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tv   Remembering President Kennedy  CSPAN  May 9, 2016 12:01am-1:06am EDT

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>> are watching american history tv, all we can, every weekend, on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. the 60thear marks anniversary of john f. kennedy's courage."files in the 1957 pulitzer prize for biography. next, a panel of former kennedy administration officials marked a milestone by meeting at the historic decatur house in washington, d.c., to recount their white house experience. the program was hosted by an international auction house and is about an hour. >> this is an event that has been birthed from a number of sources and we are thrilled to have this distinctive panel joining us.
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it really started with a collection you see against the back wall. this is one of the finest collections of documents related to history. the collector who put it together was trying to focus on finding objects, documents, printed matter that bring u.s. close to we can to the contemporary events that are described and i encourage you all to have a look after the event to look at these incredible documents spanning from ambassadors from the congo in 1608 who died two days after arriving in rome to the first printing of the u.s. constitution and so forth. it is an opportunity to get close to history through interaction with documents, and i think what is exciting about this evening is we not only have this documentation but we also
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have living witnesses to history as well to deepen our understanding of these events. from the archives, we decided to expand the event from just an exhibition following might introduction to a woman who i met on the antiques roadshow in spokane and was a member of the kennedy administration. she was on her way there this evening, and was important in organizing this event to introduce me to the other panelists but unfortunately was stuck in denver because of the snowstorm and was unable to join us. [laughter] >> part of her display is in the corner, which he has generously donated. i happened to meet mary gallagher who contacted me here in washington and we will learn more about mary's story in a minute and she has an incredible election and has been kind enough to share some of her treasures as well.
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subsequent to that, i met preston bruce who is sitting in the front row. preston, his father was the second longest serving of the white house staff in the 20th century. he was the chief doorman from the eisenhower through the fourth administration. i spent some time with preston and his family and he has also offered to bring some of his collection to show here, so please look at the collection of the end of the evening and share and learn about their stories individually. we have kathy who also worked in the white house. we had a wonderful luncheon two weeks ago to meet everybody, and share some of the stories of their days in the kennedy administration. we thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to partner with this exhibition by sharing some of their recollections, all members of the panel were in the kennedy administration and have
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been generous with their time. i have asked my great friend eric motley who understands the value of documents, understands the value of history to moderate the panel. i look for to hearing your comments and discussion. thank you so much. [applause] >> just so you know, i was not in the kennedy administration and i want to make sure you know that. [laughter] >> dr. bruce, and i want to say dr. because he went on to get his doctorate degree and i think that is quite remarkable. his father was in the white house from eisenhower to ford. there is a wonderful anecdote where eisenhower intervenes and helped him realize his own aspirations athletically. the president of the united states recruiting you, dr. bruce. very happy to have you with us. >> thank you. [applause] >> in the preface of the landmark biography on kennedy called "kennedy." he made these comments, which i
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think are quite fitting to start with. " i cannot single out any one day for a time i begin to understand john kennedy is a human being. gradually, i discover the simplicity of this man's taste and demeanor was, while genius and genuine, deceptive and disarming. i also learned in the time that this cool analytical mind was stimulated by a warm, compassionate heart. the more one new john kennedy, the more one like him. those of us who came to know him well, bill we really rarely heard him discuss his personal feelings, begin to know the strength and warmth of this dedicated man and his logic. as he himself said about robert frost, his sense of the human tragedy, fortifies him against self-deception and easy consolation." this evening, we are fortunate
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to be with sex exceptional -- six exceptional men and women. six individuals whose lives have intersected with kennedy, who were in the kennedy administration, who have unbelievable stories, and just two weeks ago we had lunch together. i assure you, this is a most entertaining group, and if we had all night, we would have stories all night, but we only have an hour. i am sure you know that. i hope that in our fellowship afterwards, we may be a will to continue some of these wonderful stories and conversations about
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what it was like during the kennedy administration. i would like to share with you two observations that it took was in the luncheon. one, there is a brightness on the face of the individuals when they spoke about their years in the administration. there was excitement and recollection. the second observation i made, was that everybody spoke with concern and care about the individual. stepping outside of his senate office, to talking with his secretary, and his making the assumption or the claim that they knew everything, absolutely everything, and all of a sudden they started to realize, yes, maybe we do know everything. we want to know everything. they did know everything. a sense of encouragement in their own growth individually, and he tracked them, kept in touch with their kids and their dogs. some of the homes that these individuals had. this is how we will proceed. i would like to introduce each of the panelist individually. i will ask each of you one or two questions, and then i would like to go back to the entire panel and i would like to ask you another question, would like to ask you, was there one memory or recollection that you have from those years that you will forever hold onto, and then we will open the floor for q&a.
