Obama outdoor speech echoes JFK's 1960 move





Barack Obama's decision to move his nomination acceptance speech from an indoor arena to an outdoor stadium may be a smart effort to tap the Kennedy mystique, open up the convention and generally stir things up.

But almost a half-century later, it remains unclear whether the precedent that helped inspire the move — John F. Kennedy's"New Frontier" convention acceptance speech at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1960 — was itself a success, or even a good idea.

Those who were there and those who have studied it disagree on details. Was Kennedy bothered by the setting sun? Distracted by hovering helicopters? Visibly exhausted? Even attendance estimates vary from 50,000 to 80,000....

As for what really happened at the Coliseum, you had to be there. But some who were are a little unclear, too.

News accounts say that Sen. Lyndon Johnson's 16-year-old daughter Lynda Bird was introduced to the crowd and gave a big wave. Today she recalls nothing about the speech — not even that it was outdoors."The memory," she says,"is an unfaithful messenger."


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