John Fitzgerald Kennedy


The taste of victory was fresh and sweet to John Fitzgerald
Kennedy. Just about a year ago, he sat in the drawing room
of his Georgetown home and spoke breezily about the office
he would assume. "Sure it's a big job," he said. "But I
don't know anybody who can do it any better than I can. I'm
going to be in it for four years. It isn't going to be so
bad. you've got time to think -- and besides, the pay is
pretty good."
One year later, on a cool, grey day, the 35th President of
the United States sat at his desk in the oval office of the
White House and discussed the same subject. "This job is
interesting," he said in that combination of Irish slur and
broad Bostonese that has become immediately identifiable on
all the world's radios, "but the possibilities for trouble
are unlimited. It represents a chance to exercise your
judgment on matters of importance. It takes a lot of
thought and effort. It's been a tough first year, but then
they're all going to be tough."
The words, not particularly memorable, might have come from
any of a thousand thoughtful executives after a year on the
job. But here they were spoken by the still-young executive
in the world's biggest job, and they showed the difference
in attitude and tone that twelve months in the White House
have worked on John F. Kennedy.
Jack Kennedy -- Man of the Year for 1961 -- had
passionately sought the presidency. The closeness of his
victory did not disturb him; he took over the office with a
youth-can-do-anything sort of self-confidence. He learned
better; but learn he did. And in so doing he not only made
1961 the most endlessly interesting and exciting
presidential year within recent memory; he also made the
process of his growing up to be President a saving factor
for the U.S. in the cold war.
Kennedy has always had a way with the people -- a presence
that fits many moods, a style that swings with grace from
high formality to almost prankish casualness, a quick
charm, the patience to listen, a sure social touch, an
interest in knowledge and a greed for facts, a zest for
play matched by a passion for work. Today his personal
popularity compares favorably with such popular heroes as
Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.
During 1961, Kennedy suffered some major setbacks,
including one, in Cuba, that might have ruined some
Presidents. (Richard Nixon has said: "If I had been
responsible for failing to make a critical decision on the
Cuban business which would have brought victory, I would
have been impeached.") Yet, his popularity has remained
consistently high, seemingly unaffected by his
vicissitudes. In the latest Gallup poll, 78% of the
American people said that they approved of the way he is
doing his job. But personal popularity, as Kennedy well
knows, is not always reflected in widespread support of
public policy. To translate popularity into support is the
job of the politician -- and the job to which Kennedy has
come increasingly to devote his time and energy.
In many of the most visible ways, Kennedy has been little
changed by the presidency. In the White House, he still
fidgets around, prowling the corridors and offices, putting
his feet on his chair, pulling up his socks, tapping his
teeth, adjusting and readjusting the papers on his desk,
occasionally answering his own telephone or making his own
telephone calls. It used to be that the telephone
salutation, "This is Jack," would bring the instinctive
question, "Jack who?" But no longer. Now everyone in
Washington knows who Jack is: he is the man at the other
end of the line.
At 44, Kennedy's weight remains steady at 175 lbs. He has
few more grey hairs or wrinkles of care than when he took
office -- but he somehow looks older and more mature.
Indeed he is older -- but in a way that the mere
month-by-month passage of time could not have made him.
Less Than Omnipotent. Kennedy has come to realize that
national and international issues look much different from
the President's chair than from a candidate's rostrum.
There are fewer certainties, and far more complexities. "We
must face problems which do not lend themselves to easy,
quick or permanent solutions," he said recently in Seattle.
"And we must face the fact that the U.S. is neither
omnipotent nor omniscient, and that we cannot right every
wrong or reverse each adversity, and that therefore there
cannot be an American solution for every world problem."
That sober view of the limitations of power and authority
is far removed from Kennedy's campaign oratory, which often
seemed to suggest that any problem could be solved if only
enough vim and vigor were brought to bear on it. Kennedy
promised a "New Frontier" to "get America moving again." He
soon found that it was tough enough just to keep the old
problems from getting out of hand.
Before he came to the White House, Kennedy chose as his
model the Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the New Deal years.
He expressed admiration for Roosevelt's ability to "do"
things and to "get things done," even adopted some of
F.D.R.'s speech mannerisms (the cocked head, allusions to
historical fact). Kennedy advisers talked about a
Rooseveltian 100 days of dramatic success with Congress.
