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 18)

JFK: No, but I didn’t think it was possible, but I was pleased. Because I had not regarded myself as a political type. My father didn’t, he thought I was hopeless.

Cannon: Go into that.

JFK: I mean, Joe was made for it, and I certainly wasn’t.

Bradlee: Why was Joe? I never knew Joe obviously, but why?

JFK: He [Joe] was more a type, an extrovert type.

Bradlee: Now why did the old boy think you were hopeless?

JFK: At that time I weighed about 120 pounds. [laughter] Where was that picture we saw with Franklin Roosevelt, in the paper?

Jacqueline Kennedy: Oh yeah. That’s in your old campaign photo?

JFK: No, the one we just saw, in the Boston Globe, Sunday.

Bradlee: Jack, long before I knew you, when I was covering the federal courts in the District of Columbia, you used to, in the contempt cases, you used to come down and testify, “Yes, there was a quorum present. Yes, I was there. Yes, me and one other guy was there, which made up a quorum.” And you looked like the wrath of God. I can see you there now. You weighed 120, and you were bright green. You really were.


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