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sound look a good plan? great. senator, the sole gentleman here, senator walker who was jfk's special assistant for civil rights and the chief wave for martin with thinking. he helped to form the t score is served in the pennsylvania senate and later as a university president. i would like to ask you, tell us just a bit about how instrumental you were in introducing martin luther king to jfk. >> king, martin luther king was skeptical about kennedy. he had been impressed with nixon when they met in africa, so it was not an easy thing for
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kennedy to win him over. i would say, i need help. can you hear? ok. the moment i realized that kennedy enjoyed displaying, and the gift that counted a lot was his smile, and martin luther king liked his smile. let me tell you one reason why. the question on the first television debate was, what do you think about the questionable
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language president truman had used about his secretary? and kennedy began, the smile was beginning but again saying, if mrs. truman cannot control his light which, i'm not going to try. [laughter] >> then nixon started answering, a pious answer about his sacred heart being broken. how the mothers of america are just in terror because of this terrible language. throughout this whole speech from nixon they kept showing kennedy with a careful smile, and i thought to myself afterwards as well as on the spot, that he lost by 120,000 votes. that smile in that moment was probably worth more then 100,000 votes. i have two or three other moments of smiles, but i think
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you may smile at me -- if you get back to me, i will give you my sort of revolutionary position. it is not the tangible artifacts that we can see and touch, but something as intangible as a real and a good smile. >> senator, you are with president kennedy at the founding of the peace corps. could you tell us how that was inspired? >> kennedy was a very late at the university of michigan where he was going to spend the night after a television debate with nixon.
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it was approaching 2:00 a.m. they got there for a talk, and he looked at the 10,000 people that were estimated, mostly students and faculty, and he winged it. he had had strong feelings coming back from southeast asia about how american diplomacy needed to be very different, and he started getting a sense of that, and then asked several questions, would you be willing to give three or five years of your life serving in ghana? he asked for or five of those questions and he got a big war each time --roar each time. he went to bed in the students went to work. the only thing that started was a group of the peace corps for kennedy. i daughter had heard kennedy and they were all excited and formed
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a committee of michigan students, the world responsibility and they are taking a scroll around and they have almost 1000 students saying, we will go if you can arrange it, if you can give us a way. they called me because they wanted to find a way to get their scroll to the candidate. that was a quick talk. whoever arranged it, that is when this phone call came when they were touring the midwest. when it came, kennedy says, this idea is really catching home. let's make a major proposal of it. he did. he did in san francisco. that was the beginning of the peace corps.
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the smile i remember of kennedy and the peace corps was as i was leaving the white house to be a peace corps representative in africa for two years, directing that program. he had sworn in the white house lawn, 600 peace corps volunteers in the first wave going to africa or anywhere else. as you know, they had already gone to ghana once. on the way back, a very appropriate remark. on the way back, he looked at me with a smile and said, and i have to say, he had his doubts about the peace corps often on, but he no longer was thinking this. he was thinking what they had done in two years and here was
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another group of 600 and he said, you know, this will be really serious when it is 100,000 peace corps volunteers a year. that would mean one million americans in a decade with first-hand experience and asia, africa, and then we will have a constituency for a good foreign policy. that came with a big smile. >> wow. thank you. and thank you for the role you play. thank you. [applause] >> this is jean lewis to my left. right before we actually met and have lunch, another one of your colleagues said to me, look, that is jean lewis, 97 years old
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and drives a convertible. [laughter] >> and then i later discovered that we have something in common, we are both from alabama. montgomery. >> montgomery. >> jean came to the senate in 1968 and worked for larry o'brien. you may also remember, good historical note that he was associated with the watergate break-ins. jeanne, you worked in that office for a long time and all of the interesting people that would come and go. give me a physical description of what the office was like and what you experienced on a day-to-day basis. >> when i reported for work in 1958, i had already heard about how nice of a person senator kennedy was. hello? >> that's better.
