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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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supported him strongly in the election, and anyway, he was attuned that way. He really knew -- I remember I once went to a big luncheon at the White House for some visiting dignitary -- actually, the only time during Kennedy's presidency that I -- I saw him several times -- but the only time I was ever “honored” by -- honored, put in quotes, by the way -- by a formal invitation to a formal luncheon. It wasn't even a dinner, a state dinner, but it was a big state luncheon at the White House. And I went to that. It was in honor of some African head of state who, ironically enough, was assassinated a couple of years later, just as, of course, Jack Kennedy was. Talk about an ironic combination! There must have been fifty or seventy-five guests there. In the departure line, when Kennedy shook hands with people as they left -- what did Kennedy do as I went along the line to shake hands? It was to jump on me for an editorial we had in the Times that morning. He was that conscious of it. I don't think I ever had a conversation with Kennedy in his office or even before he was president, as a senator, -- and I had many -- when he wasn't extremely aware and usually mad at us for something we had said because he knew that we were on the same side as he was, but he didn't like to get criticism from his supporters. That statement about the withdrawal could have been a result of the editorial. I repeat that I never am one to over- emphasize or claim the Times' editorials could move the world, but in the case of Jack, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we --


Staying with that subject of Jack Kennedy for just a second longer, you referred to his hawkishness. I wonder how your assessment of him as a leader was formed in that sense, if his actions in, say, the Bay of Pigs situation, gave you pause to think that he would be a negotiator, if he would rather have military intervention. And did you make any connection of that in your mind? Did you trust that he would try to negotiate, or did you think that he was more prone to --

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