This is a transcript of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A copy of the speech, which appears to be a verbatim transcript, exists in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers at the John F. Kennedy Library.
Your present Congressman and I know your next Congressman, Ken Gray, your present Senator and I know your next United States Senator, your next Governor, ladies and gentlemen: In 1948, Paul Powell carried Truman by the hand and led him into Southern Illinois, to the Promised Land, because this is the place, in this state, at the same time of year, that Harry Truman's campaign began to catch fire, and it was in these days that he led to blaze the trail that led to victory in November.
We have followed the same road, after a Democratic dinner in St. Louis last night which President Truman attended. He said last night, and I say this afternoon, that when Mr. Nixon last Thursday night in Boston said I was another Truman, I regarded it as a compliment. (Applause) And I returned it to him and said he was another Dewey, and he does not regard it as a compliment.
I come here today singing the same song that Woodrow Wilson sang in 1912, and that Franklin Roosevelt sang in 1932, and that Harry Truman sang in 1948, and that is that I have confidence in this country. I think its capacity is unfilled. I think it is a great country to which we owe much, and I am confident that in our day and generation in the 1960s we are going to serve our country, because we are going to build a stronger country and we are going to start this country moving ahead.
I come here today and ask your help in this campaign. I ask you to join us on a journey across the New Frontier. I ask you to join us in restoring Democratic leadership to this state and country. I ask you to join us in moving our country ahead. Thank you for coming to the airport. You have treated me as well as I have ever been treated in my life today, and I hope that Mr. Nixon is able to get his plane into this airport and others, because I want him to come down and see some real Democrats. (Applause) This is about the fourteenth speech I have made today, which is too many, I know, but we are going to Springfield because we are on statewide television at 9 o'clock. But I want you to really know that I appreciate your coming out here and saying goodbye to us. We will see you again. We will come back. Senator or President, we will come back. (Applause)