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>> i was really looking for two getting into the office and looking around and becoming a part of this operation. i had expected that all of my colleagues, the girls would look like models. i expected a very glamorous setting. much to my surprise, when i reported to work, here was this office with seven desks lined up in two rows. my desk was in the back of the office, facing the wall. [laughter] >> my colleagues were nice-looking women, but i mean, they were not model types. [laughter] >> excuse me. the office was a parking mess. it was piled high with books and papers.
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later i found copies stacked up on a chair. i put them in a file and got them off the chairs. we had many visitors, many were nuns. we had a perfect stream of visitors all the time. vice president nixon's office was across the hall. someone came in and shook our hands, in when he left, i said it was that? they said, that was humphrey. this was the time when kennedy was running for reelection in massachusetts. he was out of the office a lot. ted sorensen was with him. i decided to clean up ted's office so i gathered all of the
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documents he borrowed from the library of congress that will well overdue and i took them back, and the first thing he did when he got back was to order them all back. [laughter] >> did you have any interaction with senator kennedy at the time when you are working with o'brien? >> o'briant came on the scene later when we were, i worked in primarily the white house. he was back in massachusetts. ted was writing speeches and i was typing speeches. the mail they came and it was coming in from all over the country as well as from massachusetts, so my job was to answer all of the mail from outside of massachusetts. you can imagine, it was a tremendous quantity of mail. typing this speeches and so forth and so on. my desk was about 10 feet from
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his office door, but he was out of town quite a lot that fall. >> thank you so much, mrs. lewis. [applause] >> you make alabama proud. mrs. gallagher, you have the microphone with you. mrs. gallagher was the chief personal secretary to jackie kennedy. we have some wonderful stories that she will share. you came to work for senator kennedy when he was in congress, correct? >> when he was first running for the senate election in massachusetts, as a congressman. >> and then you moved here with him? >> and then i moved here with him, that is right. >> this is a wonderful story. this engaged me, to be able to
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remain in the service of the then senator kennedy when i was forced to leave after three and a half years thanks to the tenure with him in the senate, because i had a child who was due to be born with an two weeks. if i stayed another day longer in the senate, the girls, my associates would be having a nervous fit. about two weeks before the birth of my first son, the senator stopped by my desk and asked how i was feeling, and of course, i am eight months pregnant looking up from the typewriter inside, senator, i feel just great. he said, good, you will be around a lot longer. i said, well, maybe so if you consider two weeks a while longer because i'm out of here after that. he said, but you just said, you felt fine. i said, i know. first thing is first. [laughter] >> i was out of there within the
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first two weeks, and my son was born four days after that, and he is standing in the back of the room saying, hello. that was 16 years ago. right there. >> now we know how old you are. [laughter] >> and then a year in nine days later, when i left the senate was because of the fact that i was forced into it, and had the great pleasure of having this new person in our happy life. oh, i have to hold this. i decided, i have that urge to be able to serve the senate and they would call me at home every
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day, the administrative assistant. he kept saying, jack keeps asking if marion will come back to work. i said i could do something at home but not full time at the office. long story short, about three months later, they elected not to full-time anymore, but i received a call from the senator's mother-in-law, jackie, mrs. kennedy who called and said, jack suggested she call me. she needed a secretary at her estate in virginia at marywood and wanted to know if i would have the time. i said, if i can get a babysitter to sit with chris, and by the second was gregory, i would be happy to work. after four months with her, mrs.
