Monday, October 29, 2012

Kennedy After Dark

This article has an excerpt from recorded conversations with the Kennedy's right after JFK announced his bed for the presidency:
On January 5, 1960, just three days after announcing that he would run for president, Senator John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, held a small dinner party in Washington, D.C. Their guests included Ben Bradlee, then Newsweek’s Washington bureau chief, and his then-wife, Tony, and Newsweek correspondent James M. Cannon. Cannon taped the conversation for research on a book he was writing. After he died, in September 2011, the tapes became part of the collection of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston; a transcript is published for the first time in the new book Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy, edited by Ted Widmer. In this exclusive excerpt, the candidate muses on the sources and purpose of power.

Here's a cool bit:
JFK: I didn’t really ever think I was going to run when I went there. I didn’t think I had much of a chance ever. When Stevenson asked me to nominate him. I thought I was out, this was a complete surprise to me, I really . . .

Bradlee: Did you nominate Stevenson in ’56?

JFK: Yes.

Toni Bradlee: Maybe he’ll do the same for you now. [laughter]

Bradlee: You’d ask nothing less.

Cannon: But once it was done, were you disappointed?

JFK: Yeah, I guess we were, the next morning, weren’t we, Jackie? I mean, I was tired.

Jacqueline Kennedy: You were so tired. How could you be anything . . .

JFK: It was so damn close, I was disappointed. I was disappointed that night. Cannon: Did you think that they were going to win?

JFK: Kefauver deserved it. I always thought that [unclear], he’d beaten Steven- son in two or three primaries . . .

Bradlee: You didn’t run in any primaries in that, did you?

JFK: No, but he had, that’s why he deserved it.

Cannon: Was there any sense of [unclear]?

JFK: Afterwards? No, it’s past [or passed].

Cannon: It was past the next morning. You can honestly say, you could go off the next day to home, or to Hyannisport, or wherever, and say, “Well, nice try.”

JFK: Not quite that easy, because I was damn tired, but I have to say, I thought, you know, we did have a close effort, and I had not thought I was going to win, I did much better than I thought I would, I thought Kefauver deserved to win, and therefore I was not desolate. It’s a lot different from now. Now it’s entirely different. Now I’m [unclear]. It would take me a lot longer to recover.

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