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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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In any case, the question of environment as a national issue was certainly of great interest to me, certainly by no later than the middle '50s. That's, as usual, a long answer to your question.

Q:

Comparing some of the various presidents, how would --

Oakes:

Uh-oh!

Q:

-- [President] Kennedy have compared to [President Lyndon] Johnson on the environment?

Oakes:

I'm so glad you asked that question! I'll tell you, the best answer I can give to that question is one that's very, very clear. It came to my mind as I was talking a couple of minutes ago about this other issue. I remember that in his campaign in 1960, Jack Kennedy in Montana made a speech -- campaign speech, it was in his presidential campaign -- made a speech entirely devoted to conservation. I remember joking -- I don't think I ever wrote -- I'm sure I didn't write this, but I distinctly remember this because I was so overjoyed. I was for Kennedy anyway, but I was so overjoyed about the fact that here Jack Kennedy, who, in my view, really didn't know or give a damn about conservation as such -- I'm not sure that was a fair judgment, but anyway, it was my feeling at that time. But when I saw -- I've never forgotten this -- when I saw and read his speech entirely devoted to conservation -- It was given in Montana in the summer of 1960 as part of his campaign swing through the West. When I saw it, I remember saying to somebody else -- I remember saying and thinking that Ah, conservation has now come of age in the American political scene because, in my view, Jack Kennedy doesn't give a damn about conservation and doesn't really care about it because I had never known Jack Kennedy to make any move, certainly no notable move, in his public



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