But before the azaleas had bloomed in the White House
garden the Roosevelt image went by the boards -- and so did
the 100-day notion. "This period," says Kennedy today, with
just a shade of irritation, "is entirely different from
Franklin Roosevelt's day. Everyone says that Roosevelt did
this and that, why don't I?"
Changed Positives. Kennedy has always been a man of
positive ideas -- but some of the positives have changed.
During the 1960 campaign, he effectively used the charge
that U.S. prestige had plummeted during Dwight Eisenhower's
Administration. In fact, the U.S. had under Ike, and
retains under Kennedy, a high reservoir of good will in the
free world -- as Kennedy saw for himself in his triumphal
trips to London, Paris and, more recently Latin America.
During the presidential campaign, Kennedy also made much of
the "missile gap" between the U.S. and the Soviet Union;
within a few weeks after he took office, the missile gap
somehow seemed to disappear (although the President was
publicly annoyed at Defense Secretary Robert McNamara for
saying as much at a news briefing. Kennedy himself said:
"In terms of total military strength, the U.S. would not
trade places with any nation on earth."
As an amateur historian, Kennedy might have realized that
no new President starts out with a blank book to be filled
with fresh-ink policies. The reach of current history is
such that any President's program becomes a continuing part
of national policy; that policy may be altered, but it can
rarely be fully reversed. When Kennedy first came to the
White House, he resented his inheritance, constantly
referred to problems "not of our own making." But now those
old problems tend to become "our problems," and the fact
that the world is in trouble seems to Kennedy less Dwight
Eisenhower's fault than he once suspected. At a recent
meeting of the National Security Council, Kennedy opened a
folder filled with briefs of U.S. problems. "Now, let's
see," he said. "Did we inherit these, or are these our
own?" Now, Kennedy can even joke to friends: "I had plenty
of problems when I came in. But wait until the fellow who
follows me sees what he will inherit."
Key to Power. Behind such subtle, sometimes facetiously
stated, changes of attitude lies the central story of a
U.S. President coming of age. Personality is a key to the
use of presidential power, and John Kennedy in 1961 passed
through three distinct phases of presidential personality.
First, there was the cocksure new man in office. Then,
after the disastrous, U.S.- backed invasion of Cuba (in
White House circles, B.C. still means Before Cuba), came
disillusionment. Finally, in the year's last months, came a
return of confidence -- but of a wiser, more mature kind
that had been tempered by the bitter lessons of experience.
Kennedy's inaugural address, delivered under a brilliant
sun after a night of wild snowstorm, rang with eloquence
and the hope born of confidence. "Let the word go forth
from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the
torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans . .
. In the long history of the world, only a few generations
have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour
of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility
-- I welcome it."
Man of Destiny. Such was Kennedy's performance during the
inauguration ceremonies that the late Sam Rayburn was moved
to remark: "He's a man of destiny." Poet Robert Frost, then
86, obviously thought so, too, and his proud reading of one
of his poems at the inaugural set a tone of expectation.
After a few weeks in the Presidency, Kennedy told a friend:
"This is a damned good job." He was fascinated by the
perquisites of his office and his sudden access to the
deepest secrets of government. He explored the White House,
poked his head into offices, asked secretaries how they
were getting along. He propped up pictures of his wife and
children in office wall niches, while Jackie rummaged
through the cellar and attic, charmed with the treasures
she found there and already determined to make the White
House into a "museum of our country's heritage."
The Kennedy "style" came like a hurricane. For a while, the
problems of the world seemed less important than what
parties the Kennedys went to, what hairdo Jackie wore.
Seldom, perhaps never, has any President had such thorough
exposure in so short a time. At one point, Theodore
Sorensen, Kennedy's special counsel, reminded the president
of Kennedy's old campaign line: that he was tired of
getting up every morning and reading what Khrushchev and
Castro were doing; instead, he wanted to read what the
President of the U.S. was doing. Replied Kennedy: "That's
so, and I've been hearing some criticism about it. People
are saying that they are tired of getting up every morning
and reading what Kennedy is doing. They want to read what
Khrushchev and Castro are doing."
First Realization. On the home front realization came
quickly to Jack Kennedy that not everything was going to
come up roses. The 87th Congress had convened with lopsided
Democratic majorities -- but those majorities were
deceptive, particularly in the House of Representatives
where conservative Democrats (mostly from the South) and
Republicans saw Kennedy's squeaky win over Dick Nixon as
less than a national mandate. The first major fight in
Congress was over the Kennedy Administration's all-out
effort to liberalize the House Rules Committee. The
resolution carried by a scant five votes -- and right then
and there President Kennedy, a veteran vote counter,
concluded that his domestic programs were in for trouble.
He was absolutely right. During the year, in 66 messages to
Capitol Hill, the President made 355 specific legislative
requests. Of those, the Congress approved 172. In general,
the Congress gave the President almost everything he wanted
in the field of national security. After desperate fights,
it approved Kennedy Administration requests for the biggest
housing bill in history, an increased minimum wage and new
federal highway financing. But such pet Kennedy programs as
aid to education and medical care for the elderly never
even came to House votes. And in one of the bitterest blows
of all President Kennedy got for his vital foreign aid a
half-loaf that did not meet his urgent demands for
long-term borrowing authority.
Naive Request. In foreign affairs, understanding of the
difficulties came more slowly to the President. At the
outset Kennedy naively conveyed a request for a six-month
moratorium on Communist troublemaking while the new
Administration got its house in order. In response,
Communist guerrillas began gobbling even more hungrily at
faraway Laos. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko came
to the White House to sound out the new President. In the
Rose Garden, Kennedy sternly warned Gromyko of the danger
of pushing the U.S. too far in a situation where its
prestige was at stake. Gromyko listened -- and the
guerrillas kept advancing in Laos. As the situation
worsened, Kennedy went on national TV at a press conference
to declare that a Communist takeover in Laos would "quite
obviously affect the security of the U.S."
The plain implication of Kennedy's statement was that the
U.S. would send arms and, if necessary, troops to defend
the security that had been equated with its own. But
nothing could have been further from Kennedy's intention,
and only a few days later State Department officials and
White House aides began downgrading the importance of Laos.
Kennedy himself said, in a qualification that counted Laos
out: "We can only defend the freedom of those who are ready
to defend themselves." Actually, the new President had been
caught in a talk-tough bluff aimed, at best, at achieving a
pallid, precarious truce in Laos.
But Laos did not diminish Jack Kennedy's self-confidence.
Neither did the space flight of Russia's Yuri Gagarin. To
that, Kennedy reacted in a manner characteristic of his
first months in the White House. First he called in his
space experts, demanded that they come up with answers
about when, how and at what cost the U.S. could catch up
with the U.S.S.R. in man-in-space prowess. "I don't care
where you get the answers," said Kennedy. "If the janitor
over there can tell us, ask him." Next Kennedy appeared
before the Congress to deliver an unusual midyear State of
the Union message. He asked for a $9 billion program to put
a man on the moon by 1971, and he placed that request, in a
manner smacking more of Hollywood and Vine than of 1600
Pennsylvania Avenue, close to the top of the U.S. cold war
priority list.
Dark Night. Then there was Cuba. It was a tragedy, but if
nothing else it served the function of a hickory stick in
the presidential education of John Kennedy. Kennedy had
inherited the unpleasant fact of Communist Fidel Castro's
rule over an enclave within 90 miles of U.S. shores. He
also inherited from Dwight Eisenhower a specific plan for
the U.S. to back, with air cover and logistical support, an
anti-Castro invasion of Cuba by Cubans. But Kennedy decreed
that the U.S. should not provide some of the necessary
ingredients to that plan -- such as air cover by U.S.
planes. The result was disaster at the Bay of Pigs.
On the night when the Cuba failure became apparent, the
scene at the White House was memorable. President Kennedy,
doffing the white tie and tails he had worn to a
legislative reception, returned to the Executive Wing while
the unhappy news was pouring in. At 2:30 a.m., orders were
given to the State Department's Latin American expert,
Adolf Berle Jr., and White House Aide Arthur Schlesinger
Jr. to fly to Miami to confer with anti-Castro Cuban
invasion leaders. Black coffee was being rushed about.
Berle (since eased out of his State Department office)
stood around in an overcoat complaining of the cold.
Schlesinger was haggard and unshaven. Finally, Berle and
Schlesinger left, and so did most others of the White House
coterie. Abruptly, President Kennedy walked out into the
White House Rose Garden. For 45 minutes he stayed alone,
Cuba made the first dent in John Kennedy's self-confidence.
When the invasion first began to go sour, the President
called his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who
was making a speech in Williamsburg, Va., at the time. "Why
don't you come back," said Jack, "and let's discuss it."
