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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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Part:         Session:         Page of 1143

Lasker:

Well, the President thinks, “Well, I'll do it,” but then it gets on the staff level and the staff hears from Celebrese, gets a letter from him stating that he doesn't want it, and then they haven't time to get a hold of Celebrese and say, “Why don't you want it?” I mean, the President is too diffused to sit down and follow through, really.

Q:

You need a particular friend on the Presidential staff.

Lasker:

Well, I have two friends on the Presidential staff: Sorenson and Feldman, and they were both for it, but somehow or another they didn't want to take on Celebrese because it seemed so. I'm still hoping to get it going.

The appointment in 1961 of Ribicoff as Secretary of HEW was a surprise to us as we thought he wanted to go to the Supreme Court, and I knew that he was, in any case, a conservative. Florence and Mike Gorman worked very hard to interest him health, but he really didn't have any profound affinity toward the subject of health or medical research, although he was interested, and effective I thought, in promoting the idea of medical care insurance. He did, however, come to see me about whom he should appoint as his chief medical adviser, and I urged him to appoint Bo Jones, who had been the chairman of the Bo Jones committee which I have just described. I made the appointment for him to see Jones, in Hartford, and he liked him and did appoint him.

However, as Ribicoff really wasn't interested in health,



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