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)
Smithsonian Magazine | Subscribe

(Continued from page 4)

Toni Bradlee: Is being president the ultimate of everybody that goes into politics?

JFK: In the sense of being head of whatever organization you’re in, I suppose. But most important is the fact that the President today is the seat of all power.


Cannon: What you are suggesting is that your interest in politics evolved really after you got into it. Is that correct?

JFK: Well, no . . . well, that’s partially correct. It wasn’t overwhelming. I didn’t participate in political activities in college.

Cannon: Not until really you felt the satisfaction of having made a speech come off?

JFK: I hadn’t even considered myself, because I’m not a political type.

Bradlee: Why?

Cannon: Not even now?

Jacqueline Kennedy: Why? Ben reminds me of Adlai Stevenson. [laughter]


Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus