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Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.: Journal excerpts published by Vanity Fair

Historians in the News




July 19, 1959. Hyannis Port. Jackie Kennedy was the only other person present; and we all drank and talked from about 8 to 12:30.… [Jackie] was lovely but seemed excessively flighty on politics, asking with wide-eyed naïveté questions like: "Jack, why don't you just tell them that you won't go into any of those old primaries?" Jack was in a benign frame of mind and did not blink; but clearly such remarks could, in another context, be irritating. This is all the more so since Jackie, on other subjects, is intelligent and articulate. She was reading Proust when I arrived.

March 26, 1960: on the campaign trail. Democratic Governors' Conference, Detroit. Jack seemed tired but was obviously in good spirits. His lack of pretense was refreshing; for example, he kept answering ringing phones himself, and when a message was required he sat down and wrote it out. He was quite funny on [Senator] Wayne Morse who had been very affable toward him earlier in the evening. Half the time, he said, Morse clapped him on the shoulder and congratulated him; the other half, he denounced him as a traitor to liberalism and an enemy of the working class. It all reminded him, said Kennedy, of City Lights, and the millionaire who, when drunk, loaded Charlie Chaplin with gifts and insisted that he spend the night but, when sober, couldn't recognize him and threw him out of the house....
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