Today in NC State History: A candidate named Kennedy
Democrat John F. Kennedy won a close election against Republican Richard Nixon in 1960 to become the 35th president of the United States. And during campaign season that fall on his way to the White House, Kennedy visited NC State.
On this day in 1960, Kennedy came to Reynolds Coliseum to outline a four-point program the nation could expect if he was elected.
Kennedy spelled out a plan to strengthen America. He proposed we re-establish America’s economic power at home. He said we could leapfrog Soviet advances in all fields by maintaining “a strong and vital educational system.” He advocated for a stronger military, saying, “the second best defense is as useless as the second best poker hand.” And Kennedy said the United States needed to make foreign policy a more prominent focus.
Kennedy also took questions from the crowd of 10,000. Terry Sanford, then a candidate for governor of North Carolina, posed the first question of the night, asking Kennedy what we could do about “the sinking prestige of America in the world.”
A young woman asked how the United States could prevent nuclear warfare, to which Kennedy answered with an “increased production of missiles.” And Kennedy said he could not support Jimmy Hoffa’s continued leadership of the Teamsters union.
Kennedy was killed during his term three years later in November 1963 in Dallas, Texas.