Bobby flew back and, in the midst of crisis, his was the
profile pictured against the late-burning White House
lights. In Cuba's immediate aftermath, it was Bobby who
moved into the White House, spearheaded an investigation of
the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, became a moving
spirit at National Security Council meetings.
At the moment of nadir in the Cuba disaster, a White House
aide watched President Kennedy and said: "This is the first
time Jack Kennedy ever lost anything." The fact of defeat
was jolting, and the President showed it. In the weeks that
followed, he seemed unsure of himself and willing to
attempt almost anything that, by any conceivable stretch of
the imagination, might recoup the B.C. position. He even
got himself involved in the ill- advised attempt to trade
U.S. tractors off for captured Cuban rebels.
On to Vienna. But it is in the nature of Kennedy to strike
when things seem worst. It was in that sense that after
Cuba the President -- despite campaign criticism of
summitry -- decided to go to Vienna to meet Nikita
Khrushchev. He hoped, he said, to size up Khrushchev and to
warn him against miscalculating U.S. determination in the
cold war. He knew beforehand that Khrushchev was tough --
but only at Vienna did he discover how tough. "The
difficulty of reaching accord was dramatized in those two
days," he says today. There was no shouting or shoe
banging, but the meeting was grim. At one point Kennedy
noted a medal on Khrushchev's chest and asked what it was.
When Khrushchev explained that it was for the Lenin Peace
Prize, Kennedy coldly replied: "I hope you keep it."
Kennedy managed to wangle out of Khrushchev a paper
agreement on the need for an "effective cease-fire" in Laos
and for a neutral and independent Laos (Communist
guerrillas nonetheless continued to violate the
cease-fire), but the two got nowhere on other matters. Then
Kennedy insisted on a last, unscheduled session with
Khrushchev. "We're not going on time," he snapped to his
staff. "I'm not going to leave until I know more." He found
out more. At that final session Khrushchev growled that his
decision to sign a peace treaty with East Germany by the
end of December was "firm" and "irrevocable." "If that is
true," replied Kennedy, "it is going to be a cold winter."
High over the Atlantic Ocean, flying back to the U.S. the
next night, John Kennedy sat in his shorts, surrounded by
his key aides. He was dead tired; his eyes were red and
watery; he throbbed with the ache of a back injury that the
nation did not yet know about but that had forced him to
endure agonies on his European trip. Several times he
stared down at his feet, shook his head and muttered how
unbending Khrushchev had been. He hugged his bare legs and
wondered what would come next.
Aides in the White House agree that August and September
were the most critical months so far in the personal and
political life of John Kennedy. The first thing that
Kennedy did when he got back to the White House was to call
for an estimate of the number of Americans who might die in
an atomic war; it was 70 million. Kennedy and those close
to him felt that war was a very real possibility. The
President became moody, withdrawn, often fell into deep
thought in the midst of festive occasions with family and
friends. He sat up late in the White House and talked about
war. To one intimate associate he said: "It really doesn't
matter as far as you and I are concerned. What really
matters is all the children."
But at some point, in some way, the President passed
through his period of personal crisis. He decided that
words could be effective only when backed by the plain
willingness to perform deeds. "We do not want to fight," he
told the U.S., "but we have fought before. We cannot and
will not permit the Communists to drive us out of Berlin,
either gradually or by force."
Kennedy had uttered such bold words before -- but this time
he intended to support them with action. The Communist Wall
in Berlin caught the U.S. by surprise, and President
Kennedy had no ready response. "There's no reason why we
should do everything," he said. But he did decide, even if
it meant war, to insist upon the maintenance of three basic
Allied rights in Berlin: 1) the presence of Allied forces,
2) access to Berlin, and 3) a free and viable city as part
of West Germany.
Turning Point. It was to demonstrate that determination in
the only language that Communism can understand that
Kennedy ordered an armored U.S. troop convoy to travel the
Autobahn from West Germany through East German territory to
West Berlin. The journey made for some dramatic headlines,
but its real significance was somehow diluted by the flood
of international crises. Kennedy well recognized that if
the convoy were stopped, the shooting might start. "Talking
to Kennedy was like talking to a statue," recalls a White
House aide. "There was the feeling that this mission could
very well escalate into shooting before morning."
The battle group was to be sent along the Autobahn in
serials of 60 trucks each. General Bruce Clarke, Commander
in Chief, U.S. Army, Europe, set up headquarters in the
woods about one-half mile from Helmstedt. He was in
near-instant communication with the White House. President
Kennedy had postponed a weekend trip to Cape Cod; his
military aide, Army Major General Ted Clifton, was ordered
to remain on duty all night in case of trouble, Kennedy
himself stayed up until midnight, then turned in. When he
arose at 8 a.m., he was told that the convoy's first group
had passed safely through the gate into West Berlin.
