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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 JFK: I didn’t lose so much. I was still in the Senate, and finally, of course, you know the ticket didn’t win.

Cannon: Did you think it was going to?

JFK: Well, in September I thought he might, I thought he had a pretty good chance. At the end of the convention we all got excited. I thought even in September he was doing . . . turned out to be a [unclear].

Cannon: Why did you think he was going to win?

JFK: Well, for a little while there, Stevenson was awfully active and Eisenhower wasn’t. I was just talking to Democrats.

Cannon: You’re suggesting that you haven’t had many disappointments in politics. Have you ever lost a race?

JFK: No. I’ve run five times.

Cannon: The only thing you’ve ever lost was the try for the vice presidency.

JFK: That’s right.

Cannon: And it really didn’t hit you very hard.


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