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JACK KENNEDY, ELUSIVE HERO: CHARM

February 4, 2012


JACK KENNEDY, ELUSIVE HERO: CHARM


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 reports on Chapter 10 of Chris Matthews’ new book, Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero, published by Simon & Schuster.



The title of Chapter 10 is CHARM.


Chris begins by writing that Jack was “uncannily astute” at seeing what motivated others but also at separating himself from their emotions.  Chris believes this JFK character trait was a source of strength that provided him with an  “almost scary independence.”



                        Jack Parr & JFK
              The Tonight Show (1959)


This independence would be an asset as JFK & his supporters worked their way through the primaries, the “only route” by which the 1960 Democratic nomination could be achieved.


Jack & Ted Sorensen set about meeting “every potential delegate” & “to win them over, state by state.”


In the meantime, Larry O’Brien was on the road for JFK separately.


Wherever he went, O’Brien encountered “a concern about Kennedy’s religion,” but he also didn’t see any sign of “the opposition.”


Chris writes that while Jack’s health remained “perilous,” he did “look better than ever” thanks to the cortisone he was taking for Addison’s.


In fact, Jack was beginning “to give off the glow of celebrity” appearing in pictorials, along with Jackie, published in magazines such as Life, Look & the Saturday Evening Journal.



As Hubert Humphrey put it, the Kennedys “had it.”  The “it” was charisma.


Adding to the charisma was JFK’s winning of the Pulitzer Prize for Profiles In Courage & being appointed to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


Jack set about, although not a liberal himself, winning over the liberals of his party. 


 In 1959, he met with future Presidential aide, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. & also courted the support of labor union leaders.



                 Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
        US Information Service Photo


Chris concludes this chapter with these words:


“Jack Kennedy, having been out there…sensed the mood of the country, & now staked his claim on the task of getting us moving again.”













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