50 Years Ago – Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts Announces Candidacy for President of the United States

For Immediate Release: December 30, 2009
Further information: Rachel Day (617) 514-1662, rachel.day@jfklfoundation.org

Boston, MA – Saturday, January 2, 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy’s announcement of his candidacy for President of the United States. In a written statement to the press on January 2, 1960, Kennedy said:

I am today announcing my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States.

The Presidency is the most powerful office in the Free World. Through its leadership can come a more vital life for all of our people. In it are centered the hopes of the globe around us for freedom and a more secure life….

For 18 years, I have been in the service of the United States, first as a naval officer in the Pacific during World War II and for the past 14 years as a member of the Congress.  In the last 20 years, I have traveled in nearly every continent and country -- from Leningrad to Saigon, from Bucharest to Lima.  From all of this, I have developed an image of America as fulfilling a noble and historic role as the defender of freedom in a time of maximum peril -- and of the American people as confident, courageous and persevering.

It is with this image that I begin this campaign.

[Click here for a PDF of the January 2, 1960 press release and statement.]

[Click here for video footage of the announcement Kennedy made in the Senate Caucus Room.]

Appearing before the press in Washington, DC in the Senate Caucus Room (recently renamed the Kennedy Caucus Room in honor of Senators John, Robert and Edward Kennedy), Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy launched his presidential campaign with youthful energy and a pioneering vision that inspired a generation of Americans to ask what they can do for their country. To help mark the anniversary of this historic campaign, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library invites the public to learn first hand how John F. Kennedy’s quest for a New Frontier began.

Follow the Campaign on Twitter 
Join JFK on the campaign trail by following Kennedy1960 on Twitter. Culling from campaign schedules, press releases, diary entries and newspapers in the Kennedy Library Archives, the Kennedy1960 Twitter page allows internet users around the world to track the day-to-day campaign schedule of John F. Kennedy’s road to the White House.

Visit the Kennedy Library’s Campaign Trail Exhibit 
Visit the Museum at the Kennedy Presidential Library to experience sights and sounds from the campaign trail. A highlight of the Museum’s permanent exhibit, the Campaign Trail features:
• A special display of documents relating to the announcement of Senator John F. Kennedy’s candidacy for president, including a draft of his announcement and his January 2, 1960 statement;
• A recreation of the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles where on July 13, 1960, John F. Kennedy was nominated to be the 35th president of the United States;
• Footage of Kennedy and Nixon stump speeches, campaign songs, and television coverage;
• A reproduction of the Chicago television studio where the first debate took place with the actual audio control and television camera used by CBS affiliate WBBM-TV in 1960;
• The electoral map from the 1960 presidential race with video footage of Walter Cronkite’s election-night coverage;
• A video of President Kennedy’s entire Inaugural Address.

For more archival resources visit the Kennedy Library website’s “Campaign of 1960.”

Early in January, the Kennedy Presidential Library is scheduled to meet with local and statewide organizations to collaborate in planning for the celebration of 50th anniversary of the young Massachusetts Senator’s run for president, his November 8, 1960 election victory, and the thousand days of promise and new beginnings that followed.
By working together and sharing ideas on how to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s Administration, the Kennedy Library hopes to bring national and international attention and visitation to the state. It also seeks to remind the nation of the idealism and optimism of this youthful leader who inspired people to follow their conscience and to work for the benefit of their communities, their country, and their world.
The Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the exceptions of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Library is located in the Dorchester section of Boston, off Morrissey Boulevard, next to the campus of the University of Massachusetts/Boston. Parking is free. There is free shuttle-service from the JFK/UMass T Stop on the Red Line. The Museum is fully handicapped accessible. For more information, call (866) JFK-1960 or access www.jfklibrary.org on the Internet.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization.