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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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Kennedy and research leaders was the day of the Bay of Pigs, and that had been a failure because of the preoccupation with the failure of the effort that day.

So, in July of '62 I went back to see him in his office this time, and he said to me, “Yes, I think it's a good thing, but how will we do it? How shall we get it done?” I said, “Let's get a hold of Mike Feldman to write a statement for you.” So, he got up and called to Kenneth O'Donnell, “Kenny, where is Mike? Get him here right away.”

Well, Kenny called Mike and, of course, Mike was in Philadelphia for the weekend. This created a lapse in the whole thing so that by the time I got hold of Mike the next Monday Mike had thought of reasons why it shouldn't be done, and gradually it came out that he and Sorenson decided that it wouldn't be a good idea to have a stroke commission because it would seem that the President was interested only in problems that affected his own family.

Now, it's true that the President had created a commission or a committee on retardation which was then making a study and about to make a report, and retardation is an interest of the Kennedy family. But God knows it's also an interest of the people of the United States--there are millions of mentally retarded people--and it was an extremely intelligent thing to do.

However, on the main cause of death there had been no Presidential commission. So, in December of '62 Florence Mahoney, Dr. Sidney Farber, Mike Feldman and I sat down to lunch with Sorenson in the White House dining room and talked again

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