ILGWU NETWORK: SHOW OF NOVEMBER 2, 1960
Tallulah Bankhead and John F. Kennedy
ANNOUNCER. Stand by for the presidential candidate, John F. Kennedy, and from New York, Tallulah Bankhead, in a program presented by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, 1960 Campaign Committee.
This is the fifth transcribed program in a series of broadcasts presented by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, 1960 Campaign Committee. The campaign committee is a voluntary organization, financed by voluntary contributions from members of the ILGWU in 277 cities and 38 States. During the series we've heard from Adlai Stevenson, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, George Meany, Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Henry Fonda, Melvin Douglas, Steve Allen, and Helen Gahagan Douglas telling you why they too are voting for Kennedy and Johnson.
And now the lady of the theater whose grandfather, father, and uncle all served as great statesmen in the Congress of the United States. Miss Tallulah Bankhead.
BANKHEAD. This is Tallulah Bankhead, ladies and gentlemen. I am an actress - momentarily unemployed along with the 5 million other Americans. I am a southerner, I am a Protestant, and I am a Democrat with a capital D. I am here to introduce John F. Kennedy, Senator from Massachusetts, who as of January 20 will be a resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. That's the White House, darlings. That's where Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman lived - for 20 years - 20 years in which the United States had the respect of the world.
But before I present John Kennedy, I would like to say a few words about his confused and doomed opponent, Mr. Nixon, who thinks everything is just duck, despite the affronts we have suffered in Japan and South America, at the United Nations, and the ill-fated summit conference in Paris. What are Mr. Nixon's qualifications for the highest office in the land? He boasts of the way he handled Khrushchev in that Moscow kitchen in July of 1959. Do you remember his reply when Khrushchev crowed of Russia's superiority in rockets and outer space? Oh, it was a dilly. "Russia might top us in rockets and satellites," he shouted, "but in color television it ran a poor second to the United States" - well, plays with dialog like that close after 4 days in New Haven.
I have a suspicion which I think you share, that our survival does not rest on color TV. Mr. Nixon is a slippery type and, on the eve of the Republican Convention in Chicago last summer, he shocked rightwing Republicans by reversing his position on a half dozen vital issues. It developed he had the courage of Nelson Rockefeller's convictions. I like more reliable types - types not so easily swayed in the pursuit of votes.
I agree with Adlai Stevenson's verdict on Mr. Nixon. In a recent speech to theater people in New York, Governor Stevenson, after applauding Senator Kennedy for his courage and candor, and his ability to face reality, had this to say of his shifty opponent, and I quote:
Mr. Nixon can stand for something and back away from it, on successive days - even in successive speeches, even in the same speech, even in the same sentence.
Never has a candidate straddled so many issues. He is firm only in his support of mother love and his dog, Checkers, and the conviction that anyone who disagrees with him is a subversive, eager to sell the United States down the river. In his first debate with Senator Kennedy, Nixon waged bloodthirsty talking about Quemoy and Matsu, two islands within the sight of the Chinese mainland, neither of which I have ever played. In his second encounter with Senator Kennedy, he backed down on Quemoy and Matsu, on learning that President Eisenhower and our top military experts and all our allies felt a war over these islands would be an insane adventure.
Given the opportunity to debate Senator Kennedy a fifth time, Mr. Nixon took a powder. After a lot of doubletalk, he came up with this alibi: he wouldn't face Senator Kennedy again, he said, unless the Senator apologized. Apologized for what? For saying that Nixon was trying to avoid another meeting? That's what. Senator Kennedy, who agreed to face Nixon anywhere, anytime, quite properly said that he didn't propose to drag his panicky opponent before a microphone. I think Nixon was sound in duffing a fifth encounter with Senator Kennedy. One more debate and he might blow Vermont and both the Dakotas.
In that desperation, the Republicans have harped on Senator Kennedy's age, and his religious faith. They will be well advised to take another look at history. Senator Kennedy is 43 - remember Christopher Columbus, the 41-year-old Catholic who discovered America in 1492? If it wasn't for Christopher, next Tuesday's election might be academic. John F. Kennedy, of Massachusetts, will make a great President. His qualifications for the Presidency are best expressed, I think, by Walter Lippmann, writing in the New York Herald Tribune, newspaper mouthpiece of the Republican Party. Wrote Mr. Lippmann, and I quote:
In the Quemoy-Matsu affair, Mr. Nixon has exhibited a lack of knowledge of the facts of the great question of war and peace about which he is supposed to have firsthand knowledge. This is most significant because it reveals such a weak, infirm, inaccurate grasp of a great issue.