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kennedy called from georgetown is said, i understand you are working for mother two days a week. would you like to spend the other days working in georgetown? i had every intention of just resuming my domestic life, motherhood and caring for my husband and the house and all that. it was in palm beach, florida when i was there on a trip to jackie right before the inauguration. she asked me to spend time with her there to get ready. three days before we were ready to leave, is when pierre thenger wanted to send out
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notice of who she wanted to take to the white house. prior to that, i heard nothing about being asked to go to the white house. secretary came from the president's andrew over to mrs. kennedy who was dictating to me at the top right of their. , the president wants the press release to go out. and he said, what about mary? , heithout even asking me
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he must. i tried to convince her it would not work because it would not be a part-time job. supposedly i thought this was the end of having done this campaign year that i had fulfilled my obligation. oh, mary i need you and you know we will not be working every day. i will not be spending every day there. when i am away, you can have those days off. that turned out to be two secretaries full-time. i will not get into that. as eric said, we have only an hour here. [laughter] >> i have one more question for you, mrs. gallagher.
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one more question. >> no, not really. i have already talked about five minutes. i was trying to lay the groundwork there so you understand it was 12 years later that i was leaving the service of jacqueline kennedy. meanwhile, let me say, i have cards and i wrote a book in 1969, my life with jackson kennedy. everything i can tell you this evening for the next two hours, pick up a copy of "my life with jackie." [laughter] [applause] >> martin, to be have those books for sale? mrs. geller, there was nothing
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part-time about your commitment to mrs. kennedy, but she relied on you so much, all the way to the end. i am hesitant to ask you this, but this is also a rich part of the narrative of your own life and your experience and hers, you are with her that day in dallas. can you give us just a bit about what that was like and what you found. >> i will try to be brief, because that is one memory when it comes back, always brings a chill to my arms my shoulders and all over. i remember it like yesterday. it was 53 years ago, could it really be that much? but it is. it is a case where i think i can only talk about how difficult it was to have been right there, but i am glad that i was because for mrs. kennedy's sake i could embrace her.
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i will not go into the details of everything about it, but it was one of the saddest experiences that i have ever been through. when i look back on it now and try to recall it, it is almost too much to do. i am a little speechless. anyway, let's see. where do i go from here? i don't know. >> thank you. >> it is difficult. >> thank you. i am glad you were there. [applause] >> i will say, i will say i go into detail in the book about everything. [laughter] >> there is a memory that comes back to my mind most is being in the vip bus behind the president's motorcade is seen this policeman with his gun drawn, and that is benign is something serious had happened
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and i said to the secretary next to me, i said, something very terrible has happened. look at the policeman. we got to the parkland hospital for the luncheon scheduled and it was just chaos with everyone screaming about the president being shot. i speak about going to the hospital and go into all of that. it is a very sad note. mrs. kennedy visited our house, that is a happier topic. mrs. kennedy and the children visited on the day before she left for her big trip to india because she needed a day to get away, and miss caroline want it to come and visit. this is part of the relationship
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i had that i enjoyed so much. the boy, stanley, it was like family. after we soon got into the white house in 1961, mrs. kennedy asked if i would have tom kitten flown to the house. the president, he was allergic to animal for which i was not aware of -- animal fur, which i was not aware at the time of either. caroline was the same age as chris and greg. they would come to visit, and she would come periodically, mostly on wednesdays when it was a day off. however, before mrs. kennedy went on her trip to india she wanted a day to herself so that caroline and she could come and visit with tom kitten and that would give for a day of relaxation. so, anyway that was one of the more happier moments and there were several others, but as i say there is so much to talk
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about that we cannot really covered in just a few minutes. >> i have read the book so i recommend the book. [laughter] >> thank you. [applause] >> nancy duggan, worked in the campaign for fred duggan. she later ran robert f kennedy's campaign. your husband was a specialist for jfk. tell us a bit about that and how you met and what that entire experience was like. >> is it on? >> it is on. >> let me tell you a bit about the white house because it is so different today. the kennedy white house had no chief of staff.
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eisenhower was the first president with the chief of staff, military so it kind of fit, but he wanted one, but when it came time to organize the kennedy white house, bob kennedy was his closest advisor. nobody was ever going to be more important than bobby. let's get a group of people and make them all equal, which meant they all had direct access to the president. they did not have to go through anyone else. that included the special assistance, but now it is assistant to the president regular chief of staff. there were 95, what i call elliptical appointees in the kennedy white house. everyone who works in the white house is a political appointee. the ushers, the butlers, the switchboard operators, the drivers.