Thus, the incident itself did not amount to much, but it
was a turning point in the presidential year. For the first
time Kennedy had backed up his urgent words with urgent
action -- and was psychologically ready for more. Gone was
the old feeling of complete cockiness. Gone too was that
period of doubt -- which had been so devastating to a man
who had never before known doubt.
From the beginning of his Administration, Kennedy had been
concerned about establishing "credibility" with Khrushchev.
But, in retrospect, it was not until after the Autobahn
voyage that Khrushchev began to believe that the new U.S.
President might really back up his brave words with daring
deeds. Given that inch, Kennedy began to make mileage.
The U.S. continued building up its nuclear and conventional
forces to strengthen its military might around the world.
The Army stated raising its strength from eleven to a
planned 16 combat divisions, got a badly needed infusion of
modern equipment. Draft calls were increased, and some
156,000 reservists and National Guardsmen were called to
active duty (some of them have been screaming ever since).
Down to the smallest detail, Kennedy himself discussed ways
in which the U.S. might combat Communist guerrillas in
strategic areas of the earth. In a meeting with military
leaders to decide which weapons ought to be sent to
pro-Western forces in Southeast Asia, he personally called
for specimens of several. He tried the new M- 14, then the
new Armalite. Then he hefted the old, World War II carbine
and said: "You know, I like the old carbine. You aren't
going to see a guy 500 yards in the jungle."
Kennedy once again conferred with Gromyko in the White
House to discuss East-West tensions, and this time the
President made it clear that he was through with offering
U.S. compromises in return for continuing Russian
intransigence. Said Kennedy: "You have offered to trade us
an apple for an orchard. We don't do that in this country."
Before long, diplomatic pouches were bringing word back
that Khrushchev now felt that his young American antagonist
might be much more than a pup. In evidence Khrushchev amid
belligerent yowlings, backed away from his year- end
deadline about the settlement, forced or otherwise, of the
Berlin question.
The Image. Slight and temporary though it may have been,
the relaxation that Kennedy won in the tensions about
Berlin gave him a chance to perfect and polish his image as
a U.S. political leader. Part of that image was, and is,
the youth, vigor and attractiveness of the Kennedy family.
Few diplomats have scored more triumphs than Jacqueline
Kennedy in her year as the nation's First Lady. She has
charmed Britain's Macmillan, France's De Gaulle, Germany's
Adenauer and, for that matter, Khrushchev himself (said
Khrushchev of Jackie's gown: "It's beautiful!"). "Jackie
wants to be as great a First Lady in her own right as Jack
wants to be a great President," says a friend. Toward that
end, Jackie has worked hard and effectively. She has done
over the White House with unexceptionable taste. She has
introduced into the White House, for the first time in
years, good food, great music, Shakespeare, warmth and
informality -- all along with a deep respect for American
tradition. In so doing, she has managed to stay very much
Jackie Kennedy refuses to be falsely humble. She wore her
apricot dress and coat of silk and linen to speak to
farmers in a Venezuelan barnyard. She declines to honor all
the petty requests that pour into the White House, ignores
most of the President's political rallies, turns down
invitations from women's groups who are constantly nagging
her for an appearance. She water-skis, rides, plays golf,
and yet remains an attentive mother to her children.
"Who's Crying?" The Kennedys try to shield Daughter
Caroline from too much publicity. But despite all her
parents efforts, Caroline is a real Kennedy: she makes
news. She came clutching her mother's shoes into a
presidential press conference at Palm Beach. Carefully
rehearsed, she was on hand to proffer a fresh rose to an
enchanted Nehru at Newport. Once, Kennedy had to break off
a TV filming to go and wipe Caroline's offstage tears
("Who's crying in this house?" he demanded). Again the
President of the U.S., spending a weekend at Glen Ora, was
heard to say impatiently: "Hurry up, Caroline. I want to
use the phone."
Even beyond his immediate household circle, the President
remains a family man. A brother, sisters and
brothers-in-law have flocked to Washington in convenient
concentration, all willing to help the President with his
work and eager to help him relax after hours. Bobby is
still Kennedy's right-hand man. Sargent Shriver Jr. --
Eunice Kennedy's husband -- is head of the Peace Corps.
