"CONVERSATION WITH KENNEDY"
by Benjamin C. Bradlee
This is a record of conversations I had with John F. Kennedy during the five years that I knew him, between 1959, when he was a senator running for president, and 1963, when he died on the 1007th day of his presidency. From the day I met him -I think it was in a Senate corridor after President Eisenhower's state of the union message in January, 1959- through the first year of his presidency, I kept no formal notes of these conversations. During that time I was first a political reporter in the Washington bureau of Newsweek magazine, and later its bureau chief. In those capacities, I wrote hundreds of thousands of words, many of them about Kennedy, many of them about conversations with Kennedy, many on the record, and many off the record. I have used these files to refresh my memory, in writing about conversations during this period.
...For the first time, all the conflicting elements that created JFK personality are seen at the closet possible range. His conversations were salty, to say the least, yet without malice. The navy was in his language, but it was mental and physical energy being released and somehow never vulgar. We see President Kennedy as a family man, worried about his wife's charge accounts while wrestling the giants of the steel industry, taking time out to relax at shoot-'em-up movie while dealing with Russia and ballistic missiles...
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Copyright 1975 by Benjamin C. Bradlee
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