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Guest Robert Morrow

I wish someone would help me find the actual transcripts of GHW Bush saying that he can't remember where he was when John Kennedy was being assassinated. I think this was probably when the McBride article was published in the Nation magazine in the 1988 presidential campaign. I could be wrong on the time period, however. I *think* it occurred at a press conference.

Here is how Kitty Kelley comments on it in her book "The Family."

[Kitty Kelley, "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty," pp. 212-213]

On November 22, 1963, George and Barbara headed to Tyler, Texas (population thirty-five thousand), where he was scheduled for a luncheon speech to the Kiwanis Club, a group of one hundred men, meeting at the Blackstone Hotel.

"I remember it was a beautiful fall day," recalled Aubrey Irby, the former Kiwanis vice president. "George had just started to give his speech when Smitty, the head bellhop, tapped me on the shoulders to say that President Kennedy had been shot. I gave the news to the president of the club, Wendell Cherry, and he leaned over to tell George that wires from Dallas confirmed President Kennedy had been assassinated.

"George stopped his speech and told the audience what had happened. 'In view of the President's death,' he said, 'I consider it inappropriate to continue with a political speech at this time. Thank you very much for your attention.' Then he sat down.

"I thought it was rather magnanimous of him to say and then to sit down, but I'm a Republican, of course, and I was all for George Bush. Kennedy, who was bigger than life then, represented extremely opposite views from Bush on everything."

The luncheon meeting adjourned, and George hurried across the street to meet Barbara at the beauty salon for their scheduled flight to Dallas. Before leaving the city, George called the FBI in Houston. Files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act document George's 1:45 p.m. call to the Houston field office: "Bush stated that he wanted to be kept confidential but wanted to furnish hearsay that he recalled hearing in recent days ... He stated that one James Milton Parrott has been talking of killing the President when he comes to Houston."

The man George turned in was an unemployed twenty-four-year-old who had been honorably discharged from the Air Force upon the recommendation of a psychiatrist. He was also a John Bircher who had vigorously opposed George during Bush's campaign for GOP chairman of Harris County. During his interview with the FBI, Parrott said he was a member of the Texas Young Republicans and had been active in picketing members of the Kennedy administration but that he had not threatened the President's life.

Years later, when he was running for President, George would claim that he never made the call. Documents were then produced that refreshed his memory. He also claimed that he did not remember where he was the day John F. Kennedy was killed- "somewhere in Texas," he said. George Bush is possibly the only person on the planet who did not recall his whereabouts that day, although his wife clearly remembered their being in Tyler. She said that at the time of the assassination she was writing a letter in the beauty salon and that they left shortly after hearing the news. They flew to Dallas en route to Houston, and in Dallas they had to circle Love Field several times while the second presidential plane was taking off to return to Washington, D.C.

"The rumors are flying about that horrid assassin," Barbara wrote in her letter. "We are hoping that it is not some far right nut, but a 'commie' nut. You understand that we know they are both nuts, but just hope that it is not a Texan and not an American at all."

George and the three other candidates vying for the GOP Senate nomination suspended campaigning for several weeks but resumed after the first of the year.

[Kitty Kelley, "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty," pp. 212-213]

Edited by Robert Morrow
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