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they are not civil servants because they tend to fit into a category. the 95 political appointees who came in from the campaign and other places, all those 95, 41 of them are still living. >> you know all of them don't you, nancy? >> no, not quite. but most of the people with direct access to the president who have commissions are gone. harris is likely still with us and sam became a specialist assistant in 1962 or 1963, and that is about it for those that were at that level. the rest of us were political appointees. we did political things.
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there was no one telling us what to do, which is actually quite interesting when you think of today's white house. i was asked to be on a panel of a show called "to tell the truth." this was in april of 1961. i said to fred, ok, if i do this? he said, sure but you better check with pierre. pierre said, you better answer all of the questions right and not do anything stupid. [laughter] >> no one told me what to do with the money but i give it to the university of michigan area by the way, -- michigan. either way, the university of michigan has more peace corps graduates than any other university in the country.
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i actually did not work for fred during the campaign. i worked for white. how i ended up on the campaign working for byron white. i am from cincinnati, ohio came from an irish catholic democratic, pretty well-known family. the chairman of the democratic party, his secretary and my dad's secretary were best friends, and i worked downtown. right before i graduated from college in june, i was planning on coming to the campaign around july 20 and i ran into the chairman, and he said, where are you going? i said, i am just going to volunteer. he said, well, we can do better than that. we walked up to his office with his old-style telephone so he
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got out his little black book and he dialed a number and he said, whizzzer this is sacko. he was talking to a guard of the detroit lions. whizzer was in and to the detroit --end to the detroit lions, they were roommates and that's a landed up working for iran -- byron. >> what a rich history. thank you so much, nancy. [applause] >> nancy has been instrumental in keeping this group well-connected. thank you so much. she has been the point person on this as well. i want to introduce you to marry white who happens to be a neighbor of mine have learned
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more about it last couple of weeks then all the years we have lived in georgetown together. a real pleasure, mary. you were instrumental in helping him with profiles of courage. tony besser is in -- tell me about sorenson. >> he was unbelievably intelligent. we did work -- i don't think i am going to mention it. i was going to give you a sample of what it was like to work in his office. having worked for a speechwriter -- ok, it was a sunday evening in 1962. i shared a large georgetown apartment with three other women. two of my roommates were hosting a small party. the phone rang. one of the guests answers the phone. mary, the white house is calling. it was ted sorensen asking me to come in immediately. i said, i was babysitting my three-month-old nephew, his parents were having their first night out after the birth of their first child. ted, said, bring the baby in.
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i said, ok, send a card. by the time i got the baby ready and down the flight of stairs, the driver was there. let me find my notes. i also placed a note on the door, of the apartment outside door saying, if you want your child, come down to the white house and go to the northwest gate. [laughter] >> the white house man did help me get the baby in. we placed him in fred douglas' office. after a while, the white house garden ushered in my sister and
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brother. the guard said, after they arrived to the northwest gate, let me get this right here. oh no, that was another time. ok. the baby is fine. i was just there checking on him. he was sleeping. nice to see you and just drive up to the northwest gate and someone will take you in. [laughter] >> they did appear, and at that point source and kate -- ted sorensen came out and met my sister and brother-in-law. he was very impressed with the baby that his name was spelled with two t's. >> mary, do not leave out the part what the sergeant said to you. >> after i arrived? he did say, oh, i bet your friends were impressed. he said, no, they are all republicans. they think i am nuts. [laughter]
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>> we got right to work. sorensen was working on the state of the union address the president would deliver the following week. cap wrote it and i typed it in the baby slept. [applause] >> may i just inject a little note that brings back a memory? the baby slept. it won't take more than a minute. when you mentioned ted sorensen, i am filled with all of the wonderful days in the senate when it would be ted sorensen without his secretary, ill or out on vacation, and he would ask me to fill in for whoever it was. ted sorensen had to be one of the best dictators that i have ever taken dictations from in my two careers.
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after 17 years into my second career, all of the wonderful executives i work for, none compared to the dictation i took from ted sorensen on his legislation for senator kennedy at the time. i just had to make that known. >> thank you, mary. thank you so much. you can tell they are inseparable here. [applause] >> she worked for dave powers who was extremely close to the president.
