This is a transcript of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A single text of the 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, Governor Williams, Lt. Governor John Swainson, who will succeed Governor Williams and make an equally great Governor in the State of Michigan, my friend and colleague who sits next to me in the United States Senate, and advises me when I am in doubt, Senator McNamara (applause), and he is always right - Congressman O'Hara, who is the kind of young leader that this country needs, ladies and gentlemen: The Bible tells us that it rains on the just and the unjust alike. It is raining on Vice President Nixon today, and we don't mind the rain. We welcome it. We are ready to go to work. (Applause)
One of the reasons why I am glad to come to Michigan is because I am running with distinguished, vigorous, progressive Democrats. (Applause) One of the great things about being a Democrat is you don't have to do what Mr. Nixon does, who keeps saying that parties don't mean anything. He says, "I am not really a Republican, that is, I don't think I am." Until he goes down to Arizona, and Barry Goldwater takes him in the room and puts the rubber hose to him and finally he says, "Yes, I am a Republican." (Applause) But I am a Democrat every day of the year, and I run as a Democrat, and I run in the succession of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. (Applause) Mr. Nixon is the intellectual heir to McKinley, Dewey, Landon, Coolidge, Harding, Taft and the rest. (Applause) And I don't believe in 1960 the American people are going to turn over the destinies of this state and the destinies of the United States to a party and leader who stands still, who runs on a slogan, "We've never had it so good," and at a time when all over the state and all over the United States, and over the world the call is for action the call is for movement forward, the call is for progress.
On that basis I come here today in the rain and ask your help. (Applause) We have many opportunities before us in the 1960's and many responsibilities. One of the things we have to do is make our children the best educated children in the world. (Applause) Any time your child does not get a good education, by good, well paid competent teachers, he can never make it up. His chances of getting a good job are not as good as they would have been, his chances of living out his life in security is not as good as it would have been. That is why as Americans who are responsible for maintaining a free society we have to have the best educated citizens in the world. Do you know that 35 per cent of our brightest boys and girls who graduate from high school never see the inside of a college? We can't waste that talent. They might have been the best and most vigorous and intellectually advanced citizens we have, but they never got to college. Either they don't have the money or they have to go to work, or they haven't any opportunity. We want to have the kind of country where they do have the opportunity, where they do have the chance. And I believe it incumbent upon the state government, the community here, and this community has raised its property taxes again and again to maintain education, and the national government - they all have a responsibility.
When the Northwest Ordinance was signed at the end of the 18th Century, which involved Michigan, one out of every 16 acres was put aside for education. I believe in 1960 - (laughter) - I believe - it is going to be about 30 more seconds and then I will stop. (Response from the audience) I believe in 1960 we are going to have to provide scholarships for those young men and women, we are going to have to provide loans for them, loans for our colleges, well paid teachers and good constructed schools. That is what we are going to do. That is only one of the responsibilities we are going to meet in the 1960's. We are going to move this country. We are going to go ahead. We are going to move Michigan. We are going to provide jobs for our people and an opportunity for all of them to participate in our lives as a prosperous and growing country.
So on that basis, as one who looks to the future, as one who has the greatest confidence in this country, as one who believes that we can win this elect ion, I come and ask your help. Thank you. (Applause)