Stephen Smith -- Jean Kennedy's husband -- is special
assistant to the head of the White House "Crisis Center."
Actor Peter Lawford -- Pat Kennedy's husband -- helped pay
off Democratic debts by co-producing an inaugural
extravaganza, still shows up at Kennedy conclaves,
sometimes with the Hollywood Rat Pack in tow. Until he
suffered a stroke last month, Father Joe was in regular
touch with the President, offering encouragement and
loyalty. And it was Multimillionaire Joe who negotiated the
movie contract for Robert Donovan's book on Kennedy's
wartime days, PT 109. It came to a tidy $150,000 -- some
$2,500 for each of the old PT crew members or their widows
and $120,000 for Donovan.
The Treatment. Whether with his family, at a casual dinner
with friends, or working among his trusted aides, Kennedy
has one overwhelming interest that shapes all his actions:
politics. By instinct and training, he is a political
creature who works 25 hours a day at politics.
Kennedy's front-line political weapon is his own power of
political persuasion. He courts Congressmen, inviting them
to the White House for intimate social gatherings, calling
them on the telephone to hash over old times on the Hill,
remembering their birthdays with personal notes, carrying a
tiny pad on which to jot down their political problems.
Where Harry Truman delighted in denouncing "special
interest" groups, Kennedy tries to win them over. He places
great emphasis on the power of the press, and no other U.S.
President has granted so many private interviews to
journalists of many levels. It goes without saying that
organized labor is friendly to Democrat Kennedy, but the
President has also gone all-out to relieve big business of
its suspicions about his Administration. He has sent his
economic advisers all over the country to preach that big
business is a respected Administration partner, slipped
such business leaders as U.S. Steel Chairman Roger Blough
into the White House for long, earnest chats.
Kennedy's persuasive personality has also been turned on
foreign dignitaries. The President has received 30 chiefs
of state and heads of government since his inauguration,
sent most of them away grateful for the treatment they
received and impressed by Kennedy's broad knowledge and
willingness to listen to their problems. Among his Western
Allies, Kennedy gets along splendidly with Britain's Harold
Macmillan. Germany's Chancellor Konrad Adenauer recently
left the White House declaring: "I've never left this house
feeling better." Even France's difficult Charles de Gaulle
trusts and respects Kennedy -- up to a point. >From De
Gaulle aides after Kennedy's spring trip to Paris came word
of a characteristic De Gaulle declaration. In his long
lifetime, said De Gaulle, he had met only two real
statesmen: Adenauer and Kennedy. But Adenauer was too old,
he said, and Kennedy was too young.
Where persuasion fails, Kennedy is perfectly willing to use
power -- in his own way. In the early days of his
Administration, he realized that he had picked the wrong
man for Under Secretary of State. Chester Bowles, who was
supposed to be tending to administrative work in the State
Department, was instead obsessed with big-think solutions
to world problems; beyond that, Bowles committed the
ultimate sin of disloyalty by letting it be known, after
the fact, that he had been against the Cuba venture all
along. Kennedy decided to get Bowles out. He invited Bowles
down for a swim in the White House pool. Then the two had
lunch while Kennedy explained that he had a new job,
outside Washington, in mind for Bowles. Bowles not only
refused to bite at Kennedy's bait, but went out and stirred
up protests among his cultist liberal following. In the
face of a fuss, Jack Kennedy backed away -- but anyone who
knew him also knew that it would not be for long. Last
November, when nobody was looking, he shifted Bowles into a
high-sounding but peripheral job as a presidential adviser,
tossed in nearly a dozen other White House and State
Department switches for good measure -- and managed it all
with hardly a murmur of complaint from anyone.
Crab Grass & Berets. In the White House, Kennedy is still a
man in near-perpetual motion, interested in everything that
goes on about him and casual enough to take a hand in
anything that interests him. Amid his other duties, he had
time to notice crab grass on the White House lawn and order
it removed, and to order the Army's Special Forces to put
back on the green berets that had earlier been banned
("They need something to make them distinctive"). When he
wanted a haircut a few weeks ago after a hard day of work,
he simply had his secretary summon a barber to his White
House office. There, the barber neatly spread a white cloth
in front of the presidential desk, lifted a chair onto the
cloth and began snipping away. The President of the U.S.
tilted back his chair, picked up his afternoon paper, and
smiled happily. "Now," he said, "I'm going to read Doris

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