It’s the Economy, Stupid: 23 Memorable Debate Moments

1960: John F. Kennedy

United Press International / Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
United Press International / Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

In the first Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debate on Sept. 26, 1960, John F. Kennedy said this about the economy at the time: “I think the question before the American people is: Are we doing as much as we can do? Are we as strong as we should be? Are we as strong as we must be if we’re going to maintain our independence, and if we’re going to maintain and hold out the hand of friendship to those who look to us for assistance, to those who look to us for survival? I should make it very clear that I do not think we’re doing enough, that I am not satisfied as an American with the progress that we’re making. This is a great country, but I think it could be a greater country; and this is a powerful country, but I think it could be a more powerful country. I’m not satisfied to have fifty percent of our steel-mill capacity unused. I’m not satisfied when the United States had last year the lowest rate of economic growth of any major industrialized society in the world. Because economic growth means strength and vitality, it means we’re able to sustain our defenses; it means we’re able to meet our commitments abroad.”

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