This is a transcript of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A copy of the speech exists in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers at the John F. Kennedy Library.
Governor Meyner, your next Congresswoman, Mrs. Whitey, your next Congressman, Jerry Dodd, your next United States Senator, Thorn Lord, ladies and gentlemen: For six years I represented Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the House of Representatives. I would like to represent Middlesex County, New Jersey, in the White House. (Applause) Every four years, ever since Alf Landon ran as a Republican and got snowed under, The Republican candidates for President run on a plank that says it really doesn't matter which party wins, what matters is which candidate wins. I think it matters which candidate wins, but I think it also matters which party wins. Because the two parties stand for different things in different times. I drive to work every morning past the Archives Building in Washington, and on that building it says, "What is past is prologue." The past tells us something of the future and, it is a fact, though we all regret it, that since the administration of Franklin Roosevelt in 1933, the Republican Party has tried to block for the last 25 years every progressive piece of social legislation that we have tried to pass. You name it. Social Security - they voted against it. Minimum wage, housing, unemployment compensation, and in the last session of the Congress in August, when we brought up a bill for medical care for the aged, we received 45 Democrats and one Republican who supported it, and we were told it would be vetoed if it passed. I want to say right here that that bill must pass next year, and there will be a President, we hope, in the White House who will not veto it but encourage it. (Applause)
If anyone thinks that all the things that had to be done by the people of the United States working together, for the care of the aged, the education of our children, to provide full employment and decent housing and decent wages, if you feel that all the things that could be done have been done, then I agree with you it is not time for a change. But if you feel that this is a great country, but it could be greater, if you feel that our generation of Americans has, as Franklin Roosevelt said about his generation of Americans, that we, too, have a rendezvous with destiny, then I ask your help with this campaign. (Applause)
The point I want to make is that we cannot be strong abroad, that we cannot be respected, that we cannot stop the Communist advance, unless we are strong here at home, unless we are building a better country and a better society, where all Americans regardless of their race or religion, are citizens of the United States. (Applause)
The Democratic Party has been identified in this century as it has been throughout its history stretching back to Jefferson and Jackson, and in this century Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, Harry Truman's Fair Deal - they stood for a better America, and we stand today on the threshold of a New Frontier. (Applause)
I ask you to join with us in rebuilding the power of this country, in building a stronger America, a better life for our people, and also a day when the United States once again will be looked upon in Latin America and Africa and Asia as the friend of freedom, the way of the future, the hope of the future, the country with which they wish to be associated. Mr. Khrushchev and Mr. Castro may be confined to Manhattan Island next week, but they are not limited in their expansion in Latin America, and Africa and Asia. I think it is time that the United States started its forward move again. I think the future can belong not only to us, but to all those who believe in the cause of freedom. I ask your help in this campaign. I ask you to join us in making this country move again. Thank you. (Applause)