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.
Ladies and gentlemen, will you put those signs down, please, so others can see? I appreciate them all.
First of all, I would like to have you meet my three sisters, who are campaigning with me. In the last 2 months they have traveled in about 40 states and in the last year they have been in all 55. (Laughter.) Well, it seems like 55. I want you to meet – we will, go from the oldest to the youngest. My sister, Jean Smith. (Applause.) My sister – she is from New York – my sister, Eunice Shriver, from Illinois. (Applause.) My sister, Patricia Lawford, from California. (Applause.) Somebody asked her last week – somebody asked my sister, Patricia, when she was in Defiance, Ohio, last week if I was her kid brother, so she knew it was time this campaign came to an end. (Laughter.)
I am delighted to come to New Hampshire, for three or four reasons. In the first place – I am glad to come to New Hampshire for three or four reasons. First, because this campaign for the Presidency of the United States started in New Hampshire, last winter, and the success that we had in the primary in this state last March made it possible to go on to be nominated, and I therefore think it appropriate to end up this campaign in this city, in this State, the night before election. (Applause.)
Secondly, I am glad to be here because I particularly am proud to be running in company with distinguished Democrats from the State of New Hampshire. (Applause.) There is an old axiom that adversity brings out the best. This state has not been overwhelmingly Democratic, and because the adversity has dealt hard blows to the Democrate in this State, you have chosen the best possible candidates, and I am delighted and proud to be running with them. (Applause.) I hope this state will have the good judgment, for its own future, to elect Bernard Boutin, your next Governor of the State of New Hampshire. (Applause.)
I cannot believe that the people of this State, given the two very clear choices that they have, will do anything but elect him by a large majority. (Applause.)
Secondly, we are fortunate in the Democratic candidate for the office of U.S. Senator. I think Professor Hill will make a fine Senator, and I hope it is possible that here in New Hampshire they select him to represent them in Washington. (Applause.)
You will bring about several welcome changes.
Thirdly, we have a chance to elect as Congressman from this district, an old and valued friend of mine, Romeo Champagne, the next Congressman from this district. (Applause.) And from the neighboring congressional district, we have a chance to elect Stewart Nimms, as the next Congressman from this district. (Applause.)
Now there are good candidates. I don’t know any State in the Union where the candidates have more nearly met the needs of the time, Bernard Boutin, Professor Hill, Romeo Champagne, Stewart Nimms. I hope it is possible for you to elect them all. (Applause.)
I think there are two or three other reasons why I would like to do well in New Hampshire. I would like to have the Union Leader print a headline that we carried New Hampshire. (Applause.) I believe there is probably a more irresponsible newspaper in the United States, but I can’t think of it. (Applause.) I believe that there is a publisher who has less regard for the truth than William Loeb, but I can’t think of a name. (Applause.) And when you put that combination together and you put handpicked candidates on the Republican ticket being managed and directed – the affairs of this state – by a man who lives not in New Hampshire, I think in Massachusetts, my own state, who does not even live in this state, and tries to run a political party, I think it is time we threw them all out. (Applause; response from the audience.)
Tell them again?
It seems that every time I come to New Hampshire and I read an editorial in the paper, I have to again deny that I am a member of the Communist Party. (Applause.) Only William Loeb and his henchmen (Applause) and his pet Governor would suggest it last winter, and others connected with him would suggest it in the fall.
New Hampshire is a great state with a long tradition. The last Democratic Governor from New England came from New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce, in 1852, and I think it is time we elected another one from New England. (Applause.)
So look what we have at stake tomorrow. Look at all the chances to enjoy ourselves tomorrow. We can elect a good Governor, a good Senator, two good Congressmen. We can defeat a Governor, and some Congressman, and, finally, we can throw it all in the lap of William Loeb and wrap it up. (Applause.)
We don’t get pleasure like that very often. You have a chance given to you that not many people in the United States are given. With one ballot you can do this, and I come here and ask your help in doing it tomorrow. I think it would be the best thing. (Applause.) I think it would be the best thing. I think it would be the best thing. I like a country and a state where the politicians are not the bosses, where the editors are not the bosses, where the publishers are not the bosses, but where the people are; and I think we have a chance to show it tomorrow. (Applause.)
