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Good Day.... The character assassination of President KENNEDY by most of the the media to, feebily, try and make us not care about his murder continues....

From a 5-10-05 “New York Times” article....

<QUOTE>

Two Authors Ask About Kennedy's 'Ask Not' Speech

Late President's Famous Inaugural Address Scrutinized

By EDWARD WYATT, The New York Times

In an age when even a walk across the White House lawn can feel scripted, it is hard to imagine making a fuss over whether a speechwriter helped a president-elect compose his inaugural address. But when the president in question is John F. Kennedy, such questions never cease.

Recently two scholars examined the evidence around the authorship of Kennedy's 1961 inaugural address - poring over documents, interviewing still-living advisers - and came to opposite conclusions.

In "Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America," Thurston Clarke wrote last year that "important and heretofore overlooked documentary evidence" proves that Kennedy was "the author of the most immortal and poetic passages of his inaugural address," including the famous line that gives the book its title, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

But in "Sounding the Trumpet: The Making of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address" (Ivan R. Dee), to be published in July, Richard J. Tofel, a lawyer and a former assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal, concludes that "if we must identify" one man as the author of the speech, "that man must surely be not John Kennedy but Theodore Sorensen."

The question of whose hand held sway over the Kennedy inaugural address was an issue even before it was delivered, at least for Kennedy. Stung by accusations that a ghost writer was the real author of "Profiles in Courage," which won Kennedy the Pulitzer Prize in 1957, the president-elect went to great lengths to showcase his own involvement in the speech that has since become his most remembered.

The speech, which can be listened to at www.jfklibrary.org, is thought by many scholars to be among the finest inaugural addresses in the nation's history. With its declaration that "the torch has passed to a new generation of Americans," the speech also holds particular relevance for baby boomers, whose adulthoods were forged in the crucible of the 1960's.

For years, Mr. Sorensen, one of the men closest to Kennedy - he was a policy adviser, legal counsel and chief speechwriter - has steadfastly maintained that Kennedy was the driving force behind the speech.

"I'm of the very old school," Mr. Sorensen said in a telephone interview. "I've just simply refused to take credit when I didn't deserve the credit. That is not a philosophy that speechwriters of the last generation have necessarily followed."

Mr. Clarke, whose book was published by Henry Holt & Company, bases much of his conclusion around a key event in the preparation of the speech. On Jan. 10, 1961, during a flight from Washington to Palm Beach, Fla., Kennedy dictated portions of the speech to his secretary, Evelyn Lincoln. Both Mr. Clarke and Mr. Tofel note that in doing so, Kennedy consulted a draft of the address previously prepared by Mr. Sorensen.

Mr. Clarke states that "the Sorensen material that Kennedy incorporated into his speech turns out to be largely a compilation of ideas and themes that Kennedy had been voicing throughout his adult life." In Mr. Clarke's account, that makes Kennedy not only the architect of the speech, but "its stonecutter and mason, too."

Mr. Tofel's research - which, like Mr. Clarke's, painstakingly details the evolution of nearly every word in the address - causes him to conclude differently. "It is simply not correct to say, as a recent book did, that with the Kennedy dictation, the speech became 'in every important respect' Kennedy's own handiwork," he writes. While Kennedy certainly had ample input into the speech, he said, others, particularly Mr. Sorensen, had more.

"Of the 51 sentences in the inaugural address, John Kennedy might be said to have been the principal original author of no more than 14," Mr. Tofel writes. "And this number credits Kennedy with every sentence the origin of which is unclear.

"On direct evidence," he adds, including impromptu changes made during the delivery of the speech and a transcription of dictation taken by Kennedy's secretary on Jan. 10, "only nine sentences were principally originally Kennedy's. This compares with eight sentences from Adlai Stevenson."

The two authors do not disagree on everything, however. Both take note of the contributions of Mr. Stevenson (who they say had angled to be appointed secretary of state but who wound up as Kennedy's ambassador to the United Nations), as well as those of the economist John Kenneth Galbraith.

And neither disputes evidence unearthed by other Kennedy scholars long ago: that the provenance of the speech's most famous words, the "ask not" portion, has a less inspiring history.

The words hark back at least to Kennedy's years at Choate, the Connecticut prep school, where the headmaster regularly reminded his charges that what mattered most was "not what Choate does for you, but what you can do for Choate."

<END QUOTE>

Don Roberdeau

U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, "Big John" Plank Walker

Sooner, or later, the Truth emerges Clearly

http://members.aol.com/DRoberdeau/JFK/DP.jpg

http://members.aol.com/DRoberdeau/JFK/ROSE...NOUNCEMENT.html

T ogether

E veryone

A chieves

M ore

TEAMWORK.gif

DHS3elevatedYELLOW.gif

"We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge--and more."

---- President JOHN F. KENNEDY, 20JAN61 Presidential inaugural address

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Interesting but I hardly think anyone is going to lose interest in investigating the assassination even if JFK had help with his inaugural address.

Sorenson was certainly a great speech-writer for JFK who contributed greatly to his career, IMO. Certainly as President JFK had too many responsibilities to personally write all of his speeches but he had of course final editorial control over them.

I do not think it detracts at all from a president if he has a great speechwriter.

It is a different story if a book is "ghost-written" and someone else claims credit for it. There was of course a famous controversy over whether Sorsenson wrote "Profiles in Courage" for JFK but I think that controversy was finally resolved in JFK's favor.

In my opinion, it seems silly for someone to waste energy trying to determine if JFK wrote his inaugual address.

I am sure most of you would agree with me that Kennedy's inaugural address was one of the best in American history. Many of his speeches, of course, were extraordinary in their rhetoric. Even though I disagreed with him politically, I remember how much, as a subteen, I used to enjoy the wit Jack Kennedy brought to his press conferences. I think I listened to every one of them.

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Interesting but I hardly think anyone is going to lose interest in investigating the assassination even if JFK had help with his inaugural address.

Sorenson was certainly a great speech-writer for JFK who contributed greatly to his career, IMO.  Certainly as President JFK had too many responsibilities to personally write all of his speeches but he had of course final editorial control over them. 

I do not think it detracts at all from a president if he has a great speechwriter.

It is a different story if a book is "ghost-written" and someone else claims credit for it.  There was of course a famous controversy over whether Sorsenson wrote "Profiles in Courage" for JFK but I think that controversy was finally resolved in JFK's favor.  

In my opinion, it seems silly for someone to waste energy trying to determine if JFK wrote his inaugual address. 

I am sure most of you would agree with me that Kennedy's inaugural address was one of the best in American history.  Many of his speeches, of course, were extraordinary in their rhetoric.  Even though I disagreed with him politically, I remember how much, as a subteen, I used to enjoy the wit Jack Kennedy brought to his press conferences.  I think I listened to every one of them.

While Tim and I don't seem to agree on much, I second his above comments. I'm not educated enough on the subject to opine whether he did or did not write that speech. However, I don't think it matters one bit. The great majority of public figures employ speech writers. Even more so today, with all the spin, buzz words, and carefully crafted slipperiness in political speeches, I would guess that politicians on both sides of the aisle take full advantage of wordsmiths. They would be foolish not to.

And much like Ronald Reagan (in my view at least), Kennedy simply had a mammoth presence. Kennedy probably a little more so because of his youthful good looks, but they both had the ability to captivate an audience. And whether you liked the their politics or not, you wanted to hear what they had to say. Who wrote what speech had nothing to do with it. Kennedy was a rock star in front of an audience.

Edited by Greg Wagner
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Yes, and as I have written re "the dark side of Camelot" it is certainly fair to state that JFK's charisma and charm (helped in large part by his beautiful wife of course) had captivated not only the US but the world and he was making a lot of friends for the US, including, of course, through the Peace Corps.

I think his speech in West Berlin was simply extraordinary and under JFK we were winning the public relations war with the Commies. It is so hard to say what the course of history would have been had he not been assassinated.

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Good Day.... The character assassination of President KENNEDY by most of the the media to, feebily, try and make us not care about his murder continues....

From a 5-10-05 “New York Times” article....

<QUOTE>

Two Authors Ask About Kennedy's 'Ask Not' Speech

Late President's Famous Inaugural Address Scrutinized

By EDWARD WYATT, The New York Times

In an age when even a walk across the White House lawn can feel scripted, it is hard to imagine making a fuss over whether a speechwriter helped a president-elect compose his inaugural address. But when the president in question is John F. Kennedy, such questions never cease.

Don,

Recently two scholars examined the evidence around the authorship of Kennedy's 1961 inaugural address - poring over documents, interviewing still-living advisers - and came to opposite conclusions.

In "Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America," Thurston Clarke wrote last year that "important and heretofore overlooked documentary evidence" proves that Kennedy was "the author of the most immortal and poetic passages of his inaugural address," including the famous line that gives the book its title, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

But in "Sounding the Trumpet: The Making of John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address" (Ivan R. Dee), to be published in July, Richard J. Tofel, a lawyer and a former assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal, concludes that "if we must identify" one man as the author of the speech, "that man must surely be not John Kennedy but Theodore Sorensen."

The question of whose hand held sway over the Kennedy inaugural address was an issue even before it was delivered, at least for Kennedy. Stung by accusations that a ghost writer was the real author of "Profiles in Courage," which won Kennedy the Pulitzer Prize in 1957, the president-elect went to great lengths to showcase his own involvement in the speech that has since become his most remembered.

The speech, which can be listened to at www.jfklibrary.org, is thought by many scholars to be among the finest inaugural addresses in the nation's history. With its declaration that "the torch has passed to a new generation of Americans," the speech also holds particular relevance for baby boomers, whose adulthoods were forged in the crucible of the 1960's.

For years, Mr. Sorensen, one of the men closest to Kennedy - he was a policy adviser, legal counsel and chief speechwriter - has steadfastly maintained that Kennedy was the driving force behind the speech.

"I'm of the very old school," Mr. Sorensen said in a telephone interview. "I've just simply refused to take credit when I didn't deserve the credit. That is not a philosophy that speechwriters of the last generation have necessarily followed."

Mr. Clarke, whose book was published by Henry Holt & Company, bases much of his conclusion around a key event in the preparation of the speech. On Jan. 10, 1961, during a flight from Washington to Palm Beach, Fla., Kennedy dictated portions of the speech to his secretary, Evelyn Lincoln. Both Mr. Clarke and Mr. Tofel note that in doing so, Kennedy consulted a draft of the address previously prepared by Mr. Sorensen.

Mr. Clarke states that "the Sorensen material that Kennedy incorporated into his speech turns out to be largely a compilation of ideas and themes that Kennedy had been voicing throughout his adult life." In Mr. Clarke's account, that makes Kennedy not only the architect of the speech, but "its stonecutter and mason, too."

Mr. Tofel's research - which, like Mr. Clarke's, painstakingly details the evolution of nearly every word in the address - causes him to conclude differently. "It is simply not correct to say, as a recent book did, that with the Kennedy dictation, the speech became 'in every important respect' Kennedy's own handiwork," he writes. While Kennedy certainly had ample input into the speech, he said, others, particularly Mr. Sorensen, had more.

"Of the 51 sentences in the inaugural address, John Kennedy might be said to have been the principal original author of no more than 14," Mr. Tofel writes. "And this number credits Kennedy with every sentence the origin of which is unclear.

"On direct evidence," he adds, including impromptu changes made during the delivery of the speech and a transcription of dictation taken by Kennedy's secretary on Jan. 10, "only nine sentences were principally originally Kennedy's. This compares with eight sentences from Adlai Stevenson."

The two authors do not disagree on everything, however. Both take note of the contributions of Mr. Stevenson (who they say had angled to be appointed secretary of state but who wound up as Kennedy's ambassador to the United Nations), as well as those of the economist John Kenneth Galbraith.

And neither disputes evidence unearthed by other Kennedy scholars long ago: that the provenance of the speech's most famous words, the "ask not" portion, has a less inspiring history.

The words hark back at least to Kennedy's years at Choate, the Connecticut prep school, where the headmaster regularly reminded his charges that what mattered most was "not what Choate does for you, but what you can do for Choate."

