November 5, 1960
JFK TELLS NEW YORKERS WHAT KIND OF PRESIDENT HE WILL BE
New York City (JFK+50) Senator John F. Kennedy, speaking to a crowd of supporters at the New York Coliseum this evening, said he wants to be a President of the United States known "as one who not only held back the Communist tide but advanced the cause of freedom & built American prestige."
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With Election Day just 3 days away, the Democratic Party's nominee continued:
"I want to be a President who has the confidence of the people & who takes the people into his confidence....who lets them know what he is doing & where we are going...
I hope to set before the people our unfinished agenda.
I want to be a President who acts as well as reacts...
A President who is...willing to take the responsibility for getting things done & take the blame if they are not done right.
We are promising you 1000 days of exacting presidential leadership.
Senator Kennedy, who will, if elected, be the 1st president born in the 20th Century, continued...
"I saw the British deceive themselves before WWII as Winston Churchill tried in vain to awaken them...If we sleep too long in the 1960s, Mr. Khrushchev will 'bury' us.
Above all, I believe in a president who believes in the national interest--who takes no instructions but those of his conscience.
If I should be successful next Tuesday, I want to be that kind of President."
John F. Kennedy often quoted the lines from Robert Frost's poem "I have promises to keep, but miles to go before I sleep." If the promises JFK made in this speech made 3 days before his election are judged against the record of the 1039 days of the "New Frontier," we can safely say that he kept his promises.
Although the advice he was given was wrong, President Kennedy took full responsibility for the failure at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. He held back the Communist tide in Berlin & built American prestige as a result of his handling of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
Despite being elected by a narrow margin, JFK gained the confidence of the great majority of the American people & set the goal of sending a man to the moon & returning him safely to earth.
While many of his legislative proposals were stalled in Congress during his tenure as President, most of them passed during the term of his successor, as we believe they would have had he lived & been elected to a 2nd term.