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May 12, 2012

The Lodge Fight V

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we conclude our report on Chapter 3 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 3 is The Lodge Fight.

Kenneth O’Donnell writes that after Bobby Kennedy took over managing his brother’s Senate campaign in 1952, “the confusion disappeared and everything fell into place.”

Kenny goes on to state that Robert F. Kennedy “saved the campaign & made it click.”

Larry O’Brien joined the campaign as an organizer.  Kenny says that Larry had more practical political experience than any of them.

With Bobby Kennedy in charge, Joseph Kennedy, Sr. stayed in the background.

Bobby, however, was making some personal enemies in the process.  At one point, when David Powers told Bobby that he was not too popular with the Boston ‘pols’, Bobby replied:  “I don’t care if anybody around here likes me, as long as they like Jack.”

JFK’s opponent, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., had a big advantage over Jack, his close identification with the ever popular Republican presidential candidate of 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

O’Donnell & Powers say, however,  that Lodge made a mistake in “underestimating Kennedy & spending too much time….promoting Eisenhower instead of working on his own campaign.”

They write that Jack Kennedy won on his personality rather than the issues. 

“(Jack) was the new kind of political figure that people were looking for….dignified & gentlemanly & well-educated & intelligent, without the air of superior condescension that other politicians….displayed.”

While Ike carried Massachusetts by more than 200,000 votes, Kennedy defeated Lodge & was headed to the United States Senate.

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