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May 6, 2012

“JOHNNY WE HARDLY KNEW YE”: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Getting Into Politics IV.

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue our report on Chapter 2 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy.  It is published by Little, Brown & Company.

The title of Chapter 2 is “Getting Into Politics”.

This chapter continues the discussion of JFK’s entry into the political profession in 1946.

O’Donnell & Powers write that while JFK did not follow the old political techniques, he “found their colorful personalities to be fascinating.”

Dave Powers says:

“As much as (Jack) personally disagreed with their viewpoint, (he) enjoyed the Boston Irish pols & they liked him.”

Dave adds that while JFK was a new type of Irish politician, he loved everything about politics.

The 1946 campaign became a “free-for-all” with 10 candidates in the field, but from the beginning JFK showed “incredible stamina & zest.”

Dave says that while most politicians go to rallies, meetings, dinners & luncheons, what set Jack Kennedy apart was his willingness to personally go door to door.  He writes:

“The housewives were startled to see Jack Kennedy standing on their porches because most….had never seen a politician that closely before.”

During the evening, Jack would go to 3 or 4 house parties.  The success of these parties led to “the famous Kennedy teas.”

The teas were only for women who received engraved invitations.  Over a thousand turned out for the 1st held at the Hotel Commander in Cambridge.  

It was also the only tea attended by Jack’s father.

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