And Mr. Lippmann continues:
The contrast of Mr. Kennedy has been very sharp. It has been truly impressive to see the precision of Mr. Kennedy's mind, his immense command of the facts, his instinct for the crucial point, his singular lack of demagoguery, and sloganeering, his ability and steadfastness of his nerves, and his coolness and courage, and through it all have transpired the recognizable marks of a man, who besides being highly trained, is a natural leader, organizer, and ruler of men.
Hear! Hear! Mr. Lippmann.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinguished honor to present to you, John F. Kennedy, who by midnight Tuesday will be acclaimed as the next President of these United States.
KENNEDY. Miss Bankhead, Dave Dubinsky, ladies and gentlemen. I come here to ask you to join me in the great task which lies before the American people. And that is the task of responsibility, of rebuilding the strength, vitality and energy of the great Republic of the United States. The effort to which I summon you will not be easy, but I believe with your help, and the help of all Americans, we will find that our real greatness and our finest years lie ahead in the 1960's.
My campaign for the Presidency is founded on a single assumption - the assumption that the American people are tired of the drift in our national course; that they are weary of the continual decline in our national prestige, a decline which has led to economic injustice at home, and peril abroad, and that they are ready to move again. This is the central issue in this campaign: the willingness of the American people to accept the great challenges which now confront them, and to rise to those challenges with effort and dedication.
I believe that the American people will do this. Our parties - the Republicans and Democrats - are like two rivers which flow back through our history, and you can judge the force, the power, and the direction of those rivers by studying where they rose, where they flow, and what they mean. There is no better guide to the history of our two political parties than to study their campaign slogans in the 20th century.
The Republicans: "Stand pat," with McKinley. "Keep cool," with Coolidge. "Return to normalcy," with Harding. "A chicken in every pot," with Hoover. "Repeal social security," with Alf Landon. "Time for a change," with Dewey. "You never had it so good," with Nixon. These are the weakest and least constructive slogans in the history of American political action.
Contrast those slogans with the slogans which we Democrats are proud of: Woodrow Wilson's "New Freedom." Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal." Harry Truman's "Fair Deal." And now, I stand and ask you to join me on the "New Frontier."
The history of my party the Democratic Party, is founded in progress. Franklin Roosevelt put it to us in 1936 when before a hundred thousand people in Franklin Field, Philadelphia, he accepted his second presidential nomination. And in that speech he said:
Governments can err. Presidents do make mistakes. But the immortal Dante tells us that divine justice weighs the sins of the coldblooded, and the sins of the warmhearted in a different scale. Better the occasional faults of a government living in the spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.
I think in the last 8 years we have had a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. I think it's time that the Democratic Party reassert the national vigor and vitality. As long as there are 15 million Americans who live in substandard housing, 5 million American families who lack plumbing of any kind, who live in our cities, as long as there are 16 million of our older citizens who receive an average social security check of less than $72 a month, as long as there are millions of Americans who lack the protection of even an inadequate minimum wage of a dollar, as long as there are millions of Americans who lack the opportunity to work, as long as there are nearly 5 to 6 million Americans who receive every month a surplus food package from the Government to live on - which amounts to 5 cents a day - so long is there need for action. So long is there need for us to move forward.
I think with the help of the American people, we can move this country forward. We can provide jobs for our people, education for our children, medical care for our aged tied to social security, a fair opportunity for all Americans to develop their talents. This is our function - this is our responsibility: to build here in the United States, a society which is a shining ornament to freedom; to hold out our helping hand to all those who wish to be free around the world; to stand for peace; to stand firm; to stand for action - to move again.
These are the things for which we stand. I ask your support in this campaign. I ask you to join me in moving America forward. Thank you.
ANNOUNCER. Thank you, Senator Kennedy.
ANNOUNCER. Make your vote count in this election. For security, for you, for your family, for your country. Vote for Kennedy and Johnson, for the $1.25 minimum wage, for medical care for the a fed under the social security, and for Federal aid to education - elect Kennedy and Johnson.
ANNOUNCER. The preceding, transcribed political broadcast was sponsored by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union,1960 Campaign Committee.