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August 27, 2012


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue our report on Senator John F. Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, “Profiles In Courage.”  

JFK’s book highlights the stories of eight United States Senators who risked their political careers to pursue justice.

In the introduction to the Memorial Edition, Robert Kennedy writes:

“Courage is the virtue that President Kennedy most admired.  That is why this book so fitted his personality, his beliefs.”


JFK Library Image

The title of Chapter IX is Robert A. Taft.

Robert A. Taft was a United States Senator who represented the state of OHIO.


Senator Robert A. Taft, Ohio Republican, Portrait by Rudolf Anton Bernatschke


JFK begins by saying the fact that Senator Taft was “never President of the United States” is both the reason for his “personal tragedy (&) national greatness.”

As the son of a former President (William Howard Taft), JFK tells us Bob Taft “pursued” the Presidency “throughout his career in the Senate.”

Taft attempted 3 times to win his party’s nomination, but despite failing to win it was known as “Mr. Republican.”

JFK tells us that Bob Taft was a man of principles who despite his interest in the White House was determined to stick fast to them.

JFK writes:

“He frequently flung to the winds the very restraints his own analysis advised, refusing to bow to any group, refusing to keep silent on any issue.”

Senator Taft “did not win many votes” in his home state when he endorsed restrictions on union activity or in his own party “by his support of education, housing, health & other welfare measures.”

JFK tells us that Senator Taft’s willingness to take on controversial issues earned him the title of “Mr. Integrity.”

*Robert A. Taft (1889-1953), the son of President William Howard Taft, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He was a graduate of Yale (1910) & Harvard Law School (1913),  He served as a U.S. Senator from Ohio from 1939 to 1953.

Senator Taft joined Southern Democrats in opposition to FDR’s New Deal.  He opposed most government involvement in the economy or individual liberties.

Taft co-sponsored the TAFT-HARTLEY ACT of 1947 which banned unfair LABOR practices such as the closed ship.

Despite his conservative record, Senator Taft later supported public housing & social security.

Taft died of cancer at the age of 63. 

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