Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts officially announced his candidacy for President of the United States 55 years ago today, January 2, 1960.
The announcement was made in the Senate Caucus Room* of the Old Senate Office Building, now known as the Russell Senate Office Building, here in the Nation's Capital.
Senator Kennedy began...
"I am announcing today 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 our people."
At the time, JFK did not have a lock on winning the 1960 Democratic nomination. Jessica McElrath writes that at the time of his announcement Senator Kennedy placed fourth behind Lyndon B. Johnson, Adlai Stevenson and Stuart Symington in a poll of congressional Democrats.
She adds, however, that JFK was more popular with the rank and file Democrats having tied with Adlai Stevenson in that poll.
JFK continued his statement by saying...
"In the past 40 months I have toured every state and I have talked to Democrats in all walks of life (and) in the last 20 years I have traveled in nearly every continent and country.
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."
*The Senate Caucus Room was renamed the Kennedy Caucus Room in 2009 in honor of the 3 Kennedy brothers, John, Robert and Ted, who served in the Senate and announced their presidential candidacies from this room.
The KCR, described as "one of the grandest and most historic rooms" in Washington, is adorned with marble walls, a gilded ceiling and large crystal chandeliers.
The room, which was also the location of the Kefauver Crime Committee hearings, the Army-McCarthy hearings and the Senate Select Committee on Watergate hearings, was designed by John Carrere and Thomas Hastings and built between 1906 and 1909.
JFK's Senate office was located in Suite 362 (now 394) just down the hall from the Caucus Room. Senator Albert Gore, Jr. of Tennessee occupied that suite from 1985 to 1992 and it is now the office of Senator Robert Casey (D) Pennsylvania.
"Announcing Candidacy for President," by Jessica McElrath, www.netplaces.com/
"JFK's Echoes Still Heard in U.S. Senate," by John T. Shaw, November 20, 2013, www.huffingtonpost.com/