negotiate the Japanese Treaty. He secured for the great positions of responsibility the best men and women he could get.
This is what we are going to do in the future.