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>> started with him running for congress. >> tell us about the relationship. >> i worked in the first campaign office for stephen smith, the brother-in-law of resident kennedy, mary to jean kennedy. i went right to the white house and i was fortunate to be assigned today's powers who was a wonderful man, a great sense of humor and he was one of the first people who reached out to president kennedy. he came from a rather humble beginning and had just returned from the war in china. he did not fly a plane he was freshly working on that and what have you. he climbed up, as dave tells the story, knocked on the door and said, i am john kennedy and i want to run for the house of representatives and everybody said you would be the perfect person to help me. dave said, i certainly will be and i'm awfully glad you did not get tired on the second floor. [laughter] >> they were together for every
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single trip a president ever took including in dallas when he was in the car behind him. he was a joy to work for because he was such a delightful man. i am just going to tell very quickly because i know you are very busy. my three greatest memories of the white house wars the honor of being there, and we all love the president. we admired him, knew he was dedicated and sincere. i just remember, and this is a funny little incident, mary, but with the children. one day i was going from the east wing to the west wing, and the presidential elevator stopped and out came mrs. kennedy and the president with john john. he had a robe on with slippers, holding his hand. there was a little aetrium that is no longer there, where they
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apparently stopped in the secret service man said, ok, you can go ahead. when i got inside the aetrium, there was the president of the united states. john was hollering at the top of his lungs. mrs. kennedy used to take them out with macaroni of hers, pull in them the backyard in the wintertime. he was screaming he wanted to go on that sleigh and here was the president of the united states and, but john, daddy has to go to the office. i cannot help you. [laughter] >> good morning, mr. president. i kept right on going. he was like every other father, frustrated. i am going to tell to stories and finish it. the other one was november 22. while i was not there, everybody came running saying, the president has been shot. secret service who had a small office upstairs in the east wing. he came downstairs and said, we are going to use your office, we need a lot of people and have only one line to parkland hospital and you will have to
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hold it because you can work upstairs and take things in their office. do not put it down. that is the only line. and so, he was getting the notes back and forth and no one actually knew what was happening. a refilling him and with details between the other agents that were there, and clint hill came on the line and i remember it, jerry banes saying, what is the story with the president? he said, he is dead, sir. i excused myself. i did not want them to hear me. they started calling all of the family to advise them. all of the sisters were saying, oh, no. not jack. it is not jack, is it? is everything all right? they said, no he is wounded but they did not know he was dead. it was amazing, robert kennedy
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with his courage he said, the attorney general is on the line and he came on the line in the first question he asked was the last question he wanted to hear and he just said, is he dead? and i thought, of all of these people on this line asking and not wanting to ask, you asked first what you wanted to hear last, and that was amazing. the other thing i'm going to finish up with, and if you do not mind, jean and i were blessed to be part of the white house staff that was chosen to go to ireland on that great trip with the president. all my god. --oh my god. it was so wonderful. they were holding an irish like an american flag on the other side. i think to everyone who knew him, especially dave who said it was like a journey of the heart
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for the president because i think, and perhaps i'm not qualified to speak on this, maybe other people more so, but from what everybody said and will be gathered, it was probably the happiest trip of his presidency, which was two years, 10 months and two days of shining moments. for us, they were shining moments, too. [applause] >> now, i'm going to ask each of you. i asked each of you to share one brief memory that you would like to hold on forever. i will start with you senator.
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these are your last words. [laughter] >> for tonight. [laughter] >> i was delivering a driver to a big assembly at an american university for the national association of students, and shriver and i arrived and they said, mr. shriver, robert, do you want to read the message from the president or give it to me to read? he took me aside and said, do you know anything about a speech? i said, no. i said, but i can get you one by the time you get to it in the talk. he said, i will read it. so, i did a very nice speech that got handed in handwriting up to sargent shriver. he gave it and a big applause for it.
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the head of a student association called me and said, i am just so happy. we are sending that speech from president kennedy's personal hand. [laughter] >> i said, give me a few minutes to find the proper thing to do. he had no idea. i had to call and say, i am sorry. there is a definite role that any document, any original goes to the president. [laughter] >> it stood in the association but not in the same position.
