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Posts tagged: John F. Kennedy

JFK: Enduring Legacy & Debate

The abbreviated presidency and unfinished life of John Fitzgerald Kennedy is, 48 years after his murder in Dallas, one enduring subject in our politics that can launch a thousand debates. Was Kennedy a mediocre, adequate or great president?  Is the “myth” of Camelot or the “substance” of a star crossed and tragic tenure just so much rosy memory or was Kennedy’s short presidency a grand testament to a simpler, elegant, even better time? Would Kennedy have avoided Vietnam or would his hawkish anti-Communism have taken us precisely where Lyndon Johnson eventually did? And just who was Kennedy? Was he the pampered, womanizing son of vast wealth who floated through his 1,000 days with little to show for it or was he the tough, demanding, even brutally efficient Irish-Catholic intellectual who overcame debilitating health problems to be the cool head in the room handling the Cuban Missile Crisis/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

Question: Why are we still fascinated by a president who was gunned down before he reached his full potential?

Caroline Kennedy Attends Ceremony

Caroline Kennedy, right, talks with Luci Baines Johnson Turpin on Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C., today, at a reception following a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

Question: Can you explain what Camelot meant during the JFK years, to the younger generations?

JFK Inspired Nation 50 Years Ago

50 years ago today President John F. Kennedy was sworn into office. JFK's Inaugural address was pressed into the memories of millions of American citizens…often in brief sound bites or through aging black and white photos. … His message of raw force and muscular defense seems odd today, juxtaposed against the current Democratic Administration. He alludes to nations that truly no longer are even in existence now. I wonder what nations will no longer be here 50 years hence … John Kennedy knows that truth today, for though he died a short 1,000 days from when he delivered this Inaugural Address, he is alive in eternity today and his message 50 years later, were he allowed to present it, would provide even more hope and even more kindness and even more brutal honesty than what he so eloquently spoke on January 20th, 1961/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: Would you rather have John F. Kennedy or Barack Obama serving as president today?

Johnson: Great Speeches Week

And, even though King made his most famous speech in August, no MLK Day is complete without remembering one of the great speeches ever delivered in the English language, his “I Have a Dream Speech” from 1963. This week also marks the 50th anniversary of two other truly memorable speeches — Dwight Eisenhower's farewell were he warned of the rise of the “unwarranted influence” of the “military-industrial complex” and John F. Kennedy's inaugural where he summoned the nation to “ask not” what the country can do for us. Remarkably these two speeches - delivered just three days apart in January 1961 — speak to us still across half a century/'Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here. (AP file photo: U.S. President John F. Kennedy delivers his inaugural address after taking the oath of office at Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 20, 1961.)

Question: Can you recall a line from a political speech that inspired you to action?

JFK Still Tops Gallup Poll

Former President John F. Kennedy has the highest job approval rating of the past nine U.S. presidents, according to a Gallup Poll. Kennedy leads the list with a strong 85 percent approval rating. In second place, President Ronald Reagan boasts a 74 percent approval rating. The two presidents had close to the same numbers when the survey was taken in 2006. Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton moved up the list, coming in at third/Kevin Cullum, Ballot Box (The Hill’s political blog). More here.

Question: Who would you pick as the best and worst among the last 9 presidents, from JFK through George W. Bush? Why?

JFK: 1 More Palin Victim — Column

One was a graduate of Choate and Harvard, a president of eloquence for the ages, while the other is a Wasilla, Alaska, high school dropout who mumbles on morning TV — but both get dissed in Sarah Palin’s new book. Levi Johnston, father of Bristol Palin’s baby, is a predictable target. John F. Kennedy takes the reader by surprise. But Sarah Palin’s commentary on JFK helps demonstrate the depth of shallowness in one with possible aspirations to Kennedy’s job. Palin takes out after a defining Kennedy speech, the 1960 appearance where the Catholic presidential nominee discussed separation of church and state before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association/Joel Connelly, Seattle P-I. More here.

Question: Do you think JFK ran away from his Catholic faith, as Sarah Palin asserts in her new book?

JFK Assassinated 47 Years Ago Today

Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and JFK’s assassination. Today is one of those thankfully few dates in American history that rocked the nation with a tragedy so big it stopped the clocks in people’s memories. Forty-seven years ago, John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Share your memory of the day the president died/Melissa Bell, Washington Post. Photos here.

Question: Do you still have fond memories of John F. Kennedy?

Sandpoint Woman Worked For JFK

Sue Vogelsinger first learned of her boss’s death while reviewing one of his upcoming speeches. The place was Dallas. The date was Nov. 22, 1963. Her boss was President John F. Kennedy. “My colleague, Chris Camp, and I were working on speech copy for the next stop. We were on Air Force One in (Kennedy’s) cabin when one of the stewards came through and said to pack up,” said Vogelsinger, a Sagle, Idaho, resident who served as a member of Kennedy’s press staff. Decades later Vogelsinger smiles as she remembers the man she calls physically awe-inspiring, quick-witted and a man who truly loved his job. “Being around President Kennedy was exhilarating,” said Vogelsinger/Patty Hutchens, SR Handle Extra. More here.

Question: How successful of a president would Kennedy have been, if he’d served two terms and not been assassinated?

  • Photo/Kathy Plonka, SR: Sue Vogelsinger, pictured Monday at her home in Sandpoint, has a history of working for U.S. presidents, including John F. Kennedy.

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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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