February 25, 2012
JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS: THE FIRST CONVERSATION III
Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 continues our report on the 1st Conversation from “Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy”, published by Hyperion.
The 1st conversation was recorded on Monday, March 2, 1964.
Jacqueline Kennedy continues this conversation by reflecting on how her husband “kept his life in compartments.”
“The wonderful thing is that everyone in every one of those compartments was ready to die for him.”
She says that he loved them all…his family, the Irish…the politicians (like Kenny (O’Donnell) & Dave (Powers).*
Mrs. Kennedy “once….asked (JFK) what he thought his best & worst qualities were.”
JFK responded that he thought curiosity was his best quality while irritability was his worst.
Mrs. Kennedy elaborates by saying that her husband was never irritable with her, but she explains that she believes he means impatient. “(Jack) didn’t like to be bored.”
On another occasion, she asked JFK how he would define himself.
“An idealist without illusions.”
Mr. Schlesinger asks about the Senatorial years.
Jacqueline recalls that she would have “little dinners” with the Symingtons, Smatherses, Coopers as well as (Mike) Mansfield & (Eugene) McCarthy.
Schlesinger asks, “(Lyndon) Johnson, ever?”
Jackie responds in a single word: “Never!”
*David Powers (1912-1998) is described in a footnote as an Irish-American from Charlestown (Massachusetts), jovial & unflappable, who started with JFK during the 1946 campaign & stayed with him as friend, raconteur, travel companion & man-of-all work.