<END QUOTE>

Don Roberdeau

U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, CV-67, "Big John" Plank Walker

Sooner, or later, the Truth emerges Clearly

http://members.aol.com/DRoberdeau/JFK/DP.jpg

http://members.aol.com/DRoberdeau/JFK/ROSE...NOUNCEMENT.html

T ogether

E veryone

A chieves

M ore

TEAMWORK.gif

DHS3elevatedYELLOW.gif

"We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge--and more."

---- President JOHN F. KENNEDY, 20JAN61 Presidential inaugural address

Don,

Interesting article. I agree with you on your main reason for posting it too, Don. Over the last few years, I've noticed this subtle but persisitent vein of criticism in the mainstream media directed towards JFK and his legacy. Was he too close to the mob, was he a crazed drug addict and did this affect his judgement, was he a sexual monster, was he wilfully reckless in affairs of state and now, should he even get the credit for his own speeches?

The American media did the country a great disservice by the way it happily and unquestioningly accepted the WC findings (while in Europe the WC was greeted with widespread skepticism) and now we see a pathetic attempt to rewrite history by gradually blackening JFK's name and legacy. I recently watched a doco (I think it was made by the History channel but I'm not certain) about the Cuban missile crisis where they concluded by posing the question, "was the Cuban missile crisis a reckless game of brinkmanship played out by Kennedy?" I'm eagerly awaiting the sequal. It will probably be called, "Did Kennedy secretly plant the missiles in Cuba himself". They could round out the trilogy with a final doco entitled, "Maybe JFK's assassination was for the best, after all".

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Mark wrote:

now we see a pathetic attempt to rewrite history by gradually blackening JFK's name and legacy

Mark, no, I think the revelations are showing a side of JFK that conflicted with the Camelot image. It is not "rewriting history" to tell the entire story. And the entire story is necessary if there is to be an adequate investigation of the assassination.

But as I have posted on at least one other thread, unless the assassination research will solve the assassination I think it is regrettable for the sake of our history that JFK's flaws and pecadilloes have surfaced. How I regret knowing he was a serial adulterer. I would have liked to remember JFK as the man in the happy photographs with Jackie and his children, not a JFK commiting adultery with a woman he shared with John Rosselli and Sam Giancana! I grant there is no reliable evidence that JFK knew Campbell's relationship with the mobsters until Hoover confronted him in the famous March 22, 1962 luncheon meeting.

There was indeed a dark side to Camelot. Regretably, but necessarily, it surfaced because of the attempts to solve the assassination.

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Mark wrote:

now we see a pathetic attempt to rewrite history by gradually blackening JFK's name and legacy

Mark, no, I think the revelations are showing a side of JFK that conflicted with the Camelot image.  It is not "rewriting history" to tell the entire story.  And the entire story is necessary if there is to be an adequate investigation of the assassination.

But as I have posted on at least one other thread, unless the assassination research will solve the assassination I think it is regrettable for the sake of our history that JFK's flaws and pecadilloes have surfaced.  How I regret knowing he was a serial adulterer.  I would have liked to remember JFK as the man in the happy photographs with Jackie and his children, not a JFK commiting adultery with a woman he shared with John Rosselli and Sam Giancana!  I grant there is no reliable evidence that JFK knew Campbell's relationship with the mobsters until Hoover confronted him in the famous March 22, 1962 luncheon meeting.

There was indeed a dark side to Camelot.  Regretably, but necessarily, it surfaced because of the attempts to solve the assassination.

Tim,

You're missing my point. JFK's flaws and pecadilloes were legion. He was an adulterer (although LBJ's infamous "nooky room" in the White House doesn't attract a lot of media attention) and he was guilty of an overeliance on pain killing drugs, largely due to his longstanding health problems. These facts are not disputed and can be ventilated publicly ad nauseam for all I care. The problem I have is when it is suggested that these pecadilloes had a detrimental effect on the discharge of his Presidential duties. While reckless in his private life, he was never reckless or careless in matters of State, IMO. In fact, during the Cuban missile crisis it was a classic example of JFK keeping his head, while all those around him were losing theirs. He was too mindful of how he would be viewed by history to have been careless. The doco I referred to crossed the line, implying that the missile crisis was just a game to Kennedy and a reckless, dangerous one at that. This is pure bullxxxx and cannot go unchallenged. In his dealings with the Soviets, he exercised great circumspection, always mindful of the consequences in Europe and the world. Some said he was obsessed with Berlin. This apparent "Eurocentricity" was strongly resented by some in America. These same people saw JFK's historic nuclear test ban treaty as a capitulation rather than a triumph. I disagree.