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so somewhere there may be that handwritten speech that kennedy in 1961 gave. the reason it was kennedy, he heard about all of this and gave a very good smile. i do not think he ever read the speech though. >> thank you, senator. jean, will you share with us your memory? >> i was out in california six weeks before the convention, carrying out the arrangements for the convention before, and i was in the convention halls with president -- when president kennedy was nominated. he was nominated on the first rollcall but not until the very last vote for the delegates were counted.
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they were from the state of wisconsin. you can imagine, the delight, the ecstasy that we felt that moment he was actually receiving the nomination. i must say, the crowd went wild. [applause] >> in the first two weeks of the administration, the president was showing off the west wing with some frequency. he would have guessed over and an old congressman friend from boston or a number of people, and after dinner, he would show them the oval office. one night, he walked into the office that i shared with four other people that was first
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floor, west wing, right behind the doors. you went all the way through the windows from the front door, and it was about 10:00 at night and i was working. because i had not been a part of the campaign for a long time, i had never had a conversation with him. i introduced myself at his request, and he wanted to know something about my background. i got to the fact that i had gone to his old college and his eyes lit up, where his mother went, his sister, his other sister pat, his sister-in-law ethel kennedy. [laughter] >> at that point, it was a single sex college run by the female jesuits. it was a voting precinct. he looked at me and said, did they vote for me? [laughter]
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>> anticipating that i might get that question at some point, i had checked, and in fact the nuns who were known as the little sisters of the rich. [laughter] >> did not vote for jfk. the second half of our conversation had lasting meaning for me. i had a book on my desk. i had not read it. i had just bought it. the president picked it up, and it was actually a book about marxist socialism, and he wanted to know what it was about. i have learned to never have a book showing that i have not read. [laughter] >> of course, the best memories
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are just being a part of that new frontier, of that spirit, of what we did not get accomplish as well as what we did get accomplish. i was in the state department during the cuban missile crisis and during the nuclear test treaty, and those of the memories that i am so glad i got to work on those projects. totally coincidentally, some of that to me the other day, where do you get your appreciation for art? and antiques? and i woke up in the middle of the night last night and i said, i think jackie kennedy had something to do with that and i never thought about it that way. [applause] >> thank you, nancy. >> i am going to pick up on dean
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powers. it starts with, you work with ted sorensen, every third night around 9:00, if that was my day around 4:00 i would go down to lincoln's office and get fresh chocolate delivered to her office. i figured that would get me through 9:00. one time i was there in the cabinet door opened and it was dave powers with a very attractive the blonde woman dressed in all white at which point the door at the other side from the president's office, he threw his door open and he was right there in smooth this woman up --swooped this woman up and took her right into his office. it was melina deric. [applause] >> mary, the other mary, mrs. gallagher.
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>> i oftentimes like to look back on the service to mrs. kennedy from the early georgetown days into the white house, and in being able to handle all of her expenses, bookkeeping wise. it all began in the early 1950's when i sat with her in georgetown. the president of the center of the time was home in bed with puffed up cheeks due to a tooth abscess. it was march 17, and when i arrived at the home in georgetown to take care of mrs. kennedy's bookkeeping affairs, i went up to the second floor to the study pass the bedroom he was in there reading the newspaper and he said, good morning, mary. i said, good morning, senator. i found out after several hours
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of working that day that after lunchtime when i had had enough time to pile up a whole stack of checks i had written out for mrs. kennedy, that he patted in his bare feet, bathrobe and said, how are you doing, mary? i said, just fine. he started spreading all of the checks and bills and statements all over the desk and said, what is this and what is that? i had to explain what mrs. kennedy was purchasing and where and why and how. [laughter] >> he issued the statement to me, from here on out, you furnish me with bookkeeping reports. i want to know all of mrs. kennedy's expenses from here on out. if that was not a job in itself. being a personal secretary, which i loved the shorthand,
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that typing, the regular run-of-the-mill appointments and badly liaison. it became double duty. the bookkeeping took about as much time, which i was able to manage actually, weekends and evenings when the boys were put to bed and all that, and i enjoyed every minute of it. when people read my book though-- [laughter] >> they cannot believe it.
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