The John F. Kennedy Library is set to release the final 45 hours of recordings from the president's short tenure, revealing a chief executive worried about reaching young voters and the middle class, seeing as how the very rich had written him off. Sound familiar? Kennedy's conversation with his advisers is reminiscent of the populist leaning of President Barack Obama, another president whose connection with young voters is a crucial part of his election strategy. The Associated Press reports:
The latest batch of recordings captured meetings from the last three months of Kennedy’s administration. In a conversation with political advisers about young voters, Kennedy asks, “What is it we have to sell them?”
“We hope we have to sell them prosperity, but for the average guy the prosperity is nil,” he says. “He’s not unprosperous, but he’s not very prosperous. ... And the people who really are well off hate our guts.”
In another conversation, Kennedy hit on a touchstone of modern politics, as Politico points out, with his observation of a divide between Washington, D.C. and the rest of the country: "We’ve got so mechanical an operation here in Washington that it doesn’t have much identity where these people are concerned," he said. Elsewhere in the recordings, the president makes an eerie reference to the day that would become his funeral, calling it, "a tough day," in terms of schedule. "It's a hell of a day, Mr. President," one aide replies. Creepy how right they were.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.