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"It's possible my natural level is in the Senate," John F. Kennedy said—but then he won the 1960 election. As president, he and his wife hosted Ben and Tony Bradlee (left and third from left) at the White House. (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum)

Kennedy After Dark: A Dinner Party About Politics and Power

In this exclusive transcript from the JFK library, hear what he had to say just days after announcing his candidacy for the presidency

Bradlee: Yup. Yup.

Cannon: I think I can’t afford it. I have two children and . . .

JFK: Well, you couldn’t, I mean, at this point. Now, after the war? What are you now, about forty-two or -three? Forty-one. Now let’s say 1945, you might have been able to.

Cannon: Well, it was not a convenient thing.

JFK: What was it, in ’45, were you in the service?

Cannon: Yeah.

JFK: Well, when you came home, you were pretty much [unclear].

Cannon: Yeah, but I was . . . I’m not talking about myself.

JFK: No, but I’m just trying to say, why wasn’t it possible, really, in ’45?

 Cannon: Well, basically, my problem was financial. I recognize that this was something that if you were going to be honest in, you ought to have an independent source of income.

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