This is a transcription of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A copy of the text of this speech exists in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers here at the John F. Kennedy Library.
Senator Randolph, Senator Byrd, your next governor, Wally Barron, Governor Lawrence, Senator Clark, members of the Congress, ladies and gentlemen: I not only know where West Virginia is, but I am the only Presidential candidate, I think, since 1924, when a West Virginian ran for the Presidency who knows where Slab Fork is and has been there. (Laughter and applause)
I said during the primaries that if I won in West Virginia, I could win the nomination, and there isn’t any doubt here that our success here in this primary and the generous support given by the people of West Virginia on that occasion made it possible for us to go to the convention in a position of strength. So I want to express my appreciation to you, and I want to thank you for helping out the Democratic Party in the way that you are.
It would be nice to run this campaign on good will and wishes, but this is what makes the mare go. You don’t want Wally Barron or Jennings or any of the candidates to be stuck around the state, or our Presidential campaign to run out of gas in Billings, Montana, or some other western point. President Truman told me the other night that his campaign train ran out of funds three times in 1948 and they had to come and get him. (Laughter) We are trying to keep going.
We are in shape for the next week or ten days, but we have to have some help. So I want to express my appreciation to you. I know you have a good many other problems and responsibilities, but this kind of assistance you are giving us is the kind of assistance that will permit us to carry our message through this state and through the United States. We have many obstacles, many responsibilities in this campaign, but I do feel, after having been on the road now for more than two weeks, I do feel that if we can keep this campaign moving for the next six weeks, if we can keep the campaign presented to the American people, if we can go on radio and television, if we can do all the things that need to be done to get our message across, I think in 1960 the people of this state and the people of this country are going to choose to move forward with the Democratic Party once again. (Applause) I think you are all coming to the auditorium where we are going to go through a lot of this again. I did want to come down today specially to thank you, because this is the kind of thing which makes it possible for us to carry this campaign and I am most appreciative. Thank you. (Applause)