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

"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)
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(Continued from page 16)

Cannon: Don’t you?

JFK: No, I don’t. I don’t enjoy. I’d rather read a book on a plane than talk to the fellow next to me, and my grandfather wanted to talk to everybody else. I’d rather not go out to dinner.

Toni Bradlee: You look as though you enjoy it. Which helps.

Bradlee: But Jack, that whole projection that comes with modern times.

JFK: I think I just happen to fit now. I mean, I think people don’t like this.

Jacqueline Kennedy: I think that’s a nineteenth-century politician, don’t you, like your grandfather, that you people are suspicious of?

Bradlee: Now the politicians have to be constantly on the air.

JFK: Bill Fullbright—he’s not on the air. He has a particular personality. I have a particular type of personality which, I [don’t?] look like a politician, and all the rest, which helps me. Everybody isn’t an extrovert in politics. I would say that a lot of the Senate certainly are not extroverts.

Bradlee: Well, name me one.

JFK: Who’s not? Mike Mansfield is not an extrovert. John Cooper is not an extrovert. Richard M. Nixon is not an extrovert. Stuart Symington is a tricky extrovert, if he is one. I don’t think he is one. Hubert is. I’m not.


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