Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson (6)

Special Counsel to the Late President. New York: Bantam Books. 1966.

Why read it? To understand Kennedy’s philosophy of the Presidency. His humor. His wisdom. He could think on his feet. His ability to own up to his mistakes and to learn from them. To appreciate the vast range of responsibilities faced by the President. His style. You won’t learn any of the details of his extra-marital affairs in this book. It focuses on John Kennedy, an American who was elected President by one of the narrowest margins in history. He instilled a spirit of confidence in the American people, and his assassination destroyed that spirit.

“…an informal committee to tap the ideas and information of scholars and thinkers in Massachusetts and elsewhere.” p. 132. ………. “But Kennedy, speaking in softer tones and shorter answers without notes, scored with local illustrations and specifics aimed chiefly at West Virginia.” p. 159. ………. “There is only one legitimate question. Would you, as President be responsive in any way to ecclesiastical pressures or obligations of any kind that might in any fashion influence or interfere with your conduct of that office in the national interest?” p. 161. ………. “If religion is a valid issue in the Presidential campaign…I shouldn’t have served in the House…. I shouldn’t now be serving in the Senate, and I shouldn’t have been accepted by the United States Navy…. For the oath of office was practically identical in each case…an oath sworn on the Bible to defend the Constitution.” p. 163. ………. “Catholic Boston, he said, had in 1948 overwhelmingly supported Baptist Harry Truman ‘because of the man he is.’ ” p. 164. ………. “Now I understand why Henry VIII set up his own church.” p. 167.

To be continued.

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