I cannot imagine in the long run a more healthy thing for this State than to have a change, than to permit responsible, progressive and honest Democrats to assume responsibility for this state, to end this know-nothing movement which has dominated too long the affairs of New Hampshire, and give this state a chance to move ahead. (Applause.)
In addition, I come here and ask your support in this campaign for the Presidency. I see no reason why we should journey 3,000 miles to Whittier, Calif., when there is one living in a State 35 miles from here, who comes here and asks your help. (Applause.)
The point of the matter, however, I am not coming here as a neighbor asking your vote. I am coming here as a Democrat who is concerned about the future of our country. This state of New Hampshire is an old State and so is Massachusetts. I have traveled in every state in the Union in the last few months. Our area of the country has none of the natural resources which have brought prosperity to other sections of our country. We have no oil, no gas, no minerals. We have no great reaches of land, we have no great space, we have no great waterpower. Our resources are the skilled people who are devote to their country and their state, who are progressive, who want the best educational system for their children, who recognize that if New Hampshire and Massachusetts and Maine and Vermont and Connecticut, and Rhode Island are going to move ahead, it will require us to have the best trained people coming out of the best schools, using whatever natural resources we have, clean water, transportation, and all the rest, and the advantages of atomic energy. We have in the future promised, as we have in the past, but it will require the best that we have. We can’t afford to waste anything. We don’t have the resources and the riches that other sections do have, but we have people who are determined to make a go of their life in this state and region. I believe that New England, the oldest section of the United States, the first section of our country, also can be the first section in the future. It can still blaze a trail. Many opportunities lie before us, but New Hampshire and New England cannot move ahead unless the Nation, itself, is moving ahead. Everything that we make here, which we sell throughout the country, depends upon a rising economy. There is an old saying of the New England Council, a rising tide lifts all the boats, and I believe that the boats of New Hampshire can only be raised when the boats are being raised in the rest of the country, so that markets can be developed for our goods, so that ranges and other sections of the United States will equal ours, so that the country and us can move together. That is the prospect in my judgment which the Democratic Party offers in 1960, as the only national party committed to progress.
Mr. Nixon represents a party which has opposed progress for 25 years, since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. (Applause.) On television this afternoon he repeated one of the oldest, tiredest stories of the Republicans, that $1.25 minimum wage would cause massive unemployment. That is the same old story that they used to tell in the Thirties when the Democrats and Franklin Roosevelt first wrote in a minimum wage of 25 cents an hour. That was going to ruin business (Response from the audience), $1.25 an hour, $50 a week, for a business which does $1 million, and it can’t be until 1963, and that is going to ruin, that is going to cause starvation. I want to see Mr. Nixon or any Republican, in or out of this place we are now, live on less than $50 a week. (Response from the audience.) He represents a party which totally opposed the social security 25 years ago, and only one Senator in the entire U.S. Senate this summer voted for medical care for the aged tied to social security. Do you know the bill that is now written into law? If you support your parents, or if you are parents who are supporting yourselves, before you can get any assistance, you have to indicate that you are medically indigent. That means your savings, those of your family, go, and then you can get some assistance. What we propose is that all who work contribute under social security less than 3 cents a day in their working years, and when they retire, they will have rights. Now which is the most responsible, which is the most progressive? I must say, the more I look at that sorry record that the Republicans have written in this century, the more convinced I am than ever if this country is going to move ahead in education, in employment, in security, in agriculture, in developing our natural resources, the Democratic Party represents the hope of the future. (Applause.) And we will never be strong in the world, we will never be respected, unless we are strong here in the United States.
So I come full circle to where I began, and the weather is beginning to get cold again. Way back in January I came to Manchester seeking your support in the primary, and now in the closing hours of this long campaign which has stretched almost over a year, I come to Manchester and the State of New Hampshire and ask your support once again. And I can give you my assurance that if we are successful tomorrow, we will move New Hampshire and the country forward, and if I am unsuccessful tomorrow, I will continue to labor for the best interests of Massachusetts, New England, and the United States. But I believe tomorrow is our opportunity. Tomorrow I believe the people of this country will choose to meet their obligations as citizens, and among them and in the lead will be the great state of New Hampshire. (Applause.)