In the 1960 election, JFK turned one of his biggest obstacles into an asset. Kennedy was not the first Catholic to run for the presidency, but was the first to win. Even though Catholics were the largest denomination in America, Americans still held reservations about the influence of the Pope. Kennedy turned his religion into a referendum on religious freedom and tolerance. He also gave a speech where he said, as to matters of the state, he would never bow to pressure from the Pope. He knew he would lose some southern voters, but figured correctly that he would pick votes up among northern blue-collar workers.