So expose his sexual affairs as much as you like, there's a lot of material to work with. However, to diminish his achievements in public policy, more than innuendo and "tell all" gossip will be required.

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I do not mean to diminish his accomplishments in office.

Of course those can be debated as well. There are those who argue that it was Operation Mongoose that prompted the introduction of the Soviet missiles into Cuba in the first place. Which does not necessarily mean, I suppose, that he handled the crisis poorly, only that (if the analysis is correct) his own policies created the crisis in the first place. And of course it was not just JFK but also his predecessor who was intent on ousting Castro from Cuba.

I give JFK credit for the establishment of the Peace Corps; for the space program that put man on the moon (unless you subscribe to Mr. White's theory) and for his inspirational rhetoric.

On another point you raise:

Obviously the sexual appetite is a strong force in all of our lives but I do not think a strong sexual appetite justifies adultery ("the importance of getting laid" as Mr. Healey once put it). I believe I once read that the pills that JFK were taking for his medical problems had the side effect of increasing the sex drive. So while this fact does not justify his womanizing it may help explain why his womanizing now appears almost obsessive.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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Tim Gratz wrote:

[...]

Obviously the sexual appetite is a strong force in all of our lives but I do not think a strong sexual appetite justifies adultery ("the importance of getting laid" as Mr. Healey once put it). I believe I once read that the pills that JFK were taking for his medical problems had the side effect of increasing the sex drive.

[...]

All this brilliant research going on and you can't spell my name right, it's H E A L Y! What else do you get wrong?

Most of the rabid right-wing whacko's I've dealt with over the years, do the same thing -- hell-of-a-spelling problem!

I suspect, what YOU think justifies adultery, interests no one, certainly not me... My experience shows, most rabid right-wingers have a penchant for anything sexual, especially regarding other folks sex lives, must be something in GOP issue bottled water. Karl Rove bottle the stuff?

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I apologize for spelling your name wrong, sir.

Your reference to "rabid right-wing whackos" shows, however, where you are coming from. Right-wingers to you are insane. Of course.

I think the record in this Forum will indicate I have never sunk to questioning someone's sanity merely because I strongly disagree with their views. And since I was a teen-ager I have always been able to work closely with friends of the opposite political persuasion. (One of my friends in high school was my counter-part the State Chairman of the Young Democrats; and my friend Mark is probably about as left-of-center as I am right. But we can respect the intellectual integrity of our differing perspectives and in fact learn from them. Frankly, I would be bored if I only talked to people who shared my views.)

And you think right-wingers are obsessed with other people's sex lives! That is amusing--and amusing that you assume you can judge other people's motivations and ascribe psychological problems to them.

It is not so amusing, however, when a president's sexual escapades put him into potentially very compromising situations.

I happen to believe that nothing justifies adultery but our own personal morality has nothing to do with the politics of the situation. It is dangerous for a president to engage in such practices regardless of the morality thereof, because of the very real danger for blackmail. If you as President have engaged in an adulterous affair and now the woman you have scorned is threatening to go public and possibly destroy your political career, what do you do about it? I happen to think there was a reason Johnny Rosselli caused Sinatra to introduce Campbell to Kennedy. And I suspect there may have also been a hidden agenda with the introduction of Ellen Rometsch to JFK as well.

I suggest there is nothing "whacko" about this opinion; rather it is an opinion shared by serious scholars, even those who are not unfriendly to Kennedy's politics.

But back to the main subject of this thread: JFK's inaugural speech was great and it matters not one wit how much if any help he had in formulating it. There is no question in my mind that JFK was a great intellect and his writings as a reporter in the mid-forties also demonstrates the quality of his mind.

In closing let me state that while I strongly disagree with your opinions, and the manner in which you express them, I will never question your intelligence or your sanity!

Edited by Tim Gratz
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