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 8)

Toni Bradlee: Write.

JFK: No, I couldn’t, because I’ve lost the chance. I mean, I’m sure it takes twenty years to learn to be a decent writer. You have to do it every day.


Bradlee: Well, what stops a guy, Jack, that hasn’t stopped you?

JFK: You mean, where does everybody reach a decision where they’ll stay? I think an awful lot is fortune. There is an awful lot of fortune in the thing. As I look ahead now, as I look at these primaries, how they’re breaking, bad luck and good luck. Why is it that I have to run in Wisconsin, the one state where I have infinite trouble, when Hubert Humphrey has got nothing anyplace else? That’s just a bad break.

Bradlee: Well, what is there in a man? I mean, why isn’t Muskie running for president now, instead of you?

JFK: Muskie may. If I had to pick a vice president, I’d pick Ed Muskie. My judgment is Ed Muskie has the best chance of being vice president of anybody.

Bradlee: With you?

JFK: Not with me, but if I don’t make it. My judgment is, the ticket would be, if I had to pick a long shot, if I don’t make it, it would be Stevenson7 and Muskie.



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