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John F. Kennedy

  • Originally published 06/09/2013

    When presidential words led to swift action

    WASHINGTON — These days it is hard to imagine a single presidential speech changing history.But two speeches, given back to back by President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago this week, are now viewed as critical turning points on the transcendent issues of the last century.The speeches, which came on consecutive days, took political risks. They sought to shift the nation’s thinking on the “inevitability” of war with the Soviet Union and to make urgent the “moral crisis” of civil rights. Beyond their considerable impact on American minds, these two speeches had something in common that oratory now often misses. They both led quickly and directly to important changes.

  • Originally published 04/18/2013

    The Senate's Shameful Lack of Courage on Guns

    On April 17, “a shameful day for Washington” in President Obama’s words, the U.S. Senate failed to pass “common-sense gun reforms.” The key measure, an amendment for expanded background checks, needed 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster, but received only 54. Based on some polling data, the president claimed it was “supported by 90 percent of Americans.”

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